The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 39

September 30, 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

Plants in Space

The BioEd Online website is giving interested parties everywhere the opportunity to learn from plants in space. Created in partnership with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and BioServe Space Technologies of the University of Colorado, the project brings together plants from the International Space Station and plants grown by young people in their respective classrooms. The videos and teacher's guides here will let students perform their own experiments in the classroom based on data from space. Visitors will find Power-Point presentations here for use in the classroom, along with videos of the plants in different states of germination. The site is rounded out by detailed information about this type of scientific investigation and the National Science Education Standards. [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

Improving Access to Medicines for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Developing World [pdf]

In September 2011, a group of scholars and doctors met to discuss the global devastation caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These NCDs now account for "the majority of global morbidity and mortality and are increasingly affecting developing countries whose under-resourced health care systems also have to handle a high burden of infectious disease." The seven authors of this 84-page report released by the RAND Corporation in September 2011 crafted this policy research agenda to improve access to NCD medicines in developing countries. The report is divided into five different sections which address promising ideas for improving access to NCD medicines, barriers to access to NCD medicines, and a short section on improving stakeholder collaboration. It's an important document, and those persons with an interest in public health and the developing world will want to take a closer look. [KMG]

Martha Pellerin Collection of Franco-American Song

In the 19th and 20th centuries, many French Canadian families moved across the border from Canada into Vermont to become a part of the industrial workforce in cities such as Rutland and Burlington. They brought with them the traditional culture and language of French Canada, and perhaps most notably, their rather compelling musical folkways. Many of these songs included piano accompaniment, along with percussive foot tapping and spoons. For many decades, Martha Pellerin worked with the Vermont Folklife Center to document these musical traditions, and after her death her collections became part of the University of Vermont's Special Collections department. Visitors will note that this online collection includes nine songbook manuscripts collected by Pellerin and a series of six interviews conducted by her in 1998. They can browse the collection by format, genre, topic, place, or creator. It's a marvelous find, and one that will delight music lovers everywhere. [KMG]

Transition Mathematics Project

The Transitions Math Project (TMP) aims to transition students in high school math to college-level math, without having to take remedial level math courses once they get to college. According to their site, "Twenty-two percent of college freshman need a remedial course in mathematics. In 2- year colleges the problem is even more acute." Visitors will learn in the "History" section of the "About TMP" link that since 2004, TMP has instituted three ways to help students improve their transition. First, they make clear expectations of teachers on what they must teach to prepare students for college-level math. Second, they inform parents and students what will be expected in college-level math, and finally, they establish networks between college and high school teachers to share teaching successes, techniques, and best practices. Visitors will find that the "Curriculum and Instructional Materials" section is a useful repository of curriculum and instructional resources created by TMP teams for use by all teachers. The site also provides professional development materials, TMP Resource Center, and links to their newsletter, math education news, and TMPs social media presence. [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

When Is Dinner Served? Predicting the Spring Phytoplankton Bloom in the Gulf of Maine [pdf]

If you're a marine animal, you might be wondering: When will the spring phytoplankton bloom? This makes sense, as these tiny plants form the base of the marine food chain and are an important part of your ecosystem. Students of marine science and related fields can learn more about predicting the spring phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Maine via this fine educational resource, which was created as part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook. The materials were created by Denise Blaha and Amy Holt Cline of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire. The materials here include teaching notes, a case study file, step-by-step instructions, and tools for exploring this issue. Teachers will note that all of the materials are easy to understand, and the "Going Further" area provides satellite images of phytoplankton blooms from around the world along with other tools. [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

Genetic/Genome Lesson Plans

Since 1995, staff members at the University of Kansas's Medical Center have worked to provide access to a wide range of educational resources for teachers seeking materials on genetics and the human genome. The site is organized in a series of lists, and it starts out with a set of resources created at the Genetics Education Center at the University of Kansas. There are six different resources in this particular area, and they include genetic lesson plans, a curricula list, and genetics standards for different grade levels. Moving on, visitors can look over the "Genetic Programs/Centers/Lesson Plans" area, which contains over 60 teaching activities, interactive websites, and lesson plans from places such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. [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

PBS Teachers: STEM Education Resource Center

More organizations are getting involved with STEM education, and the people at PBS have created this one-stop resource center for educators seeking to "explore new ideas and new worlds related to science." This site contains over 4,000 STEM-related resources drawn from a range of PBS programs, including NOVA, Nature, and Cyberchase. On the right-hand side of the homepage, visitors will find seven sections, including "Math Resources", "Engineering Resources", and "Free Webinars". In each of the STEM-focused sections visitors will find a selection of basic resources, along with a search engine. In the "Free Webinars" area, visitors can view current and archived webinars that deal with copyright and fair use in the classroom, high school STEM resource development, and teaching about Earth Day. The site is rounded out by the "Additional Resources" area which features links to related groups, such as the National Science Teachers Association. [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

MAE 10: Introduction to Engineering Computations

The Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE) 10 course at the University of California at Irvine is a recent addition to their Open Courseware Initiative, and it is well worth a look. The main goal of the course is "to develop computational programming skills and learn computational tools to be used in the solution of engineering problems." The topics covered within the course materials include basic Matlab commands, flow control, selective execution, and modular programming. The course was created by Paul Nissenson, and visitors can click on the "Begin Course" button to get started. Here they will find a syllabus, homework problems, discussion notes, and lecture notes. Finally, visitors who find the course helpful can also provide a testimonial for use 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

General Interest

National Center for Media Engagement [pdf]

Funded by the Center for Public Broadcasting, the National Center for Media Engagement is dedicated to supporting "public media organizations nationwide in engaging their communities." They provide resources for stations and producers to engage citizens in a range of platforms, and their website is a great place to learn about their work. On the homepage, visitors will find seven sections, including "Think & Strategize", "Plan & Design", "Execute", "Renew & Upgrade" and "Communicate Impact". Public media organizations will be able to use these sections to use social media to communicate their mission to the public. Further down on the homepage, visitors can also learn about "Public Media Stories of Impact". These stories are taken from a range of public media organizations, such as pieces from Austin on the arts community and Columbus, Ohio's work on community engagement. It's also worth taking a look at their blog, which contains direct links to other resources created by public radio and television stations from around the United States. [KMG]

WGBH American Experience: The Hurricane of '38 [Flash Player]

In September of 1938, a tremendous storm moved across the Atlantic Ocean and the early predictions from the National Weather Bureau indicated it would probably peter out around Cape Hatteras. Unfortunately, the storm gathered steam as it moved north along the Atlantic Coast seaboard and it ripped into New England as it traveled at 60 miles per hour. It wreaked havoc throughout the region: 600 people were killed, 8,000 homes were damaged, and the property damage totaled over $600 million. This remarkable documentary on the Hurricane of 1938 was produced as part of the American Experience series on PBS, and visitors to this site can watch the program in its entirety here. The program features interviews with Rhode Island fishermen and others who survived the storm. There are some nice extras as well, including articles on the National Weather Service and the aftermath of the hurricane, along with additional interviews not seen in the original documentary. [KMG]

The Phyllis Diller Gag File

Phyllis Diller didn't start her career as a stand-up comic until she was 37, but since then she has provided six decades of saucy entertainment. She has served as the inspiration for female comics including Joan Rivers, Whoopi Goldberg, and Lily Tomlin, and she continues to inspire others as well. This look into Dillers comedic talent and legacy was created by the staff members at the Albert H. Small - Documents Gallery, which is part of the Smithsonian's American History Museum. The site contains six different areas including "The Gag File" and "Looking the Part", which explore different facets of Dillers work and on-stage persona. Each area contains photos and documents that reveal a bit about her work and life. One particularly interesting fact about Ms. Diller is that while she frequently appeared on stage with a cigarette holder, she never actually smoked. [KMG]

Mississippi History Now

The Mississippi Historical Society produces the online publication, "Mississippi History Now", to "encourage interest in the history of Mississippi." On this site, visitors will also find lesson plans for teachers seeking to bring Mississippi's history to younger generations. On the homepage, visitors can check out the current issue's feature, about Senator Pat Harrison, or the previous issue's feature on the Vietnamese in Mississippi. The feature on the Vietnamese explains how a Vietnamese population ended up in Mississippi, how their population is currently faring, and problems they have encountered. Visitors can go to the link for the lesson plan at the end of the feature, and they will be able to choose a plan suitable for grades seven through twelve. The "Archived Features" can be accessed when visitors click on the magnifying glass in the left hand corner of the homepage. The features can be viewed by categories, such as "19th Century Mississippi", "Black History", and "Mississippi Constitutions" or by alphabetical title of the feature, such as "Catfish Farming in Mississippi", "Cotton and the Civil War", and "Flood of 1927". [KMG] Simulation, Education, and Community for Nanotechnology

The nanoHUB was developed by the Network for Computational Nanotechnology and is funded by the National Science Foundation. For a thorough introduction to "What is a Nano?", visitors should go to the "About" section. Here they will find an excellent definition of nanotechnology that not only explains how big a nano is (one billionth of a meter, for those who didn't know already), but it also explains what different types of scientists/professions see nanotechnology accomplishing. For instance, electrical engineers view nanotechnology as the "science of making things small", chemists as the "science of making things big" and material scientists as the "science of finite size". Back on the homepage, visitors will find the four main tools nanoHUB offers to visitors: "Simulate", "Research and Collaborate", "Teach and Learn" and "Share and Publish". Some of the "Resources include "Buckyballs", which is an animation of a 3-D Molecular Model developed for the Children's Museum Nanotechnology Exhibit. They will also find an animation on "How Semiconductors and Transistors Work". Visitors should also check out the "Hub How To Series", which is located in the lower right hand corner of the homepage for videos on how to use nanoHUB. [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

Los Angeles Economic Roundtable

Since 1983, the L.A. Economic Roundtable has worked on two primary goals: to build a sustainable economy and to create inclusive communities. Producing solid, reliable data to aid policymakers is the Roundtable's area of expertise. The website's "areas of research" and "current projects" will give visitors a good overview of what types of issues the Roundtable addresses. Industrial policy, the labor market, and human services are the areas of research the Roundtable concentrates on, and each area has its own separate link. Some of the papers and presentations that are available in the Human Services area of research include a 129 page downloadable report "Where We Sleep: The Costs of Housing and Homelessness in Los Angeles" and a new report entitled "Dividends of a Hand Up: Public Benefits of Moving Indigent Adults with Disabilities onto SSI". The Roundtable's current projects include research on affordable housing, a crisis indicator to identify high-need homeless people, and the water use efficiency sector's impact on jobs. [KMG]

European Commission: Community Research and Development Information Service for Science, Research and Development (CORDIS)

The European Union has created a website for their science, research and development service, which has three goals: facilitation of European research, enhanced use of research results--especially in areas "crucial to Europe's competitiveness", and spreading knowledge to foster the acceptance of new technology. Visitors interested in funding for their won research should definitely check out the "Funding" tab near the top of the homepage, which provides help to researchers on how best to get funding from the EU for their research projects, including helpful topics such as "Supporting Your Ideas", "Combining Different Options", "Understanding the Roles of Authorities", and "Checklist for Funding". For an explanation of co-financing, complementary financing and double financing, visitors must take a look at the "Combining Different Options" link. Those persons curious to read some success stories of EU funding should click on the "Results" link to see how nanotechnology, exercise, and computer gaming have all been involved in EU-funded research to improve people's lives. [KMG]

Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands

This exhibition from the Morgan Library and Museum allows you to page through several dozen 14th and 15th century illuminated manuscripts, and zoom in on the clothes. Visitors can page through the manuscript or view all of the fashionable thumbnails. For example, visitors can click on the thumbnail "St. Adrian as a Fashion Plate" (Part 2) ca. 1440, from Book of Hours, and see the saint wearing a new style for 1440--a fur-lined, knee-length gown, belted at the waist, with stylish pleating and a V neck, as well as a fur hat. Compare this Adrian with "St. Adrian as a Fashion Plate" (Part 1) ca. 141520, from a Book of Hours. This earlier version of the saint wears a short embroidered pourpoint with luxurious poke sleeves, and a blue-lined cloak. Each image allows visitors to zoom in and provides a short description of the manuscript and the fashion by clicking on "About this manuscript. The glossary, which also includes illustrations, reveals that a Pourpoint is a close-fitting jacket of fine cloth, often quilted, while poke sleeves are bag-shaped. In the "Replicas" section visitors can view photographs of four full-scale replicas found at the Museum that are modeling a few of the late medieval ensembles found in the manuscripts. [DS]

Network Tools is based in Toronto, and they believe the traditional text resume is "boring, lengthy, and long overdue for a makeover." With that in mind, they have created the application. Visitors can sign up here to create an interactive and graphically exciting version of their resume that is quite novel. First-time visitors should watch the introductory video on the site, and then look over a few of the sample resumes. The tool is quite a find, and this version of the application is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer and Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. [KMG]


Twinbow is a web application designed to help social media user to engage their network of friends more effectively. The application's basic function allows users to associate certain feeds (like Twitter or RSS) with certain colors. This way, users can search for items of interest more easily. One of the other nice features is that its dashboard format allows users view pictures in-client and they can also read news and other articles without leaving the application. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux. [KMG]

In The News

New project brings more of the Dead Sea Scrolls online

Dead Sea Scrolls come to life on the Web

Dead Sea Scrolls Go Online In Israel Museum Project With Google

Google's Dead Sea Scrolls Project: Why Putting Parchment & Papyrus in the Cloud Matters to Civilization

The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

Educational Site: Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls

This Monday, the 2,000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls went online. With support from Google and the Israel Museum, five of the eight Dead Sea Scrolls were digitized and placed online as part of a project that was unveiled this week. The rather novel project makes entire scrolls accessible and visitors can zoom into the text and read complete translations in English. When asked about the project, museum director James Snyder remarked, "This gives you a way to understand the beginning of biblical history. Nothing could be more important." The scrolls were originally found in caves along the shore of the Dead Sea in the 1940s and 1950s, and since 1965, most of the scrolls have been housed at the Israel Museum. Google's chief of research and design in Israel, Yossi Matias, commented, "The opportunity is amazing here for culture and heritage information." Needless to say, scholars are excited as well about these new developments. Writing for one of Wired's blogs, Jon Stokes noted, "I'm more optimistic than ever before that textual scholarship will soon be empowered to return directly to the primary sources, and to generate a new wave of new-from-the-ground-up tools and methods of the kind that hasn't been seen since the 19th century." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from CNET's Lance Whitney writing about the recent digitization project involving the Dead Sea Scrolls. The second link will lead interested parties to an article from from this Monday about the details of the project. Moving along, the third link leads to the post on Wired's "Cloudline" blog, which talks about the important ramifications of this digital project for scholars. The fourth link will whisk users away to the homepage for the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Project. Here visitors can view the different scrolls and also take a look at some scholarly interpretations of these unique documents. The fifth link leads to a page created by the West Semitic Research Project fellows at the University of Southern California. Here visitors can read different translations of the scrolls and also read a list of books about the scrolls. The final link will take visitors to a great site on the scrolls created by Professor Peter Flint, who has spent a lifetime studying these documents. Visitors to the site can read an introductory essay on the scrolls, watch videos on the science behind understanding the scrolls, and learn about some of Professor Flint's research.

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