The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 12

March 26, 2010

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

Art Through Time: A Global View [pdf]

How do we understand art? What is the relationship between art and the society from which it comes? These are but a few of the questions explored by this fine thirteen-part series produced by the Annenberg Media group. The motivating principle behind the series is to explore "diverse cultural perspectives on shared human experiences." Visitors will note that each program has a theme, and visitors can watch the entire program sequentially, or just bounce around as they see fit. Some of these themes include "Dreams and Visions", "Converging Cultures", and "Portraits". Alongside each video program, visitors will find select images that reflect the themes of each program, and it's fun to look at these images before and after a viewing. The "Compare" area allows visitors the opportunity to look at two works of art side-by-side and consider questions like "How can art inspire technical innovation?" and "How can hybrid art define individual identity?" [KMG]

National History Education Clearinghouse [pdf]

The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for this well-executed and extremely interesting website which is "designed to help K-12 history teachers access resources and materials to improve U.S. history education in the classroom." There are many different areas to explore on this website, a few of which are "History Content", "Teaching Materials", "Issues & Research" and the "Weekly Quiz". This week's quiz is called "Fly Away Jim Crow". The "Sources" for the quiz questions and answers, and "Related Content" are to the right side of the quiz. The "History Content" section has features such as "Ask a Historian Archive" and "Website Reviews" of sites about teaching U.S. history. The "Issues & Research" section presently has two "Research Briefs", "Learning From History and Social Studies Textbooks" about the obstacles of students' learning from textbooks, and "What Happens When Students Read Multiple Sources in History Class" regarding the challenges students face when encountering historical documents and primary sources. [KMG]

Latin American Public Opinion Project [pdf]

Started by Mitchell A. Seligson, the Latin American Public Opinion Project is based at Vanderbilt University. The Project has engaged in research on a variety of issues that resonate with the region, including the public's trust of local municipal government and related matters. First-time visitors to the homepage can click on different parts of the Americas to view technical information, reports, and questionnaires from these areas. Moving on, visitors can scroll down to the "AmericasBarometer Insights Series" section to view recent reports in both Spanish and English. Recent works include "Crime and Support for Coups in Latin America" and "Public Insecurity in Central America and Mexico". Visitors should also look over the "Questionnaires, Studies & Publications" area to search papers in a more organized fashion. Scholars will definitely want to check out their data sets and analytical tools in the "Data & On-Line Analysis" area. Finally, visitors can also sign up for their RSS feed on the site. [KMG]

Fabian Society Online Archive [pdf]

The Fabian Society is a group of British thinkers and scholars formed in the 1880s. The group still exists, and they are interested in advancing the principles of social democracy. The organization first started publishing their tracts and pamphlets in 1884, and their very first title was "Why are the many poor?" The London School of Economics and Political Science recently digitized many of these tracts, and placed them online on this site. Some of the authors included here are Clement Attlee, Tony Blair, Robin Cook, Chris Smith, and Harold Wilson. The topics covered here are quite broad, and visitors will find documents on women's issues, socialism, local government, and industrial relations. Visitors can view lists of the tracts organized by decade, or they can also look at the examples offered on the site's homepage. [KMG]

Teach. Genetics: Epigenetics [pdf, RealPlayer]

The University of Utah continues to add to their very fine offerings at their Genetic Science Learning center website. This recent addition deals with the field of epigenetics, which is the study of the chemical reactions that switch parts of the genome off and on at strategic times and locations. This learning module contains an animated introduction to the epigenome ("The Epigenome At A Glance"), along with worksheets, tests, and discussion questions. Moving on, the "Your Environment, Your Epigenome" area contains a checklist that helps students record some of the epigenome-influencing factors present in their own environments. This is really the tip of the iceberg, as there are ten other similar activities, complete with learning objectives and assessment questions. The site is rounded out by a talk by scientist Moshe Szyf on "The Epigenome As an Interface Between the Social Environment and Our Genome". [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

Financial Education for Teachers: The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis [pdf]

The Federal Reserve Banks around the country produce a great number of educational resources for the general public, students, and teachers. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has developed a section of their site dedicated to financial education resources specifically for teachers. Located within the "Teaching Aids" area, the site includes a curriculum unit on United States money and a link to the "What is a Dollar Worth" calculator. This interactive calculator helps people understand the relative value of a dollar, and it also provides a bit of background on how the calculator works and what it measures exactly. Additionally, the site contains a link to "The Economic Literacy Project: Seeking a Blueprint for America". Here visitors can review a report on economic literacy and also learn more about recent studies on banking failures and early childhood development. [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

University of Kentucky Agricultural Information Center [pdf]

If you're just starting to learn about agriculture, biology, or human environmental sciences, it can be a bit daunting. There are hundreds of online resources dealing with such matters, and separating the wheat from the chaff can be taxing and time-consuming. Valerie Perry and Jo Staggs-Neel at the University of Kentucky Library's Agricultural Information Center have created these three excellent research guides to the aforementioned subjects. The guides contain seven or eight separate subsections, including "Electronic Resources", "Best Databases", and "Frequently Cited Journals". Each guide also contains a "New Resource" area which profiles a newly added resource that complements the existing set of resources. A number of the links lead to resources that require a password or subscription, but there are enough here with open access to pique the interest of persons new to the field. Overall, it's a good way to get a basic grounding in the important online and offline resources in these three scholarly subjects. [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

Paul Revere Williams Project [pdf]

Born in Los Angeles in 1894, Paul Revere Williams would grow up to be one of America's most interesting architects, and as an African American, he faced a number of challenges throughout his career. Throughout the 1920s and 1930, he designed homes for a number of wealthy clients in the elite subdivisions around the City of Angels, including places like Brentwood and Bel Air. Williams became known as the "Architect to the Hollywood Stars", and he remained active until 1973 when he retired. This website dedicated to his work was created by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The focus of the site is "to increase knowledge about the architect and his work", and they do so via a fine gallery of his works, a bibliography, and an "Education" section that includes a glossary of architectural terms and lesson plans. Architectural historians and the like will appreciate the "Project Blog" area, which acts as a forum for discussion about William's legacy and work. [KMG]

General Interest

Samuel Barber at the Library of Congress

Samuel Barber is perhaps best known for his "Adagio for Strings", and he demonstrated many talents in writing for string ensembles, choral groups, and piano. Barber was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania in 1910 and he studied at the Curtis Institute. During his long career, he was the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes and he had a long-standing relationship with the Library of Congress. Barber's String Quartet was first performed at the Library in 1938 and he premiered his song cycle, Hermit Songs, at the Library in 1953. This digital collection from the Library of Congress contains performance manuscripts of Barber's works, along with select correspondence and video of noted vocalist Thomas Hampson performing songs by Barber on the Library of Congress Song of America Tour. [KMG]

Coal Mining in Southern Illinois

After graduating from high school in 1936, C. William "Doc" Horrell received a $12 camera from his mother. Horrell was immediately bitten by the photography bug, and created a dark room in his mother's walk-in-closet. He attended Southern Illinois Normal University (now the Southern Illinois University Carbondale), and after his time in the armed services, he opened up his own photography studio in Anna, Illinois. In the 1960s, Doc began wandering around southern Illinois to document the region's coal mining industry. Over the next few years, he took thousands of photographs, some of which formed the heart of his 1973 book, "The Land Between the Rivers". The good folks at SIU Carbondale have created this online exhibit to introduce users to Horrell's work. Visitors can make their way through the exhibit, and they may find themselves gravitating to the complete online collection, which contains over 750 items. It's a tremendous find, and it includes images of abandoned coal mining facilities, men at work, and coal trains. [KMG]

The Return of the Multi-Generational Family Household [pdf]

The Social and Demographic Trends unit of the Pew Research Center has published a 25-page report, edited by Richard Morin. Released in March 2010, the report is based on U.S. Census Bureau Data and the Pew Research Center's public opinion surveys. The report reveals the surprising finding that multi-generational households are on the rise, but not only because of the increase in job loss and home foreclosures in recent years. A summary of the report can be viewed on the homepage, and includes graphs, tables and charts. Visitors will find it helpful to look at the "Terminology" chart used in the report, in order to learn what exactly comprises a one-generation household, a two-generation household and a multi-generational household. The chart is located near the bottom of the page, across from the "About the Data" section. Also, those persons interested in viewing the whole report as a PDF should click on the "Complete Report" link near the top of the page. [KMG]

BlenderArt Magazine

Blender art is that which is created by using Blender, a free 3D "creation suite". In other words, it's a graphics animation and video production program. The titles of some of the issues of BlenderArt magazine give a good idea of what the Blender program is all about. Visitors should click on the "Issues" tab at the top of the page to see the bimonthly magazine's back issues, which date back to 2005. There are multiple ways for visitors to view the magazine, and visitors will want to explore all of them. Some of the feature topics addressed in the magazine's issues include, "Landscapes, Environments & Sets", "Wow! Factor (Physical Simulations, Particles Etc.)" and "Mechanical Modeling". Each issue has an "Articles/Tutorials" feature for those interested in learning the art of creating these 3D worlds. "Issue 22: Things That Go Bump in the Night" has a "Galleria", starting on page 31 of work by blender artists. Visitors should click on the image to zoom in on the life-like graphics, and they may be delighted and amused by what they encounter. [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

Environment Yale Magazine

The Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies has a new, sleek looking website for the Fall 2009 issue. The "Past Issues" are still available on the previous environment: Yale website, however, and the issues go all the way back to the spring of 2002. The journal is published twice per year, and exists in both print and online formats. Some of the features of the journal include "Bookshelf" and "Class Notes and Obituaries", available in PDF format in the past issues. The current issue, Fall 2009, has some fascinating articles, i.e. "The Problem with Plastics", which includes a list on the right side of the page of a dozen or so steps you can take to avoid toxic chemicals; "Pond Scum Prized Again as Potential Biofuel"; and "Can China Save the Amur Tiger?", which discusses the promise of "tiger recovery in the same way China committed to panda conservation 30 years ago" due to a "dramatic expansion of [tiger] habitat and population." [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

International Year of Biodiversity [Flash Player]

The United Nations has declared the year 2010 as the year of biodiversity, and none too soon. The definition and importance of biodiversity is explained on the "About" page, but in brief, it's a "rich diversity [in nature which] is being lost at a greatly accelerated rate because of human activities. This...weakens the ability of the living systems, on which we depend, to resist growing threats such as climate change." The list of "Major Upcoming Celebrations" is on the middle of the homepage below the written and video "Welcome Messages" from various representatives of national governments and large non-profits. Some of the celebrations include an International Art Exhibition by young people. Visitors can click on "More Celebrations" to be taken to an interactive map of celebrations "By Countries", "Calendar" or "Success Stories". Visitors shouldn't miss the "Red List", which can be found on the homepage or in the "About" section. The "Red List of Threatened Species" highlights one species of plant or animal each day, with a photo and a couple of paragraphs on its location, vulnerability, origins, etc. The current month is shown, but visitors can view the species of the days for the "Previous Months" of 2010 as well. [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

Massachusetts Historical Society: Photographs of Native Americans

Photographic portraits of Native Americans from the central and western United States are prominent in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society because of four Bostonian collectors who were active from the 1860s to the early 1900s. The portraits are in several different forms that were popular at the time of their production. Cartes de Visite ("calling cards"), platinotypes, photogravures, and tintypes are all represented in the collection. The striking photograph on the homepage, "The Sunset of a Dying Race", was typical of the theme of early photographs of Native Americans. Visitors should click on the title underneath the photo to read about the manipulations the photographer, Joseph Dixon, engaged in to create the romantic theme of the vanishing Native American. Visitors should check out the "Photographs of Adam Clark Vroman", a photographer who didn't romanticize his Native American photographic subjects. His subjects were "photographed simply, directly, and sympathetically." In addition to portraits, he also took beautiful photographs of the landscapes of the Southwestern United States. [KMG]

Mail Art

University at Buffalo Digital Collections (UBdigit) presents this collection of digitized mail art, "art sent through the post rather than displayed or sold through conventional commercial channels." Mail art is made using a variety of mediums including postcards, books, and images made by photocopier or rubber stamping, and postage stamps, and is often created by outsider artists. The works in the collection span the 1970s to the early 2000s, and range in variety from a small cardboard box filled with pieces of tissue paper, multi-colored cloth scraps and threads, cellophane, and dried flowers, sent by artist Ameila Etlinger; to Matteo Cagnola's booklet of rubber-stamp and photographic art, mailed from Italy in an envelope also decorated with stamping; to a rubber glove with a painting of a city skyline on one side and a tiger on the other, with Canadian postage stamps stapled on, and sent through the mail by artist Genevieve Garneau. [DS]

Network Tools

Easeus Todo Backup 1.1

If you have a system problem or a crash, Easeus Todo Backup can help. This program allows users to back and restore a disk or partition after a virus attack, and also restore image files and even backup the whole hard disk. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer, and the website contains an extensive help section. [KMG]

High Quality Photo Resizer 5.02

If you're in the market for a photo resizer, this version of High Quality Photo Resizer is a good place to start. The program allows users to resize large batches of digital photos quickly, and it can also be used to add effects like "colorize", "mosaic", and "swirl". This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

In California, a rather unique museum looks for a new home

In California, the Banana Museum Has Lost Its Appeal

The Saddest, Scariest Story About a Dying Banana Museum Ever

Bananas: A Storied Fruit With An Uncertain Future [Real Player]

The Banana Club Museum

National Apple Museum

All Recipes: Banana

Ken Bannister is a man in love with bananas. Over the past four decades he has managed to amass more than 17,000 banana-focused items, and he is also the founder of the International Banana Club and Museum in Hesperia, California. Browsing around the Museum's headquarters, visitors might catch a glimpse of a gold-sequined "Michael Jackson banana", a banana beach mat, and many banana salt-and-pepper shaker sets. These waves and crescendos of yellow are looking for a new home these days, as the Hesperia Recreation & Parks District informed Bannister in January that his collection (which is located in a District building) would need to relocate. Now, Bannister is attempting to take his bananas on the road, but he is having little luck as of late. He placed the entire collection up for auction on eBay in February for a "bargain price" of $45000. There were no takers, even after Bannister reduced the price several times. Interested parties might want to make a quick trip to Hesperia, or if they miss out, there's always the National Apple Museum in Biglerville, Pennsylvania. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a Wall Street Journal article from this Tuesday on the current state of the Banana Museum, complete with a slideshow of images. The second link leads to another news piece from Gawker about the Museum. Moving on, the third link will take users to a fascinating interview from NPR's Fresh Air program that profiles Dan Koeppel, author of "Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World". The fourth link leads to the official homepage of the Banana Museum. For those looking for an excuse for a road trip, the fifth link leads to the homepage of the National Apple Museum. The site contains a cornucopia of material on apples, fruit growers in the area, and nearby lodging and dining options. The final link leads to a wide-ranging selection of banana-themed recipes from the All Recipes site. There are many variations on banana bread, banana pancakes, and the lesser-known chocolate banana cream pie.

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