The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 9

March 2, 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

Converge Magazine: Technology in Education

Converge is a great name for this fantastic online magazine about the convergence of education and technology. As the media arm of the Center for Digital Education, Converge is composed of "quarterly themed Converge Special Reports [and] Converge online. [It] provides strategy and leadership for technology use in the K-12 and higher education market." Visitors can choose from five different categories in the Stories link near the top of the page. Some of the Stories are about Policy and Technology, Classroom Technology and Infrastructure, and Curriculum and Administrative Technology. Alongside each story is a helpful You May Also Like column that has links to related stories. Visitors keen on learning how to implement the latest technology trend on college campuses, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), will find a number of papers on the topic in the Papers link near the top of the page.

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

BioEd Online: Lessons: Microorganisms [pdf]

The BioEd Online site, created by the dedicated staff at the Baylor College of Medicine, is a veritable cornucopia of material for science educators. The lesson plans are all classroom tested and high-quality. This particular corner of the site focuses on the world of microorganisms. The site includes 15 lessons, complete with video clips, slideshows, and .pdf files. The offerings here include "Comparing Sizes of Microorganisms," "Observing Different Microbes," and "Microbes and Disease." The videos are quite nice as they offer a brief introduction to each subject, along with suggestions for how to conduct the associated classroom activity. If visitors enjoy these lesson plans, they should explore the other categories under Classroom Lessons, such as Animals, Genetics, and History & Nature of Science. [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

Cytogenetics Gallery

Cytogenetics is the study of chromosomes and chromosome abnormalities. This website, created by staff at the University of Washington's Department of Pathology, offers visitors "the opportunity to see what chromosomes look like under the microscope and how abnormalities of chromosomes are identified." Those persons who might need a refresher on what a chromosome is can click on a brief description before continuing to explore the site. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can look three sections: Cytogenetic Abnormalities, Mammal Examples, and Methods of Chromosome Visualization. The Cytogenetic Abnormalities area is a good place to start, as it describes conditions such as Klinefelter's syndrome and Trisomy 21. Moving along, the Methods of Chromosome Visualization area includes detailed explanations and materials on banding patterns along different chromosomes. [KMG]

NanoTeachers: Bringing Nanoscience into the Classroom

Are you interested in bringing nanoscience into your classroom? Well, this website may be just the thing to help. Created by staff members at the Center for Probing the Nanoscale at Stanford University and supported with funds from the National Science Foundation, the site offers instructional materials for teachers. Most of the materials can be found in the Activities area. Here interested parties will find a number of hands-on activities, including "Pouring it Out" and Invisible Rays." Each activity comes with instructions and discussion questions, and some of them have instructional videos of each activity in action. In the Explore More area, visitors can check out fact sheets on nanoscale tools, nanoscale images, and scanning probe microscopy. The site is rounded out by links to other related sites from the University of Albany and Rice University. [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

Harvard in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Several hundred years ago, Harvard University was a much smaller place, and higher education was only necessary to (or desired by) those hoping to enter a few select professions. Referring to this early period in Harvard's history, Josiah Quincy remarked in 1836 that "[Harvard] was, from the first, intimately connected with political and religious opinions and events." Supported by the Arcadia and the Sidney Verba Fund, this remarkable collection from the Harvard University Archives brings together thousands of items (such as diaries, maps, drawings, and legal documents) to tell the story of the institution during the 17th and 18th centuries. On the left side of the page, visitors will find topical headings that include College Life, Religion, and Personalities. It's a fine idea to start by looking through the College Life area. Here visitors will find droll commentaries on the cost and standard of living, along with notes on student discipline and humorous writings. Equally interesting is the Local and Regional History section. Here visitors can learn about Harvard's relationship with Cambridge, Native Americans, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. [KMG]

SACNAS Biography Project

In 1973, a group of minority scientists founded the non-profit Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). The mission of the group is to help Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists "attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science." As part of that mission, the SACNAS Biography Project offers a searchable database of accomplished Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists, engineers, and mathematicians with short biographies written for middle school and high school students. The profiles are written in the first person, in a conversational tone and recount growing up, getting into to college, and overcoming barriers to success. Visitors will see an M or H (or both) next to the name of each article, indicating what grade level the profile is written for (middle or high school). Educators will find that the high school lessons can be used in introductory college courses as well. [KMG]

National Science Foundation: Multimedia Gallery

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports the work of scientists from the Monterey Peninsula to Maine. Along the way, these dedicated individuals take photos, shoot video, create animations, and so on as part of their work. In the multimedia gallery section of the NSF's site, visitors can peruse over 250 images, videos, and audio clips that document everything from black holes to the science of NHL hockey. Visitors can search the multimedia here, or they can just look around at their leisure. First-time visitors should not miss the video on kinematics or the fabulous "Cabinet of Wonders," which houses the collection of Alfred Russel Wallace, the celebrated British naturalist. It's easy to see how these could be great complementary materials in a college classroom for any number of science courses. [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

Center on Education and The Workforce - STEM

Occupations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) "will only be 5 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy by 2018," according to the Center on Education and the Workforce of Georgetown University. However, such occupations "are critical to our continued economic competitiveness because of their direct ties to innovation, economic growth, and productivity." Visitors will find the STEM Competencies slideshow gives a good overview of the uphill struggle to get more students to start higher education and graduate in STEM fields. Those visitors interested in a more detailed explanation of the benefit of working in STEM should check out the one of three ways to access the Center's webinar. In order to be kept updated on the group's work, visitors can sign up for a newsletter via the box on the homepage entitled Stay Informed. [KMG]

General Interest

Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences: Research & Preservation

The organization that brings the world the coveted Oscar award, the red carpet scrutiny of the evening's dresses, and the quest for the best emcee, also engages in "Research and Preservation" of film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) devotes part of its website to the Margaret Herrick Library, the Academy Film Archive, and Resources & Databases. Visitors interested in exploring the behind-the-scenes aspects of filmmaking should check out the Special Collections of the Margaret Herrick Library to find "original scripts, production records, correspondence...[and] the activities of production companies, studios and film organizations." Other resources in the Library include millions of images as well as posters, art materials, and oral histories. The Academy Film Archive features a variety of collections organized by theme or filmmaker. Rounding out the site, the Resources & Databases section contains a list of Academy Award winners (with transcribed acceptance speeches) and a series of teacher guides, among other items. [KMG]

Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts

According to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) website, southern antiques were ignored and dismissed by collectors and scholars in the first half of the 20th century. However, in 1965, a museum dedicated to "the preservation, scholarship, and connoisseurship of southern decorative arts and material culture" opened in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, curated by a pioneering mother and son. Visitors should definitely check out the Exhibits and Collections links for high quality photos of many of the museum's holdings, as well as brief descriptions of the pieces, including the craftsperson and materials. Some pieces also include a map showing the region of the state where the piece was made. Current and past exhibits include "Our Spirited Ancestors: The Decorative Art of Drink," "Southern Silver: Style and Substance." and "'The Neatest Pieces of Any Description': Furniture Pieces of Piedmont, North Carolina." [KMG]

Panama and the Canal

The University of Florida's George A. Smathers Libraries and the Panama Canal Museum have worked together to create this engaging digital collection that tells the story of Panama and the Canal Zone. The collection contains 158 items, including newspaper clippings, illustrations, stock shares, and more. The Leonard Carpenter Panama Canal Collection contains a mix of photos of dredging work, military personnel, and a U.S. Navy dirigible. Another smaller collection contains items from the Government Documents Department, such as annual reports, maps, and Congressional hearing transcripts. Visitors can search the entire collection by keyword, and they shouldn't miss the 1754 maps of Panama and the surrounding region by Jacques Nicolas Bellin. [KMG]

Frontline: The Interrupters

Many organizations and individuals are working to transform some of America's most violent inner city neighborhoods by forming a series of coalitions with local residents, religious organizations, and schools. This engaging documentary from PBS's Frontline takes a look into "the violent landscape of our cities through the eyes of those fighting to sow peace and security." First-time visitors should click on "Meet the Interrupters" to learn about the unique individuals working on projects such as CeaseFire in Chicago and the Al Hafeez Initiative, which is designed to find resources for young boys and girls to utilize in after-school programs. Visitors can watch the entire program (one version that contains graphic language), move on to explore an online digital memorial for victims of violence, and also listen to profiles from National Public Radio and Chicago Tonight. Finally, visitors can click on the "Where Are They Now?" area to learn about what has happened to each "interrupter" since the documentary was released. [KMG]

The Nixon Administration and the Indian Nuclear Program, 1972-1974 [pdf]

The National Security Archive is always working on new electronic briefing books, and this recent release will fascinate anyone with an interest in international diplomacy, international relations, or the United States government. This particular briefing book was released in December 2011 and offers a look at the reaction of President Richard Nixon's administration to the testing of nuclear weapons by India. The test of the nuclear device on May 18, 1974 caught the United States by surprise even though two years before, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research had predicted that India could make preparations for an underground test without being detected by United States intelligence. There are 21 documents on this website, including a secret memo entitled "A Concerted Effort by India to Conceal Preparations May Well Succeed" and several key State Department cables. Also, the site features a narrative essay that puts these events in context for a reader who may not already be intimately familiar with the series of events. [KMG]

Human Embryology Animations [Flash Player, Quicktime]

For students of human development, the Human Embryology Animations site is a worthy resource. Created by Dr. Valerie O'Loughlin at Indiana University, the goal of this site is to help students "better understand the complex processes that must occur in embryologic development." The animations are divided into five thematic sections, including General Embryology, Development of the Limbs, and Urinary and Reproductive Embryology. Each animation lasts anywhere from 20 seconds to 8 minutes, and they cover heart tube folding, septum development, postnatal circulation, and 30 or so other processes. The site is designed for students and members of the general public with a basic understanding of human biology, and the animations are well-planned and worth a look. Additionally, they could be used for students reviewing materials for a course like AP Biology. [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

A Sightseer's Guide To Engineering [last profiled in the Scout Report on March 23, 2001]

Who helps design bridges, tunnels, and roads? Engineers, of course! This fun and informative website, created by the National Society of Professional Engineers, provides information about important engineered structures around the United States. Visitors to the homepage will notice the colorful interactive map of the United States first off. Clicking on each state returns a list of entries, complete with photos and information about the engineering nuances of each building or structure. Visitors should also note that there is a search engine on the site, along with a dropdown menu of structures organized by engineering discipline. To get started on the site, users might do well to click on Maine. Here they can read about the unusual Raye's Mustard Mill Museum in Eastport and the Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth. Overall, the site is a nice find and a gateway for those who might like to learn more about the engineering feats in their own backyards. [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

Network Tools


Do you need to share documents quickly with a number of different users? You may want to give TagMyDoc a look. Visitors can choose their documents, and upload them so they can be scanned and retrieved as virtual copies. Additionally, users can sign up for free accounts for enhanced functionality and there's an explanatory video here as well. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


If you're thinking about taking screenshots for a presentation or personal use, you may want to give CloudShot a try. This small utility offers users the ability to take screenshots of a specific screen region or menus, and it works with multiple monitors. Visitors can add text labels to their shots and integrate the program seamlessly with Dropbox. This particular version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Children in urban areas around the world continue to face tremendous challenges

Make children the cornerstone of urban decision-making, urges UNICEF

Cities are failing children, UNICEF warns

World's slum children in desperate need, UNICEF says

Children in an Urban World: The State of the World's Children 2012

Declaration of the Rights of The Child

Committee on the Rights of the Child

In 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child to complement the Declaration of Human Rights approved in 1948. The hope was that this declaration would secure certain basic rights for children across the globe, regardless of nation origin, ethnicity, or other factors. Over the intervening five decades, much progress has been made, but according to a report released by UNICEF this Tuesday, many children in urban areas still face tremendous challenges. Commenting on the report, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake noted that "Today an increasing number of children living in slums and shantytowns are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in the world, deprived of the most basic services and denied the right to thrive." While cities often offer children the advantages of a diverse set of schools, health care and playgrounds, they do not work very well for the majority of those children living in poverty. For example, in some poor neighborhoods, a basic necessity like water can cost 50 times more than in wealthier neighborhoods, where residents are connected directly to water mains. The report is worth reading, and the hope is that it will inspire a broad coalition to tackle some of these challenges head on.

The first link will take visitors a piece from this Tuesday's Guardian which offers commentary on this recently released report. Moving on, the second link will whisk users away to the official report press release from UNICEF's press center. The third link will take interested parties to a post from the Los Angeles Times' World Now blog which includes a short video about the report and its basic findings. The fourth link leads to the entire State of the World's Children Report, along with interviews with experts, infographics, and figures. The fifth link leads to the full text of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1959. The last link leads to the homepage of the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child. Here visitors can learn about this independent body, their work, and also read their press releases and papers.

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