The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 31

August 5, 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

Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach [pdf]

The staff members at the Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) are committed to providing engineering students and those with a curiosity about engineering with a range of new resources in order to help them learn more about its various fields. On their homepage, visitors will note sections such as "Outreach", "Workshops", "Research", and "News & Events". The "Research" area is a good place to start, as it includes a list of current education and educational technology research going on at the CEEO. This area also includes a list of publications produced from their research projects. Moving along, the "Products" area includes the free SAM Animation software, which allows users to create their own animation and they can upload it to a shared community. This area also includes "Robolab", which is a graphical programming language for their popular LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics toolkit. Finally, the site also includes a link to SAM Animation website where visitors can see the latest movies created by students and teachers using these resources from CEEO. [KMG]

The Higher Education Academy: Case studies: Bioscience learning and teaching [pdf]

Created in 2000, the UK Centre for Bioscience is one of 24 discipline-specific subject centres established to "promote good practice in all aspects of support for the bioscience student learning experience." On the homepage, visitors will find 8 case study areas, divided by theme; these themes include "e-learning", "peer-assessment", and "work placement". Each area contains lesson plans and activities vetted by science educators, and there are many practical suggestions here, including advice on how to get academic papers published. Moving on, the "general teaching and learning" area includes findings from a distance physiology course and an interactive timeline of plant evolution. The site is rounded by a link to a voluminous image bank, which can be used to locate relevant biological images for use in presentations and in class presentations. [KMG]

To find 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 Research and Learning: Multicultural Teaching Strategies [pdf]

In recent years, there has been more of a concerted effort to teach educators how to incorporate different learning strategies in the classrooms. For some educators classroom settings may be much more diverse than when they were in college or graduate school, so it is important to offer resources to help make their classroom experience a successful one. The Center for Research and Learning at the University of Michigan has a website that is complete with factsheets and various documents that cover about fifteen different aspects of this process. The headings here include "Approaches/Teaching Methods", "Evaluation of Teaching", and "Scholarship of Teaching". Each section contains materials that have been classroom-tested for their effectiveness and they are ready to be used. The "strategies that anticipate and respond to difficult discussion" is top-notch, and it includes commentaries on managing student resistance and engaging classroom climate. [KMG]

Sibley Music Library: Musical Scores

With over 10,000 digitized pieces of music in their online archive, the University of Rochester's Sibley Music Library is a force to be reckoned with for performers, musicologists, and others. The works in the archive come from the Eastman School of Music, and they are meant to be a performance resource, as well as a resource for those with a passion for music composition. Visitors can get started by looking over the "Musical Scores Recent Submissions" area near the top of the page. Here visitors can peruse romantic songs by G.W. Chadwick, a violin concerto by Carl von Reinecke, and a concert fantasy for piano and orchestra by Tchaikovsky. Also, visitors can use their search engine to look for favorite works and they can also subscribe to the RSS feed here. [KMG]

Woods Institute for the Environment [pdf]

Based at Stanford University, the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Institute for the Environment draws on the expertise and creativity of leading academics and decision makers to create practical solutions for people and the planet. Some of their projects include research trying to discover solutions for global environmental sustainability issues and developing strong environment leaders for today and the future. In the site's "Research" area, visitors can learn about their strategic collaborations that deal with food security and ocean viability. In their "Uncommon Dialogue" area, visitors can read transcripts and paper abstracts from meetings that include "California Rangelands" and "Wastewater as a Resource: Focus on the Bay". New visitors should also take a look at the "Gateways For" area, as there is a drop-down menu for journalists, business, and most importantly educators and students seeking to use some of their findings in the classroom. [KMG]

The Center for Digital Initiatives: Arkansas State University

The mission of the Center for Digital Initiatives (CDI) at Arkansas State University is "to promote ASU's position as a leader in the use of virtual environments for cross-disciplinary teaching, research, and service." To that end, they continue to post their engaging projects on this website, and visitors can get started by clicking on the "Projects" tab. All of these projects are hosted in Second Life, which is an immersive virtual environment that allows users to wander around and act with people, buildings, and so on. There are several heritage sites here, including the "Lost" town of Napoleon, Arkansas and the Southern Tenant Farmers' Museum. Visitors can also read about the motivating principles behind each project and listen to their podcasts, which provide more details on each project. Overall, the site will be quite compelling to people with an interest in new and emergent technologies, and it is one that visitors will want to share with others. [KMG]

Exploring Life's Origins: A Virtual Exhibition

This visually arresting website is part of a multimedia exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston, which aims to "use molecular illustration and animation to help describe origins of life research and theories to broad audiences." Visitors should definitely check out the "A Timeline of Life's Evolution" to get oriented to the site. The "Formation of the Moon" is a stunning artist's rendition, as well as is the "Formation of the Solar System". Visitors can drag the red marker on the timeline at the top of the page to reveal certain images of important events in the earth's life history. Moving along, those visitors interested in a more microscopic view of life will enjoy the exhibit "Understanding the RNA World?", where they will find a short narrated animation of RNA folding on the exhibit's homepage. Educators and others who may be interested in downloading any of the videos or animations for educational purposes can do so from the "Resources for Educators" link at the bottom of any of the site's pages. [KMG]

To find 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

Plat Books of Missouri;

To purchase land, one needs to know what is for sale and where it is. This is where plat books come in handy, and this digital collection form the University of Missouri offers up a range of plat maps for 114 different counties in the Show-Me State. The maps were originally published in the late 1920s or early 1930s, and they were created by the W.W. Hixson Company. Visitors can search the entire collection, browse all the images from the books, or just look around via county. When looking around by county, visitors can zoom in and out on each page in order to see platting boundaries, local geographical features, infrastructure improvements, and so on. Finally, visitors can also save their searches for later use, and this is quite helpful. [KMG]

University of Idaho Historical Photograph Collection

Tucked away in the Palouse, the town of Moscow, Idaho is the dominant city in this particular corner of the state. Part of its dominance comes through the University of Idaho, which is the largest employer in the city. Over the past century or so, the school has grown by upgrading existing athletic facilities, constructing new dormitories, and the renovation the physical plant. This digital collection from the University of Idaho Library Digital Collections group includes over 380 images culled from their extensive holdings. Visitors can search the collection by keyword, title, subject, or description. The "Administration Building" photos are a great place to start, as visitors can peer into the first building on campus, which held the music practice rooms, a small museum, and the bursar's office. [KMG]

BioEd Online: Spider in Space Mission Page

Beyond the bounds of the Earth's atmosphere, two golden orb spiders are living and flourishing on the International Space Station. Each one lives in separate habitat chambers, and they have a bountiful supply of fruit flies. Each chamber contains cameras and lighting systems, and visitors can use this site from BioEd Online to peer into their world up above. BioEd Online also provides an amazing teachers guide here for educators, along with a dozen or so archived spider videos. Educators take also take advantage of the PowerPoint presentations, and a collection of links to pamphlets on the operation of rockets and microgravity. [KMG]

To find more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

National Security Archive: Eleven Possibilities for Pentagon Papers' 11 Words

When the full Pentagon Papers were released on June 13, 2011, the U.S. government had attempted to keep under wraps 11 words on one particular page. Interestingly, these specific words had been in the public domain since the House Armed Services Committee published the government edition of the Papers in 1972. Recently, the folks at the National Security Archives at George Washington University decided to offer up 11 possibilities for the identity of these mysterious excised words. Released in July 2011, this electronic briefing book contains the eleven documents, complete with a bit of historical background and contextual material. The briefing book contains texts that detail covert attacks on North Vietnam, an action against Cambodia, and a CIA bombing in North Vietnam. Rather fascinating material here, and as with the other publications, the National Security Archives has done a fine job. [KMG]

Nature in the City

Nature in the City is a project of the Earth Island Institute, and is "wholly dedicated to ecological conservation, restoration and stewardship of the [San] Franciscan bioregion." Their website's "About" section gives a thorough explanation of not only their goals, as well as a definition of nature. Furthermore, this section provides some philosophical insight into what exactly "urban nature" happens to be. Those visitors interested in a more visceral tour of San Francisco should check out the "Photo Gallery" link, and they should be sure to check out the "Natural Areas" album to view some eerie-looking oak woodlands in Golden Gate Park. Additionally, visitors to the site who are interested in the life that teems on Alcatraz Island will enjoy file number fourteen which includes an image of roosting double-crested cormorants on a dramatic hillside. Finally the "Local Ecology" link has an explanation of the "Biodiversity Crisis" in San Francisco, which can be attributed to ecological, political, institutional, social and cultural factors. [KMG]

LD Online

LD Online is a website focused on providing information on learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which is geared towards parents, teachers, and professionals. The site is an educational service of public television station WETA, and also works with the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. Visitors will find that the site addresses both children and adults with LD and ADHD, and those who are unfamiliar with LD and ADHD will appreciate the site's "Getting Started" link, which has "LD Basics", "ADHD Basics", "Questions + Answers" and a "Glossary". The "Multimedia" link of videos, audio, and transcripts will give visitors the opportunity to listen to or watch experts in the field. They can also listen to the personal stories of families, teachers, and kids with LD or ADHD. Practical tips for parents are also offered in the Multimedia link. Users will be pleasantly surprised by the optimism and determination of some of these kids, when reading their personal stories in the "Your Stories" section. [KMG]

Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs

Since 1971 the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) has focused on improving "the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families by providing advocacy for the member organizations that serve them." Upon visiting the website, visitors will see that 2011 is the Year of the Farmworker Child, and the AFOP website has a section called "Children in the Fields" that offers facts, reports, and multimedia. The "Job Training" link offers visitors some great success stories and some impressive return on investment (ROI) figures for the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP), which is a government program authorized under the Workforce Investment Act. Visitors should check out the total ROI for every dollar of taxpayer money invested in the NFJP. [KMG]

Network Tools


Recently purchased by Google, the Aardvark site is a great way to get quick answers to questions large and small. Visitors can type in their question into the text box on the Aardvark site, and the site will find just the right person to answer the question. Users are encouraged to send questions via Twitter or email as well, and it will generally take just a few minutes to get an answer. Essentially, Aardvark sends out these questions to people in a users' network who are available via IM or email in order to find a suitable response. The site also includes sample questions and contact information. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


You may have played "duck duck goose" growing up, but have you used "DuckDuckGo" yet? It's a new search engine that is geared towards those folks browsing the web who are looking for a general, all-purpose way to search for materials online. DuckDuckGo doesn't track users like some search engines, and there's even a "Goodies" section. In this section, users can personalize their search homepage, learn about their syntax commands, and also find out information about their keyboard shortcuts. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

After an official declaration of famine in Somalia, supplies begin to arrive

The Horn of Africa: Chronicle of a famine foretold

Somali-Americans Join Fight Against Drought

With famine in Somalia, a case of leadership (not compassion) fatigue

Video: Africa famine: Thousands of Somalis continue to flood to Kenyan refugee camps

United Nations World Food Programme: Somalia

BBC News: Somalia country profile

Somalia has been besieged by a diverse set of problems over the past several decades, including political instability and a number of militia groups fighting for control of the country. In the past few days, more major media outlets have been reporting on the famine situation in the country, which policy-makers, political leaders, and humanitarian organizations terribly worried. The first major supply of foodstuffs arrived in Mogadishu on July 27th, which was several weeks after the Famine Early Warning Systems Network officially declared a famine. Money has been trickling in slowly, and of the $2 billion the United Nations says the region needs, so far it has received less than half. Some non-government organizations (NGOs) and other groups remain reticent about donating funds due to the role of the Shabab, which is a militia group that controls a large section of southern Somalia. The Shabab has also banned food aid since 2009 and the UN's World Famine Programme (WFP) has had 14 of their employees killed in the region since 2008. The situation remains quite bleak, and the WFP has reported that 50,000 to 100,000 people could die of starvation in Somalia in August alone. [KMG]

The first link will take interested readers to a piece from last week's The Economist about the famine in Somalia and the relief efforts that are underway. The second link leads to a story from Voice of America by reporter Julia Lawrence, which is about the efforts of Somali-Americans to send aid to Somalia. The third link whisks users away to an opinion piece on this ongoing crisis from this Monday's Washington Post by Professor Astier M. Almedom. Professor Almedon is a native of Somalia and in this piece she offers some passionate commentary on what she feels are the roots of the problems in Somalia. Moving along, the fourth link leads to a video clip offered by The Telegraph, which features some observations from the refugee camp in Kenya where many Somalis are seeking food and assistance. The fifth link leads to the United Nations World Food Programme's page on Somalia. Here visitors can read on the WFP's efforts to assist Somalia and also read some of their fact sheets and working papers on alleviating hunger and poverty in the region. The last and final link will take visitors to the BBC's country page on Somalia, which contains a brief overview of the country, complete with additional links.

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