The Scout Report
May 3, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 18
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Established in 1991 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) works to gather historical materials from governments on all sides of the Cold War. The project offers a number of these materials on its site, along with in-house publications, information about fellowship programs, and detailed updates about conferences and seminars. First-time visitors would do well to click on The Latest from the Cold War International History Project to get started. Here they can learn about the latest e-Dossiers (topical essays that draw on CWIHP documents), upcoming talks, and other items of note. Some of these latest e-Dossiers include "Viet Minh Seeks Support from Soviets," and "KGB/Stasi Cooperation." Visitors should also look at the Issues area, which contains materials that deal specifically with topics such as Communism, Declassification, and Democracy. [KMG]
The folks at Science magazine craft a wide palette of audio visual materials, many of which can be accessed through their video portal. In the Featured Videos, visitors can learn about some recent explorations into education reform, deep sea explorations, and the Higgs boson. Scrolling down the site, visitors will notice that the videos are divided into seven sections, including Engineering, Environment, and Medicine. It's easy to see how these videos could be effectively used in a number of classroom situations to complement existing lectures and presentations. New users might do well to start with the "Alya Red: A Computational Heart" video and the rather thoughtful "California Meteorite Rush." [KMG]
While many may consider sea power a key aspect of 19th century military strategy, the subject is still very much alive in the early 21st century. This recently published book from the RAND Corporation's David C. Gompert takes a close look into American sea power in the Western Pacific. The 216-page report is divided into six chapters, including "Technological Change," "Regional Maritime Security," and "U.S. and Chinese Interests and Sea Power in the Western Pacific." The report contains some interesting observations, including the comment that "The United States can exploit technology more boldly than it has previously to make its sea power less vulnerable by relying more on submarines, drones, and smaller, elusive, widely distributed strike platforms." Visitors can download the entire work, or they can click on the Key Findings tab to look over some of its basic conclusions. [KMG]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes the "Science Matters" newsletter to inform the general public about its research and advocacy activities on behalf of the American public. The newsletter was first published in 2010, and is a terrific source of information on everything from green chemistry to renewable energy. In the About this Issue area, visitors can learn about the topical focus of each issue. In the Science Features, visitors can read articles such as "Nanomaterials: Harnessing the Potential, Understanding the Risks" and "Partnerships for a Safer Chemical Future." Users shouldn't miss the Ask a Scientist feature, which profiles a different EPA scientist in each issue. The In the News area brings together updates about new partnerships with colleges, universities, and international collaborators. [KMG]
The mantra of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is "Better Policies for Better Lives." OECD's work spans the world and features a team of economists, sociologists, and others working on problems as diverse as higher education, access to clean water, and energy policy. The OECD Working Papers Series spans 19 crucial areas, including agriculture, development, environment, finance, and health care. Visitors should definitely check out the Tourism papers, as they include the compelling work "Green Innovation in Tourism Services." The Local Economic and Employment (LEED) papers are quite good as well, covering timely topics like urban governance and regional policy decision making. Visitors can sign up to receive updates about new papers as they are released to the site. [KMG]
This resource is designed for educators hoping to teach students about the world of biotechnology and bioinformatics, and the lesson plans here are top-notch. The lessons span a variety of topics, including applied mathematics, DNA, and genetics. Visitors can scroll through six sections, including Organisms and Evolution or Proteins and Proteomics. Visitors can scroll through each area, keeping in mind that each activity is categorized by grade level, subject area, and type. For those looking for specific areas, they will find a set of activity filters that can be used to easily identify specific resources. Some of the activity offerings here include "Genetic Disorder Research," "What is Cloning?" and "DNA Detectives: Extract your Own DNA." Finally, visitors can visit In The News to learn more about ongoing activities at the Bioinformatics Activities Bank. [KMG]
The Center for Jewish History Digital Collections provide access to the digital assets of both the Center and its partner organizations, including the Yeshiva University Museum and the American Sephardi Federation. Visitors can use the search engine, or visit the Popular Topics visual interface to click around at their leisure. Also, the site allows users to browse by partner organizations or resource type (slides, prints, oral history, and so on). The Oral History area is a real gem, as it contains over 958 interviews with Jewish leaders, activists, historians, and others from the past several decades. All told, the archive contains well over 50,000 items, and for anyone with an interest in social and cultural history, it's a tremendously valuable resource. [KMG]
What did the Earth look like 250 million years ago? How about 4.5 billion years ago? All shall be revealed with the Earthviewer application, which was created specifically for the iPad. The application is completely free, and it allows users to see continents grow and shift over billions of years. Additional layers allow users to explore changes in atmospheric composition, temperature, biodiversity, day length, and solar luminosity. Visitors should look through the Supporting Materials area when visiting the site. Here they will find a helpful video tour of EarthViewer's features, a number of classroom ideas, and materials from the BioInteractive.org site. These particular materials include the short film "The Day the Mesozoic Died," which addresses the discovery of the dinosaur extinction during this geological era. [KMG]
Some might ask in these social media-heavy times: Who's following who on Facebook and Twitter? It's a valuable question, particularly in the realm of business and politics. The team at Demos has researched the matter quite closely, and they have come up with this set of observations, musings, and conclusions. The paper offers a detailed analysis of "political support on social media, and finds that each of the main political parties now have significantly more Twitter followers than they do formal party members." The 18-page paper contains graphs, charts, and statistical analyses that buttress many of their claims. Those with an interest in political engagement, mass communications, and political science will find this report most timely. [KMG]
This collection features over 134 years of newspapers culled from towns large, small, and in-between from around British Columbia. Digitized by the University of British Columbia, the events covered here include logging festivals, news of new roadways, and information about international affairs. Visitors can dive right in by using the Browse By Date feature. There are over two dozen papers represented, including the Alberni Advocate, the Abbotsford Post, and the Kootenay Mail. One paper that should not be missed is the Daily Building Record (Vancouver) which was published from 1912 to 1914. It offers a fascinating set of insights and current events related to the world of architecture and city boosterism during this dynamic time in the city's history. [KMG]
Started as part of the American Culture studies program at Washington University, the American Lives Project is "a new resource for cultural inquiry that allows users to build connections and identify differences between materials." The project brings together oral histories, historical documents, artifacts, sound, and visual media into an online collection that serves as a model for others seeking to do such work. This particular project documents student activism at Washington University from 1964 to 1972. First-time visitors should look at the About area to learn about the design team, the goals of the project, and the technical aspects of this work. Moving on, visitors can click on the How to Use tab for information about examining the collection. Visitors will find protest banners, letters, handouts, photographs by student groups, and links to related media. Also, visitors can create their own curated collections via the My Objects area, which is a great way to highlight items of personal interest. [KMG]
Understanding Life is the educational website of The Physiological Society, providing "support for the teaching and learning of physiology." A good place to start is the What is Physiology? area, which offers an overview of this field of human inquiry. The Resources area is a well-designed archive of instructional materials that include "The story of a single heartbeat," "The Science of Life," and "Planning an experiment." It's worth noting that visitors can create their own accounts on the site so they can receive specialized newsletters, tailored website content, and become eligible to enter scientific competitions. Moving along, the Events area lists important goings-on that will be of interest to educators and those involved with science pedagogy. [KMG]
This remarkable collection from the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress brings together an amazing set of traditional fiddle tunes performed by Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Virginia. The folklorist Alan Jabbour recorded Lyn in 1966 and 1967, and the tunes here "represent the music and evoke the history and spirit of Virginia's Appalachian frontier." The collection contains 184 original sound recordings, 19 pages of field notes, and 69 musical transcriptions with descriptive notes on tune histories and musical features. Visitors won't want to miss the film of Henry Reed's bowing, along with the essay "Henry Reed: His Life, Influence, and Art." It's quite fun to listen to some of these songs, especially the classic "Arkansas Traveler" or the lesser-known "Alabama Girls Give the Fiddler a Dram". [KMG]
How can we best learn about the world around us? The talented individuals at the National Park Service have continued to answer this question by carefully creating the Teaching with Historic Places Lessons over the past few years. Each lesson plan contains teaching guides, activities, and helpful primary documents. This plan looks at the Confederate Guard Camp at the Florence Stockade in South Carolina, and offers some tremendous insights into what life was like for the guards there. The lesson includes a thematic essay about the historical context of the lesson, along with maps, visual evidence in the form of site plans and artifacts, and helpful first-person narratives by those who were there. The activities here are a real pip, as they include a template for students seeking to build their own campground. [KMG]
Co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Assessorato dei Beni Culturali e dell'Identità Siciliana, Sicily: Art and Invention celebrates 2013 as the Year of Italian Culture in the United States. To complement the exhibit (on view at the Getty Museum until August) the website is organized into five thematic sections: The Greeks in Sicily, Religion and Ritual, The Discoveries of Archimedes, Literature and Theater, and The Roman Conquest. The section on Archimedes includes a diagram of his water-raising screw, a Leaf from the Archimedes Palimpsest, and a short video discussing those of Archimedes' inventions still in use today. Teachers and parents may wish to note: the literature and theater section contains some possibly adult-only content, such as the Statue of Priapos, 250–212 B.C. [DS]
Is there anything better than free and unfettered access to knowledge? The World Bank has created this massive archive to bring together all of its "research outputs and knowledge products." The Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) was created to improve access to these materials, and the hope is that the archive will allow "anyone in the world to use Bank knowledge to develop solutions to development problems that will help improve the lives of those living in poverty." Currently, there are over 9,200 works online, including all of the World Development Reports from 1978 to the present, the Policy Research Working Papers series from 2005 to the present, and myriad other publications. Visitors can use the Browse area to look around sections that include Collections, Authors, Topics, Titles, and Author Profiles. One rather interesting feature here is the Map area, which tracks the countries that have downloaded the most papers from the OKR. [KMG]
At some time or another, we all need to share files, images, documents, and more. You can access all of these files easily with Sharable. This application uses existing Wi-Fi networks to transfer files in a way that's a bit less involved than using an Internet-based service or a cable. The site includes detailed information on how to use the application with any number of devices. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
There are many calendars that can be used for any number of purposes, such as organizing family outings or important work functions. Desktop iCalendar Lite is one such program of note, allowing visitors to sync it up with Google Calendar. This free version allows users to create a customizable skin, a detailed to-do list, and also set an array of reminders. It is compatible with Windows operating systems. [KMG]
WWW opened to all 20 years ago today; world's first website restored
Team rebuilding world's first website
Hands up if you prefer the world's first website to what's come since
History of the Web: World Wide Web Foundation
Hypertext: Behind the Hype
Five Best Early Internet Ads
Twenty years ago this week, the World Wide Web opened up to everyone as a way to communicate a wide range of information and ideas. The first site was launched by the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. It featured some basic text and instructions on how to use this new communication medium. As a form of tribute, CERN (the organization behind the World Wide Web) brought back the site this week for the edification of the general public. It is instructive to remember that at the end of 1993 there were a mere 500 websites. According to CERN, the web is now populated by over 630 million websites. Commenting on this anniversary, the CERN's director-general Rolf Heuer noted that "There is no sector that has not been transformed by the invention, in a physics laboratory, of the Web." [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to a nice piece from Tuesday's Los Angeles Times about this rather momentous occasion. Moving along, the second link will take users to a nice article from CNN about the reconstruction of this celebrated ur-website. The third link will lead interested parties to a bit of editorializing about this first website, courtesy of The Independent. The fourth link will lead visitors to a brief history of the World Wide Web via the World Wide Web Foundation. The fifth link leads to a fascinating document from 1989 by Ann F. Bevilacqua titled "Hypertext: Behind the Hype." The last link leads to a very fine set of early television ads for various Internet services, including CompuServ and AOL.
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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published every Friday of the year except the last Friday of December by Internet Scout, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences. Funding sources have included the National Science Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Libraries.
Internet Scout Team Max Grinnell Editor Carmen Montopoli Managing Editor Edward Almasy Director Rachael Bower Director Andrea Coffin Information Services Manager Autumn Hall-Tun Internet Cataloger Sara Sacks Internet Cataloger Tim Baumgard Web Developer Corey Halpin Web Developer Zev Weiss Technical Specialist Evan Radkoff Technical Specialist Debra Shapiro Contributor Holly Wallace Administrative Assistant Michael Penn II Administrative Assistant
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