The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 8

February 25, 2011

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

Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program [pdf]

Based at The Ohio State University Libraries, the Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program (BPRCAP) collects, preserves, and provides "access to historical documents concerned with polar regions." Their collection contains papers, records, photographs, and other forms of documentation concerning explorers, scientists, and other figures. Along the top of their page, visitors will find sections that profile select explorers (Byrd and Cook, among others), along with "Oral History" and "Online Resources". The Byrd area contains photographs of the man and his explorations, along with artifacts from his expeditions. Moving on, the "Oral History" area offers visitors the ability to view dozens of oral histories with people like Captain William Anderson and Chester Segers, who was one of the cooks at the South Pole Station. [KMG]

Teaching Geoscience Online [pdf]

More and more schools are offering online courses in the sciences, and the geophysical sciences are no exception. Carleton College is deservedly well known for their "Cutting Edge" website of geoscience teaching resources, and here they present some helpful materials for those wishing to teach geoscience online. The resources were developed as part of their 2010 workshop titled "Teaching Geoscience Online". Visitors can scroll through the list of resources, which are divided into sections that include "pedagogy" and "online activities and courses". The materials include titles like "Student Motivation and Engagement in Online Courses", "Using Data to Teach Geology in College-Level Online Classes", and "Course Platforms for Teaching Online". A number of these resources could be used by anyone teaching online courses, not just those in the field of geoscience. [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

Food Security in Asia and the Changing Role of Rice [pdf]

Food security is a global concern, and it seems fitting that scholars at The Asia Foundation would be interested in such a pressing international development and policy issue. This paper was released in October 2010, and it looks at the "challenges, opportunities, and likely action points for achieving shared food security." The paper was authored by C. Peter Timmer, and it was commissioned to coincide with a major conference, "Food for All: Investment Forum for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific". The paper is based on a set of remarks given at the conference, and it includes a framework for understanding food security and a helpful section on the changing role of rice in Asia. [KMG]

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation

The Library of Congress' collection of U.S Congressional Documents and Debates spans from the Continental Congress in 1774 to the 43rd Congress in 1875, and they have been digitized for students, scholars, and the interested public. Visitors can browse the collection by category, which includes "Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention", "Journals of Congress", "Debates of Congress", and "Statutes and Documents". Helpfully, the Library of Congress has created some "Special Presentations" for the non-researcher or law student. Visitors can view the "Timeline: American History as Seen in Congressional Documents", which includes some drawings, and links to illustrative documents, such as the "Debates of Congress", within the narrative in the timeline. Visitors that like maps and the history of Native Americans dealings with the U.S. government will find "Indian Land Cessions in the United States 1784-1894" to be illuminating. Visitors will find that maps can be browsed via "Date", "Tribe" and "State/Territory". The debates and documents from the Senate impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson are also available for visitors to peruse. [KMG]

IEEE Global History Network

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is an industry organization, and its Global History Network (GHN) is a wiki that "fosters the creation of narratives that not only document the history engineering practice but also explain when, how and why these myriad of technologies developed as they did." The homepage of the website for GHN has an "innovation map" and an "interactive timeline", as well as eight rotating featured concepts prominently displayed near the top of the homepage. Visitors should definitely check out the "Innovation Map", which shows what events happened, where, and when, such as the industrialization and commercialization of photovoltaic cells in Japan in 1959. The eight rotating featured concepts have included "Ancient Computers", "Cryptography", and "Memristors" which are resistors with memory. The menu across the top of any page contains the guts of the site, including "Oral Histories" of the most prominent people in the profession, "IEEE Stars", peer-reviewed articles, and "Topic Articles" which has "broad articles on a specific topic" which IEEE members and invited guests can create or modify. [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 Project on the History of Leprosy

The intent of the Global Project on the History of Leprosy is to create a database of leprosy archives around the world for those interested in the history of the disease, as well as to give voice to those who are affected by leprosy. Visitors to the website will come across many of the myths about leprosy, like fingers and toes falling off, but the current and past segregation of lepers in many countries is not a myth. A link to the 150-page summary of the Verification Committee Concerning Hansen's Disease [Leprosy] Problem by the Japan Law Foundation provides visitors with the heartbreaking details of the Japanese segregation policy. Visitors will find the "Oral History Project" to be both heartbreaking and uplifting. For example, a Japanese poet who had been isolated most of his life due to leprosy, is quoted on the homepage of the link: "We have been segregated, true. Yet even when your body is segregated, there is no need for your mind to also be confined, is there? I just want someone to know that I have existed, and have lived here." [KMG]


As part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, CommerceConnect works to support U.S. businesses by "cataloging government and nonprofit enterprise assistance resources; matching them to specific business needs; and streamlining access to the programs and services needed most." Interested parties will note that their network includes a national call center, this web portal, a Michigan based office, and a Gulf Coast regional partnership. On the homepage, visitors will want to take note of the "How can we help you?" area. Here they will find answers to questions related to starting a business, regulatory matters, and expansion into new markets. Users can also use the "Contact a Commerce Specialist" to contact one of the team members directly. Finally, the site also has a search engine which is quite useful. [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

National Academy of Sciences: Distinctive Voices @ The Jonsson Center [Real Player, pdf]

The Distinctive Voices programs offered by The Jonsson Center highlight "innovations, discoveries, and emerging issues in an exciting and engaging public forum." The Jonsson Center is in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and all of the programs are open to the general public. For those people who can't make it over to Woods Hole, there is this site, which contains videos and audio versions of the talks and conversations. Recent talks have included "A Nutritional Nightmare: From Famine to Feast, Why Science and Technology?" and "Why are We Living Longer? Insights from Aotearoa, New Zealand". Also, visitors can view past programs via their YouTube archive. Additionally, interested parties can look through the audio archive of past events, which date back to 2008. [KMG]

General Interest

Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery [Flash Player]

Located inside the National Air and Space Museum, the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery highlights the world of aviation in the 1920s and 1930s. During this period, flight technology rapidly advanced, aviation records were made and broken in quick succession, and African Americans gained increasing prominence in the field. Visitors to this site will get a preview of the materials contained in the museum through four sections: "Military Aviation", "Black Wings", "Civilian Aviation", and "Rocket Pioneers". In the "Black Wings" area, visitors will learn about pioneers like Bessie Coleman and then view an interactive feature on the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen. Moving on, the "Rocket Pioneers" section features the work of early innovators such as Robert Goddard, who created the world's first flying, liquid-fuel rocket. [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

The War of the Rebellion Atlas

As the country prepares to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a number of organizations and groups are planning various activities, academic seminars, and other events. This atlas of the War of the Rebellion (as it was also called) was created decades after the war was over to accompany the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Published in 1895, the 175 plates in the volume contain more than 1,000 maps, illustrations and diagrams detailing battlefield maps, scenes from the conflict, and military equipment. Visitors can browse the maps by state, city, and bodies of water. This fine resource was created by the Digitization Projects Group at the Baylor University Libraries, which also happens to have a pristine copy of the atlas as part of their Texas Collection. It's quite an amazing document, and one that will be of great interest to those who appreciate geography, American history, and military affairs. [KMG]

Buy Now, Pay Later: A History of Personal Credit

There has been great hand wringing over the nature of personal debt in recent years, and some commentators have made it seem as if this recent trouble was without historical precedent. This engaging exhibit from the Harvard Business School's Baker Library draws on their historical materials "to show how previous generations devised creative ways of lending and borrowing long before credit cards." The exhibit is divided into four sections, including "Credit in a Consumer Society" and "Credit in Pre-Industrial Society". Each section has short topical essays, accompanied by images of germane woodcuts, prints, engravings, legal documents, and other items that illustrate the relationship between credit and charity, credit reporting, and other matters. The exhibit is rounded out by the "Research Links" area, which brings together full-text manuscript and collection guides to items like the Briggs Motor Sales Company Records. [KMG]

Historical Myth a Month

What's the story behind some of the tall tales told in Nevada? Is Carson City the smallest capital in the United States? Were Elliott Gould and Barbara Streisand once married in the Silver State? All is revealed on this excellent site, which contains thoughtful commentary on some of Nevada's tallest tales offered by Guy Rocha, the former Nevada State Archivist. The pieces are divided nine different sections, including "Finding Famous People", "Women in Nevada History", and "Historic Places". A good place to start is the "Historic Places" area. Here visitors can learn about Carson City's oldest tree, Mark Twain's time in the state, and Las Vegas' first post office. Moving on, the "Events" area is quite a pip, as it contains pieces like "Who's On First? Nevada's First Newspaper" and "Staging a Robbery Without a Coach". [KMG]

Florida State Parks

The modern Florida State Parks system was created in 1935, and their programs include parks all the way from the St. Augustine area to the Keys. Their homepage brings together cultural, historical, and scientific materials related to the various sites in the state system. The website includes information on each park, along with interactive features on African American sites in the state and notable battlegrounds. Along the top of the page, visitors can use sections such as "Find a Park" and "Stay the Night" to plan their journey through the state. Each park entry also contains information about the site's history, along with detailed information about ranger programs, special music events, and so on. Finally, visitors can stay in touch via Twitter and other social media. [KMG]

In Focus: The Tree

In Focus: The Tree, is a Getty Museum exhibition of 41 images inspired by trees. On the exhibitions website visitors can see five images of trees, from Myoung Ho Lee, William Henry Fox Talbot, Darius Kinsey, Rhea Garen, and Simryn Gill, most accompanied by audio of curators or the artists discussing their work. Curator Franoise Reynaud explains how early photographer Talbot may have created his 1842 salt print showing a bare oak tree in winter; living artist Rheas Garen discusses her picture "Treehouse", which shows a backyard where a tree dwarfs the house, taken with a large format camera in 1993. The associated book, The Tree in Photographs, compiled by Reynaud, includes eighty-one images selected from the Museum's permanent collection. [DS]

Agropolis Museum: Food and agricultures of the world

This website for the Agropolis museum in France is about food and how humans have produced it over the centuries. The exhibits offer a fresh way of looking at food and the role it plays in society. Visitors should not miss the fascinating and moving virtual exhibit "The Banquet de l'Humanite (The dining table of the world)", which explains the ongoing struggle for food worldwide. The exhibit, which is a sculpture at the physical museum, is pictured on the site, and it features clay figures seated around a table representing the world. Visitors will read that the figures represent countries with low, medium, and high rates of food production, and food information on each country can be linked to in the text below the sculpture. Additionally, there are two clay figures that aren't even seated at the table, and they are called the "Excluded Ones". They represent the "new poor people in a society of mass consumption." They are often unemployed, homeless or poor city dwellers. The "World's Food" virtual exhibit offers basics about food and human nutritional needs. Visitors should be sure to click on the colorful boxes at the top of the page, to see images of similar types of food, but in different cultures. [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

The Work of Charles and Ray Eames

The Library of Congress' online exhibit about the work of designers Charles and Ray Eames, covers their lives and their work, not just their famous chairs and furniture. The "Biography" section is a great place for visitors to start learning about the Eameses, and it provides some great photos of their work and them in the process of working. Visitors with children will find the "Connecting Kids" section on the homepage helpful for putting the Eameses' work into the context of larger structures in America, by providing the link to the Library of Congress' "Built In America" collection. The fascinating "Culture" section of the exhibit conveys their travels to India through lush photos and correspondence. In addition, visitors will find that the "Beauty", "Space", "Science", and other sections are equally edifying. [KMG]

Network Tools


It's nice to have documents, images, and other items from one's home computer easily accessible, and icloud makes this possible, as it is essentially a virtual desktop with 3GB of available storage. After visitors sign up for a free account, they can store their documents and also collaborate with others via icloud. Visitors are also welcome to sign up for more storage, but there is a fee associated with this memory availability. This version of icloud is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Many people like to keep tabs on their finances, and the Mint program may prove to be quite useful for those looking for such a resource. After signing up, the program can incorporate financial information from a variety of sources to make it all accessible in one place. The program also works on mobile devices, and users can see what's happening with their budget and financial goals. This program is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Continuing investigation into Chinese drywall focuses in on Florida

No end to Chinese drywall woes

Tainted Drywall

Habitat for Humanity Remediates Homes With Toxic Chinese Drywall

CDC won't study effects of Chinese drywall exposure

United States Consumer Product Safety Commission

In the past year or so, a number of advocacy groups and homeowners have called for a full-scale investigation into the deleterious health effects of drywall imported from China. It may seem like a bit of an odd request, but residents of 42 states have complained that this imported housing product has made them sick with chronic sinus and upper respiratory problems and other maladies. One area that was particularly hard hit was South Florida, and this past week, the Orlando Weekly published a detailed report that examines the problem throughout the Sunshine State. The report looks at some of the basic problems, which include the fact that the drywall emits high levels of hydrogen sulfide. Additionally, the sulfur within these products also has corroded metallic objects in homes and HVAC systems are affected as well. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have declined to launch a full-scale investigation, there may be some traction with other public health advocacy groups, and ProPublica (an investigative journalism organization) is continuing to investigate. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to the aforementioned piece from last week's Orlando Weekly on the problems involving Chinese drywall in Florida. The second link leads to the multipart investigation into this situation, courtesy of ProPublica. Moving along, the third link leads to a piece from about how Habitat for Humanity is remediating homes found to have problems as a result of this toxic drywall. The fourth link leads users to a piece from CNN about the initial response to this situation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The fifth link leads to the official recall website from the United States government which lists all recent consumer product recalls. Finally, the last link leads to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, which includes additional information on the subject.

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