The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 16

April 20, 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

American Radio Works: Don't Lecture Me

Over the past few decades, higher education has been vastly transformed by online course offerings and myriad changes driven by technological advances and innovation. The old model of straight lectures and recitations to courses large and small has been challenged by new research as well. This documentary from American RadioWorks looks at different educators and institutions as they think about how to transform the college classroom experience. The lead reporter for this project was Emily Hanford, and visitors can listen to the entire program here. The program is divided into three primary sections, including The Problem with Lecturing and Inventing a New Kind of College, which looks into the innovative learning environment that's been created at the University of Minnesota at Rochester. Visitors can also read a transcript of the program and flip through the Reporter's Notebook which features Hanford's own thoughts on these ambitious efforts. [KMG]

Public Housing Transformation and Crime: Making the Case for Responsible Relocation

As the city of Chicago began the plan to transform its notoriously poorly-run Chicago Housing Authority in the early 1990s, many wondered what would become of its residents and the surrounding communities. This recent report from the Urban Institute looks into the "complex relationship between public housing transformation and crime in Chicago and Atlanta." Authored by five different researchers at the Institute, this 11-page document takes a close look at crime rates in the communities that relocated public housing residents into private-market housing. The report notes that the effects were "not the simplistic relationship implied by media accounts, but rather a complex picture of declining crime rates in both cities, a small net decrease in violent crime citywide associated with the transformation efforts, but effects in some neighborhoodsthose that received more than a few relocated householdsthat suggest that crime would have been lower in those neighborhoods had there been no public housing transformation." The report includes a number of helpful charts and summary statistics, and it will be most useful to policy analysts and planners. [KMG]

Gateway to U.S. Department of Energy Biological and Environmental Research Image Galleries

The United States Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research has compiled this prodigious image gallery from a wide range of scientific research projects. The materials here come from the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, the Human Genome Project, and the Microbial Genomics initiative. Visitors can make their way through galleries that include Genomic Science Image Gallery, Climate Science Image Gallery, and Human Genome Project (1990-2003) Gallery. First-time visitors might do well to look over the images from the Human Genome Project first, as they will find colorful and interesting visual documentation of this ambitious project, along with slides and other materials that can be used in classroom settings. Moving along, the Climate Science Image Gallery contains a nice range of images related to atmosphere science, including a great graphic that illustrates atmospheric processes and global carbon cycle components. [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


Created via a partnership between the National Science Foundation and Northeastern University, the Web Guide to Research for Undergraduates (WebGURU) is an "interactive web-based tool intended to assist undergraduates navigate the hurdles of an undergraduate research experience." The site offers great primers for undergraduates seeking such an experience, and sections of note here include Professionalism, In the Lab, Communicating Science, and Mentoring Issues. Undergraduates new to the world of lab research should start by looking over the Getting Started section. Here they will find important articles on topics such as Questions To Ask, Negotiating Your Salary, and Getting Selected. Moving on, visitors shouldn't miss the Research Profiles page which includes interviews and personal stories from respected researchers, industry experts, and students. The site is rounded out by the Program Listings area, which shares upcoming internship opportunities around the country. [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

Cell Biology Education Resources

This site was created by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) to provide educators and the generally curious with links to high-quality resources. The links here are divided into seventeen different areas, including Systems Biology, Cytoskeleton & Cell Dynamics, and Microscopy. Visitors may wish to start with the ASCB sites, which include online biology seminars and access to the ASCB's own Life Sciences Education online journal. The Teaching Tools area includes a section dedicated to materials appropriate for K-12 students and undergraduates, including teaching resources on plant pathology and the microbe library, which is maintained by the American Society for Microbiology. Additionally, the site includes nine different textbooks and lab manuals from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Gustavus Adolphus College. [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

Animated Tutorials: General Biology

The Sumanas Corporation was created in 1994 to help design accurate and interesting products for higher education. Along on the way, they have seen fit to create a range of complementary online animations for students and teachers interested in biology. On this page, visitors will find 37 helpful animations that cover a range of topics. The first two on the site address meiosis and mitosis and they are a good place to start for any student of general biology. Each one of the animations includes audio narration, along with a step-by-step tutorial and a short quiz. Other favorites here include "The Scientific Method" and "Simple Stimuli Trigger Fixed Behaviors" Overall, the site is well-designed and it may pique the curiosity of those who haven't thought much about biology in some time. [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

Exploratorium: Geometry Playground

You've probably been to a playground, but have you been to the Geometry Playground? It's just as much fun, and it may change the way you think about geometry. Created by the good folks at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, this exhibit is meant to complement the traveling exhibit which has been featured in other science museums around the United States. The exhibit here contains three sections: Seeing, Moving, and Fitting Things Together. In the Seeing exhibit, visitors can make their way through a fine photo essay about the invisible geometry of light, while the Moving section gets interested parties up and exploring geometry with their bodies. Each of these sections has great photo essays, complemented by animations and fun activities.

Florida Anthropologist

The Florida Anthropologist was first published in May 1948, and the journal is well-known for its scholarly pieces that look into topics such as Spanish colonial archaeological digs and pre-Columbian societies. The journal is published under the auspices of the Florida Anthropological Society, and the University of Florida Libraries have digitized all of its back issues. Currently, there are 184 issues available on the site, and visitors can search the contents by subject, geographic area, and author. It's interesting to look at some of the articles from the early years, such as "The Agriculture of the Early North Florida Indians" and "Toward Chronology in Coastal Volusia County." For anyone with a penchant for Florida history or anthropology in general, this website will be most interesting. [KMG]

General Interest

Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from Western Europe

The New York Public Library has a vast cornucopia of medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, and this gorgeous website brings together over 2,000 manuscript pages from these volumes. The works date from the 9th to the 16th centuries, and they "give vivid testimony to the creative impulses of the often nameless craftsmen who continually discovered new ways of animating the contents of hand-produced books." These works include a 10th century Ottonian manuscript (complete with its imitation of Byzantine textile with gold decoration) and the Towneley Lectionary, which was illuminated by Giulio Clovio. Visitors can click on the Collection Contents to get started with an alphabetical list of all the works here. Additionally, they can click on Related Subjects to look for complementary materials within the Library's digital collections. [KMG]

Chicago Jazz

University of Chicago alumnus and long-time Hyde Park resident Leon H. Lewis was a great lover of jazz and he spent many an evening in the jazz clubs of the South Side. As part of the Chicago Jazz Club Project, several employees of the Chicago Jazz Archive at the University of Chicago worked with Lewis to create a map of Chicago's jazz clubs from roughly 1915 to the early 1940s. Visitors can view the map in segments, or they can look at the entire map in one fell swoop. For each map, visitors can click on each of the clubs to learn a bit more about the location and view period advertisements and photographs. Additionally, visitors can click on the Club Lists section to view an entire list of all the clubs, complete with brief listing of performers who entertained at each establishment on a regular or semi-regular basis. [KMG]

Housing Policy

Understanding the variegated terrain of local and state housing policies is key for urban planners, geographers, and others with an interest in the built environment and public policy. This site was created by the Center for Housing Policy (the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference) in order to provide information for "expanding the availability of homes for working families and others in your community." The site was launched in 2008, and includes sections such as Toolbox, Building a Strategy, and Forum. The Getting Started area provides answers to basic questions such as "What is 'affordable housing'?" and "What is 'subsidized housing'?" Moving on, the Toolbox area includes documents and summaries on specific policy tools designed for a variety of reasons, from meeting the housing needs of older adults to improving residential energy efficiency. Visitors won't want to miss the Building a Strategy area. Here they will find information about how to create a successful housing strategy that will provide residential units for a range of community members. [KMG]

Flora Delaterre, Plant Detective

Flora Delaterre has been dispensing wisdom about plants and their medicinal uses since 1996. The "Plant Detective" radio show of which she is a part started life at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at the University of Montana. Visitors can listen to current and archived broadcasts from Flora on this website or elect to tune in live on Saturday evenings or Monday afternoons. The site has five primary sections, including Medicinal Plants, Radio Show/Podcasts, and Coloring Book. The Medicinal Plants area contains a nice overview of Flora's work investigating the role of medicinal plants throughout the ages. Moving on, the Radio Show features dozens of past shows, organized by plant name. First-time visitors might want to start out by listening to "Kudzu," "Lily of the Valley," and "Basil." Visitors are encouraged to offer feedback on the program, and can also follow Flora via Twitter. [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

Figge Art Museum Grant Wood Digital Collection

Grant Wood is best known for his painting "American Gothic," but what of his other works? There are many, of course, and this remarkable digital collection from the University of Iowa Libraries presents a trove of visual material, scrapbooks, and other material objects from his life and career. The materials here come from the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, and funding for the digital collection came from the Henry Luce Foundation. Visitors can scroll through the scrapbooks here, and also wander around topical sections that include Obituaries, American Gothic, and Daughters of Revolution. These materials were compiled by his sister (who was also occasionally his model), Nan Wood Graham. Visitors shouldn't miss the Time in Europe section, as it contains newspaper articles and other items that relate the story of how important Wood's travels were to his art and life. [KMG]

Now What a Time: Blues, Gospel and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943

To sit down with a group of friends to sing and play musical instruments qualifies as a great experience for many, and humans have reveled in such get-togethers for millennia. This beautiful digital collection from the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress presents 100 sound recordings from the folk festival at Fort Valley State College in Georgia. The recordings primarily consist of blues and gospel songs and related documentation, which includes notes from these field recordings and other related materials. Visitors to the site can read biographies of the individuals who made the recordings, along with a topical essay titled "Noncommercial Recordings: The 1940s." Also, there's a map of the region, along with a selected bibliography. Those persons looking for a few songs to start with shouldn't miss the recordings of "Bottle Up and Go" and "Death is an Awful Thing." [KMG]

The Friend of Man

There are many ways to understand the anti-slavery movements in the United States during the 19th century, and newspapers are but one of the key primary document types used by historians. Cornell University is fortunate enough to have a near complete run of the "Friend of Man" newspaper, which was published between 1836 and 1842. This very intriguing title allows curious visitors to learn about a group of people in central New York interested in "changing America" during this unique period. The paper documents the "regional interconnectedness of reform" throughout the region, with a focus on cities such as Utica, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany and New York City. Visitors to the site can browse through the various issues at their leisure and they can also perform a full-text search. [KMG]

MoMA: Print/Out

There are several ways for online visitors to approach MoMA's massive exhibition on printmaking since the 1990s. Use Exhibition Views to virtually stroll through 31 shots of the galleries in which the over 200 works in the show are arranged - it can be difficult to read the labels, but a 40-page exhibition checklist that includes a thumbnail view of each piece is provided, so cross-referencing is easy. Choose Works in the Online Collection to do a search that retrieves works included in Print/Out from MoMA's online catalog. The resulting list can be sorted by artist's name, date, or title. Finally, the Selected Projects section showcases a number of projects related to the show, for example, Felix Gonzalez-Torres's project based on Untitled (1991), a black & white photograph of the artists empty bed, that was reproduced billboard size and shown at various locations around New York City between February 20 and March 18, 2012. Other projects are Rirkrit Tiravanija's rucksack installations, and Lucy McKenzie's editions of prints she call posters.

Network Tools

Avidemux 2.5.6

For those who have grown tired of using expensive video editors, this handy program may offer a nice alternative. Avidemux is a video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. The program supports a wide range of tile formats, and some of the tasks here can be automated using projects, job queue, and different scripting capabilities. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux. [KMG]

Focus Writer

In a media-rich environment with a wide range of entertainment on-demand, it can be hard to focus for more than a few minutes at a time. Focus Writer provides a simple, distraction-free writing environment. The program utilizes a hide-away interface that users access by moving their mouse to the edges of the screen, and it's quite helpful. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux. [KMG]

In The News

This year's Pulitzer Prize winners include a composer from Michigan, a dedicated Seattle journalist, and several other notables

Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

Sara Ganim among 2012 Pulitzer winners

Pulitzer Prize winning composer, a Michigan native, is a frequent visitor to local concert halls

Book world expresses disappointment, outrage over Pulitzer snub

And the Winner Isn't[Free registration may be required]

2012 Pulitzer: Prize Feature Writing

History of the Pulitzer Prizes

In early April, there is always a bit of a buzz surrounding the announcement of the Pulitzer Prizes. The awards were first given out in 1917 as part of the legacy of Joseph Pulitzer, a captain of the newspaper industry in late 19th-century America. This year's prizes were announced this week, and as usual, a diverse set of news outlets and commentators offered a broad range of comment on the selections. The Christian Science Monitor was one of the first news outlets to comment on the fact that a prize for fiction was not awarded this year, and other people, including author Ann Patchett, offered comment as well. One of the Pulitzer Prize jurors, Susan Larson, told National Public Radio that she was "shockedangryand very disappointed." Writing in the New York Times this Tuesday, Ann Patchett remarked that "The Pulitzer Prize is our best chance as writers and readers and booksellers to celebrate fiction. This was the year we all lost." It's worth noting that the last time a fiction award was not given was in 1977, when the fiction jury chose Norman MacLean's beautiful "A River Runs Through It," but the Pulitzer Board chose not to award the prize. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a news report from National Public Radio about the winners of this year's Pulitzer Prizes. The second link will whisk users away to a piece from the CNN website about Sara Ganim, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize along with her colleagues at The Patriot-News in Harrisburg for their reporting on the Penn State sex abuse scandal. Moving along, the third link leads to a piece from this Tuesday's Michigan Live about Kevin Puts, a Michigan native and the recipient of this year's Pulitzer Prize for music. The fourth link will take users to an article from this Tuesday's Christian Science Monitor about the decision not to award a Pulitzer this year in the fiction category. The fifth link will take interested parties to Ann Patchett's opinion piece from the New York Times about this decision. The sixth link leads to the very moving and heart-wrenching piece by Eli Sanders of Seattle's "The Stranger" weekly that garnered him this year's Pulitzer Prize for feature reporting. The final link will take users to a very thorough and engaging website that explores the history of the Pulitzer Prizes. [KMG]

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