The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 46

November 18, 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

San Francisco Aerial Photographs 1938

Have you ever wanted to fly over San Francisco in the year 1938? Well, now you can in a manner of speaking. Recently, the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection website digitized 164 large format, black and white, vertical aerial photographs taken by Harrison Ryker, a pioneer in aerial photography. The photos are quite remarkable, and visitors can zoom in to see such details as the paint striping on a basketball court. Visitors can peer out over the Ferry Terminal Building, the long-gone Mission Bay Roundhouse, and Hunters Point. The site also contains a detailed biographical sketch of Harrison Ryker, complete with a few of the advertisements for his own products, like the M-11 Stereoscope. Finally, visitors can also save specific images for future references. [KMG]

Integrative Genomic Sciences [pdf]

Wesleyan University's Integrative Genomic Sciences (IGS) program is designed to help students learn how genomics utilizes bioinformatics. The IGS website contains several teaching modules for two such courses, and educators are encouraged to use these modules as curricular supplements or as a framework for developing their own examples in a computer lab setting. Two of the modules use Drosophila genes to explore genetic maps, the power of relational databases, and the strengths and weaknesses of some biological database searching tools. Moving along, the site also contains teaching demonstrations of two algorithms used to cluster data. Interested parties will note that these demonstrations can be easily incorporated into a classroom lecture. The site is rounded out by a set of relational databases and tools. [KMG]

Microarrays Media Book [Flash Player]

A team of researchers at Davidson College created this fascinating online tutorial, and they refer to it as a "textbook for a technology society". There are four interrelated modules here which use 3D animation and interactive learning tools to help students understand functional genomics and its applications. Each module has a number of smaller sections that contain basic summaries of each concept. Visitors can use the virtual "lab bench" to learn about the measurement of the expression of an entire genome as part of their learning experience. The site also includes a glossary, a page bookmark, and a scientific calculator. Additionally, there are complete transcripts of each narrated section on the site, along with a rather fun puzzle. [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

SURF Talk Book [pdf]

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at the California Institute of Technology is designed to give "undergraduate students an opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of leading scientists and engineers." At the end of their time at Caltech each summer the students give an oral presentation on SURF Seminar Day. Mary Ann Ahart and Carolyn Ash authored the SURF Talk Book, and it contains materials that will prove helpful to anyone looking for presentation tips. The Talk Book contains five short chapters including "The Audience", "Visual Aids", "Organization", and "Presentation". The first chapter, "The Audience", is a mini-masterpiece, as it offers very concrete and specific advice on how to create a compelling presentation that will capture the audience's attention. Some of the sage advice found here includes "Create variety" and "Use a novel approach". This is a remarkably useful document and one that will prove worthwhile to those seeking to craft effective presentations in a range of disciplines. [KMG]


Based at Harvard University, the Cyberbridge program is designed to help high school students transition into the first year of life sciences courses at Harvard. Even if you arent going to Harvard in the fall, the materials will prove useful to others as well. The materials are divided into five topical areas, including "Mendel's Laws" and "Mitosis and Meiosis". Visitors can click on each section to look over a brief introduction to each topic, complete with links to diagrams and interactive exercises. Upon reviewing the materials, visitors can take a short quiz to test their comprehension. The site also contains a glossary that defines commonly used terms and concepts, such as adenine, allele, and valence shell. The site is rounded out by a set of links to sites with additional animations and videos which explain the inner life of a cell. [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


Based in New York City, the MOUSE organization works to empower "underserved students to provide technology support and leadership in their schools, supporting their academic and career success." On their homepage, visitors can learn about their programs, learn about supporting the MOUSE organization, and read up on their resources. In the "Resources" area, visitors can learn about their outreach activities in New York City, Chicago, and California. Visitors working in educational outreach will appreciate the information offered here, including materials on how different groups can receive assistance from the MOUSE organization. Also, visitors can look over the "News" updates to learn about their new programs, their educational seminars, and their outreach activities. [KMG]

iSeek: STEM Careers

Minnesotas iSeek website "works with the state's workforce development and education authorities to develop and inform policy and to strategize services for career planning, education and e-learning, and workforce development." But the resources on the STEM Careers and Skills section of the site arent just for those people living in Minnesota; this section provides all visitors the opportunity to explore STEM career skills that can be helpful no matter what state they live in. Visitors interested in learning what STEM skills are, should check out the link "Understanding STEM Skills". Here key STEM skills are outlined, such as analytical skills, science skills, technical, and math skills. The site also goes on to outline some of the soft skills that those in STEM careers should have, such as leadership, organization, communication, and creative skills. Visitors can take a free 5-10 minute "Skills Assessment" to determine which of their interests and skills match up with STEM careers. The "STEM Careers" link has a list of high-demand STEM careers, average hourly wage, and typical education requirements. [KMG]

General Interest

The Museum of Mathematics

The Museum of Mathematics will open in Manhattan in 2012 and they already have their website up and running. The goal of the museum is to enhance public understanding of mathematics. The materials on the site are divided into six primary sections, including "Press", "News", and "Gallery". In the "Gallery", visitors can learn about the Museum's construction and also watch entertaining and instructional videos. The videos include "Symmetry, Art & Illusion", "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers", and "The Geometry of Origami". Further along, visitors can learn about their traveling exhibition "The Math Midway" and also sign up to receive their Twitter updates. The site is rounded out by a link where visitors can become a museum member or shop for math-related items. [KMG]

National Archives of Iceland

Created in 1985, the National Archives of Iceland was established to preserve and collect materials related to the culture, government, and history of Iceland. First-time visitors will want to read the introduction to the National Archives contained within the "A Brief Introduction" area. Visitors can also read the complete text of the National Archives Data and learn about the official policy for preserving electronic records from various agencies in Iceland. While much of the material here is only offered in Icelandic, the National Archives Census Database is available in English. The database comes complete with instructions on how to effectively search for individuals, and there are some summary statistics from 1703 to 1890 of note in the "Statistics" area. [KMG]

Marist Archives and Special Collections - On-line Exhibits

Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York has a range of materials that span the globe from the traveling papers of noted journalist Lowell Thomas to Tibetan headwear. Over the past few years, they have worked to create guides to their collections, and along the way they have digitized a number of objects for inclusion on this site. First-time visitors will want to look over the "Picture of the Day", which features items from Marist College history, panoramic views, and 360-degree views of unique items. The team at the College has also created a monthly digital archive which features a grid of items such as historic photographs of India, Venice, and items from Lowell Thomas's travels. Finally, the site also has a "Headlines" area which includes information about new exhibits and research tools. [KMG]

The Great Chicago Fire & The Web of Memory

Many American cities have been destroyed via a great conflagration, and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is certainly one of the best known. The Chicago History Museum has created this two-part website which explores the history of the fire and also the ways in which the fire has been remembered. In the first section ("The Great Chicago Fire") visitors can look over essays about pre-fire Chicago from writers like Frederick Francis Cook and Bessie Bradwell Helmer, who were present at the fire. Back on the homepage, the "Special Features" area includes a chronological timeline of the fire, an interactive tour of fire landmarks, and some 3D views. The second primary section of the site is titled "The Web Of Memory" and it contains eyewitness reports, front page reporting from the frontlines, and a clutch of documents about the legend of Mrs. O'Leary's cow. [KMG]

John Rogers: American Stories

During his long career, the American sculptor John Rogers sold over 80,000 works. Without a doubt, he was the most popular sculptor of the 19th century in America, and his small narrative plasters were part of a storied artistic tradition in the United States. Through his work, he reached thousands of Americans and he addressed the ideals and issues that shaped their everyday experience. Frequently his sculptures depicted scenes of rural life, as well as clusters of famous and heroic figures. This website from the New York Historical Society provides a chronology of his life (complete with photographs and other visual materials), along with an exploration of his process as he created his works. Perhaps the most interesting section is the "Rogers as a Businessman" area. Here visitors can look over his early advertisements and learn about his highly successful marketing strategies. Finally, the "Public Responses" area provides a series of reactions to his works from the 1860s to the 1970s. [KMG]

"Classic Six": New York City Apartment Building Living, 1880s-1910s

Apartment envy is not unique to New York City, but it is certainly one of the closest watched real estate markets in the world. As the twentieth century began, savvy real estate developers worked to create ever-grander buildings around Central Park and other prominent locations around the city. This digital collection from the New York Public Library brings together 1300 images that depict elevation views and floor plans for middle and upper-class apartment buildings from the city's pre-World War I residential building boom. The materials include items, diagrams, and photographs from volumes like 1908's "Apartment houses of the metropolis" and "Modern plumbing, no.6." from 1911. Overall, it's a fun site and urbanologists, historians, and lovers of New York City will find it most enjoyable. [KMG]

More than a Picture: Helping Undergraduates Learn to Communicate through Scientific Images [pdf]

How do college professors get their students excited about science? One possible way is through the effective use of scientific images, such as slides, enlarged images, and so on. This essay on just that subject was originally published in "Life Sciences Education" and was authored by Fiona L. Watson and Barbara Lom of Davidson College's department of biology and program in neuroscience. In this 9-page document the two look at how a group of students improved their visual literacy skills over the time of an upper-level biology laboratory course. Visitors can read over the document to learn how their project was constructed, and along the way they may discover on how to improve on their own classroom materials. [KMG]

The Great American Hall of Wonders

The Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit, the Great American Hall of Wonders, "examines the nineteenth-century American belief that the people of the United States shared a special genius for innovation." The Smithsonian has provided an online slideshow and podcast to accompany the in situ exhibit. The first image in the online slideshow is The Artist in His Museum, by Charles Willson Peale, painted in 1822, showing Peale at the age of 81, amidst shelves of specimens at the public museum he founded. Another earlier Peale is also featured in the show, Exhumation of the Mastodon, 1806-1808. Also included are Edison's light bulb, Audubon birds, and not only Andrew Joseph Russell's 1869 ambrotype, showing the joining of the east and west lines of the Trans-American railroad, but also the commemorative golden spike made at the William T. Garrett Foundry as well. [DS]

Network Tools


Creating a bibliography or set of references used to be quite time consuming, however a number of free programs and applications have helped make this process much simpler. One such application is CiteThisForMe, which allows users to create their own references via this handy form. CiteThisForMe uses the Harvard referencing style, and visitors just need to enter a number of details to create each reference. Visitors have the option to cite a book, newspaper, journal, website, or other type of source. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Video ads can be quite a nuisance. AdBlockVideo can help users out by effectively blocking such ads. Visitors will need to download the program and they can toggle AdBlockVideo on and off as they see fit. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer, Max OS 10.3 and newer, and Linux. [KMG]

In The News

As the debate over the use of real names online continues, Salman Rushdie's Facebook account is deactivated, albeit briefly

Rushdie Wins Facebook Fight Over Identity [Free registration may be required]

Sir Salman Rushdie claims victory in Facebook name row

'Nym' wars, part 1/6

The nym wars: how many identities are enough?

Google Plus forces us to discuss identity

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility

You probably haven't heard of Mary Ann Evans, Richard Bachman, or Eric Blair. These are the actual names of the authors George Eliot, Stephen King, and George Orwell, respectively. At different points in their careers they all opted to use pen names for one reason or another. But what about a well-known author who chooses to use his called name as his online identity? This is a question of our modern age, and one that recently came into play regarding one Ahmed Rushdie. Ahmed is more commonly known by his called name, Salman Rushdie, and he is one of the most well known writers in the world. Recently, Rushdie found that his online Facebook profile (which lists his name as Salman Rushdie) was deactivated by the company for violating their policy that all users must sign up with their real names. Facebook is quite insistent on this, referring to it as an "authentic identity". After learning that his account had been deactivated, Rushdie took to the Twitterverse, tweeting "Where are you hiding, Mark? [Referring to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook] Come out here and give me back my name!" Shortly after sending out his tweets, Rushdie's account was restored. While this particular incident was resolved quickly, it is reflective of a broader debate going on that some are calling the "nym wars". At stake is whether a range of companies and social networking services (including Facebook and Google) will require all users to use their actual legal name as part of their terms of service. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from this Monday's New York Times about Mr. Rushdie's recent Facebook encounter. The second link will whisk interested parties away to a another article from the Daily Telegraph which includes some of Rushdie's protest tweets such as "Or, if F. Scott Fitzgerald was on #Facebook, would they force him to be Francis Fitzgerald? What about F. Murray Abraham?" The third link leads to a nice series of commentaries on the "nym wars" from Joseph Hewitt, writing in the Guardian. The fourth link leads to another fine set of meditations from Oxford University's "Practical Ethics" blog on the "nym wars". The fifth link leads to an article by Cory Doctorow on how Google Pluss identity policy "embodies a theory that states the way to maximize civility is to abolish anonymity." The last link leads to the homepage for the Center for Computing and Social Responsibility. Here visitors can learn about their research on online identities and related matters.

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