The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 33

August 19, 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

National Science Foundation: Education-Research Overview

The National Science Foundation (NSF) works on a number of outreach programs designed to improve the quality of science education. This website provides information and materials on this work by offering visitors classroom resources, reports on recent studies, and other materials. First-time visitors can click on the "Education Discoveries" to learn about how the NSF's research has been applied to molecular genetics, cyber security enhancements, and the migration of red-tailed hawks. Visitors should also click on the "Virtual Science Project" tab to learn more about the Maryland Virtual High School Earthquake Project, which is an attempt to bring the same problem solving and technology rich approaches used in private industry into the classroom. Moving on, the "Educational Classroom Resources" include links to science education websites that have been vetted by NSF staff members. [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

The Student Source: Medical Resources and Software

For students new to medical school, parsing out the most relevant and helpful information from a seemingly limitless supply of materials can be daunting. The University of Virginia's School of Medicine has created a set of relevant websites that can be useful for medical students and others with an interest in related fields such as anatomy, physiology, and neurology. The links are divided into two dozen topical areas, such as "Gross Anatomy", "Nephrology", and "Surgery". Each section contains links from reliable sources, including the University of Toronto, Oxford University, and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. The "Gross Anatomy" area is very thorough, as it contains over twenty resources that provide an overview of anatomy, anatomical slide shows, and so on. [KMG]

Sloan Career Cornerstone Center: Podcasts

In difficult economic times, many people begin to consider switching careers. One way to find out about new career pathways in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computing, or healthcare is to listen to a few of these podcasts provided by the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center (SCCC). The SCCC is a non-profit resource sponsored by organizations including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Texas Instruments, and their site functions as way for interested parties to explore over 185 degree fields. On the site, visitors can listen to the most recent podcast, or move through the additional 45 podcasts that are currently archived. Visitors can also read summaries of each career category, which include links to a "Day in the Life", a brief overview of typical day in that career. Visitors will also find links to professional organizations and information about salary ranges and employment options. [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

Photography of Homer L. Shantz

Homer L. Shantz was a leading American botanist and former president of the University of Arizona who was also quite the world traveler. He made extensive trips throughout the American West and Africa and he spent a large amount of time documenting the Arizona-Sonoran desert area in 1931. His works are tremendously valuable, as his photographic documentation of vegetation change is an important survey method that helps researchers understand the impact that climate change and human activities have on our environment. Recently, the University of Arizona Library set aside funding to digitize 6,500 photos and negatives from this collection. They have placed these items online here, and visitors can browse the items easily by year. They will also find a few related items include travel notes from Shantzs trip to Africa and a link to a Smithsonian exhibit on Shantzs work in Africa. [KMG]

Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory [pdf]

What exactly is a "Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory" (HASTAC)? It is a "consortium of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and engineers committed to new forms of collaboration across communities and disciplines fostered by creative uses of technology." Anyone is welcome to join HASTAC after registering on the website, and then they will be able to share their work and ideas with others in the community. There is a wide range of topics floating through the virtual ether here, and a good way to get started is by looking at the "Conversations" area. Here visitors will find featured blog posts, recent content updates (like a piece titled "How to Distract Your Kid Into Paying Attention), and information about job opportunities. New visitors should also look over Cathy Davidson's blog, as she has some great observations on a wide range of subjects, including the digital divide, humanities scholarship, and other matters. [KMG]


Some folks might think that encouraging people to learn about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects is just an endeavor in the United States. However, the STEMNET website demonstrates that STEM is definitely a worldly concern, as it promotes STEM in the United Kingdom. STEMNET works through the use of volunteer STEM ambassadors, and in partnership with industries that will benefit from more students entering the workforce schooled in STEM subjects. Visitors interested in the regions in which STEMNET is present, should click on the "About Us" tab, and then they can go to the "STEMNET Regional Focus" link which has a color-coded interactive map that visitors can click on to read a general overview of the region, as well as "Case Studies", "Events" and "Local Contacts". A great multimedia feature of the website that visitors shouldn't miss is the "STEMNET YouTube Channel" with more than a dozen short videos. Here users will find videos highlighting STEM Ambassadors, STEM Challenges, and various STEM-related careers, such as Planetary Scientist, Medical Physicist, and Spacecraft Engineer. [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

Centre for Effective Learning in Science

The Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom is home of the Centre for Effective Learning in Science (CELS), and they have a colorful website to showcase the Centre. First, the Centre's goal is to "create a more relevant, accessible and achievable image for science within both the Higher Education and school communities". The Centre collaborates with academic teams, to devise and test new approaches to teaching and presenting science. Visitors should check out the "Science Knowledge Bank" tab near the top of the page, for information and resources useful to not only teachers, but also to students, parents, and researchers. There are four different types of resources that visitors can search for here, including "Organisations", "Resources", "Events", and "Research". Back on the homepage visitors will find links to the latest CELS news, the latest images from their observatory, resources for schools, and more. [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

Digital History - Multimedia

The University of Houston's Department of History and College of Education have created a fun website to help make learning history exciting. The Multimedia section of the website has much to offer, including "E-lectures", "Film Trailers", "Flash Movies" "Games Database", and "Historical Music". Some of the E-lectures include such famous writers as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Linda Gordon. There are also quizzes to test visitors' historical knowledge, such as "Could You Pass the 1885 Admission Test for High School?" or "U.S. History: 2000 High School History Quiz". The former asks students questions in five subject areas, such as algebra and poetry. The latter asked college students at 55 universities 34 multiple choice questions about history; the average score was 53%. Lastly, the "Time Machine" is a fun interactive that visitors will enjoy using to learn about American History, and without the right answers, visitors will have to stay back in the time period about which they are being quizzed. [KMG]

General Interest

American Presidents

You may know where George Washington slept, but where did Franklin Pierce pass his time? This question is one of the many questions answered by this very interesting and rather fun Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary created by the National Park Service's Heritage Education Services, with cooperation from the National Park Service Office of Tourism and other associations. The itinerary covers places that have been important to the lives of 43 presidents of the United States, and visitors can read descriptions of each place via the "List of Sites" area. Visitors shouldn't miss the two essays featured here that talk about the dynamic influence of the presidency and the importance of place. In addition, visitors can click on the "Learn More" section to look over several hundred additional websites that cover the world of American presidents and the places that have had influence on their lives. [KMG]

Miami Art Museum [Flash Player]

If you pay a virtual visit to the Miami Art Museum (MAM) before October of this year, you can join in on "I Wish Your Wish" online. Submit a wish, and you'll receive someone else's. Share their wish on Facebook, by email, Twitter, or dozens of other modes and you'll be emailed a free pass to visit the Museum. The on-site installation of Eu desejo o seu desejo / I Wish Your Wish, by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander, consists of thousands of multicolored ribbons printed with wishes. Visitors are invited to choose wishes from past visitors and replace them with their own, based on a similar practice at the church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Other current exhibitions include BETWEEN HERE AND THERE, Modern and Contemporary Art from the Permanent Collection and Mark Dion's South Florida Wildlife Rescue Unit, an installation that examines humans' interactions with the Florida Everglades since the 1700s. There's also an entire section of the website devoted to the new MAM, currently under construction, sited in Museum Park on Biscayne Bay. [DS]

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

Homeless children and youth are arguably the most forgotten population when it comes to education. Since 1989, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) has been an advocate for equitable services from public schools for homeless youth. Additionally, their website states that it has encouraged "strategies for effective instruction, pupil services, and research." Visitors unfamiliar with the main piece of legislation in place for educating homeless children and youth can read the full-text of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act under the "Legislation and Policy" tab. Users may also find the "Higher Education" link, also under the Legislation and Policy tab, to be informative about how the Higher Education Act has "the potential to assist these youth to graduate from high school, apply for and access postsecondary education, and complete their degrees." A link to the related resource "NAEHCY PowerPoint Library - Unaccompanied Youth" can be found in the right corner of the page. Valuable information about how unaccompanied homeless youth can successfully fill out the Free Student Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) is also available in the "Higher Education" area. [KMG]

Spode Exhibition Online

Winterthur is the former home of Henry Francis du Pont in Delaware, which houses many fine examples of decorative arts, including a fine collection of Spode pottery, focusing on the blue printed patterns of 1784-1833. The website's interactive, online exhibition is impressive, and a real treat for those who want to virtually page through the Spode 1820 Shape Book of which there are only two copies in existence. Visitors will find the exhibition divided up into the sections "History", "Pottery" and "Industry". Users should definitely check out the "Historical Timeline" to become familiar not only with the Spode family and the business, but also the evolution of Spode ceramics. The Industry section of the website explains what working in the potteries in Staffordshire was like, and visitors can click on links to learn more about "Working Conditions", "Housing" and "Wages". The text and drawings of an 1841 report for the British government on the employment of children and youth at the potteries are also included in the Industry link. [KMG]

The Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally: 1764-1765

In 1764, a one hundred ton ship called the Sally set sail from Providence, Rhode Island to West Africa on a slaving voyage. The vessel was owned by Nicholas Brown and Company, which was a local merchant firm run by four brothers. The records of this particular venture are preserved in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and this remarkable website offers all of the records that remain from this journey. First-time visitors should peruse the "History" area to read a few thematic essays on different aspects of the Sally's journey, which cover topics like "On the African Coast", "The Middle Passage", and "Fitting out the Sally". After that, they should visit "The Documents" area. Here they will find letters, invoices, legal documents, and trade books that tell the story of how the ship was outfitted, who sailed aboard here, and what cargo she carried. This project is another well-done endeavor created by the Center for Digital Initiatives, and it merits several visits. [KMG]

Loci: Constructing Mathlets Quickly Using LiveGraphics3D

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has developed a vast set of educational materials for mathematics teachers, and many of them can be found on their well-thought out website. This particular resource is an article by Jonathan Rogness and Martin Kraus, and the piece offers an explanation of how to use a Java applet called LiveGraphics3D to speed up the process of creating interactive graphics. Visitors can use this piece to learn how to accurately describe and create animations that illustrate various mathematical principles and objects. The piece is divided into eighteen short sections, including "Moving Lines and Polygons", "Advanced Examples", "Future Directions", and "Occlusions of Objects". It's a fine resource overall, and it will probably inspire interested parties to explore the other articles archived here. [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

Tough Talk: A Toolbox for Medical Educators

Having conversations with patients can be a difficult task, and it can be particularly difficult for new medical students. Fortunately, there is the "Tough Talk" website, which was created by a team of researchers at the University of Washington's Medical School. Here visitors will find information about teaching medicine and how to make neophyte medical students more comfortable around patients. Visitors will note that there is a section on "Core Teaching Skills" which contains narrative-based passages on "goal setting", "addressing emotion", and "common teaching challenges". Each section contains materials designed for the classroom, including role-playing activities. Additionally, visitors can also take advantage of the annotated bibliography and download a PDF which contains all of the materials on the site. [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

San Fernando Valley History

A historical tour through the world of San Fernando Valley is always a good idea, and the folks at the California State University-Northridge have made this possible via their amazing archive of digitized materials. The project is based at their Oviatt Library, and it contains historically significant documents, manuscripts, photographs and related graphic materials from public and private collections in the San Fernando Valley. The project started in 2000, and today visitors can browse the collection at their leisure. First-time visitors can look over the "Topics" here, which include "Animals", "Economics", "Industries", and six other areas. The "Communities" area features a fun map with all of the communities of the area on it. Clicking on one of the icons will take users to archived items associated with each place. Also, visitors shouldn't miss the "Transportation" tab as they can view classic images of the old Pacific Electric Railway as well as images of early bus terminals and more contemporary shots of Amtrak in action. [KMG]

Network Tools

VLC 1.1.11

There are many media players available for general use, and this iteration of VLC is well worth a look. VLC is an open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files, along with DVDs and audio CDs. The application can also be used to convert various media file formats, and it also plays most codecs. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux. [KMG]

SketchBook Express 5.2.1

For those people looking to explore a free drawing application for the Mac, SketchBook Express is a good place to start. With this version, visitors can use over 65 different painting tools and brushes to create and save images. The palette of colors is quite extensive, with over 400 pre-set colors, and there are a number of finishing features designed to make each image perfect. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.6.6 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

After a protest in San Francisco, civil libertarians and others raise concerns over BART's actions

BART admits halting cell service to stop protests

FCC to Investigate BART Cell Service Shutdown,2817,2391168,00.asp

FCC: Wireless Services: Cellular Services: Operations, Blocking & Jamming

BART statement on temporary wireless service interruptions in select BART stations on August 11

BART made right choice to shut cell service to thwart protestors

Cell Phone Censorship in San Francisco?

Civil libertarians and others are rather concerned over a recent decision by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system to shut off cell phone service in several of its downtown San Francisco stations. The matter began last week when a number of groups protesting the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man by BART Police decided to protest in and around the stations during rush hour. In an official statement, BART remarked that "Organizers planning to disrupt BART service stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART police." The details are all still under investigation, but at this time, it appears that BART employees turned off the cell phone service, rather than engaging in signal jamming, which would potentially be in violation of the Communications Act of 1934. The ACLU responded quickly by noting, "BART is the first known government agency in the United States to block cell service in order to disrupt a political protest." The FCC is investigating the incident, and it is very much a story worth following. [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from this Saturday's San Francisco Chronicle on this recent incident. The second link leads to a news article on these activities from Tuesday's online PC Magazine website. Moving along, the third link will take interested parties to the official statement from the FCC on blocking & jamming of wireless communication signals, as well as more information about cellular services. The fourth link will whisk users away to the official statement from BART regarding these temporary wireless service disruptions. The fifth link leads to an editorial from this Tuesday's San Francisco Examiner regarding BARTs decision. The final link will take visitors to a bit of commentary from the ACLU "Blog of Rights" on the issue of cell phone censorship.

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