The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 21

May 25, 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

MIT OpenCourseWare: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

For those individuals who have yet to experience one of MIT's OpenCourseWare offerings, this is a great place to start. This site provides access to the spring 2011 version of Professor John Guttag's popular "Introduction to Computer Science and Programming." This course is aimed at students with "little or no programming experience," and its goal is to help students feel "justifiably confident of their ability to write small programs that allow them to accomplish useful goals." The materials here include a complete set of lecture videos, resources for each video (such as handouts and slides), recitation videos by the course teaching assistants, and homework problems with sample student solutions. The site also includes self-assessment tools and a Further Study area, which includes collection of links to supplement the course materials. [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

NASA: Higher Education

NASA has a significant educational outreach mission, and this site dedicated to higher education is a wonderful find. The first notable feature on the site is the Read About It area, which contains profiles such as "Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics," "Commercial Space Transportation," and a complete archive of past items. Moving on, the Current Opportunities area contains archived lectures, webcasts, and online workshops on astronomy. Another fun piece of the site is the Do-It-Yourself Podcasts area, found on the lower left. Here visitors can take NASA audio and video files and create their own podcasts on rocket science, micro-g, lab safety, and other topics. The site also contains links to NASA Television and the Have You Seen areas, the latter of which features video highlights from NASA programs and contests. [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

Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students

Students in the engineering and science fields need to communicate a broad set of often highly technical materials to lay audiences. This process can be challenging, and this nice set of materials from Pennsylvania State University will be a boon to students in these fields. The site has five main sections: Introduction, Presentations, Correspondence, Formal Reports, and Other Documents. The Introduction area contains three helpful documents that provide insights on crafting the style of any given document and assessing the audience. Moving along, the Formal Reports area gives helpful suggestions on composing laboratory reports, theses, and dissertations. The site is rounded out by a glossary of writing and composition terms and additional references and resources. [KMG]

California Academy of Sciences: Discover Science [Last profiled in the Scout Report on January 24, 2003]

The California Academy of Sciences has an ambitious outreach program designed to provide information on its work to those interested in the sciences. This site contains three sections with videos, podcasts, interviews, and blog posts about the Academy's various projects. The sections include Science Heroes and Science Today, and the organization of the site makes it a snap to browse around. In the Science Today area, visitors can look over daily top stories and weekly video features such as Virus Mutations, Shrinking Sheep, and Facial Expressions. Moving on, the Science Heroes area features animal caregivers, scientists, and suppliers who work for the Academy. Visitors shouldn't miss the profiles of Brian Fisher ("The Ant Guy") and John E. McCosker ("Shark Charmer"). Finally, the site is rounded out by the Academy Blogs, which include pieces on spotted owls and California habitats. [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

National Oceanographic Data Center [Last profiled in the Scout Report on April 2, 1999]

The National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) is an "organization that provides scientific and public stewardship for national and international marine environmental and ecosystem data and information." Their website contains helpful data related to physical, biological and chemical measurements derived from in situ oceanographic observations, satellite remote sensing of the oceans, and ocean model simulations. On the homepage, visitors can use the Access Data area to look for detailed profiles of the world's oceans, along with information on finding archived data sets. One recent feature added to the site is the "Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas." Visitors can use this atlas to toggle various data sets, such as soundings, place names, and so on for a detailed and nuanced understanding of this body of water. Moving on, the Publications area contains links to the NODC's Ocean Climate Laboratory, posters, and the NOAA Photo Library. [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

New Mexico Waters

What's the impact of water resources on communities in New Mexico? It's an important question and over the past few decades, more and more people across the state have grown interested in the answer. This nice collection from the University of New Mexico Libraries brings together historical source materials (such as maps and aerial photographs) about rivers, irrigation, and ecology from the Land of Enchantment. The materials come from a variety of sources, including the Center for Southwest Research and the Map and Geographic Information Center at the University of New Mexico. Visitors can search at their leisure, and they can also just browse through the 359 items here. Some of the more intriguing documents here include the 1932 "Alcaldias of New Mexico" and some historical maps from the 1970s documenting the average annual lake surface evaporation around the state. [KMG]

BioEd: Naturalist Journals

The BioEd website at Baylor University's College of Medicine brings together slide-sets, teaching documents, podcasts, and other materials designed for people teaching the biological sciences at the college level. One of their recent additions is this document titled "Naturalist Journals." This compact PDF was written by Gregory L. Vogt and Nancy P. Moreno and is designed to teach students how to collect and record data while in the field. The document includes suggestions for sketching objects in the field, along with a brief summary of data coordination, and a how-to section on collecting ground-based photographs and digital images. The document is rounded out with a naturalist journal practice sheet, which is perfect for getting acclimated to such techniques before heading out into the field. [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

Delaware Historical Society

Based in Wilmington, the Delaware Historical Society (DHS) preserves the history of the state through exhibits, online offerings, a lecture series, and a wide range of other activities. On the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors will find over a dozen sections, including Education, Museums, Publications, and What's New! First-time visitors may wish to click on over to the Featured Exhibit area. Here they can learn about some of DHS's fine museum projects, like a recent exhibit on the history of the Girl Scouts in the state. One particularly helpful area is the Delaware History Online area. Here visitors can make their way through a online encyclopedia that includes DelaWhen? and DelaWhere? and offers some basic nuts and bolts information about the state's history, geography, and people. Finally, the site has a Ask Caesar section which is the online catalog for the Society. Here visitors can do a bit of research on the items in the Society's collection, and also view select items. [KMG]

General Interest

Los Angeles Public Library: Fashion Plates

Fashionable sorts will appreciate this collection of historical fashion plates offered up by the Los Angeles Public Library. The collection includes over 6,200 hand-colored, finely detailed fashion illustrations produced between 1780 and 1880 for British and American fashion magazines. Visitors to the site can browse through the fashions of the time, and the entire collection is a rather remarkable way to explore the transitions between different periods of dress on both sides of the pond. There isn't a search aid per se, but visitors can use the search engine at the top of the page to look for items by keyword and the like. Additionally, visitors can zoom in on each image for a closer look. [KMG]

Blogs: The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education has developed a wide range of blogs over the past few years, and this site brings them together in one place for the curious public. The Complete Chronicle Blog Guide is a must-visit for new visitors. Here visitors can learn about the contents of each blog and its general thematic focus. In total, there are sixteen blogs, including "Next," "ProfHacker," and "Tweed." The "Tweed" blog is fun, and its tagline is "Taking academe a little less seriously." Also, visitors can view the Most Popular posts, which as of late have included "Revenge of the Underpaid Professors" and "What Public-College Presidents Make." Visitors with a passion for librarianship and information science shouldn't miss "The Ubiquitous Librarian," as it offers some great commentary. [KMG]

The University of Chicago Centennial Catalogues

During the years 1991 and 1992, the University of Chicago celebrated its centennial with special gatherings, symposia, alumni celebrations, and various publications. One particularly intriguing set of publications was these four catalogues created to celebrate various aspects of the institution's first hundred years. The University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center digitized the catalogues, and they are available online here. The titles include "The University and the City," "Life on the Quads," and "The University of Chicago Faculty." First-time visitors might do well to start with "The University and the City" catalogue. Here they can learn about the school's work with social welfare reform, urban politics, and a commitment to the city of Chicago. The "Life on the Quads" catalogue is another delight, and it features students acting in the celebrated Blackfriars productions and images of students gathering in the C-Shop on campus. [KMG]

"To Know Wisdom and Instruction": The Armenian Literary Tradition

The materials here explore the history of the Armenian literary tradition, and are among the finer additions to the Library of Congress's online exhibits. These items complement an in situ exhibit at the Library which included the first complete Armenian-language printed Bible and a finely illustrated 1962 Soviet edition of the Armenian national epic. The items here are collected into four primary sections: "Armenia," "From Manuscript to Print," "The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," and "The Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries." Along with offering historical context and content, each of these sections offers a high-quality digital image of a key document from each period. Also, visitors can use the Exhibition Items area to look at items such as a fragment of embroidered ecclesiastical fabric from the 1740s. [KMG]

Railroad Picture Archives

For fans of trainspotting, this website is a veritable cornucopia of wonderful images and conversation. The site contains over 2.7 million photos, with images of over 125,000 locomotives, and over 25,000 documented locations. Visitors can browse the collection by locomotives present in each photo and also use the New Photo Albums area to look for albums that cover Amtrak routes, Norfolk Southern divisions, and New Jersey Transit. On the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors can use the View Photos area to look up materials by Contributor Picks and Editors' Picks, among other headings. Some of the more dramatic and wonderful picks include a shot of steam locomotive near Rock Island, Illinois and a steam passenger train making its way through Lawrence, Kansas. [KMG]

Ghost Signs of Louisville

What is the altogether mysterious "ghost sign?" Simply put, it is a painted advertisement on a building, most prominent prior to the 1930s. Many of these advertisements appear on brick walls in urban settings. This unique collection came out of a partnership between the University of Louisville Libraries and the school's Fine Arts department. Students in a course titled Documentary Photography explored different neighborhoods in Louisvlle, and they took over 200 photographs of various ghost signs. 122 of those images were selected for inclusion in this digital collection, and they are all available here. Visitors can browse the images at their leisure and also use the interactive map of sign collections. Some of the signs are particularly interesting, such as the H.G. Young Druggist sign and the one for the Acme Wholesale Furnace supply. [KMG]

Do Lectures

Are you interested in big ideas? Challenging talks? Ones that might be inspiring? Then the Do Lectures website might be of great interest. The Do Lectures are based in Wales, and the idea behind them is a simple one: "that people who Do things can inspire the rest of us to go and Do things, too." Each year they invite a group of "doers" to come and give talks that will help people to do "the thing that sits in the back of your head each day, just waiting, and waiting for you to follow your heart." Visitors can dive in by clicking on the Talks tab. Here they can browse videos by topic, which include business, creativity, environment, and sport. Visitors might wish to get started by listening to John Fetzer's talk "Humanity in a Bottle" or Shira Lazar's "Breaking Barriers." Moving on, visitors can click on The Events area to learn about attending the actual lectures, which are held in Wales every August. Additionally, there are talks in other parts of the world from time to time. [KMG]

Network Tools

Eraser 6.0.9

If you're looking for a security tool to remove sensitive data from your hard drive, you should give this version of Eraser a try. The program ensures that files are permanently deleted from the hard drive in question and it can be customized to operate at certain times for greater convenience. The user interface is quite easy to use. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 7 and newer. [KMG]


If you're looking to create screenshots of web page for just about any screen size, Browshot will be worth your time. The application allows users the ability to see how their own professional website (or any other site) looks on a variety of devices, such as an iPhone, Android, or Nook. Visitors can use the trial version here at no cost, although it has some limits on its functionality. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

The Falcon 9 rocket takes off on its way to the International Space Station

SpaceX Launches for Space Station-Like "Winning the Super Bowl"

Milestone mission to space station lifts off

SpaceX Begins History Making Journey to ISS

Q&A: Former SpaceX Executive on Historic Launch


NASA: International Space Station

After a launch abort this past Saturday, the Falcon 9 rocket was launched Tuesday, May 22 into space carrying what will be the first commercial spacecraft to visit the International Space Station (ISS). It's the culmination of years of work by the Space X company, which was started by Elon Musk (the founder of PayPal) in 2002. The Falcon 9 took off at 3:44AM from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and it is scheduled to arrive at the ISS on Friday. The Falcon 9 was also carrying a Dragon capsule, which was filled with cargo for the ISS crew. Shortly after launch, the capsule separated from the rocket and began a series of test maneuvers and systems demonstrations designed to test its capabilities and operations. Commenting on this historic launch, Robert Pearlman (a space-history expert) remarked that "It could set the stage for not just a series of cargo deliveries, but for American astronaut deliveries to the space station, as well as eventually establish a commercial spaceflight industry here in the United States outside of just satellite launches." As NASA's space shuttle program concluded in 2011, many have wondered whether commercial spacecraft will fill part of the ensuing vacuum. Certainly it is an interesting beginning, and one that will be worth watching in the coming years. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from the National Geographic News blog that provides extensive details about the launch mission. The second link will lead interested parties to a piece from Clara Moskowitz, the assistant manager of, about the launch, along with some excellent graphics and illustrative materials. Moving on, the third link leads to a piece from this Tuesday's Voice of America about the SpaceX company and the launch. The fourth link will whisk users away to a nice interview from Wired with former SpaceX executive Lawrence Williams. The fifth link leads to the official SpaceX homepage, which is replete with details about their spacecraft and ongoing projects. The final link will take users to the homepage of the International Space Station. Here visitors will find information about life on the Station, along with images, videos, and the day-to-day operations of the facility.

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