I’ve been a little behind in my blogging. I hope the following gems from our friends at the Internet Scout Report are worth the wait. -JH
Campaign 2008: Issue Coverage Tracker
It’s already a bit difficult to keep tabs on all of the many presidential candidates for the 2008 race, but the Washington Post has created this very nice issue coverage tracker to help out in this area. Visitors to the site can review press coverage and opinion writing on the various candidates and the major issues here, and they can also add this entire feature to their website or MySpace page, if they are so inclined. The issue tracker draws on a wide set of website sources across the political spectrum, including news services, interest groups, bloggers, unions, and activists. It’s a fine resource, and one that could be used to generate discussion in political science and civic courses across American classrooms.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
A number of research institutes are concerned with issues of social and economic justice, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) is perhaps one of the best known institutes working in these fields of endeavor. Founded in 1980, the Centre works “to enrich democratic dialogue and ensure Canadians know there are workable solutions to the issues we face.” A good place to start exploring the site’s contents is at the “New from the CCPA” area on the homepage. Here, visitors will find recent policy statements and reports on everything from Canada’s health care system to the regulation of chemical emissions into the environment. Visitors may also wish to look through the “Research & Publications” area, as it contains editorials, news releases, and selected articles from their monthly magazine, “The Monitor”.
China’s Looming Crisis - Inflation Returns
Inflation is serious business for any nation’s economy, and in the case of China, it is a growing area of concern for policymakers, economists, and other such types. This very topic is the subject of a recent policy brief written by Albert Keidel on behalf of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Published in September 2007, this eight-page policy brief takes a critical look at the potential for an inflation crisis in China. After a brief narrative introduction, Keidel proceeds to offer a number of thoughtful recommendations. These recommendations include suggestions that the Chinese government should raise key deposit rates and enable farm diversification by increasing wheat and rice imports. The paper also notes, “The next fifteen months will be especially crucial for China. Foreign criticism has already been severe, thanks to imbroglios over food and toy safety, dollar-holding scares, and Olympics-related activism.”
Experiencing the War: Stories from the Veterans History Project
The films of Ken Burns have covered the exuberance of jazz in the United States, the world of baseball, and most recently, the experiences of Americans during World War II. Working with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, Burns and staff members created this companion website to the film series. The site includes letters, diaries, interviews, and memoirs that cover the period from the attack on Pearl Harbor to V-E and V-J Day. Visitors will find seven separate sections here, and will enjoy looking through the different materials at their leisure. Additionally, visitors can view stories by theme, and they can also search the Veterans Database. Finally, there is also a “Field Guide” to the actual film series which serves as a nice complement to the other materials.
Index on Censorship
The basic human right of human expression is tremendously important, and this is not lost on the good and dedicated people at the magazine “Index on Censorship”. Founded in 1972, the magazine has published opinion pieces, analysis, and reporting by Vaclav Havel, Nadine Gordimer, Noam Chomsky, and Umberto Eco. Along with their actual magazine, they also keep many of their feature pieces online here. Visitors are encouraged to read pieces on censorship in Britain, the rights of journalists, and the suppression of certain political-minded weblogs. Given the breadth of material offered here, it’s easy to see how this site could also be used in a journalism classroom.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Since the Scout Report last profiled The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) website, they have added dozens of new reports, created a helpful calendar of events, and they also found time to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. Certainly one of the highlights of the site is their annual climate assessment report. Visitors can download the report in its entirety, and also look at previous editions of the report as well. Scientists and policymakers will also want to look at some of their exhaustive scholarly works which include “Safeguarding the Ozone Layer” and “Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage”. Visitors will also want to look through the “Activities” area, which brings together all of their technical reports along with information on their National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme.
International Finance Group
As a part of the World Bank, the stated vision of the International Finance Group (IFC) is “that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and to improve their lives.” To whit, the IFC works to promote open and competitive markets in developing countries, generate productive jobs and deliver basic services, among other things. First-time visitors will find that the layout of the site is visually stimulating and quite user-friendly. Visitors can look over some of the “Key Links” which include sections such as “How to Apply For Financing”, and their “Sustainability Web Portal”. A good way to get a sense of the IFC’s projects is to look at the featured publications in the “Resources From IFC”. Here visitors will find reports on addressing gender inequalities and creative effective business linkages in various developing countries. Finally, visitors can also use the embedded search engine to look for specific materials of interest and also take a look through the “What’s New” area for recent additions to the site.
It seems like there is a never-ending flow of sites about digital media, and it times it can present an overwhelming challenge to decide which ones might be most useful. MediaShift is certainly one of the best, and it is led by Mark Glaser, noted journalist, critic, and media expert. With support from PBS, this site and weblog looks at how new media such as podcasts and citizen journalism are changing society and culture. On the site, visitors can start by looking through “The Week’s Top 5”, which offers a short list of things that have been particularly prominent around the web. Visitors looking for specific topics can look through a topical list that includes “Legal Drama”, “Online Video”, “Satellite Radio”, and several dozen other topics. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive a RSS feed and also elect to receive updates via email.
The Pentagon’s Counterspies: The Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA)
In today’s rather dynamic world, there are a variety of intelligence organizations that are quite keen on a variety of espionage and spying activities. Of course, there’s also the world of counterintelligence, and this latest electronic briefing book from the very diligent staff of The National Security Archive at George Washington University is quite revealing. Compiled by Jeffrey Richelson, this collection of documents looks at the activities of The Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), which was established in 2002 by Department of Defense Directive 5105.67. Interestingly enough, the CIFA’s authority was expanded in 2005 when it received mission tasking authority over the counterintelligence organization of such departments as the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. All told, this electronic briefing book contains over eighteen documents, and persons with an interest in researching such matters will definitely want to take note.
Perspectives on U.S. Competitiveness in Science and Technology
For people interested in the continued dominance of the United States in the worlds of science and technology there is one crucial question: “Is the United States in danger of losing its competitive edge of science and technology?” This was the primary question on the minds of those convened by the RAND Corporation to a meeting in November of 2006. At the request of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, RAND brought together experts in academia, government and the private sector to this meeting. The papers presented at this conference addressed issues such as science policy, globalization, the rise of Asia, and technology diffusion. Edited by Titus Galama and James Hosek, this 162-page document presents these various papers, and for persons interested in the potential policy implications of these matters, this report will be most timely and helpful.
Reporters Without Borders http://www.rsf.org
Based in Paris, Reporters Without Borders was started in 1985 and it continues to fight “for press freedom on a daily basis.” Their work has found them defending journalists who have been imprisoned and also working to improve the safety of journalists in war zones. From their homepage, visitors can explore sections that include “Regular Reports”, “Our Campaigns”, and “Investigation Reports”. Within the “Regular Reports” area, visitors can avail themselves of their annual Press Freedom Index rankings and related documents. Moving back to the homepage, visitors will find a host of news reports from countries around the world, along with a listing of upcoming events. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive updates via a RSS feed and they can also even peek in on the Reporters Without Borders office on Second Life.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains a number of important and useful research centers, and the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) is one that many Scout Report readers will want to know more about. As its name implies, the Center evaluates and researches new and experimental drugs before they are approved for use by the general population. Most people will want to start by looking over the “Drug Safety” area, which contains safety information for specific drugs and which also contains FDA drug safety podcasts. Additionally, the site offers access to the FDA Drug Safety Newsletter and the opportunity to learn about safe and approved generic drugs. Moving on, the site also contains thematic areas designed specifically with certain audiences in mind, including consumers, industry representatives, and healthcare professionals. Persons working in public health and related fields will also want to look at the CDER Calendar, which gives up-to-date information on upcoming conferences, workshops, and meetings.
Copyright 2007 Internet Scout Project - http://scout.wisc.edu