The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 47

November 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

Principles of Chemical Science

The basic principles behind chemical science are the bedrock of a number of scientific endeavors, and this remarkable course from MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative is quite a find. Professor Catherine Drennan and Dr. Elizabeth Vogel Taylor created the materials for this course, and the site includes video lectures, lecture notes, and exams. Visitors will note that these materials can be found on the left-hand side of the page, and they can also be downloaded en masse via the "Download Course Materials" link. The topics covered here include the basic principles of atomic and molecular electronic structure, thermodynamics, acid-base and redox equilibria, and chemical kinetics. Also, visitors are encouraged to offer their own feedback on the course, or even provide a donation to help out with this initiative. [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 with the Other 90%: Cities

For the first time in history, the majority of the earths population lives in cities. How can we think about creating meaningful change in the developing world's cities? Organized by Smithsonians Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, this project (on view at the United Nations) brings together 60 projects, proposals, and solutions that address these complex issues. The "Design with the Other 90%: Cities" website brings together some of these projects with an interactive "Solutions" map on the homepage. Visitors can click on the various locations to learn about the projects in each major urban area, some of which include water reclamation projects and low-cost housing units. Also, the homepage includes some featured themes such as "Access", "Adapt", and "Exchange". Here visitors can learn about solutions that improve access to water, sanitation, electricity, health, transportation, and education. Visitors can also join the discussion of such issues via the forums here, or also offer their comment on the blog. [KMG]

Chemistry Tutorials

Getting students ready for college-level chemistry courses is no easy task. Fortunately, Washington University teamed up with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create this online tutorial for persons seeking to do just that. The tutorials here offer reviews of introductory topics within the field of general chemistry, practice problems, practice quizzes, and an online diagnostic exam. On the left-hand side of the site, visitors can click through sections that include "Periodic Table" and "Constants/Equations". The "Subjects" area includes twelve different topics, including moles, chemical formulas, and stoichiometry. Each topical area has a brief overview, complete with diagrams and other illustrative materials. Also, the diagnostic exam may be quite helpful for educators and students who wish to test their mettle against the basic principles of such a chemistry course. [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

Problem-Based Learning at the University of Delaware [pdf]

The Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education at the University of Delaware is focused on offering a range of ways to make undergraduate education more of an experiential-based process. Part of their work deals with problem-based learning (PBL) which asks students to "engage complex, challenging problems and collaboratively work toward their resolution." While some of the resources here are intended for use specifically at the University of Delaware, many of them can be used at colleges anywhere. First-time visitors can click on the "Resources" area to get started. Here they will find sample syllabi from courses based around PBL, sample problems, evaluation forms, and videos that help illustrate how instructors can use these materials. The sample problems include materials like "Hot-Headed Moles in Antarctica" and "The Geritol Solution". Finally, visitors can click on the "Partners" link where theyll find the PBL Clearinghouse, which is a collection of problems and articles to assist educators in using PBL. Access to the clearinghouse is free, but is limited to educators who must fill out a short online application. [KMG]

The Problem of Regeneration

The tagline for the iBioSeminars website is "Bringing the World's Best Biology to You" and they deliver on their promise by offering talks on genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and other fields of scientific endeavor. Visitors are welcome to scan through all of their offerings, but they would do well to start with this authoritative look into the history of regeneration. Offered by Professor Alejandro Sanchez-Alvarado of the University of Utah School of Medicine, this three-part talk takes visitors through the world of regeneration via thoughtful examples, complete with illustrations, slides, and other relevant visual aids. In his talk, Alvarado talks about how the ancient Greeks were fascinated with the idea that animals could regenerate various body parts. He continues by discussing experimental work in the field, bringing the viewer up to the present day. It's a remarkable talk, and visitors can also download it to watch on their iPod or other device. [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

Pathways to Science: STEM

Sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation, the Pathways to Science Project was created by the Institute for Broadening Participation to support "pathways to the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics." The project works on connecting underrepresented groups with STEM programs, funding, mentoring, and resources. The "Students" area features a sign-in area where students can sign up to receive targeted emails that will inform them of new STEM-focused scholarship and mentoring opportunities. The "Programs" area features a database of over 1500 programs designed for K-8 students, college educators, and undergraduate students. Additionally, the site also includes a "News" area where users can learn about recent success stories from universities around the United States, along with the particulars of upcoming conferences and seminars. [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 Life Cycle of Plants

What are the parts of a flower? How does seed dispersal work? These are a few of the important questions answered by this site which offers a refresher on the life cycle of plants. The five areas here include "Seed Growth", "Parts of a flower", "Seed Dispersal", and "Plant Identification". Clicking on each of the first three sections mentioned here will reveal a set of interactive diagrams and illustrations that show different scenarios documenting the conditions that can affect plant growth. The "Seed Dispersal" area is quite a pip, as visitors can learn about such phenomenon as "Shakers", "Water", and "Animal Food" and how they affect plant growth. Finally the "Plant Identification" area features a handy guide to identifying plants based on some simple illustrations with key features highlighted. [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

Adults Learning Mathematics

The Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM) organization is "an international research forum bringing together researchers and practitioners in adult mathematics/numeracy teaching and learning in order to promote the learning of mathematics by adults." The site contains sections such as "For teachers", "For PhD students", and "For policy makers". The "For teachers" area includes links to the ALM newsletters and their resources, which include downloadable posters and factsheets. Moving along, the "For PhD students" area includes information for those doctoral students that are seeking to incorporate pedagogical techniques for teaching math to adults in their research. Additionally, the "For policy makers" area includes helpful documents such as "High stakes assessment: Assessing numeracy for Nursing in two recent projects". [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

The MacKinney Collection of Medieval Medical Illustrations

Professor Loren C. MacKinney came to the study of medieval history via his training at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Grenoble, France. During his time as a professor at the University of North Carolina, he amassed a remarkable collection of manuscripts and images related to the history of medieval medicine. He was beloved by his students for his intellectual curiosity and his humanity, and this remarkable digital collection pays tribute to both of those aspects of his character. The collection was made possible by a gift to the University of North Carolina Libraries from Howard Holsenbeck (a member of the Class of 1963), and it contains over 1,000 images. Visitors can browse the collection at their leisure, or also perform an advanced search across the items here. The "Subject Area" is a good place to start, as visitors can look over images related to everything from anatomy to wounds. The image on the homepage is quite a gem, and it illustrates an encounter between two men and a standing skeleton. [KMG]

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

The online publication "Diverse: Issues in Higher Education" is a cornucopia of material related to diversity issues in higher education, including hiring practices, increasing the number of underrepresented faculty members on campus, and so on. The homepage includes an excellent jobs database where visitors can learn about new jobs, and employers can post their currently available positions. The "Special Reports" area is quite a find as well, and here visitors can watch interviews and learn about the work of notable educators like Norman Francis, the president of Xavier University in New Orleans. The "Multimedia" area contains slideshows, videos, and audio interviews titled "The Ultimate Insider-Outsider" and "Saving Lives in the Academy and Operating Room". The site is rounded out by their "Opinion" area which includes blogs entries on the stressful lives of college students, sexual violence on college campuses, and much more. [KMG]

The Creators Project

Want to learn about punk rock Chinese filmmaking? The latest culture jamming projects in Belgium? The Creators Project can help you out, and it's all the result of a novel partnership between Intel and Vice magazine. On the homepage, visitors can scroll through recently profiled artistic projects, including a toy that travels to the West Coast (courtesy of Google Maps) and a creative collective in South Korea that is revolutionizing design. Near the top of the homepage visitors will find the headings "Videos", "Blog", "Studio", "Events", and "Creators". All of the areas are worth a look here, and the blog shouldn't be missed. Here visitor can learn about new experiments with light sculptures and some claymation that is truly psychedelic. [KMG]

Who's Who and What's What in the Books of Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) was a member of Dartmouth's Class of 1925, so it makes sense that this wonderful digital project on his work and creations is based at that fine institution. In 2000, this compilation of "who's who & what's what" in the books of Dr. Seuss was created by Edward Connery Lathem and recently, the Dartmouth Digital Library Initiatives digitized this unique guide through the world of Dr. Suess. The digital user interface is simple to use and user-friendly. Visitors can select certain pages to share with friends via email, search for certain terms (like "Lorax") and also create a full-screen view for closer scrutiny. [KMG]

Waterworks Museum

Where does water come from? The tap? Well, yes, but how does it get to your house. The Waterworks Museum in Boston's Chestnut Hill neighborhood tells the story of water transportation and infrastructure improvement in a way that is quite fascinating. The actual museum opened in 2011, and their website provides information about their mission, exhibits, and outreach activities. First-time visitors will want to look over the "History/Stories" area to learn more about the history of the actual 19th century building which forms the heart of the Waterworks Museum. The other sections here include "Public Health", "Architecture and Landscapes", "Engines and Engineers", and "Social History". Visitors can also sign up to receive the museums RSS feed, Twitter updates, and email updates. More material is being added to the site, including podcasts for educators. [KMG]

American Migration

40 million Americans move from one home to another every year. In November 2011, Jon Bruner of Forbes created this remarkable set of maps documenting where people are moving to and from using recent statistical data sets from the Internal Revenue Service. Visitors can get started by clicking on any county in the United States to see where people are moving based on this data. Visitors can also compare movements and look at information from the past five years. The interactive visualizations contain many revelations, including the fact that people are moving out of Las Vegas en masse since 2009. The analytical commentary is provided by four experts, including Michael Conzen of the University of Chicago and demographer William Frey. The four accompanying essays are well worth a read, and include pieces titled "The Great Human Capital Swap-Meet" and "Vibrant Flux". [KMG]

Richard Benson: The Printed Picture

This website was created collaboratively by Richard Benson, photographer, teacher, and former dean of the Yale School of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The site is based on The Printed Picture exhibition that was on view October 17, 2008 - July 13, 2009 at MoMA. The website provides a comprehensive education in all the primary methods used for printing pictures - relief, intaglio, planographic, and photographic. There are eight hours of Benson's recorded lectures available here, along with "additional images and details, allowing visitors to the site to draw their own path through its contents." The lectures conclude with Benson musing about the value of reproducing images. [DS]

Network Tools


Ever want to just "pin" stuff online and share it with people quickly? Now you can, with the help of Pinterest. Pinterest lets you organize items of interest on the web just by adding a "pin" to each item. Users can make multiple bulletin "boards" with any subject or theme they desire. It is a great way to organize (with images) all of those online bookmarks you have collected over the years. First-time visitors will need to request a free invitation and they can get started after that. Pinners use their boards to share fashion tips, decorating ideas, home improvement projects, recipes, technology news, real estate properties, vacation scrapbooks, and much more. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Do you want to download your own lectures, talks, or musings for others to listen to? YourListen is a great way to make this happen. Visitor can sign up for a free account that will let them upload their own audio files to this sharing service, and they can also add tags to each individual file. The site also includes a number of channels that are worth a look, and some of them may serve as a bit of inspiration. Additionally, visitors can recommend their tracks to other users. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

What did happen at the first Thanksgiving?

Revisiting the feast

Plymouth Rock: More Than A Homely Boulder

Thanksgiving History: Plimoth Plantation

Dining Together

The Food Timeline: Thanksgiving Food History

Nature: My Life as A Turkey

What exactly did happen on the first Thanksgiving? What did the Pilgrims and Wampanoag say to each other? How did they interact? Perhaps most importantly, what did they eat? As Americans gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, these are but a few of the questions that curious folks might be asking at the dinner table. Well, the folks at Plimoth Plantation have been looking into such matters as of late, and they have come to a few conclusions regarding the bounty served at this historic first Thanksgiving in 1621. To begin, there were no forks, no cranberry sauce, no apple pie, and no pumpkin. The beverage of choice? Water. Many of the dishes probably contained deer heart, liver, and lung. Commenting in a recent Boston Globe article about the Thanksgiving, Plimoth Plantation's Kathleen Wall noted that the feast lasted three entire days. Food historian Alexandra Pocknett remarked that the natives would have most likely contributed stews, soups, and succotash, which consists of corn, beans, and squash. It is also likely that the activities around this feast included an intense version of football (think 45 on 45, rather than 11 on 11) and some stoolball, which is an archaic English sport akin to cricket. Even with information provided by several eyewitness accounts, there remain many more questions than answers about this rather historic event. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a recent news article from the Boston Globe about the research conducted by Plimoth Plantation staffers into the food of the first Thanksgiving. The second link leads to a nice meditation on Thanksgiving and Plymouth Rock from John Yemma, the editor of the Christian Science Monitor. The third link will whisk users away to a very thorough site on the history of Thanksgiving, provided courtesy of Plimoth Plantation. The fourth link leads to a fun instructional film from 1951 designed to teach young people about Thanksgiving dining etiquette. The fifth link leads to a thorough timeline of Thanksgiving culinary history, courtesy of the Food Timeline website. Finally, the last link leads to a recent Nature episode, My Life as A Turkey, which chronicles a mans remarkable experience raising a group of wild turkey hatchlings to adulthood.

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