The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 25

June 24, 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

Powerhouse Rules: The Role of Mitochondria in Human Diseases

Mitochondria are often described as the powerhouses of cells, and this rather fascinating course offered at MIT looks into the role they play in human diseases. The materials here are from the Spring 2011 version of "Powerhouse Rules: The Role of Mitochondria in Human Diseases" taught by Professor Daniel Ferullo. The course is one of the advanced undergraduate seminars offered by MIT's Biology Department and MITs OpenCourseWare, and visitors can look at the syllabus here, check out lecture summaries, and learn about some of the course assignments. This course also has a course study group feature where interested parties can submit questions or just look at the responses to previous questions. Additionally, visitors can download all of the course materials in one fell swoop, if they so desire. [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

Introductory Astronomy Clearinghouse: Labs [pdf]

Created by staff members at the University of Washington's Astronomy Department, this online clearinghouse consists of applications, lectures, and in-class activities is designed to be used in a range of introductory astronomy courses. The materials here are divided into eight areas, including "Observing the Sky", "Solar System", "Stars", and "Milky Way Galaxy". Visitors can download each file for their own use, and while there is no formal search engine on the site, it's easy enough to just scroll down to see each item. The "The Sun" and "Stars" areas are both true gems, and they each contain at least five separate items that can be used in classrooms to illustrate ideas and concepts that include distance measures and identifying lines in the solar spectrum. [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

Geochemical Instrumentation and Analysis [pdf]

Bringing the world of geochemistry into the classroom is key for college geology students, and this helpful resource from the folks at "On the Cutting Edge" at Macalester College is one way for educators to introduce students to the topic. This particular resource provides a tutorial of the analytical techniques commonly used to characterize geological materials. The goal is to help novices "gain an understanding of mineralogical, petrological and geochemical analytical techniques." The materials here include definitions and descriptions of standard topics like balancing metamorphic reactions and user-friendly tutorials for modern thermodynamic modeling programs. Additionally, the site also contains phase diagrams for teaching, such as animated versions that guide students through these chemical reactions. [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

Triangle Coalition

The mission of the Triangle Coalition is to "bring together the voices of government, business, and education to improve the quality and outcome of [STEM] education." Visitors should check out the "Legislative News" section of their website to get a taste of the changes and improvements the Triangle Coalition is working on. One notable item here is the audio and video from a February 2011 webinar that the Coalition held on the "Implications for STEM Education in the 2012 Budget Request". On the right side of this page visitors should check out "Key Topics", where they will find such topics as "Educate to Innovate", "National Lab Day", and "Arne Duncan". The "TECB" link on the left side of any page leads to the Triangle Coalition Electronic Bulletin which comes out weekly, and is available to Coalition members. The current and archived issues, which date back to January 2010, are available on the website for any visitors to view. The " Resources" link is also worth a visit, as it includes links to resources on grants, collaboration, and more. [KMG]

The Astronomy Center

The American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C., created the Astronomy Center website to "provide a web-based databank that provides faculty with links to a wide range of teaching and learning resources for [an] Undergraduate Introductory Astronomy course." Faculty are also encouraged to suggest materials to add to the database, as well as to offer their own comments on the materials. Visitors will find that the website can be browsed by topic or by type of resource. Some of the topics include "Cosmic Time and Distance", "Historical Astronomy", and "Exoplanets". Examples of the types of resources available include "Pedagogy", "Simulations", and "Images". In order to demonstrate the size of the solar system, visitors will find that the lab, "The Thousand Yard Model" is valuable for teaching elementary through high school students, and lower undergraduate classes. [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

Beloit College Digital Collections

Beloit College is the oldest college in the state of Wisconsin, and they are well regarded for their study abroad programs and focus on international and global affairs. They have also revamped their online digital collections area, and it is well worth a glance. Currently, they have ten collections here, including "Logan Museum of Anthropology", "Beloit-College, City and Environs", and "Asian Studies". First up is the "Beloit-College, City and Environs" area, which offers a historical view of images woven together that document the history of the college's relationship with the city of Beloit. Moving on, the "Asian Studies" area offers over 53 digital images of items held in the Logan Museum of Anthropology, such as historic posters, folk art objects, and paintings. The "Logan Museum of Anthropology" area offers curious visitors over 2,100 items drawn from their extensive holdings. The items here include an ancient adze, headdresses from Native American groups, and beaded necklaces. [KMG]

Computational Science Education Reference Desk

The Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD) is part of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and it receives funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The aim of the CSERD is "to help students learn about computational science and to help faculty and teachers incorporate it into the classroom." First-time visitors can learn more in the "Getting Started" area and they can also sign up to create their own account to store various resources for future use. Users can dive right in by clicking on the "Featured Collection" on the left-hand side of the page and there's even a "featured Virtual Manipulative" that's worth a look. The site also contains a special area for students ("For Students") and one "For Educators" that includes information about upcoming educational workshops. Also, the Journal of Computational Science Education is worth a look as well. Finally, educators are also encouraged to submit their own resources for inclusion within the CSERD's metadata catalog. [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

National Resources Conservation Service: Soils: College Level Teaching Resources [pdf]

Students and educators looking for resources on the world of soil science will want to bookmark this useful site. Created by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, the site includes college-level appropriate material on soil biology, soil risks, soil quotations, and urban soil issues. The "Soil Risks & Hazards" area contains two key documents that can be best used by students seeking to understand potential soil-related hazards in and around different parts of the US. Moving along, "The Twelve Soil Orders" leads to a page created by the University of Idaho about the soil taxonomy created by the USDA in 1975. The "Soil Quotations" area has some rather compelling quotes from biologists, soil scientists, and poets about the nature and importance of soil. The site is rounded out by the "Agriculture in the Classroom" link, which leads to state agricultural profiles created by the USDA. [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

General Interest

CDC: Public Health Genomics [pdf]

Created in 1997, the Office of Public Health Genomics (OPHG) was established "to integrate genomics into public health research, policy, and programs, which could improve interventions designed to prevent and control the country's leading chronic, infectious, environmental, and occupational diseases." Visitors to the site should start by looking over their "Focus Areas", which include "Genomics and Health", "Family Health History", and "Genetic Testing". The "Genomics and Health" area is a great place to begin looking through the site, as it contains materials that explain the relationship between genetic history and family health. Here visitors will find activities that explain and illuminate environmental health, hereditary blood disorders, and pediatric genetics. Also, the site includes a "For Health Professionals" area which is perfect for current public health practitioners and those teaching about these subjects. Rounding out the site is their "Genomics and Health Impact" blog, which is definitely worth a look. [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

Warren H. Manning Collection: Landscape Architecture

In the history of American landscape architecture, the figure of Warren H. Manning looms large. Born in 1860, he came of age after the dominance in the field exercised by Frederick Lam Olmsted. Manning actually joined the Olmsted firm in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1888 as a planning supervisor, and he later worked on 125 projects in 22 states with the firm, including a stint at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. After setting up his own shop in 1896, Manning worked to develop an environmental planning model based on the concept of gathering and organizing discrete types of environmental data, such as soils and vegetative cover, in mapped form. The Iowa State University Library has the Manning Collection, which contains many of his original plans, photographs, site descriptions, and so on. Here visitors can look over 1800 items from this collection, and they can search the items by subject, creator, format, and date. First-time visitors may start by looking at some of Manning's unusual maps, including his "11 mile radius map about Boston", which documents the landscape of this area. There's a great deal to explore here, and landscape architects and students of the built environment will want to plan several return visits. [KMG]

BBC News: A brief history of time zones

How do time zones work? Perhaps equally important is why do we even have time zones? The BBC News group has created this interactive and fun exploration of time zones for the general public. After a brief introduction, visitors can continue on to a globe complete with tabs that read, "Where time collides", "Split time", "The politics of time", and "What time is it in space?" Clicking on each of these tabs will bring up a short video that illuminates each of these questions. Moving along, visitors should definitely click on "The science of time" for BBC reporter Rebecca Morelle's investigation into how time is measured. Also, visitors shouldn't miss the "Time zones: Your experiences" area, as it offers insightful commentary on people who regularly travel across many time zones or who need to contact family members around the world. [KMG]

Museum of Fine Arts Boston: Multimedia Guide

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has been a leader in delivering a range of online content for over a decade. Their latest Multimedia Guide provides a nice complement to some of their existing materials, and visitors can preview these guides right here. On the site, visitors can preview the guides, which include titles such as "Remembering Artist Allan Crite" and "Colonial Silversmithing". The "MFA Fiesta Multimedia Guide" is a real highlight here, and it provides a tour of Latin American art, narrated by WBUR radio host Jos Mass. The tour can be used on an iPhone or other device, and it includes commentaries on a Mayan censer stand, Central American gold items, and the piece "Staccato" by Cesar Paternosto. [KMG]

The Writer's Almanac

The Writer's Almanac is a five-minute literary offering that appears on hundreds of radio stations throughout the United States. Narrated by author and man-of-many-hats Garrison Keillor, the show offers up poetry and information about authors from the past and present. Each show usually starts with a short poem and then goes on to feature short profiles of various authors, such as Erich Maria Remarque and Zora Neale Hurston. Visitors to the Writer's Almanac website can search the archive (which dates back to 1993) by poem title or author. Visitors can also contact the staff members at the program, take a look at their interactive "Bookshelf", and learn when the Almanac appears on their own local radio station. [KMG]

William F. Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design

The Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is appropriate since that is where William F. Eisner started his first advertising agency, at the age of 33. Eventually Eisner had a number of businesses, including a "printing company, photography studio, recording studio, graphic design house, and a public relations firm." The five online exhibits available to visitors on the museum's website include "The Art of the Album Cover", which features work from artist Alex Steinweiss, who in 1939 forever changed the way record modern albums were marketed. Visitors can learn about the power of advertising through the "Burma-Shave" signs exhibit, as it was one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history. The "New Set of Wheels" exhibit, contains print, radio, and television ads for some of the most popular cars of the 1920s-1960s, and teaches visitors how "advertising efforts of this time came to influence automotive consumer behavior as much as automotive engineering". [KMG]

Active Transportation Alliance

The Active Transportation Alliance is based in Chicago, Illinois, and the Alliance has done the majority of its work in the Windy City. However, it also has a global reach, which focuses on making biking, walking, and public transportation, safe, fun, and convenient. Visitors will find the "Our Work" tab near the top of the page helps explain all the different types of work they do to encourage and support "transportation options that are healthy, fun, and environmentally-friendly." Their strategies include "Better Blocks", "Safe Routes to School", "Consulting & Services", and "Legislative Agenda". Some of them rely on the community to get in touch with the Alliance, and others rely on cooperation from the community. The "Resources" tab has links that allow visitors to stay on top of new developments and "connect with active transportation resources." Some of the much-needed, and unique, resources include two for bicyclists, "Crash Support" and "Know Your Rights". Visitors will also find the "Lakefront Trail Conditions" useful for learning about special conditions on the paths, such as "construction projects, special events, and ice and snow on the path". [KMG]

Network Tools


If you like experimenting with music, you may find that Otomata is just about the best thing ever. Created by Batuhan Bozkurt, Otomata is an online generative sequencer that produces "sound events" through the movement of cells. Visitors can move the cells in different ways to create a range of sounds and textures, and it can be quite addictive. There's also a demonstration video here that will show users how to get started. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

WiFi Photo Transfer 1.4

Transferring and accessing photos remotely can be a bit trying, and this helpful application can assist users with such an endeavor. This version of WiFi Photo Transfer will give users the ability to enter a web address into their smartphone's web browser and they will have access to their home computer's photos. Users should note that this version requires an iPhone or iPad running iOS 4.0 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

In preparing for the 2012 Olympics, London tries to bring hope and prosperity to the residents of east London

London 2012

Olympics will offer Britain 'transportation legacy'

Olympic legacy: game on

1948 London Olympians offered 2012 tickets to mark return of the games to the capital

London 2012: Official site

London 1948

Big events require big plans, and the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London will see vast tracts of east London reimagined, reinvented, and reconfigured. This type of broad urban renewal is not without precedent, as massive structures and stadia were created for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. In their original bid to host the games, the organizers and business partners told the International Olympic Committee that they would work tirelessly to transform this hardscrabble corner of London. One of the key facets of the plan includes the construction of 11,000 new homes after the athletic contests are completed. The idea is that many of the residences built for athletes will be turned into permanent homes for east Londoners, and still others will be built on the sites of other temporary facilities. The chairman of Triathlon Homes, Nick Raynsford, will be responsible for one such reuse project, and he commented, "Historically, people have built things like the athletes' accommodation and thought of a use for it afterwards. The problem is that a single-tenure solution doesn't work and it becomes a sink estate almost overnight." Currently, the borough of Newham in east London is the second most economically deprived area in all of England, and nearly half of its adult population is unemployed. In the long-term, the hope is that new jobs will be created in the aftermath of the Olympic Games and that some of these residents may find employment as a result. There remains the specter of widespread gentrification that may ultimately force long-time residents to move away permanently. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an article from this Sunday's Financial Times (reposted by Slate) about the ambitious plans for this section of London, post-Olympic Games. The second link offers a piece from this Monday's website about the long-term transportation improvements that will be emerge as part of the preparations for these Olympics. The third link will whisk users away to a piece from the Public Service UK website about Andrew Altman, the CEO of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, which is responsible for the linked-up planning in the aftermath of the Games. Moving along, the fourth link leads to a piece from the Daily Mail which talks about an offer to 1948 London Olympians to return for a reunion at the upcoming games. The fifth link leads to the official website of the 2012 Olympics. Visitors to the site can find out about the various athletic competitions and cultural events that will take place next year. The last link leads to a rather remarkable website which presents original newsreels from the 1948 London Olympic Games, along with information about the various sporting venues and such.

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