The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 15

April 13, 2012

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

New Jersey Digital Legal Library

The Rutgers University Library for the Center for Law & Justice hosts the New Jersey Digital Legal Library in order "to enhance scholarly, practitioner, and public access to the materials of New Jersey law and legal history." The materials in this prodigious online collection are divided into 16 different sections, including decisions and court documents related to affordable housing, the Attorney General's office, and executive orders issued by the governor. One particularly compelling area is the Supreme Court of New Jersey Oral Arguments Archive section. Here visitors can view the oral arguments offered before the court from 2005 to the present day. Visitors shouldn't miss the Chief Justice Joseph Weintraub Lecture Archive. Here they will find talks dating back to 1981 on topics such as "American History and the Study of Constitutional Law" and "Principled Decisions." [KMG]

Late 19th- and Early 20th-Century Asian Cities

The map library at the University of Chicago has thousands of maps documenting everything from the growth of early cities in the Islamic world to the ethnographic breakdown of Chicago's neighborhoods. In the past several years, the library has been working to digitize some of its maps that document Asian cities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The growth of some of these cities in the past century or so has been explosive; cities such as Beijing and Kolkata (Calcutta) would be unrecognizable to a time traveller deposited in their current urban form. Visitors will find two dozen maps here, which they can browse them as they see fit. The program used to look at the maps, Zoomify, allows visitors to zoom in quite closely to look at topographic and other details. Some of the highlights here include a 1922 planning map of Bangkok, a map of Bombay from 1919, and a tour guide map of Peshawar city from 1921. [KMG]

The Nature of Science and the Scientific Method [pdf]

For those who haven't been in science class for some time, the scientific method may be a bit of a hazy memory. Those people (educators and others included) who need a bit of a refresher, along with a nice guide to talking about the scientific method, will find this resource from The Geological Society of America most efficacious. Authored by scientist Christine V. McLelland, this 9-page document "promotes understanding of the nature of science and how the scientific method is used to advance science, focusing in particular on the Earth sciences." The document covers topics like "What is Science?" and breaks the scientific method down into its five primary parts. It also offers some brief talking points about the nature of science, and a nice bibliography. [KMG]

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

Missouri Digital News

Is it possible to wade through the wide world of news about Missouri without getting overwhelmed? This website makes the process a snap, and it's a fabulous resource created by the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Missouri. The program is supported by journalism professionals and students animated by The Journalist's Creed, which was authored by the first dean of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, Walter Williams. First-time visitors should read the creed, and then navigate the site to follow live action and audio from the state's house and senate. Visitors can use the "Stories" area to look up recent news pieces by subject, date, and staff member. Moving along, visitors can search for information about state government, the Supreme Court dockets, and find out how each member of the state's legislative body voted on recent bills. It's a rather fine resource, and the Twitter feed is also worth a look. [KMG]

Learn About Spinal Muscular Atrophy

What is spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)? It is an inherited disease that affects approximately 1 in 10,000 infants born in the United States each year. There are four types of SMA, which can cause the muscles to function improperly and become smaller and weaker over time. Visitors to this site, which was created by researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, should start their journey here by clicking on the What is SMA? section. Here they can watch Dr. Darryl De Vivo provide an overview of the four types of SMA and then look through video clips from other professionals who provide additional insights into the genetics behind SMA. Moving on, the SMA Science area provides high-quality animations that illustrate the various processes involved with the SMN gene (mutations of which are responsible for SMA) and protein splicing. Visitors can also click on the SMA Therapies to learn more about what's being done for people living with SMA, along with potential new treatments. [KMG]

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

BioQUEST [pdf]

The original idea for BioQUEST came from Professor John R. Jungck, who taught at Beloit College in southern Wisconsin. Soon after its creation, the organization found willing partners in the guise of the Annenberg/CPB Project and other parties, including the National Science Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The goal of BioQUEST is to support "undergraduate biology education through collaborative development of open curricula in which students pose problems, solve problems, and engage in peer review." The site features information about BioQUEST's upcoming teacher education events and conferences, along with a section of Open Resources, located on the left side in the center of the page. These are publicly-accessible resources for teachers, and first-time visitors should start by looking over the Problem Spaces. The problem spaces offer "a way of organizing diverse kinds of resources to support student inquiry." Undergraduate biology teachers can take advantage of these clusters of resources organized around topics that include West Nile virus, chimpanzee conservation, and other topics. Moving along, visitors can also take advantage of the Investigative Cases, which are learning modules designed to help students in a range of fields like chemistry and health science explore different scientific scenarios. The site is rounded out by information about ongoing projects and a place where visitors can sign up for the RSS feed. [KMG]

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

PhysioBank (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on February 7, 2003)

The PhsyioBank is an impressive archive of digital recordings of physiologic signals and related data for use by the biomedical research community. The website is maintained by the National Institute of Biomedical Imagining and Bioengineering and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and new material is being added on a regular basis. Currently, the site includes biomedical signals and reports from healthy subjects and patients with a range of conditions, including congestive heart failure, epilepsy, gait disorders, and sleep apnea. First-time visitors would do well to take the interactive tour and then use the Getting Started section for locating resources. Also, visitors should make sure to look at the PhysioBank Archives. Here they will find a complete listing of all the currently available databases, organized according to the types of signals and annotations contained in each database. Finally, visitors can send queries about the site and its database via a contact form on the site's homepage. [KMG]

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

Clinical Skills Online

New doctors and those studying to practice medicine may need a bit of assistance as they prepare to administer direct care to patients. The Clinical Skills Online website was created to offer some helpful videos for such persons, and was funded by the United Kingdom's Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine. The thirteen videos are all available at no cost. They cover topics like History Taking, Thyroid Examination, and Abdominal Examination. The videos contain precise language and are designed to complement existing formal medical training. Needless to say, there is a disclaimer on the website that highlights the terms under which these videos should be used. It's a nice resource for those entering a range of health care professions, and it's worth sharing with others in the field. [KMG]

To find 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

Theo Wangemann's 1889-90 European Recordings

Theo Wangemann was the world's first professional sound recordist, and was hired by Thomas Edison in 1888 to produce a set of musical recordings for the wax cylinder phonograph. Wangemann worked at Edison's West Orange, New Jersey laboratory in 1888-89. Interestingly enough, Wangemann is perhaps best known (until now) for his work recording Johannes Brahms at the piano in 1889. In 2011, the National Park Service digitized a rather curious box of wax cylinder recordings made by Wangemann during his trip through Europe. During this trip he recorded Otto von Bismarck, Helmuth von Moltke, and he even found time to make a home recording in which some of his relatives sent greetings back to family members who had emigrated to America. This website gives visitors the ability to listen to all of these remarkable recordings in their entirety. Visitors should start by reading the two original essays on the site. One of the essays provides a biographical sketch of Wangemann, and the other deals with the appearance of Bismarck and Moltke "before the recording horn." The site is rounded out by a clutch of historic photographs of Wangemann and his wax cylinders. [KMG]

Town Greens

This lovely website notes that the town greens of Connecticut embody the Nutmeg State's "strong self sense of history and civic pride." Created by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, this site brings together essays, photographs, and other materials that tell the story of some of the state's most well-known town greens. First-time visitors can use the Green Link area to learn more about any of the state's 172 greens. Visitors will that the profile of each green includes a narrative essay that describes the green's landscape, its history, and prominent nearby buildings and public monuments. The Exhibits area includes in-depth looks at town greens in Guilford, New Haven, Norwich, and more. The site also includes a Data Center section. Users will find detailed information on most of the town greens in the state, along with additional data resources such as planning documents. [KMG]

Cooperative Forestry Research Unit [pdf]

Started in 1975, the University of Maine's Cooperative Forestry Research Unit (CFRU) has "conducted applied scientific research in order to provide Maine's policy makers and forest landowners with the information necessary to ensure both sustainable forest management practices and effective public policy." On the CFRU website, users will find information about current projects, publications, conferences, and so on. Clicking on the Current Projects will return brief synopses of ongoing work, which includes research projects on silviculture, wildlife habitat managements, and biodiversity across the state. Moving on, the Publications area contains annual reports and bulletins. The bulletins include briefs such as "The Maine Woods: Understanding Tomorrow's Forests Today" and recent news releases. The site also includes information about upcoming conferences, contact information and a helpful About CFRU area. [KMG]

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

Interactive Physics Simulations [Flash]

At the top of this site's homepage, visitors will see a banner that proclaims "Over 70 million simulations delivered." Needless to say, the Interactive Physics Simulations site is quite popular, and the offerings here can be used in the classroom or by persons with a general curiosity about static electricity, alpha decay, and other related topics. The site is sponsored by a range of institutions, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the National Science Foundation. The site includes three dozen different simulations, many of which are available in over a dozen languages, including French, Russian, Chinese, Italian, and Vietnamese. First-time visitors might want to start with the "Build an Atom" which affords visitors the opportunity to build an atom out of protons, neutrons, and electrons and then play a fun game after they're done. Also, users can look at the simulations by topical headings, which include "Sound & Waves", "Heat & Thermo", and "Light & Radition". [KMG]

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

Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century [pdf]

Therese Delpech was known for her work on international relations and her service at the French Atomic Energy Commission and as an adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross. She passed away in January 2012, and the RAND Corporation recently published her last work, which is available on this site. This 196-page work calls for "a renewed intellectual effort to address the relevance of the traditional concepts of first strike, escalation, extended deterrence, and other Cold War-era strategies." The work is divided into seven thematic chapters, including "Ahead of Us: The Big Piracy Game?" "Space and Cyberdeterrence," and "Lesson From Crises." This last chapter is quite intriguing as it looks at past Cold War crises with an eye towards the future and how interested parties might understand future critical junctures. This work is well-written and thoughtful, and for those persons studying international affairs, political science, and other topics, it will be worth a look. [KMG]

The Science of Speed

A unique partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASCAR is the basis for this fun and informative website. The site features twelve episodes created as part of "The Science of Speed," hosted by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky. Each episode features a NASCAR car in a variety of racing and testing situations, and some special guests turn up, such as Jeff Gordon and Michael McDowell. The topics covered here include car safety, drag & drafting, grip, sound, and friction. Each clip is accompanied by racing footage and expert commentary that makes each encounter lively and compelling. This is a great way to pique the interest of those persons who might find certain aspects of physics and related fields a bit inaccessible. Visitors shouldn't miss the "Firesuits" episode as it explores the world of these very important safety devices. [KMG]

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

British Museum: Explore: Time

What is time? What does it mean to us? These are a but a few of the arresting questions asked by the British Museum's online exhibit exploring the nature, structure, and history of time, time-keeping, and other related subjects. This particular section is part of their larger "Explore" online collection, and it draws on their the British Museum's vast holdings to look into this scientific, cultural, and historical phenomenon. The site includes five sections, including Measuring and Keeping Time, Personal Time, and The Effects of Time. The Measuring and Keeping Time area is quite arresting, and it includes images of a Native American 'winter counts' cloth which served as a recorder of events that took place between 1785 and 1901. Moving on, The Effects of Time area is rather remarkable as well, as it contains material on how humans have attempted to stop or slow down the passage of time via techniques like retaining a youthful portrait of an aging ruler on coins and paper money. [KMG]

Michael T. "Nuf Ced" McGreevey

Today, a sports bar near a professional sports venue is a given. Usually there are many sports bars, and they are loud, boisterous places decorated with photographs of celebrated players and memorabila. Back in the 1890s, one Michael T. McGreevey of Boston opened a bar that became the headquarters of the Boston Royal Rooters, the "rabid and riotous" fans of Boston's various professional baseball teams. His saloon was located near the old Huntington Avenue Grounds, and by the early 1900s, it was decorated with hundreds of photos of baseball players. After his tavern closed in in the early years of Prohibition, McGreevey's collection found its way to the Boston Public Library. This marvelous digital collection brings together more than 170 photographs that once appeared on the walls of his tavern, and they tell the story of Boston's baseball teams and the city's history more generally. Visitors will find images of the old Huntington Avenue Grounds (where the first World Series was played), Cy Young, Boston policemen, and Mr. McGreevey himself. It's quite a collection, and one that is worth sharing with fans of America's pastime. [KMG]

Network Tools

Google Politics & Elections

Google has developed this helpful web-based tool to help citizens, journalists, and others stay abreast of various political campaigns throughout the United States. Visitors can view and interact with a clickable map of the United States to find out information about each candidate and his (or potentially her) activities. Additionally, visitors can use the Issues area to track news items on topics like the economy, immigration, healthcare, and others. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Miitla is a convenient acronym for Mind It Later, and it allows users to save interesting websites or online items of note for future reference. Visitors need to just sign up for a free account and they will have the ability to create categories and make notes as a reminder of why each item was worthy of saving. It's a nice way to save online resources for future use and it is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

As the mayor of Detroit inks a deal with the state of Michigan, there is a new sense of hope in the Motor City

Stalled in Motor City

Deal Might Be The Key to Save Detroit

Blotting-Not Squatting-In Detroit Neighborhoods

Detroit right to accept agreement

DSO outlook upbeat, but funding worries persist

Detroit Can't Wait

The city of Detroit has faced a wide range of troubles over the past several decades, including significant population losses, a declining tax base, and the economic restructuring and reconfiguration of its primary industry, automobile manufacturing. This past week, Mayor Dave Bing signed an agreement with Governor Rick Snyder that will prevent the city from having to declare bankruptcy, which seemed like a solution that was in the best interest of many stakeholders, including residents of the Motor City. The city currently holds long-term debt that is close to $12 billion, and the hope is that this cooperative agreement will address the city's long-term fiscal problems. As part of his commitment to the process, Governor Snyder launched a website ("Detroit Can't Wait") that states that "in the short termthe streetlights are on at night and the trash is picked up." The city will also have to review long-term contracts and agreements with a number of its unionized employees, which may also be a difficult and involved process. The city can ill afford to wait to move forward, as without new loans Detroit will run out of cash in mid-May. [KMG]

The first link leads to a piece from last week's The Economist which talks about Detroit's recent financial woes. The second link will take visitors to a good report on the recent deal between the city and the state government filed by NPR as part of their "Tell Me More" series. The third link will whisk users away to a piece on "blotting" in Detroit. As the NPR feature describes it, "blotting" is the process by which some Detroit residents are annexing vacant lots around their own property and making use of this otherwise abandoned land. The fourth link leads to an editorial from this Monday's Port Huron Times Herald on this recent decision that notes that "the troubled city [Detroit] truly has embarked on the long road to right itself." Moving along, the fifth link leads to a piece from this Tuesday's Detroit News about the financial situation of the world-famous Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The last link will take interested parties to the website created by Governor Snyder to inform Michigan residents and members of the public about the ongoing situation in Detroit regarding the city's financial health.

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Internet Scout, 1994-2012. Internet Scout (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

Internet Scout Team
Max GrinnellEditor
Carmen MontopoliManaging Editor
Edward AlmasyDirector
Rachael BowerDirector
Noah YasskinOutreach Coordinator
Andrea CoffinMetadata Specialist
Autumn Hall-TunInternet Cataloger
Sara CumminsInternet Cataloger
Tim BaumgardWeb Developer
Corey HalpinWeb Developer
Zev WeissTechnical Specialist
Michael SeaholmTechnical Specialist
Jonathan CainTechnical Specialist
Matt LinsonAdministrative Support
Debra ShapiroContributor

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout staff page.