The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 7

February 17, 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

Economics U$A: 21st Century Edition

The so-called "dismal science" is dismal no longer as the result of this engaging and thoughtful exploration of the world of economics. Created by the Educational Film Center and offered as one of the Annenberg Learner resources, this primer on micro- and macroeconomics includes 28 30-minute programs. These materials were released in 2012, and they cover topics such as Supply and Demand, Economic Efficiency, and Profits and Interest. Educators will be glad to learn that the complete program website includes discussion questions, worksheets, and additional activities for the classroom. The series is quite up to date, and it even includes a discussion of the 2008 banking crisis and technology's broad influence on the economy. [KMG]

Chem51A: Organic Chemistry

The OpenCourseWare Initiative has brought hundreds of course materials to people from Indonesia to Indiana. The University of California, Irvine has a number of excellent materials, one of which is this particular course offering. This course in organic chemistry was created by Professor James Nowick. On the site, visitors can view 27 different lectures from the fall 2009 iteration of the course. In addition, they can work through the assigned chapters in the textbook (not available on the website) to deepen their problem-solving skills. The topics covered here include resonance structures, organic compounds, and the properties of chiral compounds. The course materials will be quite useful to persons studying organic chemistry, or for those people who may need a refresher as part of their professional development. [KMG]

Geriatric Nursing Teaching Resources [pdf]

Developed by the University of Minnesota's Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, these resources are designed to assist nursing students in their quest to become effective health care providers to older adults. After reading a brief introduction to the site, visitors can use the table of contents to find the materials that will be most useful to them. Here they will find a listing of over 40 topic areas, including Biology of Aging, Depression, and Oral Health. Most areas contain at least a dozen links, complete with brief descriptions of the resources and how they might be used in practice or in an educational setting. Finally, visitors can sign up to receive updates when new materials are posted to the site. [KMG] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on April 18, 1997)

The Healthfinder website was established as part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and is maintained by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. On the homepage, visitors will find a MyHealthFinder tool, which allows users to find health advice for a friend or a family member just by typing in their age and sex. The homepage also features the Health A-Z section, which is an encyclopedia of over 1600 health topics from a variety of trusted sources. Visitors won't want to miss the Personal Health Tools area either. Here they can download health widgets, take brief online checkups, use activity and menu planners, and even send e-cards. Many of the documents here are also available in Spanish. [KMG]

Two on Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington Papers

Booker T. Washington's West Virginia Boyhood

The collected writings of Booker T. Washington fill thirteen impressive volumes, and the first website offers scholars access to all of them. Published by the University of Illinois Press, these volumes tell the story of Washington's life and work in rich detail. Visitors will find such well-known works as "Up from Slavery" and lesser known pieces like "Christmas Days in Old Virginia." Each volume can be searched for certain phrases and terms, or visitors can just browse through different sections. The second link leads to a fascinating piece which originally appeared in the journal of the West Virginia Archives and History in 1971. Written by Louis R. Harland, the piece examines Washington's early days in West Virginia. It's a well-written piece, and the footnotes offer suggestions for additional reading and exploration. [KMG]

Project for Excellence in Journalism: Numbers

Numbers, numbers, everywhere, but who can make sense of them? The folks at the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism have a handle on such quantitative matters, and they have provided this set of resources for journalists and the general public. This data library contains all of the data they create or collect about the news media. Organized chronologically, this data is available in chart form, and users are free to customize for their own purposes. Some of the charts offered here include When State of the Union Coverage Shrinks, New Push for Hispanic TV Audiences, and Economy Fades as Election Intensifies. Additionally, visitors can use the box on the left-hand side of the page to look for charts related to certain media sectors or industry trends. [KMG]

Alabama Department of Archives and History: Online Multi-Media Collection

Over the past few years, the Alabama Department of Archives and History has embarked on an ambitious project to make their public programs available to members of the web-browsing public. This site offers access to these programs, and visitors are welcome to look over the various selections here. Some of the recent programs include "Tecumseh at Tuckabatchee: Fact and Fiction," "My Father, Hank Williams," "The Coming of the Creek War," and "Civil War Pharmacy." Visitors can browse the programs by type from a drop-down menu that includes categories like Children's Activities and Book Talks. The site also contains links to relevant digital and print resources that are available through the Department, along with lists of suggest readings. [KMG]

Online Radiology Images

These online radiology images are part of the MedPix database, which is offered as a public service by the departments of radiology and biomedical informatics at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. The target audience for the site is "physicians and nurses, allied health professionals, medical students, graduate nursing students and other post-graduate trainees." Visitors to the homepage will find much of the materials here contained within two sections: Anatomy and Teaching File. In the Anatomy area, visitors can read through a radiologic anatomy glossary and atlas, look over labeled brain scans, and also look at different radiology images of the chest. Moving on, the Teaching File area contains radiology tutorials, online seminars, and even mock exams. The collection here is voluminous, containing over 11,000 teaching file cases and over 54,000 images. [KMG]

General Interest

The Roderic C. Knight Musical Instrument Collection

Roderic C. Knight came to Oberlin College as a researcher and professor in the field of organology, or the scientific study of musical instruments. He had begun collecting a range of instruments when he was in high school, and he was rather proud of his diverse collection. In 2008, Knight donated his personal collection of instruments to Oberlin. This digital collection allows users to learn about and view images of all the instruments. The site includes a search engine and several menus that give users access to instruments organized by name, country or area of origin, and materials used in their construction. First-time visitors should start by clicking on the Central America area, as they will find eight delightful images of some wonderful clay flutes there. [KMG]

Society of Antiquaries of London: Making History: 300 Years of Antiquaries in Britain

Browsing through three hundred years of history via one website is quite a treat, and this lovely website from the Society of Antiquaries of London delivers the goods. The site was created to celebrate the Society's 300th anniversary, and to complement a physical exhibit that's been making the rounds of galleries throughout the United Kingdom. Visitors can click on The Discovery of Britain area to get started on their journey. Here they will find narrative essays that talk about early research into British history and how medievalists and others have come to understand the island nation's complex past. Visitors shouldn't miss Making Local History, which contains original documents (such as maps) that tell the story of the county of Lincolnshire over the past five hundred years. Overall, it's quite a find and one that will delight anyone with a penchant for history. [KMG]

Illinois Wesleyan University: Historic Images

Located in Bloomington, Illinois Wesleyan University is one of the many colleges and universities that dot the landscape of central Illinois. The school was founded in 1850, and its notable alumni include Governor Lester Hunt of Wyoming and the celebrated soprano Dawn Upshaw. Created with materials from the University Archives, this digital collection provides photographs, maps, and plans that document the school's transformation over the past century and a half. Visitors will find over 1,130 items here, including a postcard illustrating the proposed campus plan of 1922 and several historic films from 1932 and 1943. Other materials cover fraternity life, glee clubs, campus leaders, and the buildings that constitute the brick-and-mortar foundation of the institution. Visitors can also search the collection by keyword. [KMG]

Robertson & Fresh Photograph Collection of Tampa Photographs

There's a rich history in Tampa, and the casual visitor might miss it as he or she drives down Dale Mabry Highway away from Tampa International Airport. This fine collection brings together photographs taken by William Vernon "Red" Robertson, who was ably assisted by his colleague Harry Fresh. They worked together as the firm of Robertson and Fresh from 1932 to 1960, and over that time they collected thousands of high-quality images and negatives. The materials for this digital collection come from a large collection acquired by the late Hampton Dunn for use in his book "Tampa: A Pictorial History." The collection currently contains over 2,900 images, from photos of the offers of the Rebekah Assembly of Florida to early shots of the city's popular Gasparilla festival. Persons looking for specific items will appreciate the advanced search engine here as well. [KMG]

Center for the Study of Regional Competitiveness in Science & Technology [pdf]

The Center for the Study of Regional Competitiveness in Science & Technology at Washington University in St. Louis is dedicated to exploring questions about human capital and policy environment in the region. Staff members don't limit themselves to those questions, though, and this website provides additional information about their work and research projects. First-time visitors shouldn't miss the About section for additional materials on staff missions and goals. The homepage also contains information about recent conferences, media appearances, and so on. Scholars and policy folks will want to click on the Research Tools area as well. Here they will find resources like the St. Louis Regional Database Project, which contains information about St. Louis area students, teachers, and communities. Moving on, the Reports area within the Downloads section contains recent articles produced by staff members. Titles include "Putting the 'Urban' in Mathematics Education Scholarship" and "Epidemiology and Education Research: Dialoguing about Disparities." [KMG]

Digital Geology of Idaho

If you have ever wanted to learn about the geology of Idaho, this site is a great way to explore everything from Coeur d'Alene to the Sawtooth Mountains. This digital version of a course offered at Idaho State University systematically divides Idaho geology into a set of different teaching modules. The modules cover topics like the Idaho Batholith, the Columbia River Basalts, and the Lake Bonneville Flood. Each module contains maps, charts, diagrams, and photographs that illuminate the various geological processes that have formed, and continue to form, each region of the state. Many of the modules also have fly-throughs that superimpose color-coded geology on 3-D topographic maps to provide a graphic visualization Idaho's rivers. Additionally, the site contains slide shows and a set of teaching exercises. [KMG]

Ward Morgan Photography, Southwest Michigan 1939-1980

Ward Morgan spent almost fifty years of his life chronicling the people, places, and activities he knew best around southwestern Michigan in the 20th century. He documented industry rise and fall, weddings galore, company Christmas parties, and the streetscapes of Kalamazoo. This digital collection of almost 1,000 images is culled from a 27,000 item negative collection given to the Western Michigan University Libraries. On the homepage, visitors can use a scrollbar to move through a nice sampling of the collection, including a night scene in Kalamazoo and several industrial machine shops. Visitors can look at the Recent Additions area as well, and if interested, they can sign up to receive the RSS feed offered here. Finally, the site also has some Suggested Topics for casual browsing, including residential scenes and people working. [KMG]

Robert Adams: The Place We Live

Organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, this retrospective exhibition presents forty years of photographer Robert Adams's work. Yale holds Adams's master prints, is re-issuing a number of his books to supplement the exhibition. Adams, who currently lives and works in northwestern Oregon, was born in New Jersey in 1937, and has spent his career documenting the often detrimental effects that human beings have had on the landscape, particularly in the western United States. The website exhibition is organized by book. For example, pictures in "The New West," taken between 1968 and 1971, show tract houses popping up on the flat land at the foot of the Front Range in Colorado. In the introduction, Adams points out that when we see that "an old woman, alone, is forced to carry her groceries in August heat over a fifty acre parking lot" it should caution us that these tract developments are somehow wrong. [DS]

Network Tools


This new approach to podcasts is billed as "Your podcasts. With syrup on top." The folks at Flapcast take a humorous and helpful approach to the wide, wide, world of podcasts. Their program allows users to place podcasts into the cloud for others to enjoy. Visitors are encouraged to use the program to discuss podcasts of note, and they can also search all of the podcasts uploaded to Flapcast. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Looking for a bit more motivation? Why not try Textmotivate? The program allows users to receive brief text messages that will help remind them of upcoming goals. Visitors just need to sign up for an account, and they can tweak the settings to be reminded at certain intervals over a number of days, weeks, or months. The program has a few preloaded goals that many people might be interested in, such as quitting smoking, and users are encouraged to add their own. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

New insights into the function of the stripes found on zebras

How The Zebra Got Its Stripes

Zebra Stripes Evolved to Keep Flies Away

The Zebra's Stripes: A Personal No-Fly Zone

HowStuffWorks: Are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes?

Zebras, Zebra Pictures, Zebra Facts

Natural History Notebooks: Zebras

The question of why zebras have stripes has fascinated animal biologists, literary types, and others for millennia. Some used to think that the stripes were a form of camouflage, a theory criticized by Charles Darwin due to the fact that zebras prefer open savannahs, rather than heavily forested areas. A new study performed by an international team of researchers suggests that the zebra's stripes are actually an advanced form of fly repellent. Leading a team of colleagues, Dr. Gbor Horvth of Etvs University in Budapest conducted a series of studies with horse-shaped models, some of which were painted uniformly dark, some painted uniformly white, and some with stripes of various widths. They were looking to see if horseflies would prefer a certain object, and as it turns out, the least attractive of these items were the ones with the stripes that most closely resembled those found on zebra hides. The reasons for this selection remain unclear, but Horvth has speculated that it might be due to the fact that horseflies have a difficult time seeing polarized light. As such, the horseflies might confuse the small animals, and make it difficult to see the zebras. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece on this recent discovery by Emily Sohn, writing for Discovery News. The second link leads users to another piece from last Friday's International Business Times on the subject. Moving along, the third link will whisk users away to a short radio piece from NPR's Weekend Edition about this latest experiment into the world of the zebra's stripes. The fourth link leads to a fun article from HowStuffWorks about the color of zebras. The fifth link gives interested parties the ability to browse through many fabulous photos of zebras, courtesy of National Geographic. The last link will take visitors to a wonderful site about zebras from the Canadian Museum of Nature.

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