The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 1

January 6, 2012

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

Our Mother Tongues [Flash Player]

Frequently when one hears about the Native American experience in the United States, the focus is on the loss of traditions, folkways, and language. In contrast, this website was created to highlight a recent documentary by Anne Makepeace that focuses on the ways in which Native American languages have recovered and thrived in recent times. On the site, visitors should start by clicking on the interactive "Language Map". Here visitors can learn about twelve different languages, including Crow, Cherokee, Dakota, Euchee, and Lakota. Clicking on the "Voices" area gives visitors the opportunity to listen to Native Americans from different tribal communities speaking in their mother tongues. Additionally, visitors can send an electronic postcard from the site, read the site blog, and learn more about the project and the documentary. [KMG]

Everyday Sociology Blog

book publisher W.W. NORTON & CO originally created this blog for students and teachers of sociology, and it is informative and quite accessible for those familiarizing themselves with this field. Visitors will find its pledge to "keep things interesting" refreshing. The pledge is accomplished by ensuring that "all of the posts on this site will pass the so what? test that some academic research frankly does not." The blog entries are written mainly by those individuals who have doctoral degrees in sociology, along with a smattering of posts by sociology students. Visitors who prefer to get their daily dose of sociological thought in video form should check out the "Video" tab to watch sociologists speak on a range of news stories and other timely topics. The videos are generally just a few minutes long, and have recently covered such topics as "Commodifying the Ghetto", "Communities Becom[ing] Poverty Traps" and "Fears about Halloween Candy Poisoning". [KMG]

The Landslide Handbook: A Guide to Understanding Landslides [pdf]

For students of the geophysical sciences and policy makers, this very helpful document will be a most valuable reference tool. Written by Lynn M. Highland of the United States Geological Survey with Peter Bobrowsky of the Geological Survey of Canada, the handbook is divided into three sections and four appendices. Illustrated with charts, tables, and photographs the work covers basic information (such as "What is a landslide?") and information on how to evaluate landslide hazards and landslide mitigation techniques for residences and businesses. The hope is that this handbook will also help "homeowners, community and emergency managers, and decision makers to take the positive step of encourage awareness of available options and recourse in regard to landslide hazard." Finally, it is worth noting that users can download the entire handbook, or download sections of particular interest. [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

Afterschool Alliance: Afterschool and STEM

The importance of afterschool programs have been linked to improved reading and math grades and a steady decline in drug, cigarette, and alcohol use by those who participate in such programs. The Afterschool Alliance was established in 2000 with funding provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The website for the Alliance has a section on afterschool programs and the role they can play in learning and encouraging interest in STEM subjects. At the top right hand side of the "Afterschool & STEM" section, visitors can learn about the "curriculum", "allies", "funding", "research", "policy", and "resources" for STEM afterschool programs. There are almost a dozen resources for high quality activities, curricula, and programs, in the curriculum link, including "Thinkfinity" (free), "Design Squad" (free) and "FIRST Robotics". The "funding" link provides 11 sources of afterschool STEM funds from such companies as Honda, Intel and Motorola, as well as from a multitude of federal government agencies. [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

Software Tools for Academics and Researchers Biochem: Protein 3-D Viewer

Created by researchers at MIT's Software Tools for Academics and Researchers (STAR) initiative, this website offers interested parties a 3-D protein viewer that "allows students to learn key concepts about the biology of proteins in an interactive manner." First-time users may want to start by clicking on the "Video Tutorial" on the homepage to get a basic sense of how the viewer works. The site also includes a "Screenshots" section and several sample exercises. Perhaps the most detailed instructions can be found in the online user manual, which includes eight areas, including "Loading a protein structure" and "Visualizing atoms and bonds". A section where users can send in feedback rounds out 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

What is Bioinformatics?

For students studying genetics and biology, this very nice bioinformatics tutorial from Bates College will be most useful. Created by staff members in the chemistry and biology departments, the tutorial is designed to help students learn about how to compare the molecular structures of different enzymes and also how to use online DNA and protein sequence databases. The tutorial contains step-by-step instructions, complemented by screen shots and other illustrative materials. Visitors can also use the sections on the homepage to browse around the different areas of the tutorial. Also, the site contains a host of additional links to other sites that address some of the basic principles behind bioinformatics. [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

STEM Planet

STEM Planet is a well designed website that is aimed at students of all levels and ages. The site is comprised of "employees of the National Network of Digital Schools (NNDS), a non-profit developer of the Lincoln Interactive online curriculum." These employees believe that students "succeed when their educational program offers a wide variety of learning opportunities." Visitors to the site will find that the learning opportunities consist of DIY experiments, discussion topics, polls, quizzes and activities. Some examples include making a homemade battery, origami engineering, taking a quiz on space phenomena, and exploring quantum mechanics. Visitors can join and comment on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math "discussions" by simply registering on the site. Those only interested in reading the comments made in the forums under the discussion tab need not register. The "Experts" tab allows visitors to see all the great minds behind STEM Planet, including an extremely bright 14 year old. [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

Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education

This sharp looking website is for the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education (JUNE) which "publishes peer-reviewed reports of innovations in undergraduate neuroscience education...[and] serves as a mechanism for faculty to exchange information...such as laboratory exercises, new media, curricular considerations, and teaching methods." Visitors will find the "Supplementary Materials" tab near the top of any page to contain movies, lab instructions, papers, and images. Some of the movies include an adult and juvenile "Crayfish Brain Movie", "Larval Dissection Movie" of a drosophila mutant, and "Leg Prep and Spine Stimulation" of a cockroach. The "Previous Issues" tab gives visitors the opportunity to read issues published since 2002. Recent pieces featured in JUNE include "Integrating Community Outreach into the Undergraduate Neuroscience Classroom", "Design Plans for an Inexpensive Tail Flick Analgesia Meter", and "Unquenchable Neuroscience". [KMG]

General Interest

Provincetown History Preservation Project

The story of Provincetown, Massachusetts is part of the earliest European settlement of the United States. Stretching back almost four centuries, the tales of this town include whaling, artists, creative theater, and of course, the Pilgrims. This website was created to preserve the history of this unique place, and it is made possible by a generous donation from the Ken Weiss Schwab Charitable Fund. First-time visitors can get started by using the search engine here or by browsing the items by collection, format, or subject category. The collection includes annual town reports, glass plates, a history of the town department, and so on. The town reports date from 1870 to 1918 and they offer an interesting picture of what occupied the minds and attentions of local residents. Visitors shouldn't miss the "Artworks" area, as they will find beautiful oil canvases of waterfront scenes and watercolors depicting celebrated shipping vessels. [KMG]

Canadian Pamphlets and Broadsides Collection

Circus posters, exhibition notices, farm land auction broadsides are just a few of the items in this marvelous collection from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. This site provides access to over 590 broadsides and 2,600 pamphlet titles which amounts to over 71,500 page images. Visitors will find that the collection contains items printed in Canada, by Canadian authors, or about Canadian subjects. Users can search the collection by language, author, and keyword. Of course, browsing around by subject is encouraged as well. It is worth looking at some of the items under "tariff" as they relate part of Canada's relationship with Great Britain and other countries. Additionally, there is some compelling material about the Church of England as well. [KMG]


The website of this "not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance committed to making research to improve health a higher national priority" has links to tools expressly for visitors who are the "Public", "Researchers", members of "Congress", or from the "Media". Visitors can find the "Tools For" menu on the right side of any page. Visitors to the site shouldn't leave here without reading the award-winning newsletter "The Research Advocate", which can be found under the "Polls & Publications" tab. If visitors enjoyed the newsletter, they can elect to receive it via e-mail. The "Resource Library", also under the Polls & Publication tab, can be browsed by topic or type of resource including public opinion poll, transcript, fact sheet, and more. The topics covered here range from "Mental Health Research" to "Innovation/Competitiveness". [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

Transportation Library Menu Collection

To fly the friendly skies in the 1950s and 1960s across the continent (or the Atlantic) was quite an experience. To say nothing of the possible turbulence, the culinary offerings in flight could be quite outstanding. The late George M. Foster (an anthropologist and consultant) was there at the beginning of such pioneering commercial air travel. He collected hundreds of menus from his time on trains, planes, and cruise ships, and he gave them to Northwestern University in 1997. This digital collection from the Northwestern University Library allows users to look at these items in all of their glorious detail. After clicking on "View the Contents" visitors can make their way through menus from Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines, and so on. First-time visitors should not miss the menu from a Chicago to Amsterdam flight on KLM that Mr. Foster took on June 21, 1979. Finally, visitors should also read the letter that Mr. Foster wrote about the collection shortly before he passed away in 2006. [KMG]

National Museum of American History: The First Ladies

Over the past two centuries, the role of the First Lady has changed immensely and in the past several decades the women to occupy this position have embraced causes such as literacy and healthy eating. This online exhibit from the National Museum of American History looks at the "role played by the country's first ladies as well as the beautiful objects that belonged to them." The site is divided into six sections, including "The First Ladies Collection" and "A First Lady's Contribution". The "First Ladies Collection" contains photos and descriptions of items like Martha Washington's silk taffeta gown and Dolley Madison's elaborate hand-embroidered robe. Moving on, "A First Lady's Contribution" contains images of the First Ladies on the campaign trail and other settings. One particularly interesting image here is that of Florence Harding pinning a flower on Al Jolson's lapel during a campaign stop. Finally, visitors can also view a timeline of all the First Ladies. [KMG]

University of Utah Photographic Exhibits

From dramatic images of speed tests on the Bonneville Salt Flats to a lovely tribute to writer Wallace Stegner, the University of Utah Photographic Exhibits has something for everyone. Visitors to the site will find ten exhibits here, including "Skiing in Utah: A Photo Exhibit" and "Images of Glen Canyon". The latter collection is one that shouldn't be missed, as it features images of the canyon before it was flooded by the creation of the Glen Canyon dam. Perhaps the most dramatic and haunting collection here is the "Japanese-American Internment Campus During WWII". This area contains dozens of images documenting the conditions at the Tule and Topaz camps, complete with images of domestic life, sports, and so on. [KMG]

U.S. South Pole Station

Sometimes if you feel your working conditions are difficult, consider what it must be like to work at the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Those hardy scientists are working year-round on the coldest, highest, driest, and windiest continent. In 2011, the Station celebrated its 100th anniversary, and this NSF website offers curious parties a look into the past and the future. The site offers six different sections, including "Science Goals", "Video Tour", and "New NSF Station". The homepage gives visitors the opportunity to view the South Pole webcam and a complete vista that shows the station in its entirety. Moving on, the "Science Goals" area features an interactive timeline of important dates in South Pole exploration and important scientific discoveries that have been part of its history. The "Video Tour" presents "Reflections From The Ice". This video offers commentary from former station construction chief Jerry Marty on living and working at the South Pole. The site is rounded out by photo galleries and information on the new NSF station. [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

Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art [Flash Player]

Visit this interactive from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to explore eight murals by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera. In 1931, MoMA created studio space in the Museum for Rivera to paint five mural panels with themes drawn from Mexican history, intended to part of a major retrospective of the artist's work. The subsequent exhibition was wildly popular, and after it closed, Rivera painted three more murals with contemporary New York subjects. The Mexican murals are Indian Warrior, Sugar Cane, Liberation of the Peon, and The Uprising, while the New York City-themed works are Pneumatic Drilling (in black & white), Electric Power, and Frozen Assets. All of the online works are accompanied by curator commentaries, and provide visitors with the ability to zoom in on details. This is especially handy for Frozen Assets, since part of the composition is a New York City skyline, and the captioning provides not only the names, but also the architects who designed, the buildings depicted. [DS]

Network Tools

Comodo Online Storage

Having a backup of important files is crucial, and Comodo Online Storage offers one possible solution. After completing a brief registration, visitors will be able to store up to 5GB at no cost. The site also includes a video presentation, a simple drag & drop feature for adding files, and the ability to create folders for said materials. This version is compatible with Windows XP and newer. [KMG]

Airport Monitor Lite App

If you're up in the air quite a bit, this helpful tool will be one that might make 2012 a bit more interesting. This free version of Airport Monitor allows users view arrivals and departures from dozens of airports in the US. Visitors can monitor up to seven arrival and departure airports at one time, and the application can be customized by airline, gate, and flight number. This version is compatible with iPhones running iOS 4.2 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

An annual tradition from Lake Superior State University identifies the most overused words of 2011

'Baby bump', 'Man cave' make banned words list

Don't let these words occupy your vocabulary in 2012

Lake Superior State University: Banished Words List

Word Warriors' 2012 Top 10

A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson

1828 Edition of Noah Webster's Dictionary

Words and phrases come and go, and sometimes they are inspired by certain fads or geographical regions. In New England, to say something is "wicked" is not to imply a certain evil quality, but that something is in fact most excellent. Of course, certain words or phrases become overused, and a linguistic and cultural backlash can ensue over time. The folks at Lake Superior State University have published their annual list of overused words since 1976, and this year's list contains some rather (overly) familiar phrases. The formal name of the list is the "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Usefulness" and it was released last Friday. The items on this year's list included "baby bump", "occupy", "man cave" and "the new normal". One curious addition to this year's list was "amazing". Some of those nominating this word noted that it seems to be frequently overused on reality TV programs and by certain news commentators. One person who nominated "amazing" remarked that "People use 'amazing for anything that is nice or heartwarming. In other words, for things that are not amazing". [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from USA Today about the annual banned words list. The second link leads to a piece from Sunday's Globe and Mail which talks about the origins of the list. Moving along, the third link will lead interested parties to the complete 2011 list from Lake Superior State University, along with commentary from nominators. The fourth link leads to a list of words compiled by Wayne State University that deserve greater use, not less. The list includes words such as supercilious, truckle, and frisson. The fifth link leads visitors to a digital version of Samuel Johnson's celebrated 1755 English dictionary. Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language created by that noted lexicographer Noah Webster.

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