The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 38

September 23, 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

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America

The United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) "promotes the well-being of rural America through research and analysis to better understand the economic, demographic, environmental, and social forces affecting rural regions and communities." Part of this work includes the creation of this remarkable atlas, which provides a "spatial interpretation of county-level, economic and social conditions along four dimensions: people, jobs, agriculture, and county classifications." The atlas allows users to view county-level maps for over 60 socioeconomic indicators via the interactive map here. It is quite easy to use, and there's also a pop-up box for each county that provides easy access to additional demographic information. Visitors can also download the data sets for each indicator from the "Download the Data" tab. [KMG]

A Treasury of World's Fair Art & Architecture

From Brussels to New York, World's Fairs have provided inspiration and offered visions of the future to all those who visited. This particular World's Fair-themed digital collection draws on the World's Fair Collection at University of Maryland's Architecture Library. The collection features items from a number of the Fairs, including those held in Paris, Buffalo, Chicago, and San Francisco. After checking out the "Introduction" area, visitors should move on to the "Exhibits" area. Here they will find a potpourri of photographs, plans, drawings, posters, and other printed materials that tell the story of each Fair. Visitors shouldn't miss the images from the 1915-1916 San Diego Panama California Exposition, which include shots of Balboa Park and the Prado, which was the central avenue of the fair. The "Essays" section include materials written for an honors seminar at the University of Maryland taught by Professor Isabelle Gournay which detail some of the achievements of each exposition. [KMG]

HRSAs Health Professions

The Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has a special program that focuses on health profession workforce development that is designed to ensure that "the U.S. has the right clinicians, with the right skills, working where they are needed." The "About" tab offers more about health professions and offers visitors a downloadable copy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, along with a fact sheet. Visitors from higher education institutions and accredited medical education programs who are interested in applying for government grants should definitely check out the "Grants" link. Here they will find a trove of information on grants and how to apply in areas from nursing to dentistry to diversity. The "Workforce Analysis" link has six downloadable studies documenting the nursing shortage in the United States, which is projected to reach one million people by the year 2020. Overall this site is a great resource for those working in the health professions, healthcare educators, and students. [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 New Jersey Historical Society

Founded in 1845, the New Jersey Historical Society (NJHS) is the oldest cultural institution in the Garden State. The NJHS website provides access to information about their activities, which include sponsoring seminars, offering outreach programs, and also a set of digital collections. In the "Explore Our Collections" area, visitors can view photographs from the NJHS collections, browse guides to different parts of the collection, and also find out information about the different research affiliates. Moving along, the "Do History" tab provides information for those researchers and others who would like to know where to start within the NJHS collections. The site is rounded out by the "Visit Us" area which includes detailed information about the headquarters in Newark. [KMG]

Molecular Logic: Browsing Stepping Stones

Created by the Concord Consortium with support from the National Science Foundation, the goal of the Molecular Logic website is "to develop students' understanding of molecules, their interactions and the consequences of these interactions." The researchers and specialists in charge of the site have selected ten physical-chemical principles that underlie many biological processes. They call them "Molecular Stepping Stones", and the site includes entry-level model-based activities for each of these steps. Some of the steps have multiple parts, and visitors will note that each section includes an interactive activity and notes for teachers. Some of the subjects covered here include molecular folding, chemical reactions, and the structure and function in proteins. [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

Design Challenge Projects

Based at Cambridge University, the Engineering Design Challenges were created to give students the opportunity to experience working as part of a team on a problem in a similar manner to commercial design and project management. As part of their outreach to budding engineers, they have created these various projects to be used by teachers and students alike. Currently, there are three projects on the site: "Bridge Design Spring-Powered Vehicles", "Low Noise Aircraft Undercarriage", and "Retractable Stadia Roofing". Each of these projects includes an introduction, a kit list, and a set of outside resources. There is also a helpful "General" resources section, which provides information on "Introduction to Design", "Project Management", "Structural Design", and more. Taken as a whole, these projects offer a creative and well-designed way for engineering students to think about such endeavors. [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

A Moment of Science

What is a "funny bone"? What do bicycles, footballs, and space shuttles have in common? These are but a few of the intriguing questions explored by the "A Moment of Science" radio program. Based at Indiana University, Bloomington and broadcast by WFIU, these short vignettes "remove some of the mystery from science, but not the wonder." Visitors can start by looking at the "Recent Audio Podcasts" to listen to programs like "How Sound Travels Under Water" and "Using Oxygen To Search For Alien Planets". Moving on, visitors can click on the "Archive" tab to view past episodes of the program dating back to January 7, 2003. Also, visitors can view the "Most Popular" episodes and podcasts, and then sign up to stay connected with the program via social media. [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

Physics to go videos

Physics can be taught in a number of ways, and these short videos are a nice way to hook students into the discipline. These particular videos were created by the Physics in Society team at the Institute of Physics, and their goal is "to inspire people of all ages about physics." There are nineteen videos here, and each one features a demonstration, along with information about the required ingredients or materials and instructions for performing each demonstration in front of a class or with others. Titles of the videos include "Erupting Fizz", "Magical Match", "Amazing Marshmallows", and "Cartesian Diver". The nice thing about these demonstrations is that they are easy to perform, and they require a minimum of materials. Finally, the site is rounded out by an area that includes links to other informative teaching resources, such as "Physics Evolution" and "Food Physics". [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

Thinking Outside the Box: European Cabinets, Caskets, and Cases

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has amassed quite a collection of important and detailed boxes, caskets, and small chests over the past century or so. This delightful website features over 100 examples of such works taken from the Museum's Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Visitors can listen to curator Danielle Kisluk-Grosheide talk about some of the works and then browse through the items. The "Collection Database" includes links to the items, and visitors can look at a list of them organized by date, title of work, or image title. The cabinet by the workshop of Melchior Baumgartner from the 17th century is a terrific place to start an adventure through the site. It is a highly intricate object made out of oak, pine, walnut, silver, yellow-metal mounts, and aquamarine-colored silk. Other objects of note here include a tea caddy from the 18th century and an elegant snuffbox from 18th century Germany. [KMG]

Iowa Digital Library: Stradivari String Quartet Recordings

Based at the University of Iowa, the Stradivari String Quartet is well regarded in classical music circles for their fine playing and their dedication to breathing new life into standards of the repertoire. Recently, the University of Iowa Libraries decided to digitize a number of their historical recordings for inclusion in the Iowa Digital Library project. First-time visitors may wish to start by listening to the concert from January 10, 1965, which features works by Joseph Hayden, Walter Piston, and Johannes Brahms. All told, there are 92 different musical offerings here, and visitors can search the collection by date, composer, or composition title. It's a nice set of musical offerings, and one that will be of great interest to musicologists and classical music enthusiasts. [KMG]

Canada's History-Magazine

Looking for a bit of Canadian history? The magazine "Canada's History" is a good place to start, and they have recently launched a new version of their website. First-time visitors will note that the website features sections that include "Trading Post", "Online Extension", and "Album". The "Trading Post" area features pieces on the Hudson's Bay Company culled from its own in-house magazine, "The Beaver". Here visitors will learn about Inuit art, Cree moccasins, and Fort Garry tea. In the "Online Extension" area, visitors can view rich multimedia features on marine archaeology in Nunavut and the prominent artist Aba Bayefsky. Finally, the "Album" area features photos submitted by readers from their own personal collections, complete with annotations and explanations of their importance. [KMG]

The Digital Revolution and Higher Education [pdf]

There's been quite a bit of debate about how technological innovation and distance learning are transforming higher education. This 29-page report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project takes a look at how adults generally view these changes, along with a specific focus on how college presidents view this ongoing transformation. This report by Kim Parker, Amanda Lenhart, and Kathleen Moore was published in August 2011 and its findings are based on an online and telephone survey conducted in the spring of 2011. Some findings include: 29% of the public says online courses offer an equal value compared with courses taken in a classroom; about 51% of those college presidents polled say online courses provide the same value; and about 15% also said that their current undergraduate students have taken a class online. It's a worthy report for anyone interesting in the changing climate of higher education, and persons working in policy matters in and around this area. [KMG]

The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc

In 1994 Jean-Marie Chauvet, along with two other spelunker friends, discovered a cave in France filled with geologic and artistic wonders of a prehistoric vintage. The website created to showcase their find is extremely well done and very beautiful. Visitors interested in going right away to the different types of treasures found in the cave should click on "Visit the Cave" in the lower right hand corner. Once there, visitors can choose to view "Art Ensembles" or "Natural and Archaeological Elements" by scrolling over red or green points to see a thumbnail, and then clicking on it to see an enlarged image as well as an explanation. Zooming in further is possible when a yellow dotted box appears in the image. Visitors curious to see the mostly whole skull of an ibex should click on the first green point from the entrance. The "End Chamber", on the upper far right corner of the map, with only red points, should not be missed. There visitors will find black paintings of rhinoceroses, felines, horses, bison and ibex in a large panel. [KMG]

International Road Federation: Publications

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Road Federation (IRF) is an organization of road experts with the "mission to encourage and promote development and maintenance of better, safer and more sustainable roads and road networks." Visitors will find that their website includes sections on "Projects", "Training", "Statistics" and "Publications". In the "Publications" section, there are more than a dozen issues of the IRF Bulletin shown, all available for free on the site. Some of the topics of the Special Edition Bulletins include "Rural Transport", "Urban Mobility", "Public Private Partnership", and "Intelligent Transport Systems". The Rural Transport Special Edition has articles such as "Transport Poverty Alleviation: An Approach in Bangladesh" and "The Impact of Rural Transport on Socio-Economic Development in Nicaragua". Some of the other publications available to visitors are the monthly "World Highways" and "Bi-Annual Reports" which offer a movieclip slideshow for the IRF's 60th anniversary. [KMG]


Created in 2006 as part of the University of Massachusetts Boston's Center on Media & Society, EthnicNewz is a weekly digital portal that offers the "best ethnic news stories and opinions" from the New England area. In the "About Us" link, there is a link to the "Ethnic Media Database" for New England, which contains the contact information for all the media outlets from which the EthnicNewz gets its news. On the homepage, visitors will find three colorful links to "Sights", "Sounds" and "Places" that offer photos and videos in the news, a map of the places where there are news stories or events occurring, along with the story or event description. The Sounds link features audio from citizen journalists, with reporting on topics such as "Winter Driving Tips" in Portuguese and Spanish; "Diet and the Second-Generation Immigrant", and prevention of diabetes, in Spanish. Recent blog posts, found on the left side of the homepage, include "New Immigration Video Game is in Bad Taste" and "Sikhs Should Always Expect Airport Patdowns". [KMG]

Argosy Foundation

The private Argosy Foundation is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was started in 1997 by the co-founder of Boston Scientific. The "Who We Are" link on the homepage provides an excellent overview of how they choose to fund projects, and the "Frequently Asked Questions" section informs visitors about the special programs they fund. For example, the "Contemporary Music Fund" is "designed to promote the proliferation and awareness of contemporary classical or 'non-pop' music." The world-famous Kronos Quartet is one of the partners of the Contemporary Music Fund. Visitors interested in the depth of research the staff of Argosy do when deciding to fund an issue or program, should check out the "Resources" link to several of the reports and briefs they've written. Some of the briefs include affordable housing, use of grass pellets as a heat and energy source, xeriscaping, and lessening the environmental impact of the freight and commercial trucking industry. An abstract and brief are provided for each topic featured here. [KMG]

Network Tools

MapQuest 4 Mobile 2.5.2

If you find yourself getting lost on a regular basis or just in need of directions, you may want to download this version of MapQuest 4 Mobile. With this application, users will get voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigational directions to their destination. Users can also check on the current traffic conditions, and MapQuest 4 Mobile also works to modify directions as needed based on such conditions. This version is compatible with iPhone and iPad devices running iOS 3.1.3 and newer and BlackBerry devices (via BlackBerry App World). [KMG]

LibreOffice 3.3.4

Designed to function as an open source productivity suite, LibreOffice contains a word processing application, a detailed calculator, and the rather powerful "Impress" tool. The "Impress" tool allows users to enhance presentations by adding 2D and 3D clip art, special effects, and transition styles. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer, Mac OS X 10.3 and newer, and Linux. [KMG]

In The News

As dams are removed on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, many are hopeful for the future

Special Reports: Elwha River Valley

Elwha ceremony recalls how treaty fight changed Northwest

Wild-fish groups to sue over Elwha River hatchery

Farewell, Dams. Hello, Salmon?

Olympic National Park: Elwha River Restoration

Man to Machine: Peninsula Logging

This weekend, a number of scientists, engineers, tribal representatives, and government officials gathered in Washington's Olympic Peninsula to commemorate the start of a major dam removal project. Over the next few years, the Elwha Dam and the Glines Canyon Dam will be removed in attempt to restore the Elwha River to its natural course. The removal of these dams will be completed by 2014, but restoring the salmon runs in the area (a major goal of the project) may take much longer. The start of this project is a big victory for dam removal advocates, who are also looking into dam removal initiatives along much larger rivers in the West, such as the Snake and Columbia. Commenting on the potential salmon runs in the future, Adeline Smith, 93, a member of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, remarked, "I probably won't see it, but my grandchildren and great-grandchildren probably will." [KMG]

The first link will take interested parties to an excellent special report from the Seattle Times on this massive project. The site includes interviews, planning documents, blogs, and first-hand reporting. The second link will take users to a piece by Rocky Barker from this Monday's Idaho Statesman about the tribal presence at these recent celebrations for the dam removal project. The third link will take users to a piece from this Monday's Houston Chronicle about the ongoing battle between wild-fish advocates in Washington and those who want to use hatchery fish to restock the Elwha River. Moving along, the fourth link leads to a post from the New York Times' "Green" blog about the dam removal project by Sean Patrick Farrell. The fifth link leads to the National Park Service website about the Elwha River Restoration. It includes official planning documents and a set of webcams for a first-hand look at the project. The final link leads to a fine digital collection from the University of Washington which offers photographs and other documents that tell the story of logging on the Olympic Peninsula.

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