The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 6

February 10, 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

Howard Hughes Medical Institute: 2011 Holiday Lectures [Flash Player]

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsors a series of holiday lectures every year, and many of the past talks are available on this site. There are over twenty holiday lectures here, and the site has a handful of informal talks as well. Perhaps what is most helpful to the casual visitor is that the talks are delivered in a non-technical, yet erudite and learned, fashion. For the individual who might be apprehensive about an overly technical approach to these subjects, there is nothing to fear. First-time visitors may wish to start with one of the most recent lectures, which cover topics like "Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Behavior" and "Human Evolution and the Nature of Science." Other talks of note here include "Viral Outbreak: The Science of Emerging Disease" and "The Meaning of Sex: Genes and Gender." [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

Interactive Physlets

What, you may ask, is a physlet? It is a portmanteau combining the words "physics" and "applet" which can be used "to demonstrate a concept in physics through animation or interaction." Physlets are handy tools, especially for visual learners. These physlets were created by scholars at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Designed to be used in several different introductory physics courses, the physlets cover a range of topics, including friction, conservation of energy, projectile motion, magnetism, and simple harmonic motion. Visitors will find that they can play each physlet, pause it along the way, or skip ahead to the next one as they see fit. [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 APS Archive of Teaching Resources

The American Physiological Society (APS) Archive of Teaching Resources is a digital library of peer-reviewed science teaching resources that contains over 2,200 lesson plans, teaching journal articles, and audiovisual materials. A range of learned societies contribute materials to the archive, including the APS itself and the International Union of Physiological Societies. On the homepage, visitors can click on the Featured area for a nice introduction to some of the most popular materials on the site. Here they can look over the Top 100 resources for use with K-12 students, undergrads, graduate students, and those in continuing education. Moving along, the Research Bytes area contains links to recent news items that cover everything from brain fatigue to exercise strategies that successfully combat Type 2 diabetes. Visitors are encouraged to sign up for their own account on the site, which will allow them to save and categorize resources for their own use. [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

National Science Foundation: Predicting Seasonal Weather

Is it possible to predict large-scale seasonal weather patterns? This is one of the research questions that motivates scientists at the National Science Foundation (NSF). This special report from the NSF looks into how atmospheric oscillations from the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the tropics to the Arctic Oscillation (AO) play a "significant part in controlling the weather on a seasonal time scale." This report was written by Cheryl Dybas, and it contains four sections, along with an area with classroom resources. The sections cover new real-time weather forecasts ("A New and Better Way"), the creation of a more effective prediction model ("New Seasonal Forecast Model"), and a demonstration of the new model ("Model Accuracy Demonstrated"). The site is rounded out by the classroom resources which are designed to be used with the charts, maps, and interactive animations featured in the rest of the site. [KMG]

The Seed Biology Place

This remarkable site was created by Professor Gerhard Leubner and his colleagues at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Here, visitors can take advantage of a veritable cornucopia of reference materials related to seed biology, such as diagrams and illustrations of seed germination, plant hormones, endosperm weakening, and seed dormancy. Neophytes may wish to start by looking at the Seed Structure and Anatomy area, which features a concise and well-written overview of the structure, anatomy, and morphology of mature seeds. The same section contains information on the seed structure of the castor bean and other legumes. Another fascinating section on the site is dedicated to Seed Evolution. Visitors can discover a wealth of information here, including such topics as the evolutionary trends of angiosperm seeds and the seed ferns of the Late Permian period. All told, the site is a wonderful resource, and visitors will want to share it with friends. [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

Senator William H. Proxmire Collection

Senator William Proxmire represented the state of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate from 1957 to 1989. During his time in office, he championed human rights, consumer rights, and honest government while opposing federal waste and corruption. This collection from the Wisconsin Historical Society presents over 7,500 pages of manuscripts, press releases, newsletters, photographs, articles, interviews, and correspondence selected from his papers, which he donated in 1989. Users may wish to start by clicking on the Biography area to read a profile of Senator Proxmire. Moving along, the Interviews area features 40 interviews with the friends, family, colleagues, and former staff members that knew Proxmire. Visitors should then click Browse to look through the folders of the collection, which include biographical notes, jokes, images, and press releases. One place that should not be overlooked is the Golden Fleece Awards folder, which contains information about those agencies and areas of the federal government that "won" awards from Senator Proxmire for their misuse and waste of taxpayer dollars. [KMG]

Researchers Without Borders

Created by the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Chicago, the Researchers Without Borders (RWB) organization provides "a home for open research in education." The hope is that their work will create a collaborative learning environment for individuals across different academic institutions, disciplines and sectors "to solve shared problems, do collaborative research and development, and build productive working relationships and collaborations." First-time visitors can click on the Resources area to read documents about best practices, curriculum development, and other topics submitted by vetted members of the community. Moving along, the Community area is a great place to learn about emerging issues, read about upcoming events and seminars, and also learn more about fellow members. [KMG]

Science Oxford Live [iTunes]

The first things visitors will see when visiting the Science Oxford Live website are a few shots from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit that will soon be at the brick and mortar location of Science Oxford Live. It's hard to decide which is cuter: the hippo, the monkey, or the giraffe's tail. Visitors will certainly want to check out the video podcasts available through iTunes, and even may even subscribe to the podcasts to receive the latest episodes. These webcasts, found under the Watch Us tab, are recordings of live events that took place at Science Oxford Live. They cover topics such as Parkinson's disease, the sleep versus wake balance, the science and history of chocolate, the curse of consciousness, and how "doctors and other health professionals sometimes do more harm than good to patients, despite acting with the best of intentions." The Discovery Zone is a place for kids which is best experienced in person, but online it still has valuable lessons to teach, and it's worth a look. [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

Interactive Media Center: Digital Image Information [pdf]

Confused by how to get better photos with your digital camera? Intrigued by the thought of learning more about Photoshop? The fine folks at the Interactive Media Center at the State University of New York, University of Albany cover these topics (and many more) on this site. The materials here were originally created to assist students at the university, but they are now available for the general public as well. There are over two dozen mini-tutorials here, and they include "Photoshop CS4: Basic Tips & Tricks," "Create Text Filled with a Photograph in Photoshop," and "Ten Tips for Using Images on the Web." There are also a number of "See It In Action" interactive demonstrations that show interested parties how to use the Photoshop crop tool and how to reset photo resolutions on Photoshop for printing. [KMG]

Metropolis: New York City Water and Transit Infrastructure in Photographs

This remarkable collection from the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery has historic photographs of aqueducts, sewers, and other essentials that make up the Big Apple's infrastructure. The collection brings together over 600 images that document mass transit proposals and projects dating from 1867. Visitors can make their way through images of the construction of the Holland Tunnel, the multi-county Catskill Aqueduct system, and so on. Some of these materials come from books such as "Interborough Rapid Transit," which was published in 1904. Visitors can browse around at their leisure, or they can also type in their own search terms, like tunnels, railroads, and dams. The site is rounded by the Related Subjects link, which allows visitors to look through related collections created by the Library's Digital Gallery. [KMG]

Global Journalist

To experience the world of high quality reporting from North Korea, meditations on the state of journalism, and a wide range of other stories, direct your browser to the Global Journalist website. Originally created for the International Press Institute in 1995, the publication moved to the Missouri School of Journalism in 1999. Today, journalism students work with staff members to produce content for the site and its accompanying radio show, which is broadcast on KBIA, central Missouri's NPR affiliate. With funding provided in part by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, the people at the Global Journalist provide users with current and archived radio shows on the homepage. After listening to a few recent stories, interested parties may wish to click on the Free Press Watch section. Here they can use the interactive map to learn about various transgressions committed against members of the press around the world. Also, users shouldn't miss the Blogs area, which contains links to high-quality news blogs from "Persian Letters" (billed as "a window into Iranian politics and society") to the Guardian's "Newsblog." [KMG]

African American Oral History Collection

Telling the story of Louisville's African American community is an ambitious goal, and the University of Louisville's Oral History Center has done a fine job with this website. The process began in the 1970s with funding from the Kentucky Oral History Commission, which supported the collection of the first batch of interviews. A wide range of people was interviewed for the project, including politicians, doctors, musicians, and educators as well as "regular folks." Currently, there are 27 interviews, and visitors can browse through them to get a sense of the offerings. One particularly fascinating interviewee is Dr. Jesse Bell, a longtime physician in Louisville. The collection will intrigue historians, urbanologists, and others with a passion for the American experience. [KMG]

Population Action International - Video

The Population Action Group (PAG) has created this series of videos to inform the general public about their work around the globe, their research findings, and other related materials. Currently, the site offers a dozen different videos that cover a variety of topics from a profile the Group's president, Suzanne Ehlers, to "The Silent Partner: HIV in Marriage." Another interesting film follows PAG staff members as they take to the streets to talk with people about the world's population. Visitors can search the film offerings by topic, and they will find that some of these materials might be appropriate to use in global studies or international relations courses. [KMG]

Battat Contemporary

Battat Contemporary is an art gallery that promotes works by many contemporary, working Canadian artists. It has a great online gallery of thirteen artists it has exhibited (found on the Artists page), as well as an archive of exhibitions going back several years. The current exhibition, which visitors should definitely check out, is "Nervous Lattice" with work by Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline. His work invokes maps and human anatomy, and is accompanied by a critique by Clayton Deutsch. Visitors who prefer more movement and color should check out the archived exhibit HABITAT, which contains examples of John Ancheta's work. In addition to being able to view his individual works, visitors can also see photos of the gallery, so pieces can be seen in relation to another. All of Ancheta's work can be explored under the Artists link.

Italian ethnomusicologist Luis Devin has created a website about pygmies, the hunter-gatherer peoples of Central African rainforests. A section on the etymology of "pygmy" can be found on the homepage, and it's a good place to start for the uninitiated. Visitors will definitely enjoy any of the links to the pygmy groups, the Baka, Bakola-Bagyeli, Bedzan, Bakoya, and Aka, as the photos and text are accompanied by soundscapes. For instance, in the Baka Pygmies section, under Food Preparation, visitors will hear the sound of pangolin (a scaled mammal that looks like a cross between an artichoke and a hedgehog) crackling on a fire, as well as sounds of a Baka camp and the rainforest. The result, along with the horizontal scrolling required to view the whole page, is a refreshing web experience. Visitors interested in the ethnography process can check out the Fieldwork - Audio-Photo Diary, for many pictures of and by Luis Devin that show the range of his work. [KMG]

MoMA: Sanja Ivekovic: Sweet Violence

This web interactive from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) presents selections from the first U.S. retrospective of Sanja Ivekovićs work. As a feminist, activist, and video and performance artist, Iveković (born in 1949 in Zagreb, Croatia) engages with a range of subjects: the "sweet violence" of media seduction in the 1970s that gives the show its name; the transformation from communist to post-communist political systems in East Central Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989; the disregard for womens rights that continues today, "both in transitional societies and in democracies that pretend otherwise." The show at MoMA is huge - the illustrated exhibition checklist is 25 pages. Visitors to the website can click on individual works to open up a representation of each piece. For example, Sweet Violence is a six minute, black and white video, created in 1974 - there are two stills from it on the site. Paper Women is a series of twelve altered magazine advertisements - torn apart, cut into pieces, scratched, or perforated - of which four are available online. [DS]

Network Tools

Are you looking for a digital "castle" to store your files? Look no further than, which is a rather handy way to store and share important materials. Visitors just need to sign up for a free account, and they can get started. There's no size limit for files, and visitors can customize the program to share the files with colleagues and friends around the world. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

As the planning for a memorial to Eisenhower moves forward, members of his family raise concerns

Eisenhower as a Barefoot Boy? Family Objects to a Memorial [Free registration may be required]

Gehry's design for Eisenhower memorial misses the mark

A Q&A With Susan Eisenhower About the Fight Over Her Grandfather's Memorial

In Defense of Frank Gehry

Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission

U.S. Commission of Fine Arts

Memorials to great men and women can be controversial affairs, and the recent dispute over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC serves as a reminder of such issues. Another planned memorial is coming under close scrutiny, and once again, the proverbial battleground is in the United States capital. Over the past couple of years, the noted designer and architect Frank Gehry has been working on the design for the memorial to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the groundbreaking is scheduled to take place this year on the Washington Mall. The current design features Eisenhower as a young boy in Kansas looking at some of his later accomplishments, with a backdrop of the plains of the Sunflower State. These proposed plans do not sit well with some, including his granddaughter, Susan Eisenhower, and the National Civic Art Society, which remarked that "The statue of Ike as a Kansas farmer-boy mocks the president as cornpone in chief, the supreme allied bumpkin." In January, members of the Eisenhower family made their concerns about the design public, and it remains to be seen whether there might be an extension of the comment period regarding the memorial. The preliminary design has already been approved by the United States Commission of Fine Arts, but it must also be approved by the National Capital Planning Commission. As of this writing, Frank Gehry had yet to offer comment on this recent turn of events and public discussion. [KMG]

The first link leads to a nice article from this Tuesday's New York Times about the proposed memorial to President Eisenhower. The second link will take users to a piece of architectural criticism by Roger K. Lewis, published in the Washington Post. Moving on, the third link will take interested parties to an interview with Susan Eisenhower about the memorial to her grandfather. The fourth link leads to follow-up exchange with Daniel J. Feil, the executive architect for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission over the past six years. The fifth link leads to the website of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. Here visitors can learn about the commission, the designs for the proposed memorial, and also read press releases. The final link will take visitors to the homepage of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, where they can learn about the work of the Commission and the ways in which the Commission gives expert advice on "matters of design and aesthetics."

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