The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 47

November 24, 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

Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT [pdf]

As one of the most well known research laboratories in the world, the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) at MIT has produced important innovations in nanoscale science, multiscale bioengineering, quantum computation, and atomic physics. Visitors with an interest in their work can use their homepage to start looking over the "News Links" and "Press Releases". These two areas are just a small portion of their work, but they offer a nice sampling of the recent projects and successes of the RLE. Most people will want to look over the "videoRLE" area, which features profiles of the scientists working at the laboratory. Moving on, the "Research" area contains specific websites designed to focus information on their major research themes and their collaborative efforts with the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. The Services area, which includes material on available job openings at RLE and a helpful How Do I section, rounds out the site. [KMG]

The Media Institute [pdf]

Created in 1979, The Media Institute exists to foster three goals: "freedom of speech, a competitive media and communications industry, and excellence in journalism." As part of their work, they publish books and monographs, convene conferences, and also prepare regulatory filings and court briefs. On their homepage, visitors can read their blog, and also look over their "Perspectives" series and "Speaking Freely" opinion papers. Some of the more recent pieces here include "Collapsing Copyright Categories", "Defining Away the First Amendment", and "A Taboo Topic: Government Subsidies for the Media". Also, visitors can view their "Press Releases" area for up-to-the minute news on the Institute's activities and their upcoming conferences and luncheons in Washington, D.C. The site is rounded out by a set of external links to organizations like the Media Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists. [KMG]

Centre for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language

The Institute for Chinese Studies is located at Oxford University, and their website for the Centre for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language has a multitude of links to aid students who are learning Chinese and focuses on the development of online and multimedia language teaching." Visitors will find that there are elementary, intermediate, and advanced level exercises, and they cover everything from pronunciation guides, listening exercises, newspaper reading, Chinese culture, and Chinese character writing. Students will appreciate the "Student Diary" at the top of the homepage, which lists the current schedule for undergraduate classes, and the accompanying assignments that are due for each class. There is also an "Archive for Listening and Interpreting Exercises" in the Student Diary section, and it is broken down by topic, such as "Science and Technology", "Trade, and "International Relations". At the bottom of the list of topics visitors can find a link to watch and read the news, on Chinese Central TV Channel 9 News. [KMG]

Kiwi Conservation Club

For over 20 years the Kiwi Conservation Club has been teaching New Zealand children about plants, animals, conservation, and respect for nature. Their website is loaded with several fun ways for kids to engage in learning. The "Wildlife and Wild Places" link has four colorful squares, each with a photo on it, and when scrolled over, the topic of the square is revealed. Visitors will find the following topics: "Wild Places", "Wildlife", "Plant Life", and "Threats and Impacts". The Threats and Impacts square informs visitors of the numerous non-native animals that have been introduced to New Zealand and caused harm to native populations since the 1700s. These "Pest Plants" and "Pest Animals" are explained in further detail by clicking on yet another series of squares, or on the left hand menu. Visitors will definitely enjoy the "Games and Quizzes" section of the website, where there are "Spotlight Games", "Quizzes", and "Match Puzzles". The subject of the Match Puzzles include "Who's My Cousin?", "Where Do I Live?", and "What Puts Me in Danger?" [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

Association for Applied Sport Psychology [pdf]

The three interrelated focus areas of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) are health and exercise psychology, performance psychology and social psychology. The aim of the Association is to see how "participation in sport, exercise, and physical activity may enhance personal development and wellbeing throughout the life span." Visitors will find that the "About" section of their website has a "History" link, as well as links to "Awards & Grants", "Fellows", and "Special Interest Groups". The "Publications" link has position papers published by the AASP in PDF format at the bottom of the page; topics of the papers include unethical behavior, choosing a sport psychology consultant, and human diversity. Visitors can check out the "Resource Center" link for information for parents, coaches, and athletes, which cover such topics as mental skills training information and how to teach and apply sport psychology skills. [KMG]


Cloud computing is gaining currency, and this new project is just one of the many initiatives that will make people sit up and take notice. The Document Cloud nonprofit began in 2009 with funds from the Knight News Challenge, and the idea behind the group is that journalists, researchers, and archivists can use the DocumentCloud workspace to upload documents, share them with teams of colleagues, and also conduct structured searches and analyses based on extracted entities (also known as the people, places, and organizations mentioned in the text). The group is in the process of releasing some of their work as open-source projects, and visitors can use the "FAQ" area to learn more about these projects. The site also includes a blog, a "Latest Updates" area, and profiles of the founders over at "Who We Are". [KMG]

Carleton Digital Media Archive

Carleton College has a wealth of archives related to events that have taken place on their campus, and they are now in the process of offering these materials online. The materials found here include recordings of convocations, lectures, news broadcasts, symposiums, interviews, and commencement addresses. Currently, there are over 60 items, and new materials will be added in the future. Visitors will find items like President Barack Obama's address to the campus on politics and race from February 5, 1999 and a talk by Professor Linda Clader on the "Scott of the Antarctic and Other Failures". One very neat item is the Knights of Carleton's recording from 1989 which feature songs from Carleton's first fifty years of existence. [KMG]

The British Museum: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead was not a single text, but "a compilation of spells designed to guide the deceased through the dangers of the underworld, ultimately ensuring eternal life." This remarkable digital exhibit from The British Museum is designed to complement an in-situ exhibit at the institution. Visitors to the site can view a video introduction to the collection, and then look at some highlighted items from the exhibit. The site has an excellent blog with posts from the exhibition curator John Taylor. Also, the site includes information for teachers, some of which can be used without visiting the physical collection. [KMG]

General Interest

Menus: The Art of Dining

A quote about the dining experience in mid-20th century Las Vegas reads as follows: "There are elsewhere Hickory Rooms, Chinese Rooms, Garden, Clover, Painted Desert, Terrace, Plantation and what-not-rooms in appetizing abundance, all with menus the size of circus posters listing an uncountable assorting of caloric wonderments." It was all part of the Las Vegas dining experience, and the restaurant menu is how most people began to imagine their future meal. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries has created this fine collection of menus for the general public, and culinary historians and others will find it all quite appetizing. The project is sponsored in part of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and there are over 1,575 menus here. Visitors can search through the images, look at a special feature called "Dining in Las Vegas", and also read a brief history of restaurant menus. Also, the "Graphic Design" area provides a mini-master class in how the menus were designed, and it also offers commentary on methods of mass production and chronolimthography. Also, visitors can share their own stories about dining out and post their own comments on the menus. [KMG]

Century of Progress World's Fair, 1933-1934

World's Fairs have captured the imagination of people from Seattle to Sydney for well over 150 years, and they continue to fascinate historians, architects, designers, and others. Chicago has hosted two World's fairs, and this digital collection from the University of Illinois-Chicago highlights publicity and other documentary photographs from the Century of Progress International Exposition. The Exposition was held in 1933 and 1935 along Chicago's lakefront, and there are over 1,400 items featured in this collection which document the spirit and exhibits of this remarkable event. The items here include demonstrations of Spanish bullfighting at the Exposition, a map of the grounds, photos from the General Electric "House of Magic", and views of many other buildings on the grounds. Visitors can search through the items at their leisure and they can also create their own collection via the "My Favorites" option. [KMG]

Posters of the Russian Civil War, 1918-1922

This rather unique collection of posters from the Russian Civil War comes from Harold Manchester Fleming, who happened to be a field inspector for the American Relief Administration after World War I. Fleming acquired over 100 posters from the period, and they made their way to the New York Public Library's Manuscripts and Archives Division in the 1970s. Later, the collection grew with items donated by Paul S. Hall and Dorothy F. Hall and Alex Rabinovich from the same period. On this site, visitors can browse through posters by internationally known graphic artists such as Dmitrii Moor, Vladimir Maiakovskii, and Viktor Deni. All of the works here represent dramatic departures from the previous established design and artistic traditions in Russia at the time, and they address topics like industrialization, collectives, and urban life. All told, there are over 210 items here, and visitors can create their own scrapbook of images for future reference and also look over detailed records for each visual item. [KMG]

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: Exhibitions

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts contains an art school as well as a museum. Its "museum is internationally known for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Its archives house important materials for the study of American art history, museums, and art training." The "Exhibitions" link of their website allows visitors to view some of the works online that are in the current exhibits. The exhibit "Narcissus in the Studio: Artist Portraits and Self-Portraits" has a wonderful "Image Gallery" of a dozen paintings. Visitors shouldn't miss the eerie ones by James Sherman Brantley and Walter Tandy Murch. The Tom LaDuke exhibit has just one image online, but it is fascinating and looks as if it's a painting behind frosted glass. The "Upcoming Exhibit", entitled "Anatomy/Academy" has six images online that emphasize the body. [KMG]

Museum of Science, Boston: Podcasts [iTunes]

The Museum of Science in Boston has an impressive array of podcasts, and visitors with a love of science will want to peruse this site closely. The podcasts feature weekly interviews with guest researchers and their own staff members. The series started in May 2009, and currently there are over 65 podcasts available here for the listening pleasure of interested parties. While the podcasts aren't arranged thematically, visitors can just scroll through the list here to look for particular items of interest. Some of the most recent entries include titles like "Energy Saving Technologies", "Wearable Electronic Fibers", and "Bonehenge: Assembling A Sperm Whale Skeleton". Visitors can also click on the "description" area next to each podcast title to learn about the guests on each program, and they can also use the social media buttons to share the podcast with others. Finally, visitors can also subscribe to the podcast via RSS feed or iTunes. [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

Mobile Health 2010 [pdf]

Mobile phone applications (or "apps") and their use in the world of healthcare information is the subject of this recent report from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Authored by associate director Susannah Fox, this 15-page report was released in October 2010, and it looks at how different cell phone users use their phones to look up health or medical information. The report was based on interviews conducted between August 9th and September 13th, 2010 with 1000 participants. Visitors who read the report will learn that 17% of all cell owners have used their phone to look up health or related medical information, and that 9% of cell owners have "apps" that help them track or manage their health. Additionally, the report contains detailed tables and graphs, along with demographic details that are helpful for those who require a more detailed portrait. [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

UCI Libraries: Stage to Stage: The Theatrical Work of Robert Cohen

Robert Cohen has taught at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) since 1964 and he is part of the legendary drama faculty at the institution. Professor Cohen received a doctor of fine arts from the Yale Drama School, and after sometime at the Actors Studio in New York he joined the brand new campus in Southern California. This tremendous collection brings together materials from Cohen's productions at UCI, and it draws on his production books, which include annotated scripts, photographs, press releases, and rehearsal notes. First-time visitors should read the introduction on the homepage, and then listen to his talk from the exhibit opening from 2008. The materials here are divided into sections that include "Author", "Director", "Posters", "Actor", "Playwright", and four others. The "Playwright" area is quite a treat, as it contains images from Cohen's original works, including "The Mobius Strip" and "The Death of Morris Biederman". [KMG]

Prison University Project [pdf]

San Quentin State Prison in California is the site of an innovative program that provides prisoners the opportunity to take higher education courses while incarcerated. The program is staffed by volunteers and funded by donors. Visitors will find that the website for the Prison University Project (PUP) contains a great audio feature in the "Students" section of the "About Us" link about students and volunteers involved in the experience. The "Resources" link has a number of articles that explain to visitors the value of educating the prison population, including "Education Reduces Crime: Three-State Recidivism Study", "Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program", and "Back to School: A Guide to Continuing Your Education After Prison". The "Guest Lectures and Presentations" link has full-length audio recordings of lectures presented at San Quentin. Some of the excellent lectures that visitors can listen to include "Sentencing law and policy (or lack of it) in California: a view from inside the sausage factory" and "The Changing Scale of Imprisonment in the US: Why Populations Can't Be Expected to Drop As Much As They Have Increased". [KMG]

Network Tools

Remember The Milk

Do you need to remember the milk when you go out to the store? Well, that might seem a bit old-fashioned, but the Remember the Milk application can help users do much more. Visitors just need to sign up for a free account, and they will be able to use their account to manage tasks from anywhere, sign up for email or SMS reminders, share tasks, integrate items with Google Calendar, and also manage tasks offline. Visitors can also locate their tasks geographically via Google Maps, and also customize their lists via theme, title, and date. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG] 3.2.1

OpenOffice continues to grow and change, and this new version of the program is worth a look. The OpenOffice suite includes applications that allow users to make text documents, spreadsheets, diagrams, and databases. This latest version includes templates for professional writers, and export tool for functionality with Google Docs, and enhanced blog publishing. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

The origins of "OK" explored.

OK: How Two Letters Made 'America's Greatest Word'

The Straight Dope: What Does "OK" stand for?

Linguistically, America is A-OK

The 'O' Word

American Languages: Our Nation's Many Voices

Dictionary of American Regional English

So how do you use the word "OK"? Do you use it to mean agreement with a friend you are talking with? Perhaps it is best saved as a conversational placeholder, or to indicate, "Yes, I am still listening." And we haven't even started talking about whether it should be written as "O.K.", "Okay, or just plain-old "OK". The word has been in the news of late due a recent book on the subject by Allan Metcalf, a professor of English at MacMurray College in Illinois. Metcalf has been fascinated with the word for years, and in the book he reveals the story of the true origins of this curious word. Apparently, a number of newspaper editors in Boston were sitting around in 1839 joking about abbreviations they had come up with over the past several hours. They had begun to use "OFM" ("our first men), "GT" ("gone to Texas"), and "SP" ('"small potatoes"). "OK" was thrown around at this bull session to abbreviate the phrase "All correct", and it soon entered the American consciousness in a political setting. In 1840, a group of individuals supporting President Martin Van Buren's re-election campaign began to form OK Clubs to support their man. President Van Buren was from Kinderhook, New York, and he had acquired the nickname "Old Kinderhook". The OK Clubs adopted the slogan "OK is OK" and this bit of phrasing began to enter the firmament of American phraseology from that point on. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a talk with Allan Metcalf about his recent book from NPR's "All Things Considered". The second link will whisk users to a Straight Dope column on the origins of "OK". Moving along, the third link leads to a review of Metcalf's book by Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post. The fourth link leads to another review of the book by Roy Blount Jr. which appeared in this past Friday's New York Times. The fifth link leads to the American Languages: Our Nation's Many Voices digital project from the University of Wisconsin. Here visitors can listen to audio recordings documenting linguistic diversity in the United States. The final link leads to the Dictionary of American Regional English project, based at the University of Wisconsin. Here visitors can learn about which parts of the United States use the words darning needle, ear cutter, snake doctor, or snake feeder.

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