The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 23

June 10, 2011

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

The Physics Professor's Ultimate Resources

Created by the CollegeOnline organization, this website corrals a number of websites together from institutions like the University of California - Irvine, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Utah. First-time visitors can scan through seven different subsections, such as "Geometry/Trigonometry", "Tools", and "Optics". A good place to start is with the "Virtual Labs", as they offer a mlange of websites from physics labs around the country, complete with research summaries, interactive web activities, and so on. Moving on, the "Optics" area provides a fine explanation of visual illusions, Newton's color wheel, and a place where visitors can build their own rainbow. Finally, the site is rounded out by a nice "Miscellaneous" section that offers sine wave demonstrations, lunar phase illustrations, and a space time lab game. [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

Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education

What exactly is informal science education? Well, it isnt just a science class taught in jeans and a t-shirt. According to the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) website, informal science "supports people of all ages and walks of life in exploring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics." In the "About Informal Science Education" section of the website, visitors can read about the places in which informal science education occurs, such as in the media, science centers, museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, nature centers, and after-school programs. The "ISE Spotlights" section contains real life examples of informal science education occurring around the nation. Visitors interested in becoming involved in informal science education (ISE) should check out the "CAISE Programs" link on the left hand menu, then click on "CAISE Initiatives", for the seven initiatives of project year four and five. Some of the initiatives include "The ISE Evidence Wiki", "Informal Commons" and "Interactive ISE Timeline". It is a site that is worth returning to multiple times, and the materials here represent some of the ways that persons of all ages learn about science. [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

Teaching Resources: Botany and Plant Pathology

Whether you are a tried and true botanist or just getting started, this website from Purdue University will be an invaluable resource for educators, students, and others with an interest in plant pathology and allied fields. The lessons, links, and teaching materials here are divided into five sections, including "Presentations", "Slidesets", and "Professors in the Classroom". For starters, the "Professors in the Classroom" area contains a brief introduction on the relevance of agricultural research from Professor Ray Martyn and a similar feature on genetically date organisms (GMOs). Moving on, the "Slidesets" area contains high-resolution images of various plants compiled by Professor Gregory Shaner for one of his botany courses. The site is rounded out by the "Teaching Materials" area, which features several lesson plans about fungi. [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

Teaching College Math

Professor Maria H. Andersen teaches mathematics at Muskegon Community College, and she also work as a consultant for a range of companies. As a public service to those in her profession, she has created this well designed website. The site contains links to helpful and fun activities designed to teach college level math students about algebra, calculus, and other mathematical topics. Visitors can scroll down through the entries, and Professor Andersen has included videos to complement activities like "Exponent Block and Factor Pair Block" and "Numenko: Math Game for Arithmetic", which can be quite addictive. Along the top of the site visitors can scan through categories such as "Algebra Activities" and "Resources" and Games". The "Resources" area includes archived webinars such as "Developing Cognitive Assessments for Daily Classroom Use" and "A Year in the Life of a Math Blog". [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

Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings

Matteo Ricci was a well-known Jesuit missionary who traveled to China in the early 17th century, and he remains an important figure in the history of the Catholic Church. Boston College has created this digital exhibit to complement an in situ exhibit on Ricci and his work in China. The site materials are divided into six sections, including "Lesson Plans", "Books", "Biographies", and "Film". In the "Books" area, visitors can learn about the books on display in the exhibit and also read two books digitized by the Boston College Library that recount Ricci's experiences in China. Visitors should not miss the "Film" area, as it includes a 54-minute documentary titled "Beyond Ricci" and a number of student films about the legacy of Matteo Ricci.

National Girls Collaborative Project

The goal of the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) "is to bring together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)." The Project started as a regional organization in the Pacific Northwest in 2002, and the National Science Foundation funded the creation of the national group in 2004. Visitors interested in reading about how the NGCP has positively impacted STEM education for girls and women, should definitely read the NGCP Evaluation Summary PDF in the "Project Evaluation" link under the "About" tab. Visitors can find an archive of the NGCP e-newsletter dating back to 2006 under the "Resources" tab. There are also more than a dozen webcast videos that share effective strategies from around the nation, for working with girls in STEM. The "Stories" link provides encouraging success stories of regional groups that work with girls in STEM areas. [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

The Opportunity Equation

The Opportunity Equation represents a partnership between the Institute for Advanced Study and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Their website states that the goal of the group is to promote "equity and excellence in mathematics and science education." Visitors interested in learning the steps the Opportunity Equation proposes to meet their goal can start by scrolling over the four large circles under the "What if..." heading on the homepage. Each circle represents one of the requirements the organization deems crucial to improving STEM education. Visitors can click on "Mobilization", "Standards & Assessments", "Teaching & Leadership", and "School System & Design" to find a more in depth explanation for each, requirement. Here, they will also find links to related content, including areas that include, "Videos", "Case Studies", "Timeliners", "Our Research", and "News". Some of the videos that visitors may find particularly interesting include lectures entitled "Getting Students to Explore the World Like Scientists" and "Engineering Workforce Shortages". [KMG]

General Interest

Virginia Convention of 1861

On a fateful day in February 1861, delegates from all of Virginia's counties met to decide how the state would respond to a number of recent events, including Abraham Lincoln's election and South Carolina's secession. Ultimately, they voted to remain in the Union, as there was still hope at that moment that a compromise would be forthcoming. Two months later all of this changed, as the same delegates moved to secede from the United States. This remarkable website from the University of Richmond contains the fully transcribed text of these debates, along with interactive maps, information about the delegates, and a brief primer on the convention. Visitors can use the tools on the right-hand side of the homepage to get started, or they can also use the "Suggested Searches" area to search for words like "war" and "slave". Also, visitors should not miss the "Data Visualizations", which include a timeline and a graphic representation of the votes for secession by county. [KMG]

Ocean Data Viewer

Created and managed by a team of partners, including the United Nations, the Ocean Data Viewer was developed "to help inform decisions that are important for the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity." The Data Viewer website is elegant and intuitive, even for neophytes, and it offers sixteen datasets combined in a mashup style format with a political map of the world. On the homepage, visitors can toggle different datasets, such as the global distribution of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass species, and mean sea surface temperature. Visitors can customize their own maps for different uses such as illustrating various aspects of climate change, oceanography, and marine biology. Additionally, the site provides a link to the "Global Coral Disease Database", which provides detailed data on reported coral disease outbreaks and incidences across the world's coral communities. [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

Contaminated Site Clean-Up Information

This website was first launched in 1996 and it is sponsored and operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean-Up Information (CLU-IN) website "provides information about innovative treatment and site characterization technologies to the hazardous waste remediation community." There are several sections worth a look here, and visitors might first want to check out the "Issues" tab near the top of the page. This section highlights emerging issues for site owners and others involved in the common areas where remediation is required. Visitors will find these areas, such as "Brownfields", "Wood Treater Sites" and "Remediation of Dry Cleaner Sites", on a drop down menu or listed on the right hand side of the Issues page. One section that should not be missed is the "Nanotechnology" section, which features an overview of how nanotechnology might be used in brownfield remediation. Back on the homepage visitors can out about upcoming web events, recent news, additional resources, and how to stay connected including podcasts, an RSS feed, and their TechDirect email service. [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

Burke Interactive

The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the campus of the University of Washington sponsors a variety of public lectures, demonstrations, and virtual exhibits. This website provides interested parties with access to their podcasts, photos, and video clips. First-time visitors can stop by the "Highlights" area to see photos from their recent "Dino Day", a video of graduate students talking about their research trip to Antarctica, and a behind the scenes tour with ethnology collections manager Rebecca Andrews. The podcast area contains talks with geologist David B. Williams on his book about urban geology and a Q&A session with Dr. Richard Leakey, and the podcasts can be subscribed to as well. The "Virtual Exhibits" area is particularly strong in its coverage of Pacific Northwest Indian culture. Here visitors will find a fine exhibit on totem poles in the region and the model village of Skidegate, home to the Haida people. Finally, visitors can also sign up for their Twitter feed here as well. [KMG]

UCLA Asia Institute [iTunes]

The UCLA Asia Institute "promotes Asian Studies at UCLA and fosters greater understanding of Asia through a wide variety of research support, public programs, and community outreach on East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia." On their homepage, visitors can read their monthly newsletter, read about their project announcements, and upcoming conferences, such as the "Asia in LA: Musical Treasures of Asia", which was held in May 2011. Moving along, the "Podcasts" area includes talks from 2006 to the present. Here visitors will find thoughtful presentations titled "South Asian Entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan: The Silk Road Reborn?" and "Entwinements of Islam Modernity in Central Asia". Scholars in the field won't want to miss the "Joint Research Initiatives" section, which includes synopsis of the Institute's partnerships with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the East China Normal University in Shanghai. [KMG]

Up Front Blog: Brookings Institution

If you'd like a front row seat to some of the most compelling policy commentary in the United States, you may want to keep tabs on this useful blog from the Brookings Institution. Each weekday, different policy experts offer a bit of commentary on topics that include immigration policy, disaster preparedness, and the use of technology by the federal government. Visitors can comment on each entry, share the entry with friends and colleagues, and pass it along via their Twitter feed or other social media. The site also features past blog entries dating back to September 2009 and embedded links to other relevant Brookings Institution reports, working papers and briefs. [KMG]

University of Illinois: Gaming Initiative

Video games have been the subject of scholarly inquiry for some time now, and disciplines such as psychology, speech communications, and information science continue to look into their use for a variety of purposes. The Gaming Initiative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) created this website to bring together actual video games, along with sponsoring campus-wide events, career resources, and other materials. Visitors can get started by reading through the "Gaming News" area, and looking through their current holdings. The sections of the site include "Gaming Research", "Gaming on Campus", and "Gaming Careers". The "Gaming Careers" section is quite useful, and it includes an extensive list of key trade and academic journals on game development and some inside advice from people in the industry. [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

Documenting the American South: The First Century of the First State University

The founding of a great American university can be told in great detail by using primary documents, such as journals, letters, government documents and images. This particular site tells the story of the University of North Carolina during the period 1776 to 1875, and it is part of their "Documenting the American South" series of online exhibits and collections. The site covers topics like student life, town and gown relations, the institution's history during the Civil War, and the growth of campus. Users shouldn't miss the background essays from Professor James L. Leloudis and librarian William R. Burk. Visitors can then click on over to one of ten sections that include "Curriculum", "Faculty", and "Town and Gown". The "Town and Gown" area is quite fascinating as it includes letters from tavern keepers near the institution and the world of nearby boarding houses. The site also includes a timeline of the period, a bibliography, and an advanced search option. [KMG]

Network Tools


Yammer is a communications tool that creates a secure social network for companies and other groups that have a desire to share information, documents, and other materials. After signing up for an account, users can create a site for their organization that will allow users to engage in enterprise microblogging, private messaging, and communities of interest. This version is free, although there is an additional version available with more features for a fee. Yammer is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux. [KMG]


Browsing the web for interesting material can be enjoyable, but it's also nice to have some bright friends help you along the way. The folks at Netted compile a daily listing of compelling online tools, apps, and other items that will be worthy of your email inbox. Visitors can sign up to receive Netted and they can also browse popular categories such as "Saving", "Applications", and "Travel". This version is compatible with computers running all operating systems, including Linux. [KMG]

In The News

Germany tracks down source for dangerous E. coli outbreak

Germany Concludes E. Coli Tainted Bean Sprouts

Number of Rare E. Coli Cases in U.S. Rose Last Year

Economic costs of E. Coli outbreak

EU boosts E. Coli compensation offer for farmers,,15141284,00.html

Q&A: E. Coli outbreak


Today, Germanys head of their Center for Disease Control, Reinhard Burger said, "It's the bean sprouts." After 29 deaths, thousands taken ill, and produce bans that included Spanish cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce, it is believed that they have found the source of one of historys most dangerous outbreaks of E. Coli. Nine countries were affected by the outbreak, including Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Poland, and the United States. Russia recently placed a ban on all EU produce, thus adding an economic crisis to the medical crisis. In Germany, so many people were infected that hospitals struggled to cope, and because it was a new strain and extremely aggressive many health institutions were often offering conflicting advice. Thankfully, German officials seem to have located the source and the hope is that now the spread of this particular strain can be contained. Burger warns that the outbreak is "not yet over" as there "will be new cases coming up." However, with the source of this outbreak found, perhaps the EU, and the rest of the world, can focus on how to prevent these outbreaks in the future.

The first link will take visitors to a news article on the recent announcement about bean sprouts from the New York Times. The second link will take visitors to another article from the New York Times which discusses the increasing number of rare E. Coli cases in the U.S. The third link will take visitors to a MSN video that examines the financial toll an E. Coli outbreak can take on produce farmers. The fourth link leads to an article from Deutsche Welle that discusses compensation the EU is offering farmers affected by the outbreak and subsequent produce bans. The fifth link is an informative Q&A from the BBC about E. Coli. The last link will lead visitors to the FightBac! website, a food safety initiative that educates consumers about reducing the risk of food borne illnesses.

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