The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 8

February 24, 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

Jim and the Forgotten Embryos

The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science at the University of Buffalo has developed hundreds of classroom-tested materials for use in college settings. This particular case study deals with stem cell-based therapy, and it was created by Professor Miriam Segura-Totten of the North Georgia College & State University. The goal of this case is "to expose students to the basic of embryonic stem cells, their therapeutic uses, and the controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells through the story of a college student, Jim Allison, who becomes paralyzed after a car accident." The case study includes an abstract, objectives, teaching notes, and an answer key. It's a great way to get students thinking about this issue, and it can be modified to be used in a range of educational settings. It may spark some debate among philosophers or religious studies students as well. [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

Reconsidering California Transport Policies: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in an Uncertain Future [pdf]

Over the past decade, the state of California has set aggressive greenhouse gas emissions targets across all sectors of the economy. The first major target occurs in 2020, when the state hopes to have reduced statewide greenhouse gas emission from their current levels to 1990 levels. This 320-page paper from RAND researcher Ryan Keefe takes a critical look at the policies adopted by California in its attempt to achieve these long-term goals. Visitors can look over the complete document if they are so inclined, but there is a brief summary available as well. The paper provides a history of climate policy in California, sections on policy options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, and new methods for evaluating California's light-duty transportation policies. Finally, the paper also includes a wealth of graphs, charts, and technical appendices. [KMG]

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco: Teacher Resources Index

Some people might not be aware that the Federal Reserve Banks provide a wide range of educational resources, including lesson plans, online economic indicators for classroom use, and materials on personal finances. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco offers ten different resources, including interviews with economists and information about bank tours. The Economics in Person section features the above-mentioned interviews, where visitors might start by watching Mary C. Daly talk about the recent Great Recession. Moving on, teachers and students will enjoy the Open & Operating video. This 16-minute film is designed to teach young people about the operations of a central bank and how the bank responded to the events of September 11th. The site is rounded out by a personal finance lesson plan and a link to the Federal Reserve Education Portal. [KMG]

Mathematics Meets Photography [pdf]

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) publishes a monthly journal titled "Math Horizons." This publication explores the world of mathematics as seen by educators, students, and artists looking to learn more about the ways in which math is used in everyday life. This article from the September 2011 issue explores how math informs digital photography and the creation of all-around panoramic shots (a series of overlapping photographs in every direction from the exact same point in space). The piece starts by explaining how such panoramic photographs are created and then goes on to demonstrate a variety of other photographic projects. The article also discusses stereographic projection and the world of visible spheres. Written in language that is both erudite and accessible, and peppered with beautiful photographs, the piece is quite a delight and worth sharing. [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

Test and Treat Before You Drink

This resource from the Teach Engineering website is designed to help students learn about water quality testing and basic water treatment designs. This resource was created by scientists at the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program in the College of Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Users will find ten different sections that cover the learning objectives, vocabulary, associated activities, and assessment. The entire exercise should take twenty minutes in the classroom, and the features here include graphs, charts, helpful annotated photographs, and so on. The exercise may be used to raise awareness of the importance of clean drinking water in the developing world and how various innovations can help in achieving this goal. [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

U.S. Geological Survey: Coastal and Marine Geology Program [pdf]

Geologists, meteorologists, disaster specialists and others will find much to engage their attention on this website. Created by the United States Geological Survey, this site provides succinct overviews of a range of topics from the National Coastal Program Plan to El Nio, erosion, and sea-level change. Teachers should click on the drop down Content Type menu to access the Educational Materials area. Here they will find over 100 resources that highlight ocean mapping projects, core geology work, and ocean acidification. Visitors may also browse through these resources looking for movies, maps, data sets, photographs, and more. Additionally, visitors can learn about the program's field centers, located in St. Petersburg, Woods Hole, and Menlo Park. [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

Investigating a Eukaryotic Genome: Cloning and Sequencing a Fragment of Yeast DNA [pdf]

Getting students into the laboratory early in their college careers is quite important, and science educators can use this helpful resource to do just that. Created by Professor Sarah Elgin at Washington University, this lab exercise and guide introduces students to the molecular biology techniques used to clone a gene. Over the course of this activity, students sequence a small fragment of the yeast genome and then determine what genes, control elements, or repetitive sequences this fragment contains. The file contains pages for the instructor detailing how to conduct the activity and a selection of pages for students designed to test and interrogate what they have learned through this process of scientific inquiry. [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

Freshman Research Initiative

The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) at the University of Texas at Austin allows undergraduates the rather exciting opportunity to advance academically "while doing cutting-edge, original, publishable research" in a variety of fields. This website provides information about the FRI and how students can get involved, and for more casual users, there are a range of resources worth a look. In the Outreach area, visitors can learn how to take advantage of the FRI's cumulative wisdom through mentorship programs, science fairs, and so on. Moving on, the Sponsors and Collaborators area contains information about the FRI's partnerships with organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As a whole, the site is a great resource for other academic institutions seeking to emulate the success of the FRI. [KMG]

General Interest

Carnival Collection

"Come to the carnival" is a common refrain in New Orleans during the month of February, and this intoxicating collection from Tulane University pays homage to this wonderful cultural tradition. The collection includes over 1,500 float designs from the "Golden Age" of carnival by notable designers such as Jennie Wilde, B.A. Wikstrom, and Charles Briton. Support for the project comes from the late Charles L. "Pie" Dufour who left funds to continue the preservation of these rare and unique ephemeral materials. Visitors can browse at their leisure, and they may wish to start with fanciful designs like the 1870 "Twelfth Night Revelers" float or the 1891 "Atlanteans" design. Also, visitors can select the work of a particular float designer or krewe of note. Also, visitors can search the entire collection by keyword. [KMG]

Kansas Aerial Photography Initiative

Planners, geographers, historians, and environmental scientists all relish the possibilities inherent in a good set of aerial photographs. Such photos can inform curious parties about land use change, ground cover, riverine geography, and a number of other topics. This collection from the Kansas State University Libraries is just the perfect resource to explore these matters. The user interface for the site is quite elegant, and visitors can click on an interactive map of Kansas counties to get started. Tabs along the top of the site allow users to navigate through time, from the pre-1950 period all the way up to the 1970s. Visitors can also use the toggle feature on the right-hand side of the page to look at selected counties. The embedded image viewing software lets users zoom in and out, affording them an excellent detailed view of each area. [KMG]

Historic Des Moines

The early 20th century was a bustling time for many cities in the Midwest, and Des Moines was no exception. During this time, the city added streetcars, built many new public schools, and welcomed thousands of new residents. This digital collection from Drake University's Cowles Library offers hundreds of images of the city from 1904 through 1914. First-time visitors should read the introductory essay by John Zeller titled "From the Real to the Ideal; Images of Des Moines in the Progressive Era." After reading this piece, visitors will have a sense of the historical context of the images in the archive and Des Moines's history during this period. Visitors can browse at their leisure, and they can also use the interactive map to wander virtually around the city. Visitors should use the map to look at some of the wonderful homes around Union Park, including the L. Aulmann residence at 1712 Pennsylvania Avenue. [KMG]

Marshall T. Meyer Papers

The Duke University Libraries Digital Collection group has gone above and beyond with this fine collection documenting the human rights activism of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer in 1970s and 1980s Argentina. The collection draws on correspondence, project files, subject files, and publications from his papers held at Duke's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Rabbi Meyer lived in Buenos Aires for three decades, and during his time there he spoke out against the human rights abuses perpetrated under the military junta. He successfully negotiated the release of Jacobo Timerman and then returned to the United States to work on the plight of marginalized groups there. Visitors can look over the rotating items on the collection homepage to get a flavor of the documents here. Afterwards, they should use the tabs on the site to explore the collection by subject, document type, date, or language. Visitors are encouraged to sign up for the RSS feed here as well. [KMG]

New Learning Institute

The goal of the New Learning Institute (NLI) is "to harness the excitement and potential of new technologies as tools for learning both inside and outside the classroom." NLI focuses on bringing mobile technologies and digital media practices and tools to classrooms, after-school centers, and museums across the United States. The material on the site is contained within three primary areas: Digital Media Programs, Film Series, and Blog. Visitors might do well to start with the Digital Media Programs area. Here they can learn about NLI's outreach efforts to museums and other institutions, along with demonstrations on how new technologies are used in these settings. Moving on, the Film Series area includes videos that highlight the use of digital media in the classroom and some of the themes of the Institute's work, including social justice and technology. Finally, visitors shouldn't miss the blog, which includes posts on digital learning, digital literacy, and civic engagement. [KMG]

Glassmaking in Roman Times

As Pliny the Elder wrote in "Natural History": "And so we must now proceed to explain also the nature of glass" Taking its cue from that immortal line, this interactive exhibit from the Penn Museum explores the history of glassworking through the six centuries of Roman domination of the Mediterranean world. Through photographs and diagrams, this website tells the story of glassware in everyday life and its use for storing foodstuffs, wine, and perfumes. The sections of the exhibit explore coloration, glassworking, fine glassware, weathering, and other related topics. Each section contains engaging text and a list of references, and the section on the coloration of glass should not be missed. After looking over the site, visitors may find themselves yearning to take up glass blowing as a form of artistic endeavor. [KMG]

Dream, Design, Build: The UW Architecture Student Drawing Collection, 1914-1947

From 1914 until 1961, the University of Washington's Department of Architecture kept a well-organized collection of its students' drawings. This digital collection from the University of Washington brings together hundreds of these drawings for consideration by the web-browsing public. Many of the drawings contains marks from critiques, and many of them bear the marks of Lionel Pries, a highly regarded architecture professor at the school from the 1920s to the 1940s. Visitors can learn about architectural education assignment sequence by browsing through sections on the left-hand side of the page titled Student Drawings, Analytiques, and History of Ornament. The sample drawings on the bottom of the collection homepage include works by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the World Trade Center towers. Finally, visitors can make their way through the Conserving the Collection area, as it provides wonderful insights into how the collection has been preserved. [KMG]

Network Tools


Simply put, Quipol allows users to "create simple & elegant one-question polls." The polls can be embedded into blog posts and webpages, and can be used to gauge opinion on a myriad of topics. Creating a new poll takes just a few minutes, and the site contains a number of featured Quipols to inspire new users. [KMG]

Ghost Incognito

People interested in private browsing while using Chrome will find this plugin most helpful. With Ghost Incognito, users can browse websites without saving session data, cookies, history, or cached files. Visitors will find that the install process is quite simple, and this version of Ghost Incognito can be used with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Using fruit from a squirrel's burrow, Russian scientists generate an ancient arctic flower

Dead for 32,000 Years, an Arctic Plant Is Revived [Free registration may be required]

Ancient plants back to life after 30,000 frozen years

Wild flower blooms again after 30,000 years on ice

Future zoos to have woolly mammoths and tiger robots

Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology

Botanical Society of America: Plant Morphology

It may be a while before scientists resurrect woolly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers, but as of this week, the world is now home (once again) to the narrow-leafed campion. This tiny arctic flower died out 32,000 years ago, but this week a new report was released in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that announced the triumphant return of the ancient plant. The team working on this project is based at the Russian Academy of Sciences research center, and has backed up its claim of plant regeneration with a firm radiocarbon date. The current record for a similar plant regeneration is held by a date palm recovered from the fortress of Masada. As it turns out, the material for this project came from fruit from the plant stored by an arctic ground squirrel in its burrow in Siberia. The procedure for creating such a plant is quite complex: the researchers essentially took cells from the placenta of the fruit, thawed out the cells, and grew them in culture dishes into whole plants. While their claim needs to be independently verified, it certainly looks quite promising. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a New York Times article from this Tuesday about this recent scientific discovery and experiment. The second link will take interested parties to a great piece from the BBC's Richard Black about this rather fantastic scientific endeavor. The third link will lead people to a nice article from Nature's Sharon Levy about the work done by the Russian scientists to make this experiment feasible. The fourth link leads visitors to a speculative piece about the future possibilities that cloning might have for zoos in the decades to come, courtesy of Discovery News. The fifth link will take visitors to a great resource for those interested in plant biology: an online complement to a botany textbook, complete with discussion questions, plant biology basics, and so on. The final link will whisk interested parties to a great site on plant morphology, complete with annotated images.

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Internet Scout, 1994-2012. Internet Scout (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

Internet Scout Team
Max GrinnellEditor
Chanda HaldermanManaging Editor
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Andrea CoffinMetadata Specialist
Bryan SchneiderInternet Cataloger
Autumn Hall-TunInternet Cataloger
Tim BaumgardWeb Developer
Corey HalpinWeb Developer
Rusty LalkakaTechnical Specialist
Benjamin YuleTechnical Specialist
Emma SchneiderAdministrative Support
Matt LinsonAdministrative Support
Debra ShapiroContributor

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout staff page.