The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 13

April 1, 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

Deciphering the Genetic Code: M. Nirenberg

Starting in the late 1950s, a number of scientists around the world began to map the method by which DNA is translated into proteins. Working with his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Marshall Nirenberg solved this conundrum in 1961. This exhibit from the NIH looks into the career of Marshall Nirenberg, along with providing details about the scientific instruments he used to complete this discovery. The exhibit is divided into six sections, including "Scientific Instruments", "Biographies", and "History". The "History" area provides details on the emergence of the modern field of genetics, complete with illustrations and work done by Nirenberg's intellectual predecessors. The "Scientific Instruments" area is a real treat, as it features photographs of elaborate instruments donated by Nirenberg. The site is closed out by a glossary and a selection of recommended links. [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

African American Women in Iowa Digital Collection

This digital celebration of African American women in 20th century Iowa represents the collaborative efforts of the Iowa Women's Archives and the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa. On the site, visitors can learn about the experiences of African American women in Iowa through photographs, scrapbooks, pamphlets, oral histories, and newsletters. Visitors can perform detailed searches, or they can look at the documents through topical listings. The "Highlights" area is a true delight, as visitors can dip into items like a photograph of young women curtseying in the 1920s and the scrapbook of Althea Beatrice Moore Smith, who was an African American student at Iowa State University. The site also contains links to related collections and several archival guides for researchers seeking for more detailed scholarly resources. [KMG]

Ready for Takeoff: China's Advancing Aerospace Industry [pdf]

China is growing on all fronts, and their economic explosion on the past few years has been nothing less than extraordinary. Published in March 2011, this 164-page report from the RAND Corporation was sponsored by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and was conducted within the RAND Corporations International Security and Defense Policy Center. The report is divided into six chapters, including "China's Commercial Aircraft Market" and "China's Space Capabilities". Roger Cliff, Chad J.R. Ohlandt, and David Yang authored the work and it takes a close look at the role of China's government in supporting the aerospace industry and its ability to transform the world market for their products. The work will be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders, including international policy scholars and those with an interest in international business. The entire eBook can be read online and both the book and a summary can be downloaded as well. [KMG]

Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center [pdf]

Created in 1992 by the Kentucky General Assembly, the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center is dedicated to helping the Bluegrass State "act as a catalyst to change the way decisions are made in government." Their research has proved seminal to the state's advancement, and interested parties can learn about their publications, conferences, and other work on this site. First-time visitors should start by looking over some of their work in the "Publications" area. Here they will find full-length reports, their "Policy Notes" series, and PowerPoint presentations created by staff members. There are several hundred publications here, which can be viewed by topics, which range from "aging population" to "workforce development". The "Videos" section is quite good as well, and it features talks with 43 persons of interest from across the state, including journalist Betty Winston Bay and the mayor of Madisonville, Karen Cunningham. [KMG]

Vincent Voice Library

Based at the Michigan State University Libraries, the Vincent Voice Library is the largest academic voice library in the United States. The majority of the items in the collection are stored on reels of magnetic recording tape, and they include speeches, interviews, and lectures. The library began as the private collection of G. Robert Vincent, who was a noted sound engineer and pioneer in the field of recorded sound. On this site, visitors can peruse the Library's finding aids and their "Galleries" section. In the "Galleries" section, visitors can look over a selection of recordings by 20th century U.S. Presidents and their Michigan Writers Series. The presidents featured here include Warren G. Harding, Gerald Ford, and Harry S. Truman, among others. Moving on, the Michigan Writers Series "highlights the literary work of important writers who live in Michigan, including Terry Blackhawk, Patricia Clark, and Sarah Yettel. Overall, it's a great resource, and one that merits several visits. [KMG]

Extreme Planet Makeover

You may have heard of elaborate makeover television shows where some individual wishes to have various body enhancements performed or a new house is built in seven days. This fascinating extreme makeover website, from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, is much more edifying. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to make their own planet via a series of customizable bells and whistles. Visitors can use the controls on the site to adjust key planetary attributes such as distance from a star, planet size, and planet age. After making these adjustments, visitors can learn about the planet they have created, and also compare it with other existing planets and outer-space bodies. [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

New England Complex Systems Institute

The New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) is an independent academic research and educational institution that uses complex systems, the new interdisciplinary field of science, to approach the problems of the world today. The NECSI website states that they are examining subjects that include Haiti, ethnic violence, and economic market interdependence. Visitors interested in learning what complex systems involve should read the materials in the "About Complex Systems" link (found on the left menu on the homepage) and its four subtopics, which include a "concept map" and "visualizations". The "Research/Publications" link (also found at the top of the left menu) has a dozen or so topics that include healthcare, military conflict, and education. Visitors can click on each topic for a synopsis of the problem. Below each synopsis, visitors will find links to book chapters and articles that address the problem using the complex systems approach. From the "Books and Journals" link near the bottom of the menu on the homepage, visitors can download the full course/seminar textbook "Dynamics of Complex Systems" by the president of NECSI, Yaneer Bar-Yam. [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

Australian Institute of Criminology - Cybercrime

Established in 1973, the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) "seeks to promote justice and reduce crime by undertaking and communicating evidence-based research to inform policy and practice." The AIC's research on cybercrime has resulted in many publications, which visitors can find by clicking on "Publications" in the box entitled "AIC Work" on the right side of the main cybercrime page. The publications are on topics that range from cyber bullying, computer security tools used by Australian businesses, and challenges of cloud computing. Back on the main cybercrime page, the "Theft, Fraud and Financial Crime" link under "Contents" takes visitors to articles that address internet fraud, phishing, scams, and electronic money laundering. The articles are from conferences, governments, journals and organizations around the world, and include, "E-commerce and Internet Auction Fraud: The e-Bay Community Model", "WiredSafety: Scams and Fraud", and "Cyberpayments and Money Laundering: Problems and Promise". [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

General Interest

The Wittliff Collection

Founded at Texas State University-San Marcos by Austin screenwriter and photographer Bill Wittliff and his wife Sally, the Wittliff Collections bring together "the Southwest's literature, film, and music." Visitors to the website can share in all of these cultural wonders, including materials from the Southwestern Writers Collection and several extensive photography collections. First-time visitors should head on over to "The Collections" area to take in the travel narrative of Cabeza de Vaca, found in the Southwestern Writers Collection "Research and Archives", and a wonderful tribute to the TV series and book, "Lonesome Dove". Moving on, the "Exhibitions & Events" area contains information about their various traveling exhibits, events, and writer talks. The site is rounded out by an online gift store and more details about their book series and anthologies of Southwestern writers. [KMG]

Hyde Park Herald Digital Collections

Hyde Park is a well-known urban neighborhood eight miles south of Chicago's Loop, and residents in and around the neighborhood have a long tradition of independent journalism. The Hyde Park Herald was started in 1882, and it documented the community's earliest history, including the years before the neighborhood was annexed to Chicago. Recently, a group of concerned citizens donated money to digitize the newspaper's back issues, and it was done to celebrate the leadership of Bruce Sagan, who has published the newspaper since 1953. Visitors can view the newspaper from 1882 to the present day, and despite a gap between the years 1889 and 1918, the coverage is quite good. Some good starting points include the WWIII years and the late 1950s, which was when the first urban renewal project started in the neighborhood. Also, visitors may wish to perform a detailed search across the entire collection and then can also learn a bit more about the paper's history here. [KMG]

Tate Archive Journeys

The Tate Museum has brought together these three interactive "journeys" for those interested in art and anyone who might have a general interest in the cultural history of Britain. The three areas, "Tate history", "Bloomsbury", and "Reise" provide insight into "the Tates history, the Bloomsbury Group, and the art world of the 1960s and 1970s as seen through the eyes of art critic Barbara Reise. The "Tate History" profile is fantastic, and visitors can learn about their struggles and triumphs during World War II, the characters involved with its operations, and its unique homes over the years. The "Bloomsbury Group" tour is also quite unique with biographical profiles and photos of personages like E.M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. Finally, the section on Barbara Reise follows her life as an American critic who lived in London, and was friends with artists such as Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt. [KMG]

Making Home Affordable

Started by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Making Housing Affordable (MHA) initiative is designed to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. On the site's homepage, visitors can learn about their eligibility for assistance, hear feedback from other homeowners who have participated, and sign up to receive email updates about these programs. Many of the materials here are contained within five primary sections, which include "Learn More", "News", and "Get Assistance". Also, visitors can learn about upcoming events sponsored by the MHA in their area, and also learn about potential housing scams. Additionally, visitors who work in the housing industry and non-profit organizations can use the "For Partners" area to find additional resources to help those people they work with. [KMG]

Leodis - A Photographic Archive of Leeds

Leeds is a city in England that began as a market town in the Middle Ages, and now has an extensive and well-designed website that offers visitors more than a dozen guided virtual tours, a link to over 5,000 playbills from 1781 to the 1990s, and a large photographic archive of the city. Visitors to the online archive have the opportunity to send free webcards of Leeds' images, and they can also leave comments on the images here as well. Visitors can view the comments by enlarging the selected image to full-size. The guided virtual tours available include "Life in Leeds During the Second World War", which has photos of bomb shelters, buildings damaged by bombs, and VE and VJ day celebrations. Each image is accompanied by an explanatory caption of what is going on in the photo, such as the photo of women preparing ration books in 1939. The caption states that "typical weekly rations for one person were: 4oz bacon per week, 2-4oz tea, 1-8oz cheese, 8oz sugar." Other guided virtual tours include "The Old Pubs of Leeds", "Going Out in Leeds", "Leeds City Centre in the 1950s", and "The Municipal Buildings - A History". [KMG]

UCSF Japanese Prints Collection

The University of California at San Francisco has spent thirty years cultivating its collection of Japanese woodblock prints, and it has become an important part of the Library's East Asian Collection. The collection of 400 digitized prints concern Japanese health-related topics from the mid-19th century, and portray the gradual acceptance of Western medicine. Visitors can view the collection by theme or perform a search to find something more specific. The themes include "Contagious Diseases", which focuses on smallpox, measles and cholera, "Foreigners and Disease", which highlights the Japanese belief that foreigners carried diseases to Japan, and "Drug Advertisements". The "Drug Advertisements" are quite possibly the most beautiful drug ads in existence, and they feature elaborate images of drugs slaying disease, kabuki actors promoting a show sponsored by a children's medicine, Kindoru powder, and a detailed rendering of the interior of a drugstore, printed on a fan that was given out as a promotional item to advertise the business. [KMG]

Aesthetics + Computation Group: MIT Media Laboratory

The Aesthetics + Computation Group (ACG) of the MIT Media Laboratory is populated with people who have tremendous technical and artistic talents. The goal of the group is to encourage the "design of advanced system architectures and thought processes to enable the creation of (as yet) unimaginable forms and spaces." Upon entering the website, visitors may feel like they have stumbled upon an old factory-turned-loft, with the website's gray, yellow, and orange color scheme and spare font. The "Projects" section of the website has 20 current projects, plus multiple years of "Previous" projects, and a dozen or more "Theses" written by the participants in the ACG, at the end of their time there. Some of the projects include "Cinema Fabrique", which aims to produce "engaging cinematic experiences in realtime for live audiences through natural language and gestural control." "Treehouse Studio" is a project to teach children and adults about the digital arts and design using online exercises, tools, and activities. Finally, the problem of machines lacking a sense of space is explored in the project titled "Installation". [KMG]


ARTicle is yet another entry in the arena of museum blogs, this time from the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). ARTicle is intended to cover all sorts of subjects related to the AIC, and its six staff writers ask readers to, "Think of it as a little peek behind the scenes." The blog dates back to October of 2009, and visitors will find recent entries that include a staff picks entry, an entry on saints and symbols, and a short video featuring Robby S., a media assistant in Communications. In the video, Robby discusses Chilean painter Matta's The Earth Is a Man, 1942, which he describes as looking like a bunch of things floating in soup. Another recent post by Sarah M. investigates a piece currently on view in the modern wing, Shade by London-based Dutch designer Simon Heijdens, taking a look at how the work was installed and the possible meaning behind the work. If a "little peek behind the scenes" means the opportunity to hear people talking about art in an accessible and straightforward fashion, then ARTicle certainly achieves its stated goal. [DS]

Network Tools

MenuPrefs 2.6

With all the steps required for changing the energy saver preferences on a Mac, things can get a bit annoying. Fortunately, MenuPrefs 2.6 can be quite helpful with this process. MenuPrefs provides a "menu-bar-based front-end application" that gives users access to everything from sound preferences to system access preferences. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

After a decision by Maine's governor, a mural is removed

Maine governor removes pro-union mural

Maine labor mural comes down on governor's orders

Maine Arts Commission

Detroit Industry: The Murals of Diego Rivera

The public can't be trusted to commission art

Public art gives Seattle its spirit

Public art has always had its moments of controversy, and in the United States there have been many pivotal moments where an artist's vision met the public eye, sometimes with disapproval. In Maine this past weekend, a large mural was abruptly taken off display, creating a bit of a stir across the state. The governor of Maine, Paul LePage, ordered that the mural, which depicts Maine's labor history, be removed from the lobby of the state Department of Labor headquarters in Augusta. Created by Judy Taylor, the 11-panel mural contains scenes that depict a paper mill strike in the town of Jay and a strike at a shoe plant in Lewiston. An additional request from the governor's office asked that several conference rooms in the Department of Labor building, which are currently named for prominent labor leaders, be changed to something more neutral. The Maine Arts Commission hopes to find a home for the mural in another state building, but it has yet to be determined where that might be. [KMG]

The first link will take interested parties to a news article published on CNN's website this Tuesday which talks about this recent decision by the governor of Maine. The second link leads to a piece with additional coverage from this Monday's Boston Globe. Moving along, the third link will take users to the homepage of the Maine Arts Commission. Here people can learn about public art programs in the state and also read about the economic benefits of various artistic endeavors and initiatives. For those interested in other art controversies, the fourth link leads to an article from NPR on Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry murals. The fifth link will take users to a compelling editorial piece by the Guardian's Jonathan Jones on why the public can't be trusted to commission art. Finally, the last link leads to an appreciation of Seattle's public art from Rebecca Allen of the Orange County Register, which was reprinted in the Wisconsin State Journal.

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