The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 4

January 27, 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

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government [pdf]

Created to honor the work and legacy of the late Nelson A. Rockefeller, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government is dedicated to enhancing "the capabilities of state governments and the federal system to deal effectively with the nations domestic challenges." Based at the University at Albany, State University of New York, the Institute's website provides policy makers and others with access to research papers on everything from tax revenues to health care in the Empire State. First-time visitors won't want to miss the New York State Statistical Yearbook. This document offers a thorough portrait of economics, agriculture, education, and transportation throughout the state. Moving on, the "Research and Data" area offers working papers, briefs, and other materials on subjects including disaster recovery, faith-based social services, and intergovernmental relations. Finally, the "Forums and Events" area contains archived video and other coverage of events like "New York in the World: The Impact of the Global Economy on New York State and City." [KMG]

Kansas Memory

You can travel from Cheyenne County in the northwestern corner of Kansas all the way down to Cherokee County in the southeast with a just couple of clicks on the Kansas Memory site. It's a trip filled with compelling historical artifacts, photographs, and other ephemera, and it's an engaging way to learn about the Sunflower State's history. Created by the Kansas State Historical Society, Kansas Memory helps to fulfill the Society's mission "to identify collect, preserve, interpret, and disseminate materials and information pertaining to Kansas history." First-time visitors can explore the "Item of the Week" on the homepage, create their own profiles to save materials for future visits, and take a look at the "Special Exhibits" area. On the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors will find thematic headings that allow them to browse materials dealing with the subjects including the built environment, business, and agriculture. With over 17,000 items available on the site, it's safe to say that several visits will be in order for anyone with even the faintest interest in Kansas history. [KMG]


The University of Utah's Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library has worked to create everything from mobile applications to digitized slide collections for medical professionals. One of their most interesting applications is this interactive rendering of the human heart that can be used to understand blood flow and the operations of the heart. The site includes a set of controls that gives visitors the ability to look at the heart in motion, complete with a stop, play, rewind, and fast-forward button. The rendering is accompanied by an electrocardiogram and heart sounds chart to give interested parties a bit more detail about each motion of the heart. The site also includes seven "Tutorials" that provide detailed graphics and text that explain atrial systole, rapid ejection, rapid ventricular filling, and more. [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

Mathematics and Art: The Good, The Bad, and the Pretty [iTunes]

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) sponsors an annual MAA Distinguished Lecture as an occasion to celebrate the many joys of mathematics. Professor Annalisa Crannell of Franklin and Marshall College used this opportunity to talk about "The Good, The Bad, and the Pretty" of mathematics. Her wonderful talk can be found here, along with an interview that gives her the chance to talk about her own work. In her talk, she focuses in on the use of mathematics to create realistic art. Specifically, she talks about how most realistic art attempts to depict a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional canvas. Of course, this presents certain challenges, and she draws on examples from the work of Albrecht Drer to offer some perspective on this dilemma. One of the many highlights of her talk is when she presents a challenge to the audience involving an artist, a pedestal, and a squirrel. [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

Life Sciences - FREE Teaching and Learning Resources

With dozens of federal agencies contributing more than 1500 teaching and learning resources, FREE (Federal Resources for Educational Excellence) is one of the most popular Department of Education websites. Visitors interested in topics ranging from "Animals/Zoology" to the "Human Body" to "Medicine" will find that there is something for every level of learner and educator, and the general public will also find the offerings here quite compelling. The "Animals/Zoology" link offers visitors 35 resources to peruse, including one about the importance of biodiversity, called "Biodiversity Counts," that is aimed at middle school learners. This resource includes exercises that get kids into their backyards to gather plants and arthropods, and with the help of lesson plans, essays, and interactives, it will encourage them to analyze and apply their observations from the field. Visitors teaching students about medicine will find the National Science Digital Library to be a great source for multimedia STEM resources like video clips and lessons offered in a variety of languages, including Spanish and French. [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

United States Forest Service: Schedule of Proposed Actions

What's happening on the lands maintained by the United States Forest Service? Those parties with a vested interest in such matters will want to stay abreast of the Forest Service's Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA). These documents are published in January, April, July, and October and contain a list of "proposed actions that will soon begin or are currently undergoing environmental analysis and documentation." Each SOPA contains information about proposed projects that will take place within Forest Service properties, and as they can be complex documents, visitors should also look at the "How to read the SOPA" section. Visitors can use the drop-down menu on the site to view the SOPA for a particular National Forest, Grassland, Scenic Area, Recreation Area, or Tallgrass Prairie. The site is rounded out by a list of abbreviations and definitions and links to other relevant publications. [KMG]

4Teachers: Teach with Technology [Last profiled in the Scout Report on May 23, 1997]

This website was created by staff members at the Advanced Learning Technologies Project at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. It's well designed, and has a diverse set of resources that will help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms. Visitors who may be on the fence about bringing different technologies into the classroom should definitely check out the "Success Stories" link under the "Integrating Technology" tab. There is archived material in "Teacher Testimony" and "Kids Speak" that is both inspiring and inspired. The "4Teachers Features" section of the homepage provides visitors with links to onsite "Professional Development for Ed" and "Online Educational Games" that aid in math skills and vocabulary building. In addition, the "4Teachers Videos Channel" provides tutorials and educational videos from YouTube and TeacherTube. "PersuadeStar", "Classroom Architect", and "Casa Notes" are just a few of more than a dozen "4Teachers Family of Tools" that visitors will find useful and enjoyable. [KMG]

General Interest

Chicago Public Art Group

The mission of the Chicago Public Art Group is to "unite artists and communities in partnership to produce quality public art and to extend and transform the tradition of collaborative, community involved, public artwork." What kind of public art do they produce? There are two ways site visitors can find out: the first is via the Public Art Map and the second is via the Community Public Art Guide. The map of Chicagoland has locations pinpointed that can be scrolled over, revealing a photo of the artwork, its location, the lead artist, the date of its creation and a brief explanation of the artwork. The Community Public Art Guide not only has pictures of the murals, mosaics, sculptures and spaces that have been created by artists associated with the Chicago Public Art Group, but also has extensive explanation, along with examples, of composition, techniques of community art, and portfolios divided up by date ranges. The Group's latest work, Come to Light, a stunning multi-media mosaic, should click on the link of the same name, under the "What We Do" tab. [KMG]

The Raimund McClain European Architecture Slides Collection

For many decades, Professor Raimund McClain of Texas Tech took photographs during his visits to Europe. During his lectures, he would use these images to illustrate various trends in architecture, ranging from the Baroque to Brutalism. This collection allows visitors to gaze through his camera lens as he visits the Amsterdam Cemetery, the Berlin Library, and the brilliant Sainte Marie de La Tourette convent, designed by Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis in the late 1950s. All told, the collection includes 495 photographs, and visitors can browse the images by title or subject. Additionally, a search engine on the site serves as a search aid. While the site is useful for students of architecture, others with a penchant for the subject will also find much to marvel at here. [KMG]

Addressing Students' Difficulties and Misconceptions About Electrochemistry

The College Board has developed the "AP Central" website to provide resources for teachers seeking to improve their students' performance on AP exams, including human geography, chemistry, and European history. This particular resource is from the AP chemistry course page, and it deals with common difficulties and misconceptions regarding electrochemistry. Written by Senior Lecturer Emeritus George Miller of the University of California, Irvine, this article offers some basic guidelines for educators grappling with this particular area of chemistry. The piece includes a discussion of galvanic cells, Ohm's Law, and the half-cell model. Throughout the text, Miller does a fine job of identifying potential areas of confusion that frequently trip up students studying electrochemistry. [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

Audubon Magazine - Multimedia

In 1905 the National Audubon Society was named for ornithologist and naturalist John J. Audubon. Its mission is "to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity." The "Audubon" magazine, published by the National Audubon Society, has an online presence with a fantastic Multimedia section that visitors will surely enjoy. There are videos, slideshows, audios, podcasts, and book reviews. Check out the audio entitled "Biosphere Birds" about Mexico's native birds at the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. There is a photo gallery of several birds, as well as of the lush landscape of the Reserve. The "White-Eared Hummingbird" will surprise visitors as it looks nothing like the sleek metallic-tinged hummingbirds most commonly seen in the United States, and visitors will feel like spring has arrived when listening to the sweet, high-pitched song of the "Brown-Backed Solitaire." [KMG]

Baldomero Olivera: Cone Snail Peptides

Have you ever considered the venom of a snail? Most people think of snakes when they think of venom, but overlook snails. There are, however, almost 10.000 species of venomous predatory snails according to this engaging lecture from Professor Baldomero Olivera. In his talk, Professor Olivera explores how these venoms have been used to understand the nervous system and develop new drugs. The lecture is divided into three different sections, and visitors shouldn't miss Part 2 ("How a Fish Hunting Snail Captures Its Prey"). Visitors are also welcome to download the entire lecture and the accompanying slides. [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

Neuroscience & the Classroom

Neuroscience continues to attract a range of scientists and researchers, and more and more schools are incorporating at least a basic discussion of this area of science into their curriculum. This educational series produced by the Science Media Group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics along with several other organizations offers 42 video segments for classroom use. The website also includes an online textbook, a glossary, and a course guide. The program titles include "Measuring Emotional Response to Physics", "Music and Emotion", and "Empathy". Visitors shouldn't miss the "Success Story" area, as they can learn about researchers who have made substantial contributions to neuroscience. Overall, it's an impressive collection of educational materials, and one that is well worth passing along to fellow educators.

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

Photographs of Vergennes (Vt.)

Telling the tale of a small town in Vermont is no easy feat, but this collection of photographs from the University of Vermont Libraries does a nice job. The collection documents life in Vergennes (Vermont's oldest city) from 1866 to the town's bicentennial in 1988. Here visitors will find a collection of 788 images, which includes images of local industries, scenic vistas, and portraits of town leaders. Some of the photographs were taken by local artist Harvey Custer Ingham, who is also well-known in the town annals for his gift of a new library building in 1912. First-time visitors would do well to browse through topic headings like "architecture" and "bands" to get a feel for this unique trove of images. [KMG]

Network Tools


If you're trying to manage a get-together with friends or a business meeting, Twoppy is worth a look. Visitors with a smart phone can use Twoppy to add practical information about an event (such as driving directions) and then add maps and other information about the event, such as the time and a description. This version of Twoppy is free and compatible with iPhones running iOS 4.1 and newer. In addition, through the WebApp, Twoppy is compatible with Android, BlackBerry (OS6), Symbian, and Bada. [KMG]


If you're looking to create a compelling story using media from different sections of the Web, Storify is worth a look. After signing up for a free Storify profile, visitors can "curate" the elements of their story by dragging and dropping status updates, photos, or videos to make their own interactive tale. A delightful feature of Storify is that it gives users the ability to also write headlines, introductions, and styled text to supplement their narratives. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

In an effort to provide healthier dining options for schoolchildren, the United States Department of Agriculture unveils new lunchroom dietary standards

Students to see healthier school lunches under new USDA rules

USDA To Require Healthier Meals In Schools With Updated Nutrition Standards

Nation's schools could learn something from Chicago's early lunch trials,0,3988807.story

USDA Unveils Historic Improvements to Meals Served in America's Schools

The Food Timeline: School Lunch History

Household arts and School Lunches

Generations of American schoolchildren grew up with some classic staples on their plates at lunchtime: French fries, pizza, and of course, tater tots. Things have changed in recent years, as a number of public interest groups and concerned parents have become more concerned about what their children eat while at school. This Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled new standards for school meals that will help children eat healthier. As part of these new regulations, schools will be required to offer different fruits and vegetables every day, reduce the sodium in each meal, and also increase the amount of whole-grain foods. Commenting on the legislation, Wendy Weyer, director of nutrition services for Seattle Public Schools noted that the biggest challenge would be reducing sodium content, "while keeping the meals palatable for our students." In place of such staples as cheese pizza, students will now receive whole wheat cheese pizza in some districts, and in some instances, baked sweet potato fries will replace French fries. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from MSNBC's Sylvia Wood about the new standards announced by the USDA this week. The second link will take interested parties to a nice post by Allison Aubrey's on this announcement from NPR's food blog, "The Salt". The post also includes links to other relevant stories and a sample menu created using these new standards. The third link will whisk visitors to a piece from the Chicago Tribune's Monica Eng about the lessons that the USDA might learn from the Chicago Public School's experiments with healthier food options in the lunchroom. Moving along, the fourth link leads to a news release from the USDA which talks about these changes. The fifth link leads to a section from The Food Timeline website that offers a breezy tour through the world of the college dining experiences in 17th century America to the modern-day vending machine. The last link leads to a digital copy of Alice C. Boughton's 1916 work, "Household arts and school lunches". The chapter on "High School Lunch Service" is quite instructive and the book will delight anyone with a penchant for cookery or culinary history.

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