The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 44

November 4, 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

Serendip [Flash Player]

The Serendip website was created in 1994 at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and today it averages more than 20,000 unique visitors per day. The site is "for those who ask questions without boundaries", and it is truly interdisciplinary in its tone and focus. The site contains areas like "The Breaking Project" which is an evolving space for publishing and exploring writing, artwork, and film. Here visitors will find essays, artwork, poetry, stories, and video clips that will help push their understanding of "creative disruptions in thinking, writing, and creating." Further along, the site also has sections dedicated to "Brian & Behavior", "Education", "Science" and "Digital Humanities". Visitors should not miss the "Playground" area, which contains interactive activities like "Chance in Life and the World" and "Ambiguous Figures". The entire site is a delight, and it will push college students (and everyone else) to think outside the box. [KMG]

NOVA: scienceNOW: Explore Teacher's Guides

The vast and fascinating world of science and technology is made accessible and interesting via NOVA's fine programs. This particular website was designed by NOVA's scienceNOW group, and it offers a wide range of teacher's guides designed to be used in conjunction with the scienceNOW programs. The guides are divided into thirteen topical areas, including "Mathematics", "Physics" and "Space Science". The activities within each area are designed to be used for before and after viewing the scienceNOW programs, and they include activities around primate evolution, the 1918 flu epidemic, and mass extinctions. Visitors can also look over their science news updates, as well as research projects like Einsten@home, which deals with looking into waves from space. [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

Knight Digital Media Center: Maps Tutorials

The Knight Digital Media Center produces a range of media tools designed to assist journalists and other storytellers with their work and projects. This site of tools is designed to help people get started with using maps in their various publications and presentations. The presentations here include "Map Mashup Resources", "Google Map Basics", "Embedding Map Mashups" and "Map Mashups: Collaboration". Each of these presentations includes a video orientation that will help users get started quickly with their own work. A particularly useful resource is the "Embedding Map Mashups" tutorial, which will teach interested parties how to quickly embed their newly created maps into their own sites. The last section of the site is titled "Maps Links and Resources", and here visitors can learn about how maps are being used online to share information and also find a list of "100 Things to Do With Mashups". [KMG]

Study Skills Tip Sheets & Advice [pdf]

Becoming a successful college student means adapting to the pace and rigors of academic expectations. Staff members at Emory University's College of Arts and Sciences have created this set of study skills tip sheets and advice to help students accomplish their goals. On the site, visitors will find nine different documents, including "Science and Math Tips for Success", "Note-taking", and "Essential Tips for Freshmen (and other students too)". The site also includes documents on getting ready for a test and time management. Visitors will also note that the site contains links to a GPA grade calculator and the equally important "Raise Your GPA Calculator". [KMG]

Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM

Based in Ohio, the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES) website "bring[s] STEM School design, STEM curriculum, and STEM instructional support to schools, districts, states, and the federal government". Since implementing STEM goals and seeing results can be a difficult prospect schools face, one of the innovative programs being tried by TIES is under the "Learn and Earn Challenge" tab on the menu across the top of the page. Visitors will see that students engage in apprenticeships that pay them a living wage while earning credentials. The list of grants given for such programs are highlighted, as well as news of grants recently given, such as to Arizona, for encouraging rural engineers, and to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) from IBM, to make UMES' engineers competitive in the engineering job market. Visitors will find almost a dozen publications and various resources dealing with the "Learn and Earn Challenge" near the bottom of the page. [KMG]

Community Oriented Policing Services

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is the office of the U.S. Department of Justice that "advances the practice of community policing in America's state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies." COPS was created in 1994, and since then it has worked to provide technical and practical assistance to thousands of law enforcement partners across the country. First-time visitors should stop by the "About" section to learn a bit more about their work and to view practical documents like "Burglary at Single-Family House Construction Sites" and "2011 Electronic Control Weapons Guidelines". Scholars and policy folks shouldn't miss the "Resources" area. Here curious visitors will find the COPS Media Center and the archives of the "Geography & Public Safety" newsletter, which focuses on how GIS is being used to assist law enforcement activities. [KMG]

The Science of Vision and the Emergence of Art

How have changing notions of vision and sight transformed artistic endeavors? As modern art emerged in the late 19th century, scientists were also exploring how humans see, and some remarkable work came out of this period. This creative online exhibit explores the science of vision by looking through the works of scientists and artists like Cennino Cennini, Leon Battista Alberti, and Michel Chevreul. The exhibit contains sections like "Light, color and vision" and "Luminance and equiluminance". Visitors will find dazzling visual documentation of such techniques and advances, including works by Richard Billingham, Hans Hofmann, and Vincent Van Gogh. One section visitors shouldn't miss is the area on "Peripheral Vision", which looks at how humans use their peripheral vision and how this affects their experience of the world around them. [KMG]

General Interest

Pacific Historic Parks

Designed to support and fund educational materials and interpretive programs for four National Parks throughout the Pacific (including the Kalaupapa National Historical Park), the Pacific Historic Parks organization has a visually enticing website. On the homepage, visitors will find information about their work in four sections, including "Education" and "Locations". First-time visitors may want to start by looking over the "Locations" area. Here they will find information about each park, complete with a Google Map interface that will let them learn more about each site. In the "Education" area, visitors can download a copy of their educational brochure and also take a look at several of their booklets for educators. Moving on, the "Audio Tour" area contains a copy of the accompanying brochure for an audio tour narrated by actor Jamie Lee Curtis. [KMG]

Legal Aid Network of Kentucky

Created by a group of Kentucky's legal service providers, the focus of the Legal Aid Network of Kentucky's website is to provide helpful information about legal services available to specific "groups of vulnerable Kentuckians". These groups include people who meet certain income guidelines, people 60 years and older, and in some cases, those people who are victims of domestic violence. Visitors will find that the site has five primary sections, including "Find Legal Help", "Self-Help Forms", and "Law Library". Visitors can use the "Find Legal Help" area to look up local legal services from across the state or by using an interactive map provided here. The "Video Library" area offers short videos about bankruptcy, eviction, and foreclosure. It is important to remember that these videos provide legal information, and do not constitute legal advice. Finally, visitors can also use the search engine here to look for information on specific topics. [KMG]

Oral History: Oregon State University Extension Service

Extension programs are a common feature of many state universities, and they often provide support to residents in areas such as agriculture, community development, and planning. In preparation for its centennial in 2011, the Oregon State University Extension Service interviewed several of its emeritus faculty in order to preserve the history of the Service from WWII to the late 1990s. This website contains interviews, transcripts, and photographs from 10 former faculty members, including Roberta Frasier Anderson, who taught child development and other subjects at OSU from 1959 to 1974. The other interviewees cover topics that include home economics, 4-H activities, administration history, and communications. Visitors can also click on the "More Oral History Collections" link to find out more about other OSU collections. [KMG]

Miss America Protests, 1968 and 1969

In 1968 and 1969 a group of people began to question the importance and role of the Miss America pageant contests. The ensuing protests helped launch the Women's Liberation Movement into the public consciousness. This digital collection from Duke University Libraries offers a host of photographs, articles, flyers, planning documents, and responses to these events. Visitors to the site can perform a detailed search across the entire collection, or they can browse around at their leisure. All told, there are 65 items here, and they can be viewed as a slideshow, a 3-D screen "wall", or in a grid or list format. The items include "Who Will Miss America?", photographs of some of the contestants, and commentaries from the time, such as Art Buchwald's piece "The Bra Burners". [KMG]

Empire Ranch Collection

The history of ranching in the American West is an engaging one, and it involves a myriad of players, including farmers, politicians, and power brokers of all stripes. The Empire Ranch in southern Arizona was one of the largest cattle ranches in the state, and its story dates back to the 1860s. Homesteader Edward Nye Fish first established the ranch, and it was originally just a mere160 acres. By the 1880s, the ranch was over a million acres and it later became a popular filming destination for many Westerns in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, the ranch is part of the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. This digital collection brings together over 50 documents from the University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections department, including photographs and diaries from one of the primary owners of the ranch, Edward Vail. Visitors will also find other documents here, including grazing permits, maps of the property, and railroad ephemera. [KMG]

Latinization of Southern Space and Place

Geographers, planners, and sociologists are interested in how Latinos are transforming the American South. The University of Richmond hosts this photographic collection, and it provides some insights into how these landscapes are being changed by this particular group of people. The photos were taken by Daniel S. Margolies, and his work was sponsored by the support of a Maurice L. Mednick Memorial Fellowship for Independent Colleges and Virginia Wesleyan College. Visitors can click on the "Photo Gallery" link to get started, and here they can use the filters to navigate tags such as "Vehicles", "Signs", "Strip Malls", and "Tiendas". Interested parties can also look around by geographic region, and the filters here include "Durham", "Axton", and "Booneville". Taken as a whole this is a great way to start thinking about the cultural landscape of the American South and how Latinos have begun to transform the region. [KMG]

The Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching Digital Library

Sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professors Program, the Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching is designed to "enhance undergraduate biology education by training a new generation of 'scientific teachers." The hope is that these new instructors will bring the rigor and spirit of science research to teaching. The program is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and partners have worked to create the materials for this very nice digital library. On this site, users will find twenty different units designed to get young people excited about science. Visitors can scroll through the offerings here, including "Going Viral!" and "Microbial Ecology, Evolution, and Symbiosis". Each unit includes a teacher's guide, along with a listing of primary goals and supplemental materials. [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

Multimedia: de Young Museum

The de Young Museum has put a collection of its multimedia on one web page for visitors to enjoy. In the Museum's words, the page "provides access to the wide variety of media, symposia, new technologies and interactives that augment the Museums' permanent collections." For example, watch a 20-minute presentation on Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) in art conservation. Head object conservator Elizabeth Cornu talks about using the process with a 15th century enamel plaque from France - a conservator's nightmare because of the material: paint on glass, on top of copper, and handled roughly over the years. There are also two related short movies by Mark Eby that should not be missed. "The Man Who Cannot Die" is about late contemporary artist Kaipel Ka, from the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Ka painted comic book characters and corporate logos on traditional war shields. "The Shield is My Brother" depicts the cultural shift in the Papua Highlands, where young men are no longer trained for tribal fighting with bows, arrows, and wooden shields - and follows several young men as they observe the art of shield making. [DS]

Network Tools


Scrambling through the Internet for a particular image can be time-consuming and tedious. PicsLikeThat offers a visually delightful way to look for images that will be most useful. Visitors just need to enter a search term into their search engine, and they will have a grid display of relevant images returned to their computer screen. Visitors can click on each result to find out more information about each image, and they can also look for additional images based on certain characteristics, such as color or shape. The interface is quite intuitive, and it's also a bit fun. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Do you like to drum? Well, if you have been dabbling in a bit of drumming with your iPhone, this application may be just what you are looking for. The application allows users to sync the sound of just about any object to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and link it to high quality drum samples. The site has a helpful video to help first-time users get started, and it's very easy to use. Users will need an iPhone 3GS or later to use this application. [KMG]

In The News

The X Prize Foundation issues a new challenge to the scientific community

An X Prize for faster human genome sequencing

The X Prize Foundation: Now count to a hundred

California Foundation Announces $10 Million Genetic Prize

X PRIZE Foundation

New England Centenarian Study

The Centenarian

Most centenarians in the U.S., upon reaching that venerable age, receive a birthday card from the President and perhaps a mention by Willard Scott. Soon, a geneticist may also contact them, but for more than just birthday wishes. The X Prize Foundation recently announced that they are looking for teams of scientists to accurately sequence the DNA of 100 centenarians within 30 days at the cost of $1000 or less per genome. The team that is successful will receive a $10 million prize. The X Prize Foundation has previously sponsored contests design to work on new technology to clean up oil spills and to land a robot on the moon, and this particular idea has been bouncing around since 2006. The contest will start in January 2013, and the winners will have to make sure that their results have no more than one mistake per million base pairs and it will have to be done quite quickly, as the contest only lasts for 30 days. The goal is to find out what makes centenarians different from other people and to also establish an industry standard for sequencing. Of course, the hope is that eventually there will be some true insights into what may distinguish centenarians from other persons as well. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a recent piece from the Los Angeles Times which includes an interview with J. Craig Venter, a genome-sequencing and the co-chairman of this X Prize competition. The second link will take interested parties to an article from last week's The Economist which talks about the upcoming competition. Moving along, the third link will take visitors to a news report from Voice of American about the X Prize Foundation competition. The fourth link leads to the homepage of the X Prize Foundation. Here visitors can learn about the gene sequencing competition, along with other initiatives they are working on. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the New England Centenarian Study, which is based at Boston University. Visitors can look around the site to learn about this unique study and also read reports and updates about their work. The final link leads a rather interesting website on British centenarians, complete with information about their lifestyles, shared habits, and how they can obtain a birthday card from the Queen of England.

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