The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 3, Number 20

September 24, 2004

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison




Topic In Depth


International Journal of Intelligent Games & Simulation [pdf]

This publication, from the University of Wolverhampton UK and The Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS Europe BVBA) offers technical papers relating to games. The August 2004 issue includes articles on multiplayer games, game-based learning, and artificial intelligence (AI). The full articles are available to download once the visitor completes the no-cost registration procedure. Additional information on submitting articles is also provided. [VF]

OCLC: e-book circulation

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) has published this paper on e-book circulation. The study by Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Justin Littman is called "A Circulation Analysis Of Print Books And e-Books In An Academic Research Library." The study compared the usage of books available in both print and e-book format at the Duke University Libraries. They found that e-books received 11 percent more usage than the books in print, but also observed incongruity between print circulations and e-book access. Although they note that the findings cannot be generalized, they do offer some implications from the study for e-book development and the study of e-book usage in academic libraries. [VF]


HyperMath is "a growing collection of examples of applied mathematics with links to their applications to problems in physics and astronomy." The author, Carl R. (Rod) Nave of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University, does not claim that the website material is complete, noting that he has been adding to the project on an as-needed basis through the process of developing the HyperPhysics material. (A link will take you to the HyperPhysics site.) The interactive format lets you choose topics on a diagram and enter numbers to get results. Topics include Trigonometry, Calculus, Differential Equations, Algebra, Geometry, Exponents, Vectors, and Algorithms. Visitors are then presented with formulas, functions, links to related topics and applications, and online forms that will perform some of the calculations as a way to demonstrate the mathematics. [VF]

Royal Scientific Society [pdf]

The Royal Scientific Society (RSS) is one of the centers of the Higher Council for Science & Technology of Jordan. This non-profit organization supports research and development to expand and strengthen Jordan's economy. According to its mission statement, the organization does this "with a view to empowering scientific talents and optimal utilization of natural, human, and economic resources." From this website, visitors can read more about the various technical centres of RSS, including the Information Technology Centre (ITC), the Mechanical Design & Technology Centre (MDTC), the Building Research Centre (BRC), Industrial Chemistry Centre (ICC), and the Environmental Research Centre (ERC). Each center website includes extensive information on current, past and upcoming projects as well as training opportunities. Some websites include a few publications in English. [VF]

The Wavelet Digest [pdf]

This website from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-Lausanne offers a wealth of resources "intended to foster the exchange of knowledge and viewpoints related to theory and applications of wavelets." The institute's free publication, the Wavelet Digest, offers links to preprints of various publications on wavelets and their applications. An archive of issues going back to 1992 is also available to browse and download via an anonymous ftp. In addition, also hosts a discussion forum for questions regarding wavelets and posts a listing of books, software, demos, tutorials considered "the most essential resources." A calendar of events provides updates on conferences and workshops. [VF]

National Wind Technology Center [pdf, mpg]

The National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) is a Colorado-based research facility managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for the U.S. Department of Energy. Their goal is "to advance wind power technologies that lower the cost of wind energy through research and development of state-of-the-art wind turbine designs." The website describes the center's research programs on Applied Research, Turbine Research, and Cooperative Research and Testing. Topics such as aerodynamics, turbulence, modeling, wind turbine technology, and utility grid integration are discussed. The website also describes the organization's relationship with industry and provides information for consumers. The Library includes preprints as well as brochures and fact sheets. Visitors can follow the link to the NREL's Publications Database for more documents by staff and subcontractors of NREL and NWTC. [VF]

Circuit Sage [pdf]

Circuit Sage aims to be "a complete source of information to help you design great circuits fast." Visitors can link on a circuit diagram or categories listed on the sidebar to learn more about various aspects of circuitry. Topics include A/D, Bandgap, Filter, Inductor, and Transceiver Design. The number of resources is a bit mind-boggling, ranging from articles, to software (for purchase), and online tools. Another section offers a "Routine of the Week" to help you mathematically size your circuit. [VF] [pdf] was formed based on recommendations from the Michigan Information Technology Commission. The organization is non-partisan and "advocates for ICT to benefit everyone in Michigan." The organization lists its priority areas as: Community ICT capacity, technology literacy for education and workforce development, civic participation through public information and services, quality online health information, and ICT policy and strategy leadership. To these ends, it analyzes, evaluates and reports on Michigan's ICT capacity and policy. The organization's new report, released in June 2004, evaluates Michigan's Local Government websites. The report includes a breakdown of the evaluation criteria. Other sections of the website review the organization's research and programs on enabling technologies (such as wireless satellite, digital broadband, high-speed fiber optics, online communications, and interactive software developments), as well as technology in education, health care, and business. [VF]



Developed through a project at Rice University, Connexions is a place for sharing free scholarly materials to promote educational collaboration and allow authors to expand the reach of their course materials. The website is powered by open source software, which allows registered users to post materials and create custom modules. Individuals are encouraged to contribute if they have course materials "and want to maximize its impact" or are hoping to translate their course or module into another language. Visitors can search or browse the materials already posted in the Content Commons without registering. There are already thousands of postings ranging from animal rights to an overview of signals and systems. A Roadmap plug-in assists in navigation and shows how content in one module relates to other topics. A software technology page provides additional information on the open source toolkit under development as part of this project. [VF]


Hands-On Universe (HOU)is "an educational program that enables students to investigate the Universe while applying tools and concepts from science, math, and technology." HOU participants use the Internet to request observations from an automated telescope and then download those images from a large image archive so they can analyze them using image processing software. Membership and complete teaching packages must be purchased, but several images and activities are posted online for anyone to access. For example, the Teacher section includes a section on HOU Activities & Lesson Plans Online, which offers several activities and online resources that connect astronomy and mathematics. [VF]

Research for Better Schools: Public Outreach & Community Involvement

Research for Better Schools (RBS), a non-profit educational research and development firm serving the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., offers a collection of "online resources from a variety of organizations that support both parent involvement in schools and outreach activities to the larger community." The website resources range from organizations that provide information on how schools and other educational programs work, to organizations that focus more specifically on mathematics. [VF]

Teachers' Domain [QuickTime, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

Teachers' Domain, produced by WGBH and funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is "a multimedia digital library for the classroom that provides learning experiences in ways no textbook can." The website offers "classroom-ready resources, as well as media-rich lesson plans and professional development resources" on Life Science, Physical Science, Engineering, and The Civil Rights Movement. The resources are organized by grade level and correlated to national and state standards. To access the Domain, users must complete the free registration form. However, visitors can go through an introductory tour without registering in order to get an idea of what the site offers. [VF]

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Developing Algebraic Thinking

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) a mathematics education organization that aims to be "a public voice of mathematics education, providing vision, leadership, and professional development to support teachers in ensuring mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students." Each year NCTM focuses on a different professional development topic. The focus for 2004-2005 is Developing Algebraic Thinking. This section of the NCTM website explains why the organization chose this focus and offers resources for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. The resources are organized by type and include NCTM Journal Articles, Lessons and Activities, Publications, and Conference Sessions. [VF]

Center on Education and Policy: Federal Education Programs

The Center on Education and Policy is "a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools." The Center publishes its research online as a way to inform Americans about "the role of public education in a democracy and the need to improve the academic quality of public schools." This section of the website highlights research on federal education programs, currently a hot topic in the U.S. The data-rich reports can serve as a resource for classroom discussions about the ins and outs of statistical analysis on a topic relevant to students' lives. [VF]

MIT Open Course Ware: Mathematics [pdf]

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and MIT, has launched this "large-scale, Web-based electronic publishing initiative." The website posts lecture notes, problem sets, and other materials from courses across the MIT campus. This section highlights MIT's undergraduate and graduate program in Mathematics. Courses are listed by title and include topics such as Differential Analysis, Linear Algebra, and Statistical Inference. The materials serve as valuable resources for educators, students, or anyone interested in learning more about these topics. [VF]

Geometry Step by Step from the Land of the Incas [Macromedia Flash Player, Java]

Geometry Step by Step from the Land of the Incas is an interactive website, created by Antonio Gutierrez, that offers a variety of resources for teaching and learning about geometry, including music that plays in the background. The website mixes sound, science, and Incan history in order to raise students' interest in Euclidean geometry. On this website, visitors will find geometry problems, proofs, quizzes, puzzles, quotations, visual displays, photographs of Incan ruins, and "scientific speculation." The interactive aspects take some getting used to but also allow from some involved problem-solving activities. [VF]


Dryden Aircraft Photo Collection

Any lover of airplanes is bound to enjoy this collection of digitized photos of many of the unique research aircraft from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The photos go back to the 1940s and into the present. Multiple resolutions are available. The collection is regularly updated. Visitors can browse the entire list alphabetically, or go right to the most recent postings in Whats New or check out the Slide Show of selected photos. Each photo is accompanied by a short description of the aircraft's flight history. Some other miscellaneous photos include the shock wave of a T-38 at Mach 1.1 and photos of Dryden pilots. [VF]

Sustainable Building Sourcebook: Straw Bale

The Sustainable Building Sourcebook is an online publication in partnership with the City of Austin, Texas, Green Building Program. This section of the Sourcebook provides information and resources on straw bale construction. The article begins with a definition of straw bale construction as a construction that uses "baled straw from wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice and others in walls covered by stucco...." and proceeds to address building considerations, commercial status, and implementation issues. The authors discuss some of the benefits of this "low cost alternative for building highly insulating walls" and consider some of the common concerns such as financing and public acceptance. A variety of resources for anyone interested in building with straw bales are provided and anyone who already has built one is invited to join the international Straw Bale Registry. [VF] [pdf]

The, as a place where educational technologists come to think, gives the public a chance to explore the issues relating to education and technology. The website, created by Forde Multimedia Consulting, encourages debate on the merits and pitfalls of using educational technology in real schools. Articles from several experts or mavens such as Bonnie Bracey, Larry Cuban, Jamie McKenzie, Alan November, and Seymour Papert are posted here to frame the debate. The site regularly features sections on guest articles, educational blogs, selected websites, and monthly updates from the front line. [VF]

Intermediate Technology Development Group

Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) is a charity organization based in the UK using technology to change the world. Starting with the people of poor communities, the group works to develop appropriate technologies. Its goal is to provide long-term, appropriate and practical answers, whether those tools are simple or sophisticated. The organization's work focuses on four key areas, each of which are described on its website along with specific project descriptions, case studies, research findings, people stories, and a few video clips. Visitors to the website can also learn more about the group's work in various countries by clicking on an interactive map. Teaching resources and ways to get involved in its program or similar projects are also posted. [VF]

Technology Review: Supercomputers and Hurricane Prediction

This article, from Technology Review, discusses the ways supercomputers are employed in the prediction of a hurricane's likely course and strength. The supercomputers are capable of resolving "complex mathematical equations that describe the atmosphere's behavior across the globe, hundreds of microprocessors perform billions of calculations each second on observations collected by sensors dropped by aircraft and other monitors." However, the article also notes that these predictions are still imperfect. The author concludes with a discussion of some reasons why the predictions are particularly challenging and reviews the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration's plans for "a new higher resolution model that better addresses the interaction of the sea, land and atmosphere." [VF]

ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show [mp3]

Sponsored by the Columbia University Computer Music Center and the Digital Media Center of Columbia University's School of the Arts, ArtBots is "an international art exhibition for robotic art and art-making robots." The annual event invites artists from around the world to enter their robots based on the broad guidelines: "if you think it's a robot and you think it's art, we encourage you to submit." The Participants section includes a photo, description (including some interpretive analysis) and website link for each of the ArtBot 2004 participants. Some sample entries include a robot that draws, one that picks up balls and a "robotic sculpture built around a section of tree trunk." The website even offers a sample of the Theme Song from the show. [VF]

The British National Museum of Science and Industry: Ingenious

The British National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI) hosts the Ingenious website, which "brings together images and viewpoints to create insights into science and culture." Visitors can read articles covering over 30 topics, including travelling, communication, and the environment. The entries are organized so you can explore topics further. For example, the section on Understanding our World includes a discussion of "the beauty and utility of maths," which then leads to three other articles on mathematics. The image or "See" section, which includes over 30,000 images from the Science Museum, the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, the National Railway Museum, the Science & Society Picture Library and the Science Museum Library, can be searched or browsed by topic area. By completing the free registration form, you can join in the Debate on questions such as "Has technology given us a home life filled with opportunities?" Registered users can also go to the Create section to set up personalized links, saved images, e-cards, and web galleries. [VF]

Making the Modern World

Making the Modern World offers a dynamic rendition of the permanent gallery at the Science Museum in London. The "learning modules" are "packed with demonstrations, activities and rich media experiences" and "designed for use by everyone interested in learning more about the evolution of the modern world." Topics include how to engineer DNA, how the world's most famous bridges were built, and war technology. The Stories Timeline section provides a timeline of stories about inventions to "show how our lives are shaped by the things we make, invent and use." Articles are embedded within the timeline for further exploration of the topics. Another section highlights some of the Icons of Invention, such as the home computer and the Apollo 10 command module. The Everyday Life section explores how "technology is woven through our daily lives at home, at work or at play." Finally, the Guided Tours chronologically follows a particular topic, such as women in science and technology. All of the sections include photographs and are easy to navigate. [VF]

Topic In Depth


Given the accomplishments of computer technology, it may seem strange that the U.S. has not migrated to e-voting systems, which are used in other countries. This issue of Topic in Depth reviews some of the e-voting systems currently in use and explores some of the political, legal, and scientific issues surrounding this transition.

How Stuff Works: E-voting
Diebold Election Systems
Wired News: Machine Politics
Electronic Voting in Ireland
Australian Capitol Territory (ACT) Electoral Commission
Analysis of an Electronic Voting System
EFF: Legal Archive
First Society in Computing

The first website from How Stuff Works (1) gives an overview of e-voting systems. Diebold, one of the foremost providers of e-voting systems, posts this website (2)on its system, which also includes an online demonstration. The third website (3)archives articles from Wired that relate to e-voting, providing an overview of some of the key issues raised as scientists, the government and the public debate the decision to use e-voting. Of course, the U.S. is not the only country making this transition. For example, this fourth website (4) tracks current developments in e-voting in Ireland. In addition, the Australian government posts this website (5) with information on that country's e-voting system and even posts the open source code for the software. This recent article (6) by IEEE computer scientists reviews the technological difficulties involved in secure e-voting systems. Meanwhile, EFF (7) archives legal cases on e-voting from over the years on its website along with related materials. Finally, the First Society in Computing (8) reviews its activities and desire to "ensure the integrity and reliability of our nation's election process" on this last website. [VF]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology.

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

From The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.

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

Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2003. The Internet Scout Project (, 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.

Internet Scout Project Team
Valerie Farnsworth Editor
John Morgan Managing Editor
Rachael Bower Co-Director
Edward Almasy Co-Director
Nathan Larson Contributor
Max Grinnell Contributor
Debra Shapiro Contributor
Rachel Enright Contributor
Todd Bruns Internet Cataloger
Barry Wiegan Software Engineer
Justin Rush Technical Specialist
Michael Grossheim Technical Specialist
Andy Yaco-Mink Website Designer

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