The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 14

April 6, 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

Lecture Archives-Environmental Science Institute

The Environmental Science Institute (ESI) at the University of Texas at Austin is dedicated to "fostering environmental research, education, and outreach across disciplines." To this end, the ESI has developed a set of resources for educators, including a nice series of lectures dating back to 1999. This section of the site provides interested parties with access to 77 of these talks, which address topics like franking, dark energy, the evolution of human vision, and autonomous robots. Visitors can browse through the lectures at their leisure, and will find supplementary materials accompanying most of the talks. Users are encouraged to use these lectures in a variety of ways, and it is easy to imagine that the talks could be used in the classroom or in other informal settings. First-time visitors may wish to start by watching "CSI-Texas: The Science of Sleuthing" and "The History and Futures of Whales," two particularly intriguing lectures. [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

Brown Center on Education Policy [pdf]

The Brown Center on Education Policy is a part of the Brookings Institution that aims to explore "the challenges facing the American education system and to help identify practical policy solutions." The Center is home to the Brown Center Report on American Education, which has been published since 2000. The Report analyzes the state of American education using the latest measures of student learning, and it identifies and evaluates promising educational reforms. First-time visitors can click on the Publications area to browse around the collection of papers on education policy, their Letters on Education, and the aforementioned Report. The papers on education policy are well worth a look and include titles such as "Small Schools and Small Classes" and "The State of America's High Schools." On the site's homepage, visitors can make their way through Recent Research and Commentary, which includes full-text reports, op-ed pieces, and interviews from Center fellows and staff members. Additionally, visitors can create their own online portfolios where they can save papers and items of note for future reference. [KMG]

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education News Index

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) offers a wide range of educational programs. Part of its work is getting out the word about its own research projects and outreach efforts. On this site, visitors can read short news articles exploring everything from the nature of human evolution and natural selection to fellowship programs. Visitors can browse throughout the offerings chronologically and also look at the important resources on the right-hand side of the page. Here they will find the HHMI On The Web, which features direct links to the BioInteractive web site and Becoming a Scientist, which features 11 HHMI scientists talking about their successes in their fields. The site is rounded out by a link that allows users to sign up for news alerts via email. [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

Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research

The Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research is committed to a number of research goals, one of which is "to determine whether and how a detailed understanding of molecular mechanisms defined in model plant species can be used to rationally manipulate selected traits in crop plants." The Institute was founded in 1928 as part of the Kaiser-Willhelm-Gesellschaft and the first director, Edwin Baur, was interested in creating breeding programs with fruits and berries, though the Institute's scope has expanded since then. Visitors to the homepage should start by clicking on the News section. Here they can peruse recent releases from the Institute on how plants use mobile proteins to defend themselves against bacteria and the evolutionary "dead end" of powdery mildew. Scholars and others will want to click on the Reports and Publications area to look at some recent scholarly works and annual reports from 2009, 2006, and 2003. Moving on, the Public Outreach area contains a nice photo gallery and additional publications. [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

USC Digital Library: Charlotta Bass/California Eagle Collection

Charlotta Bass was born in Sumter, South Carolina in 1879 and moved to Los Angeles in 1910. Two years later, she purchased the California Eagle, one of the oldest African American newspapers in the west. Over the next forty years, she used the paper to advance a range of social causes and community activism including voter registration, housing, and employment discrimination. The staff members at the USC Digital Library project have created this fantastic digital collection of over 780 photos from the archives of the California Eagle. As the paper documented African American life in Los Angeles for many years, it is a fine way to learn about urban history and the African American community in the area. Visitors can search the entire collection by keyword, and they can also create their own customized collections for future reference. [KMG]

12 Mobile Learning Science Applications for the iPod Touch

The Teaching Science and Math website features a range of online resources for educators of K-12 students and those in introductory college courses. This particular section of the website features programs that can be used in conjunction with the iPod Touch. All of these programs are completely free, and they are designed for use in biology, astronomy, natural history, and geography courses. The applications here include "BrainPop" (daily trivia), "Mitosis" (a guide to cell division) and "Molecules." The "Molecules" application gives students the ability to view three-dimensional renderings of molecules. Moving on, "The Chemical Touch" consists of a simplified version of the periodic table display, and it gives interested parties easy access to the masses, densities, and boiling points of the elements. [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 A&P Professor

Kevin Patton is the president emeritus of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) and he is also the brains behind the A&P (Anatomy & Physiology) Professor website. Patton has worked to create this online collection of resources for people teaching human anatomy and physiology, and it's a great counterpart to his blog of the same name. Visitors should start by looking over one of the five tabs at the top of the page, which include Resources, Topics, and How To. The How To contains resources for educators about producing online lectures and various in-class student response systems. The files here are dynamic, and they include interactive sections that make the material quite lively. Moving on, the Resources area includes an online version of an anatomy & physiology textbook created by Patton, along with links to other high-quality resources. Finally, the Lion's Den section of the site contains links to Patton's syllabi, course handouts, and a range of introductory materials for anyone who might be teaching a basic anatomy & physiology course. [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

Confederate Imprints Collection: Sheet Music

As the United States continues to explore the legacy of the Civil War, this timely collection adds to the conversation. The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collection has created this collection of printed music created between 1861 and 1865 in the Confederacy. During its short-lived existence, the Confederacy produced more than 7,000 books, pamphlets, broadsides, maps, pieces of sheet music, pictures, and periodicals. Many collections of songs, known as songsters, were created during this period. The patriotic lyrics of these songs kept up southern morale, and they are interesting documents for musicologists, historians, and others. This collection features 50 pieces of music, including ballads like "Bonny Jean" and quick-steps like "Beauregard Manassas." Visitors can look over the pieces at their leisure, and those persons with a visual bent will be fascinated by the cover art for each musical composition. [KMG]

General Interest

New Glarus and Green County Local History

Green County, Wisconsin is known far and wide due to its tremendous cheese production, breweries, and the emigration of Swiss people to the town of New Glarus in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This remarkable digital collection from the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections group brings together 214 items that tell the story of this corner of Wisconsin. The collection was funded in part through a 2011 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, and it features photographs, complete books, maps, and other items. Visitors can browse the collation by subject groupings, which include Farming, Books, Business & Commerce, and Leisure & Celebration. This last grouping should not be missed, as it includes images of Burkhalter's Elite Band, the "Famous Swiss Band," and an elaborate Fourth of July Parade in 1912. Finally, the "Books" area contains tax roll documents for New Glarus in the 1850s and a 1918 atlas of Green County. [KMG]

Explore UK

The Explore UK website is an initiative by the University of Kentucky Special Collections and it is a true delight for anyone with an interest in this storied institution and Kentucky history more generally. First-time visitors will notice a scrolling section of images that introduce the photographs and other documents that are part of this growing collection. The sections here include Images, Athletics Archive, Board of Trustees, and Yearbooks. The Images archive includes over 30,000 images that cover everything from student life to campus buildings. There are a few thematic collections here that should not be missed. First among them is the John Tuska collection, which contains over 1,100 images of pieces created by the celebrated potter/sculptor and University of Kentucky professor. The Buildings area is quite nice as well, as it contains over 1,700 images that document both the architectural ornamentation of various buildings around campus and the overall feel of the campus layout. [KMG]

University of Massachusetts: Distinguished Visitors Program

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst Library has an elaborate mix of digital collections available through their UMarmot program, which is the online presence of their Special Collections & University Archives division. One of the more recent digitization projects they have completed is the Distinguished Visitors Program. The Program contains talks from a wide range of visitors who came to Amherst in the 1970s. The talks here include lively conversations with Isaac Asimov, Julian Bond, Angela Davis, David Halberstam, Tom Hayden, and Jane Fonda. Visitors will also find a short description of each individual's talk, along with information about what brought him or her to campus. The talks are engaging; one of the best is the talk by David Halberstam, which features a discussion of American politics and foreign policy in the wake of Watergate. [KMG]

USGS Emergency Management

Most people are familiar with the work of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as it relates to describing and analyzing everything from tectonic activity to mineral deposits around the United States. People may be less familiar with their work as it relates to emergency management. This website provides information about their work to support the National Response Framework emergency support functions, along with a cornucopia of materials on the Natural Hazards Support System (NHSS), Issues of Interest, and a set of USGS Real-Time Resources. The National Hazards Support System includes an interactive world map of current natural hazard events. Visitors can toggle various natural hazard layers off and on as they see fit. Additionally, the Issues of Interest area contains updates on earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. Finally, the USGS Real-Time Resources area contains real-time updates on current landslides, streamflow conditions, and other related matters. [KMG]

United Nations: Humanitarian Affairs

The United Nations (UN) works on a myriad of topics related to human development, including addressing ethnic strife in different parts of the globe and coordinating disaster response strategies. This particular section of the UN website provides information about their work on humanitarian affairs. Here visitors can use the right-hand side of the page to learn about various programs that are currently underway in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Haiti. One of the most useful sections of the site is the Tools area. Here visitors can find resources available to relief efforts, such as the financial tracking service, the consolidated apparel process, and the International Early Warning Programme. One tool that visitors won't want to miss learning about is the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The CERF functions "to enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to those affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts." Finally, the site also contains a Thematic Issues area, which contains information about the impact of climate change, food security problems, and other matters as they relate to the UN's humanitarian relief projects. [KMG]

Internet Archive: Computers & Technology

The history of modern computing is a truly fascinating subject, and the folks at the Internet Archive have created this delightful collection of videos that document many recent developments in the field. The backbone of the 2,100 item collection is the inclusion of Computer Chronicles and Net Cafe. Computer Chronicles was a program hosted by Stewart Cheifet, broadcast from 1983 to 2002. Visitors can watch over 560 episodes of the program, which covers everything from color printers to trade shows. Moving on, visitors can view past episodes of Net Cafe, which was broadcast from 1996 to 2002. This weekly program went behind the scenes of what used to be known as the World Wide Web, and it was produced on location at Internet cafes around the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. The site is rounded out by other programs on internet governance and documentaries on Bulletin Board Services (BBS).

British Women Romantic Poets, 1789-1832

Those persons who love the work of 19th century poets will find much to capture their attention on this simple, yet thorough, website. Curated by Charlotte Payne at the University of California, Davis, this digital collection presents hundreds of works by British women writing from 1789 to 1832. The original goal of the project was to present an online scholarly archive of British and Irish women who wrote between the onset of the French Revolution until the passage of the Reform Act, which is known in English literary history as the Romantic period. There are several hundred texts available here, and visitors can scan through them alphabetically by author's last name. First-time visitors might do well to start with Mary Kay's "The Widow's Offering" which includes lovely poems such as "The Morning Star" and the tragic "A Dying Son's Farewell." Visitors can also learn about the project's participants, use the search engine, and look over a list of related web resources. [KMG]

Pennsylvania State University Libraries: Streaming Video Content

The Pennsylvania State University Libraries have quite a trove of video materials in their collections, and over the past few years they have worked to place several dozen selections online as a type of public service. The films here are divided into three basic categories: Engineering, African Films, and Communications. The Communications area has a vast range of material, including a conversation with author and critic bell hooks about cultural criticism and transformation which draws on everything from Madonna as cultural phenomenon to the films of Spike Lee. Also, the talk by the late Edward Said on Orientalism should not be missed. The African Films area includes works such as "Ezra" which deals with the troubling situation involving child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Finally, the Communications area includes short instructional films on girding, casting, brazing and soldering, and composite materials manufacturing. Free registration via is required. [KMG]

Network Tools


The WebVideoFetcher is an application designed to allow users to convert and download nearly any audio or video URL from a range of sources, such as YouTube, Google, or Facebook. Visitors can simply drop the URL for the item in question into the handy form here and the application will take care of the rest. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


The World Wide Web is a big place, and Noodzy can help interested parties get around it via their helpful service. After logging into their free account, visitors can use tags to execute what the folks at Noodzy call "quick actions." With these tags, users can navigate to sites quickly, and also perform a range of actions seamlessly. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Canada says goodbye to the humble one cent coin

Canadian penny to join ranks of shinplasters, half-crowns

Now the Canadian penny's days are numbered, is the nickel next?

So long, Canadian penny. I won't miss you

Economic Action Plan 2012 Announces Elimination of the Penny

Coins and Canada

On the Origins of Money

In the United States, a battle over the future of the penny has been raging for years. A number of economists and policymakers have called for the elimination of this unit of currency, pointing out that it costs more to create that its actual value of one cent. This past week, the Canadian government announced that it would be phasing out the Canadian one cent coin over the next few months, and that the last coin would be produced in the fall of 2012. Commenting on the decision, Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty remarked that "pennies take up too much space on our dressers at home." Additionally, keeping these coins in circulation cost the Canadian government $130 million (CAD) per year. Interestingly enough, Canadians will be asked to round prices up or down to the nearest nickel, but credit card users will still be able to required to pay the exact amount stated for each transaction. Also, there are conversations going around the Canadian government calling for the elimination of the nickel in the future as well. Several other countries around the world have already phased out the nickel in the past few years, including New Zealand. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a fun piece from the Toronto Sun's Kenneth Kidd which finds him waxing nostalgic about the good old days of the shinplaster and half-crowns. Moving along, the second link will take interested parties to an article from the National Post about the future of the Canadian nickel. The third link leads to an article from CNET's "Crave" blog. The piece features a mediation from Canadian Tim Hornyak on his utter lack of love for the Canadian one cent coin, which he says is basically "dead weight." The fourth link takes users to the official news release from last Thursday about the elimination of the penny, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint. The fifth link leads to the Coins and Canada website, which is an excellent source of information about Canadian coins and related matters. The final link will whisk users away to a classic article from the Economic Journal titled "On the Origins of Money."

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