The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 20

May 18, 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

Bates College Online Resources for Calculus and Linear Algebra

Bates College in Maine has worked diligently to bring together this set of mathematical resources to the public, and it's a nice find. The materials here are drawn from four courses at the school: Math 105, Math 106, Math 205, and Math 206. The first couple of resources in each section contain past quizzes and exams from each course, complete with information on each topic. Additionally, each area contains drill problems, tutorials, and a fun "Find the Error!" feature. The topics covered here include linear algebra, quadric surfaces, functions, and abstract vector spaces. Moving on, the site also includes links to external sites from Harvey Mudd College and the University of California-Davis that address advanced math topics. For those persons interested in learning more about the mathematics department at Bates College, there's a link to its official website at the bottom of the page. [KMG]

North Carolina State Physics Demonstrations

The Lecture Demonstrations Facility is part of the physics department at North Carolina State University, and is tasked with supporting the teaching activities of the department's faculty and graduate students. This website features a number of online demonstrations that can be used by outside parties, who can click on the Visitor Access area to view some of these great videos. The demonstrations are divided into nine areas, including Optics, Modern Physics, and Waves and Oscillations. Each of these areas contains subtopics that will help users identify the specific subject of the demonstration, such as heat transfer applications or phase changes. Moving on, the Other Resources area includes online demonstration manuals from dozens of other schools, including Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon, and Macalester College. [KMG]

Teaching Petrology Using the Primary Scientific Literature

Designed as part of the Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty series at Carleton College, this particular set of resources is designed for those teaching students about petrology. For those who might be unfamiliar with this discipline, petrology is the branch of geology that studies the origin, composition, distribution, and structure of rocks. The materials on this site are divided into two primary sections: Teaching Strategies and Recommended Readings. In the first section, visitors can view a range of materials, including exercises to teach scientific reading comprehension and mineralogic concepts as well as a nice piece on how to review a journal article. Further along, visitors can take in several of the recommended readings. Some of the readings are available in their entirety, although others are only cited and may require an academic library to access. [KMG]

Marine Geology and Geophysics Educational Resources Page

Recently, the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided to redesign its educational resources website. Interested parties can take advantage of both the NGDC's internally generated material and vetted resources from other institutions and partners. First-time visitors should move on over to the NGDC Downloads area. Here visitors will find underwater dive animations that document the ocean seafloor in places like the Gulf of California. The rest of the resources are arranged alphabetically, and range from "A Library of Mud: NPR Science Friday Video" to "Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Online Expeditions." One particularly helpful resource, "What is Paleoclimatology," offers an in-depth look at the study of climate prior to "the widespread availability of records of temperature, precipitation and other instrumental data." Moving on, the left-hand side of the page lists a range of NOAA resources, including the magnificent "Ocean Explorer" and the "Tsunami Science on a Sphere" series, which explores tsunamis and other mega-events. [KMG]

Boston University Libraries: Research Guides

Many academic libraries have extensive subject guides, and the Boston University Libraries work diligently to maintain the quality of their work. Here visitors can make their way through 50 guides that cover everything from accounting to zoology. Visitors will note that each guide is divided into multiple sections, often including Databases, Journals, Books, and Government Sources. Each area contains brief annotations about each resource, and a note on whether the resource is publicly available without a specific institutional affiliation or password. Some of the more noteworthy guides here include American Art, Human Rights, and Boston and its Neighborhoods. This last one is quite good, and it even includes a list of books that have been (as they saying goes) "Banned in Boston." [KMG]

The Jack Rabin Collection of Alabama Civil Rights and Southern Activists

Jack Rabin was a faculty member at a number of institutions during his long academic career, and he was intimately involved with certain aspects of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. During time spent in Alabama he worked with the organizers of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He also accumulated a tremendous collection of photos and interviews related to this event and others. This online collection from the Pennsylvania State University Libraries brings together many of these documents. Visitors can get started here by watching a historic interview with Stokely Carmichael or watching an excerpt from the Selma March in 1965. Also, visitors are encouraged to search the collection, read a biography of Rabin, and peruse the finding aid. [KMG]

The Mind: Teaching Modules

How does the mind work? And what do we know about its various operations? This series from the Annenberg Foundation (originally produced by Colorado State University) offers 35 short video clips that cover current findings on language processing, drug treatment and addictions, and cognitive development throughout the life span. The programs also cover mood and personality disorders, and pain and its treatment. Titles here include "Hypnotic Dissociation and Pain Relief," "The Frontal Lobes: Cognition and Awareness," and "Social Development in Infancy." Visitors can look over related resources from other Annenberg collections, including a series on "The World of Abnormal Psychology," and another on the workings of the brain (as distinct from the mind). Finally, visitors can view a set of resources, including interactive worksheets and syllabi, designed to complement these videos. [KMG]

NIST: Weights and Measures

Weights and measures may not be the first thing that most people wake up in the morning thinking about, but such matters are terribly important. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created this site to provide information to concerned stakeholders about the work of their Office of Weights and Measures. The mission of the Office is to promote "uniformity in U.S. weights and measures laws, regulations, and standards to achieve equity between buyers and sellers in the marketplaces." On the right hand side of the page, visitors can look over a Resources area. Here they will find educational materials, information on the National Conference on Weights and Measures, past newsletters, and a rather fine digital exhibit that traces "the struggle to achieve weights and measures standardization" in the United States. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can learn more about price verification, packaging and labeling, and the metric system. [KMG]

General Interest

the warhol: Time Capsule 21

Andy Warhol was a man of many talents, though the world may know him best for his iconic Pop Art works such as his stylized soup cans and images of Marilyn Monroe. This particular web project from the Warhol museum in Pittsburgh affords interested parties a look into his Time Capsule 21. This compelling work is one of over 600 cardboard boxes that he filled over the course of his life. The material here dates from the 1950s to the early 1970s and is "a treasure trove of ephemera, source material and artwork." Visitors can explore over 50 objects from the capsule by clicking on "Selection of Time Capsule 21 Contents" and clicking and zooming in on items. They can also read texts and listen to audio and video selections. The contents here include photobooth photos and source material for Warhol's paintings, such as his early disaster image, "129 Die in Jet." Altogether it presents a fascinating look into the interests and habits of one of the best-known American artists of the 20th century. [KMG]

University of Florida Digital Collections: Florida Photograph Collections

Florida is much, much more than a certain rather large theme park and the bustling nightlife of South Beach. Anyone with a cursory interest in the history of the Sunshine State should make a beeline for this engaging site. Created by the University of Florida Digital Collections, the Florida Photograph collection contains thousands of images related to the history and culture of the state. The collection features a number of subcollections, including Florida Ephemera and Concrete Blog: Messages on the Wall. The Concrete Blog section offers a fascinating portrait of Gainesville's 34th Street Wall, which has served as a community sounding board and place of artistic reflection for over 30 years. Neophytes can also type a few keywords into the search engine to get started; they might do well to begin with Tampa, Apalachicola, or hotels. [KMG]

Lalla Essaydi Revisions: Introduction

Born in Morocco, Lalla Essaydi's career as an artist began when she moved to France to attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the early 1990s. Today she lives and works in New York and Marrakesh. This digital exhibition from the National Museum of African Art brings together some of her photographs, paintings, and multimedia installations. As the site remarks "Essaydi confronts expectations founded on historical representations and widely held preconceptions." The materials here are divided into four sections, including Photography and Embodiment. The Photography area is a great place to start, and it contains a slider bar that allows visitors to wander through these arresting images. Moving on, the Embodiment area contains a clip of Essaydi talking about her photographs of her native Morocco. Finally, the Painting area features Essaydi again talking about the thought process behind her paintings. [KMG]

The London School of Economics and Political Science: Video and Audio

In any given week, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) might host a visiting scholar from Ghana speaking on agricultural subsidies, a panel of journalists talking about freedom of the press, and a conversation on the upcoming mayoral elections in London. It's part of what the organization does, and now visitors outside of London can experience some of these proceedings. This page contains the LSE's videos and podcasts, which serve as an introduction to its vast holdings. First-time visitors can scan through talks like "Dial M for Murdoch" and "The 2012 London Mayoral Election" to get started. Visitors can continue on to look over the LSE's iTunesU offerings, YouTube channel, and RSS feeds. Other great offerings here include "Capturing the Cut: On the Invention of Medical Illustration" and The Burning Issue series, which addresses a current controversy or urgent human wellbeing issue. [KMG]

Early Washington Maps

Humans have been wandering around Washington for thousands of years, and over the millennia, some of these people created maps based on their journeys. This excellent digital collection from the Washington State University (WSU) Libraries brings together almost 1,000 maps that document the area's history. As the introduction to the collection notes "By studying these past maps we find - hidden within colorful cartouches, precise boundaries and skillful gradations by and artists' hand - the assumptions placed on the land as observed by their authors." The WSU library worked with its educational partner across the Cascades at the University of Washington Libraries Map Collection, and the results are quite fine. First-time visitors can use one of the predefined searches, which include Bird's-eye views, Missions, and Railroads. The maps of Puget Sound and environs are quite nice here, and visitors shouldn't miss the 1891 bird's eye view of the area, crafted by Charles H. Baker. [KMG]

Utah State University Digital Library: Animal Bells

Animal belling traditions started in Africa over 5,000 years ago. Today bells are used on animals around the world, and this rather novel collection from the Utah State University Libraries takes a look at how bells "create relationships with cultures, landscapes, and livestock." The collection is based on the works of Thad Box, retired dean of Utah State University's College of Natural Resources. Box collected bells from dozens of countries, and these unique items form the backbone of this particular exhibit. The exhibit contains 185 items, ranging from camel bells from Somalia to books that study the use of bells by different groups of nomads in the Horn of Africa. Visitors will appreciate the fact that there are different views for each item, which afford them a complete view of these artifacts. [KMG]

British Council Film: British Council Film Collection

British Council Film "is the link between UK films and filmmakers and new international audiences." Along with their work promoting a set of productive artistic and commercial relationships and networks, they have also digitized 80 remarkable short films. The films were originally produced by the British Council during the 1940s and were designed "to show the world how Britain lived, worked, and played." By the 1960s, many people had forgotten about these delightful works, so it was fortunate that in 2010 a new project was started to bring the films online for the Web-browsing public. Today, visitors can look through the films, which include "Architects of England," "Cricket," and "Country Town." Visitors can search for films by year or by theme, and they can also read several essays which provide background on the collection. [KMG]

The Magic of America

The Magic of America is an early (2007) e-publishing effort from the Art Institute of Chicago, to create a digital version of a memoir by Marion Mahony Griffin. An architect and designer, Griffin was the wife and partner of architect Walter Burley Griffin. The unpublished manuscript is over 1,400 typewritten pages, and includes more than 650 illustrations, all faithfully reproduced by the Art Institue. At the website, vistors can move back and forth between page facsimiles that replicate the original typed pages, and the digitized text. There is also a database of all the images (including page images) that be both searched and browsed, using drop-down menus of terms: place names, architects, and buildings. The database is indexed to the manuscript. For example, view a town plan drawing for Oak Park, IL by Walter Burley Griffin, created while he worked with Frank Lloyd Wright. Then, use the notation III.10.177 to move back to the manuscript to discover the surrounding text, that discusses the back and forth between Griffin and Wright. [DS]

Network Tools

Select and Speak

What if you could have a website read to you? That would be handy in a number of situations, and with Select and Speak, this can be accomplished with relative ease. This extension for the Chrome browser uses iSpeech's human quality text-to-speech to make this possible. Visitors can configure the voice and speed option by changing the settings on the options page. It's free, fairly easily to use, and compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

Stat My Web

The helpful Stat My Web site gives visitors the ability to learn about the statistics and metrics associated with any specific site. Visitors can learn when a site was created, where it is hosted, and how much it is worth. The site has two dozen features, including IP Location, Server Status, and Reciprocal Link Checker. This particular version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

As the city balances security concerns with the requests of protestors, Chicago prepares for the NATO summit

Police, Protestors Prepare for NATO Summit

NATO, Protests Getting Attention in Chicago-Area Classrooms

Preparing for Battle in a War of Ideas at Protest Central

Chicago NATO Summit 2012

NATO History

Parades, Protests and Politics

Preparing for a major event tests the capabilities of any city, and the logistics involved can be complicated. This Sunday and Monday, Chicago will host the NATO summit and dozens of key leaders will come together to discuss the range of NATO's operations and ongoing missions. One area of concern is how the city will provide security for high-level leaders while also allowing protestors to voice their concerns. Protestors will be allowed to march during the meetings, and some of them have found that various organizations are rolling out the welcome mat. Lorraine Chavez of the McKinley Park neighborhood has offered a couple of rooms to some protestors visiting from Florida and several churches near the summit meeting site at McCormick Place have offered space as well. Jeffrey Cramer, a former Chicago prosecutor and security expert noted that "What law enforcement is doing, and rightly so, is hoping for the best and preparing for the worst." [KMG]

The first link will take interested parties to a Voice of America report on the city's preparations for the upcoming NATO summit. The second link will whisk visitors away to a piece from TeachHub about how teachers are using the NATO summit as an opportunity to interest students in Chicago history and foreign policy. Moving along, the third link will take visitors to a piece from Chicago Tonight about the vibrancy of Chicago's protest art. The fourth link leads to the official homepage of the NATO summit, complete with video clips, blogs, and details about the meeting. The fifth link will take interested parties to the official NATO history site, where they can explore videos, photos, and fascinating articles about everything from NATO's secretaries-general to the origins of its iconic emblem. The final link will take visitors to a site from the Chicago History Museum about the history of protests and public gatherings in the Windy City.

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