The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 41

October 15, 2010

A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

Research and Education

Redlands Institute: Salton Sea [pdf, iTunes]

The Salton Sea Database Program (SSDP) at the University of Redlands, Redlands Institute (RI) was a project administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Center for Special Programs. The purpose behind the SSDP was to bring a wide range of data management and analysis tools and professionals "to support multi-disciplinary and coordinated decision-making across all the professional and scientific teams and stakeholders involved in the restoration of California's largest inland body of water, the Salton Sea." Part of their outreach work includes this fine website, which includes sections titled "Ecological Issues", "Data & Research", and "Exploring the Area". First-time visitors may want to start by clicking on the "Ecological Issues" area. Here they can learn about the science of the area, the contemporary issues facing the survival of the Salton Sea, and some of the proposed solutions to restore the Sea. Journalists and scientists will appreciate the "Data & Research" area, as it features digital maps of the area, GIS data, public policy documents, and an image database. The casual traveler will enjoy the "Exploring the Area" section, and here they will find information about current weather conditions, fishing reports, and California State park materials. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

American Experience: Victory in the Pacific

Over the past several decades, the American Experience program created by WGBH has taken visitors on journeys to learn about the Alamo, Rosie the Riveter, and a myriad of other topics. This particular program offers insight and commentary on the American experience in the Pacific theater of operations during World War II. Visitors can watch the entire program here, and it includes testimony from those who were there, military historians, and others. The site also features an online forum, a general background article ("A Hell on Earth"), and a list of suggested books and websites. One of the more intriguing items is a propaganda leaflet dropped on Japan during the final few months of the war by American planes. This website would be quite helpful in world history classroom settings, and for those with a penchant for 20th century history in general. [KMG]

The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina in the 1920s

The controversy over teaching evolution has a long history in the United States, and this website does a nice job of exploring this controversy has it unfolded in North Carolina in the 1920s. The site includes key primary sources that describe many of the significant issues and events regarding the debate and they have explicitly made an effort "to select sources that reflect all viewpoints." Created by staff members at the University Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the site includes a timeline, primary sources, a glossary of terms, and biographical profiles. In the "Primary Sources" area, visitors can look over a dozen items, including the text of the "Poole Bill", which was introduced in January '25 in opposition to the teaching of evolution in North Carolina schools. The timeline is quite well-put together, and it includes embedded links to both the biographical profiles and relevant primary source documents. [KMG]

The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler

James McNeill Whistler was one of the 19th century's most distinguished painters, and he was a lover of correspondence. In 2003, a number of projects were held to mark the centenary of his death, and this website represents one facet of those works. The online database of Whistler's correspondence was made possible by the British Academy Committee on Academy Research Projects, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Getty Grant Program, and a number of other partners. First-time visitors should click on the "correspondence" link to learn more about the Whistler correspondence collection at the University of Glasgow, the editorial practices of this edition, relevant abbreviations, and staff details. Visitors can roam through this immense collection of Whistler's letters by person, subject, works of art, and places. For lovers of art and compelling writing, this site is one that is worth bookmarking for return visits. [KMG]

University of Minnesota Physics Demonstrations Page

What can the University of Minnesota's physics department do for you? Plenty, of course! This excellent website provides interested parties with access to some of the fine demonstrations prepared for use by educators and students as of late. On the homepage, visitors will see a number of drop-down menus that are divided into areas like "fluid mechanics", "optics", and "modern physics". Within each of these areas, the video demonstrations are divided into additional areas, and visitors can click on each image to view the demonstration in question. Visitors can also use the "Additional Links" area to look through other videos, take a look at the physics department homepage, and learn more about lab safety. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Global Green USA: Building Resources

Going "green" may be relatively easy for individuals, but how can a building go "green"? It's definitely more complex, and this website from the Global Green USA organization provides a host of resources on this topic. The homepage provides a few basic overviews of relevant questions, including "What makes a product green?" and "Why build green?" There's even a "Planet Green Game", developed by Global Green and Starbucks which seeks to educate individuals and organizations about making meaningful environmentally sound decisions. Moving along, visitors can click on the "Green Building Resources" link to find a thematically organized set of websites, lesson plans, and other items organized into topics like "Energy-Related Resources" and "Project Certifications and Guidelines". The site is rounded out by a series of links that allow visitors to email the group with questions and a place where they can also sign up to receive their newsletter. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Stony Brook Press

Started in 1979, the Stony Brook Press has documented student life and activities on the campus of SUNY-Stony Brook for the past three decades. As part of The State University of New York's Digital Repository, the Stony Brook Press newspaper was digitized and included in their vast holdings of materials culled from the SUNY system. The Stony Brook Press paper was known for taking on sensitive issues, including race relations, gender equity, equal rights, and its investigations into campus administration and policy. Visitors will appreciate that they can browse the entire run of the paper here, and they can also look for materials by date, author, title or subject. Finally, visitors can also sign up here to receive email notifications of new additions to the archive. [KMG]

General Interest

The Mariners' Museum

Started in 1930 by Archer Milton Huntington, The Mariners' Museum has grown over the past eight decades to include a host of exhibits on the seafaring life, including the recently added Monitor Center. Visitors who are new to the Museum's site may wish to take the virtual tour on the homepage to get a sense of their collections. Moving on from that, visitors should also click on the "Exhibitions" area. The best part of this section are the "Stationary Voyages", which take a look at boats as objects of art, interpreted through contemporary photographs. Visitors are also encouraged to add their own photographs to this particular collection. Also, the "Collections Online" area allows users to search over 30,000 items online. The website also includes ample visitor information for those who find themselves in the Hampton Roads area, and there's also an email form that allows interested parties to ask curators question about the museum. [KMG]

The Virginia Tech April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives of the University Libraries

After the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, a number of persons wanted to preserve some of the many condolence items sent to the campus. The collection is called the Condolence Archives, and this website contains over 7000 items, including memory books, wreaths, poetry, art, banners, letters of support, and banners sent by institutions and individuals from around the world. Visitors can browse through the entire collection, or they can look around by object type, donor type, state, country, and so on. The "About" section contains more details about the history of the project, and visitors can also read about how to look at the artifacts in person at Virginia Tech's Newman Library. It's a rather moving collection, and one that is quite thoughtful in its tone. [KMG]

UMass Cranberry Station [pdf]

Cranberries are a rather unique crop, as they are only found in North America, and in rather select locations. One such place is southeastern Massachusetts, which happens to be one of the leading cranberry producing regions in the United States. The University of Massachusetts operates the Cranberry Station in order "to maintain and enhance the economic viability of the Massachusetts cranberry industry through research, extension, and to serve the public welfare." Here on their site, visitors can read their online newsletter, check out their fact sheets, and learn about their research projects. In the "Publications" area, visitors can peruse their latest best management practices documents and also the Cranberry Chart Book, which documents the latest innovations for keeping cranberries healthy and flourishing. Moving on, the "News & Events" section includes materials on their ongoing training programs and special events and talks. [KMG]

Complaints Choirs Worldwide

You may have heard about a "chorus of complaints" as a phrase in a magazine article, casual conversation, or as a bit of acerbic social commentary. Well, it is now a very real cultural phenomenon which is documented on this website. The idea behind the Complaints Choirs movement is that a group of people can get together to voice their complaints, and put them to song. They are creating a real choir of complaints, and the movement has become a worldwide success. On the homepage, visitors can use the "do-it" section to learn about how the process works, and they will find that it is relatively easy. The site also contains a "News" area, a bit of "History", and a number of video clips of these complaint choirs in action. The "Choir" area is perhaps the best place to look for authoritative information on past performances, and the "Files" area contains high-resolution photographs of the choirs doing what they do best. As a piece of irreverent social and collective gathering, these choirs may catch the interest of sociologists, musicologists, and scholars of public culture. [KMG]

U.S. Army Engineer Institute for Water Resources

The U.S. Army Engineer Institute for Water Resources (IWR) was created "to provide forward-looking analysis and research in developing methodologies to aid the Civil Works program." Their website is well-organized, and the homepage features a "How Do I" set of links that will swiftly direct visitors to areas about IWR history, contact information, projects, and publications. The "Latest News and Project Highlights" is a good place to start, as it contains information about recent workshop projects, new fact sheets on IWR projects, and recent policy statements. Policy types will want to click on the "Publications" area straight away to read reports on environmental investments, alternative dispute resolution, and dam safety. Other visitors may wish to look at the "Featured Projects" area, which includes dredging data materials, details on harbor maintenance, and their hydrologic modeling system. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at [pdf, Real Player]

What exactly goes on in the U.S. Congress on a daily basis? This is a question that many people would like to know, and this website is a great way to find that out. The site was created by C-SPAN in conjunction with Congressional Quarterly, and it provides detailed information about ongoing Congressional hearings and sessions, along with some fun trivia. Visitors can use the website to listen to gavel-to-gavel coverage of U.S. Senate Committee hearings, and there are a total of 26 hearing rooms that are included. On the homepage, visitors can view the current hearing schedule and access the full text of each item that is up for debate and discussion. Also, visitors can use the "Watch Congress" button to get easy access to the proceedings, and they can also search past hearings as well. [KMG]

What Makes Me [Flash Player]

What does art add to your life? This is the question posed to Australians by the Australia Council for the Arts as part of the "What Makes Me" initiative. The Council asked visitors to create their own 3-dimensional "art-cube", containing elements of their own personal history through images, video, and audio. The goal of the project is create Australia's largest collaborative digital story, and the results so far are quite impressive. Visitors can scroll over each cube to learn about different people's experiences and understanding of what art is, and as a whole, it's quite remarkable. Moving along, visitors can also make their way through a complete listing of all the cubes submitted thus far, and they can also learn about the whole art cube making process. [KMG]

University of Tennessee Libraries-Great Smoky Mountains Regional Collection

The Great Smoky Mountains are full of history, and this set of digital collections from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville brings together photographs, letters, diaries, art, and other items in one convenient location. All told, the site contains five distinct collections, including the William Cox Cochran Photograph Collection and the Albert "Dutch" Roth Collection. Both of these collections include photographs of daily life in eastern Tennessee during the late 19th century and pioneer life in and around what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One collection here that should not be missed is the "Tales from the Woods". Here visitors will find the personal journal of Albert G. "Dutch" Roth written during his walks through the Great Smoky Mountains from the period 1924 to 1959. [KMG]

Network Tools


For people with a wide range of social media responsibilities, HootSuite is a great way to stay connected. HootSuite allows individuals and business teams to coordinate social media connections with their easy-to-use interface that includes scheduled updates, one-click message dissemination, and smart-phone capabilities. The basic (and free) option allows for use of two RSS feeds, five social networks, and 30 days of statistical history. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux. [KMG]

280 Slides

There are many different types of presentation software packages, and making a selection out of the variety of options can be hard. 280 Slides is quite a good option, and one distinct feature is that you never have to download any additional software on to your computer to use it. Visitors can upload their existing PowerPoint presentations, and they'll have access to them from any computer with an Internet connection. Users will also appreciate that there is an autosave function, and a built-in media search for adding helpful interactive elements to any presentation. This version of 280 slides is compatible with any operating system. [KMG]

In The News

As the search for extraterrestrial life continues, questions old and new resurface

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence: Phoning ET

U.N. Weighs How to Answer a Knock on Earth's Door

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

SETI Institute: Allen Telescope Array

Extraterrestrial Intelligence in the Solar System: Resolving the Fermi Paradox

Voyager The Interstellar Mission [Flash Player]

For years, humans have expressed a keen interest in attempting to communicate with the extraterrestrials that might reside in a nearby or distant galaxy. This desire has motivated speculative works of fiction, like Carl Sagan's book "Contact", and technologically advanced endeavors sponsored by a variety of national space agencies around the world. This search is sometimes known as "SETI", or the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Shortly, another step forward in this quest will be taken with the completion of The Allen Telescope Array in California. The Array consists of a cluster of radio telescopes which will explore far distant star systems throughout the Milky Way. Usually, such SETI endeavors are executed without much attention or controversy, but this project has renewed discussions of what the protocol should be if humans receive a signal from aliens. This matter came to a head at a recent meeting of the Royal Society at Chicheley Hall in Britain, where a number of scientists mentioned that broadcasting signals into space announcing the location of Earth is "tantamount to ringing a dinner gong for any carnivorous, colonizing or anti-social aliens who might be listening." Other commentators have responded to this concern by noting that if aliens exist, they would have already been able to detect the presence of humans via the signals sent by television and radio stations. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from last week's Economist regarding the quest for communicating with extraterrestrial life. The second link leads visitors to a thoughtful piece from last Friday's New York Times about the United Nation's Office for Outer Space Affairs. Moving on, the third link leads to the homepage of the United Nation's Office for Outer Space, which includes information about their work and international cooperation with other space-minded organizations. The fourth link will whisk users away to the SETI website about The Allen Telescope Array. Here visitors can watch videos of the Array, and learn about how it works. The fifth link leads to an important and influential paper on the potential existence of extraterrestrial intelligence by the noted scholar Robert A. Freitas Jr. The last link leads to the homepage of the Voyager 2, which has been out among the stars continuously since August 20, 1977 collecting data about the solar system.

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