The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 12

March 23, 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

NIH Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR)

This National Institutes of Health website focuses on rare diseases, which are also called orphan diseases. The FAQs section in the About ORDR link states that a rare disease is a "disease or condition affecting fewer than 200,000 persons in the United States. An estimated 25 to 30 million people in the United States have a rare disease." Visitors will find that the information on this website is suitable for patients, health practitioners, researchers, caregivers, students and anyone interested in rare diseases. The Rare Diseases News tab near the top of the homepage contains such pertinent news as, "NIH Announces Genetic Testing Registry," "Undiagnosed Diseases Program Now Accepting New Applications," and "ORDR Announces Workshop on Natural History Studies of Rare Diseases." Visitors interested in participating in clinical trials should check out the tab Research and Clinical Trials, where there are over a dozen federal and non-federal web resources that have materials on such matters. [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

History News Network

What happened in the past is already being documented in the present for the future. This complexity is not lost on the talented people at George Mason University's History News Network (HNN). The HNN was started in 2002 and its mission is "to help put current events into historical perspective." The distinguished advisory board includes Pauline Maier of MIT and Walter Nugent of Notre Dame. Each week, the website features up to a dozen new op-ed pieces by prominent historians. The homepage includes polls, links to breaking news, and links of importance found on other sites. For perspective and commentary, visitors can also click on the Hot Topics area to learn about everything from the 2012 Election to Women's History month. Check out the Questions/Answers area to learn about questions people are asking search engines (such as "Did Johannes Kepler murder Tycho Brahe?") and to read thoughtful responses from HNN staff members. Moving on, the Book Reviews area contains hundreds of reviews of both academic titles and those for the general public. [KMG]

Cyberlearning at Community Colleges: 21st Century Biology Education

The goal of the Cyberlearning at Community Colleges (C3) project is to help "faculty leverage digital library resources, network computing and communications technologies, and E-science data and tools to engage in cyberlearning strategies." C3's funding comes from the National Science Foundation and their work will be of interest to wide range of educators. Visitors can sign up to be a part of this program, and they can also create their own profile to network with other members. The Blogs area is worth a look, as it contains practical information about upcoming conferences and events. It also includes relevant Featured Resources, including the Gapminder video series, which provides a statistical window into global development. Visitors can peek into the Forum area to participate in online discussions about teaching with data, preferred instructional styles, and offering students relevant content in the classroom. [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

Science Buddies

Awarded a prestigious prize in 2011 for online resources in education by Science magazine, the Science Buddies website helps both students and scientists by "build[ing] a remarkable bridge between inquisitive students who want access to current research and scientists who want to conduct outreach for their own projects." Visitors interested in science fair activities and guidance should definitely check out the Project Ideas and Project Guide tabs located near the top of the page. There are over 1,000 Project Ideas, including "Which Flour Has the Greatest Glob of Gluten?" and "Hey, There's Corn in my Candy!" (both found in the Cooking and Food subcategory). Those persons with an interest in engineering will appreciate the "Engineering Design Project Guide" that can be found under the Project Guide tab. This guide walks students through an engineering project, from Gathering Data to Generating Ideas to Implementing a Solution. Finally, there is also an Advanced Project Guide for students and teachers involved in high school science competitions. [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

Northwest Association for Biomedical Research [pdf]

The goal of the Northwest Association of Biomedical Research (NWABR) is to strengthen public trust in research through education and dialogue. Their programs include essay contests for middle school students, ethics workshops, and a science fair. On their website, visitors can look over the materials in four primary sections: Community, Teachers, Students, and Members. The Teachers area is particularly strong, as it includes curriculum packages on bioethics, introductory bioinformatics, and genetic testing. Each of these packages includes an overview, lesson plans, additional resources, and related events sponsored by the NWABR. The Students area includes materials for young people, including information about the annual essay contest and the youth ethics summit. In the Community area, visitors will find information about NWABR's community outreach and a link to their blog. The blog is witty and interesting, and includes posts like "Do you know where your DNA is?" [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

Digital Morphology

Have you ever wanted to look into the shape and structure of a suckermouth armored catfish? Well, the Digital Morphology website makes that possible. Created as part of the National Science Foundation Digital Library at The University of Texas at Austin, this library includes hundreds of 2D and 3D visualizations of the internal and external structure of living and extinct vertebrates, and a number of invertebrates as well. These images are generated by a X-ray CT scanner, which has greater resolution and penetrating power than a conventional medical diagnostic CAT scanner. Visitors can browse the library by scientific name, common name, or the popular What's New? area. The homepage includes eight different overview pages, which provide narrative essays and images of dinosaurs, tapirs, bats, and primates. The site also has a Learn More section which provides additional material on X-ray CT's and the science behind 3D printing. [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

Aerial Photographs of Colorado

From 1938 to 1947, the United States Forest Service took thousands of aerial photographs of the state of Colorado. The hope was that these images would be used by agronomists, land use planners, farmers, and other groups with a vested interest in these lands. Today, 1,700 of these images are part of the University of Colorado's Digital Collections. Visitors can search for available images by using a clickable map here, read a set of interpretation tips, and also download the maps for research and other personal uses. Visitors who choose to use the LunaInsight image viewer (also made available here) will have the ability to search images by all data fields, along with being able to zoom in to high resolution images of each photograph. Overall, this is a tremendous resource, and one that will delight and inform geographers, historians, planners, and others with an interest in Colorado. [KMG]

JASON Science

The JASON Project was started by Dr. Robert D. Ballard in 1989, and its primary goal is to connect "students with scientists and researchers in real-and near-real time, virtually and physically, to provide mentored, authentic and enriching science learning experiences." Visitors will need to create a free profile to get started here, but the process only takes a couple of minutes. The Curriculum area includes science education packages that cover subjects such as physics ("Terminal Velocity") and volcanic activity ("Tectonic Fury"). Also, the JASON Live! area is quite a bit of fun, as it features interactive events that can be viewed via the website. Some of these activities include Q&A sessions with Dr. Ballard, reports from the deep sea adventures of NOAA's Okeanos Explorer, and conversations with marine biologists. Finally, the site also includes several science contests and updates about the activities at JASON. [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

The Historic Landscape of Nevada: Development, Water, and the Natural Environment

The population growth of Nevada would have never been possible without a vast series of engineering projects designed to modify the landscape around the state. Water has always been an area of great concern for people in the region, and this fine digital collection from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas "documents the historic role of water resource management in Southern Nevada." The collection includes over 1,200 objects. Visitors may do well to start with the Timeline section, where they will find an interactive timeline that includes icons leading to educational resources for teachers. Moving on, the thematic sections, such as The Politics of Water, offer contextual essays and image sets that explore the various facets of these transformations. Additionally, the For Educators area includes primary source sets for the classroom such as "The Railroad & Water Rights" and "Municipal Ownership." [KMG]

Portland State University Digital Repository

In recent years, many universities have expanded their digital collections to include the scholarly works and other unique resources that define their institutions. Portland State University's Digital Repository serves this important function by collecting dissertations and theses, faculty scholarship, and student publications. Currently, the faculty collection contains over 250 items, ranging from scientific papers on radiation to the history of urban planning in and around Portland. One particularly interesting document is the set of summary remarks on the history of planning in Portland by Ethan Seltzer. Moving on, there are over 330 documents in the dissertations and theses area that can be searched by title, author name, and date. The site is rounded out by a collection of issues of the student literary journal, "Pathos." [KMG]

Stones River Battlefield Historic Landscape Collection

The Battle of Stones River (or the Battle of Murfreesboro as it referred to in the South), was fought between December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863 in middle Tennessee. At the conclusion of this skirmish, the Union Army had repelled two intense Confederate attacks and it was a bit of an uplift after the Union's defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg. This fine collection from Middle Tennessee State University's Walker Library "documents the history of people, land use, and nature in the Stones River Battlefield area." The collection contains over 500 documents, including photographs, deeds to various land parcels, and so on. Visitors can browse the collection by names, deeds, and photographs, or they can also perform their own search. For anyone interested in rural geography, Tennessee history, and related matters this site will warrant several visits. [KMG]

I Love Lucy: An American Legend

One of the earliest television shows to capture the imagination and interest of the American people was "I Love Lucy." It premiered on October 15, 1951 and followed the activities of Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her husband, Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) This digital collection from the Library of Congress explores the show's history via a set of themes (such as Latin Roots/Yankee Roots and Theme Songs) and a set of digitized items. Visitors can click on the Themes to find original sheet music of the show's theme music, publicity photographs of Ball and Arnaz, and short essays on topics relevant to the show's run and legacy. Visitors can zoom in on the images here and they can also share the items with friends via a variety of social media platforms. [KMG]

The Croatian Museum of Naive Art

The website of the Croatian Museum of Naive Art has digitized a good portion of its collection, which means that the colorful works are accessible to those who can't hop a flight to Zagreb. Naive art, also called primitive art, art of the naives or art of the modern primitives, is art of the 20th century that was produced by artists untrained in art schools. Visitors interested in a more in-depth discussion of the origin of the naive art term and movement should go to the tab near the top of the page entitled Naive Art. The Display tab takes visitors on a room-by-room tour of the museum. Visitors can click on images by each artist mentioned in the tour to see more of that artist's work. Those intrigued by brightly colored buildings must see Emerik Fejes's work. His Parliament in Budapest, from 1955, can be found on the first page of the Display tab and is the virtual entrance to his other colorful works. For more somber and biblical imagery, visitors should look at Mijo Kovacic and Ivan Vecenaj. [KMG]

ATE Projects Impact

The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program website gives visitors the opportunity to learn about National Science Foundation-funded projects around the country to "enhance the knowledge and skills of U.S. technicians." As technicians are essential workers in the high-technology fields, the ATE program "focus[es] on specific ways to enhance technician education programs, professional development for educators, curriculum and educational materials development, [and] teacher preparation." Visitors should check out the Projects tab near the top of the homepage to choose a category, such as Energy Technology, Geographic Info Systems and Geospatial Technology, or Chemical and Process Technology. Once a discipline is chosen, visitors can view a list of project names, along with links to their websites, and the names of the institutions hosting the projects. Some of the dozens of projects include "Investigative Sciences and Law Enforcement Technologies (ISLET)" and the "Midwest Coalition for Comprehensive Design Education." [KMG]

For more information on ATE, including a comprehensive list of projects and centers and a catalog of available resources, please visit

Career Options for Women

The governments of various Canadian provinces have worked together to sponsor a website that features video programs which profile women in typically male-dominated career fields, especially positions in the trades and in technology. Visitors will find the written profiles of women in three series, each of which explores 13 different career categories. Some of the categories profile multiple women, each representing different areas of the career field. In Series One, episode 11 profiles women in the Protective Services field, such as a Griffon Helicopter Pilot, Canine Officer, and a Fire Protection Designer. Some of the details that visitors can learn about the different careers include the education requirements, salary, and personality qualities suited for the job. [KMG]

This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s

Concurrent with Meryl's Streep's Oscar win for portraying Margaret Thatcher, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago presents this massive show of art work from the 1980s. Organized into four broad categories - The End is Near, Democracy, Gender Trouble, and Desire and Longing - it's also easily browsed by artist name and titles of works. The categories are designated by color coded dots; e.g. Democracy is green, Gender Trouble, yellow. Raymond Pettibon's "No Title (To Dust Cover...Shut)," 1984, looking like the cover of blood splotched comic book, fits into the category The End is Near. Jeff Wall's "Picture for Women," 1979, from the Gender Trouble category, takes its inspiration from feminist art historical theory. Specifically, feminists argue that throughout history, the tradition in Western art is to show men gazing at passive women, as opposed to Wall's photograph showing a male photographer gazing at a woman. [DS]

Network Tools


Did you ever want to share some commentary on the news with your friends quickly? Communitee can make this happen via a novel approach to the "social news network." After signing up for a free account, visitors can find other users in their respective "community." Visitors can select their preferred news sources and the short explanatory video on the homepage gives a nice introduction to the particulars of how things work. This version is compatible with all operating systems.


If you like physical shelves for storing books, DVDs, and other items, you'll probably enjoy the digital equivalent for storing documents, photos and the like: Shelfster. This application can be used to capture just about anything from any medium, including photos, spreadsheets, charts, and documents. Users will find that Shelfster can be used to bookmark websites, save images from the web, clip and move text blocks, and also record audio (with a smartphone device). This version is compatible with all operating systems as well as iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. [KMG]

In The News

After a tempest of controversy regarding a popular theater production, a retraction and conversation.

Defending 'This American Life' and Its Mike Daisey Retraction [Free registration may be required]

Daisey revises 'Steve Jobs' Monologue After Dispute Over Facts

Mike Daisey speaks out against media in Apple controversy

This American Life: Retraction

This American Life: Mr. Daisey And The Apple Factory

Mike Daisey

Over the past few months, performer Mike Daisey's solo show "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" has received rave reviews for its first-person look into the working conditions at the Foxconn factories in China where a range of Apple products are made. Many reviewers commented that Daisey's bravura performance was particularly moving due to its honesty and contemplative moments. His work had been profiled by the public radio program "This American Life" and it was presented at the Public Theater in New York City as a work of nonfiction. Recently, controversy about Daisey's show has erupted as several sources (including staff members at "This American Life") mentioned that the testimony presented as fact by Daisey seemed dubious. After public radio reporter Rob Schmitz investigated, he found that Daisey had lied to other radio reporters during the fact-checking process for the original story. For many people, this matter strikes at the heart of what may be presented as fact during a artistic endeavor that may (for any number of reasons) be subject to the transformations associated with crafting a narrative for public consumption in the theatrical world. Anyone who has a passion for journalism or theater will want to follow this story closely in the coming days and weeks. [KMG]

The first link will take interested parties to a piece from this Monday's New York Times Theater section about the recent controversy. The second piece will take users to a post from the New York Times' "Arts Beat" blog about how Daisey changed the show in response to recent critiques. Moving along, the third link will lead to a piece from the Los Angeles Times' "Culture Monster" blog featuring Daisey's reactions and thoughts on the criticisms of his show as well as the nature of theater and journalism more generally. The fourth link will whisk users away to last week's "This American Life" episode, which features host Ira Glass talking with Daisey about his show and they way in which he presented his work. The fifth link will lead to the original "This American Life" profile of Daisey and his time spent in China gathering material for his show. (The audio of this show is no longer available). Finally, the last link will take visitors to Daisey's website, where they can read his reaction to the controversy and learn about his other works and performances.

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