The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 27

July 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

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering was created "to develop biologically inspired materials and devices that will solve critical medical and environmental problems and to translate these transformative technologies into products that have an impact on society and the world." The Institute's team of specialists includes technology development fellows, professors, postdocs, and a range of other partners. On the homepage, visitors can browse areas that include Innovation, Translation, and Collaboration. Each area includes multimedia clips, press releases, and interviews with Wyss researchers. Some compelling discoveries include human organs made on a small chip and a novel coating that repels almost every type of liquid and solid. Additionally, the Library section contains interactive features, along with speeches and essays from the Wyss faculty. Visitors are encouraged to sign up for the Wyss Twitter and RSS feeds. [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

BBC: Human Body & Mind

The BBC has created this fine site to provide the curious visitor with a plethora of insights into the relationship between the human body and mind. In the Body section, visitors can take on a number of fun challenges in order to learn more about the muscles, skeleton, and the nervous system. Moving on, The Mind area contains a range of self-guided surveys that explore human emotion, memory retention, and a number of other subjects. For those concerned about sleep, the Sleep section contains information on sleep problems, sleep advice, and a well-developed section titled "Why do we sleep?" One particularly fun area here is the "Can You Compete Under Pressure?" challenge, which is hosted by world-renowned athlete Michael Johnson. The challenge takes 20 minutes and visitors who complete the challenge will learn a great deal about their own ability to perform under pressure. [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

Google Art Project

The Google Art Project is an ambitious effort to bring many of the world's great artworks together on one well-organized and designed site. First-time visitors may wish to use the "How to Use the Site" video in the FAQ section to get oriented to how things work here. Currently, there are 151 partners working with Google on this ambitious effort, including the Acropolis Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and The Toledo Museum of Art. All told, there are over 30,000 works of art on the site. Many of these are organized into virtual tours, all of which are worth exploring. On the homepage, visitors can browse via the Collections, Artists, Artworks, and User Galleries tabs. Visitors have the option to create their own gallery where they can compile their own well-curated collections for future reference and aesthetic pleasure. [KMG]

The Science of Sleep and Daily Rhythms

Created as part of the BioEd initiative at the Baylor College of Medicine, this fine guide to the science of sleep and daily rhythms was authored by Nancy P. Moreno, Barbara Z. Tharp, and Gregory L. Vogt. The 32-page document is designed for use in a variety of classrooms, and it contains activities, worksheets, and information about how sleep studies are used to improve performance across a wide range of human endeavors. The activities here include "Using a Sundial," "Living Clocks," "Sleep Patterns," and "Investigating Sleep." Each of these activities is explained succinctly and thoroughly, and many do not required specialized equipment. One of the most interesting activities is the sun tracking board which allows students to track the sun's movements with just a bit of cardboard, several writing instruments, a ruler, and some string. Finally, the sleep cycle rhythms activity gets creative, as students are asked to write a few poems about their own sleep patterns. [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

UR Research at the University of Rochester

There's a wide range of research going on at the University of Rochester, and this specialized website brings together the work of the hundreds of students, professors, and others who work at this institution. Visitors can start by just typing words into the Browse/Search function on the homepage - they might do well to try broad ideas like biology, composition, or anthropology. Further along, users will note the presence of Institutional Collections, which bring together materials from formal academic departments and research units on campus. All told, the site has over 221,000 publications, 223 collections, and over 3,200 members contributing works. Some of the more curious and compelling highlights here include "turtlequill" which is the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry's Journal of the Literary Arts. Additionally, visitors shouldn't miss the Warner School of Education's collection, which includes papers and talks from faculty members. [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

Transferable Integrated Design Engineering Education

The Transferable Integrated Design Engineering Education (TIDEE) consortium was created in the mid-1990s at Washington State University in order to offer continuous improvement in engineering design education. On TIDEE's helpful website, engineering students and others can examine "learning experiences that will enable them to acquire specific knowledge and skills for design-related educational outcomes including engineering design process, teamwork, communication, and professional skills." First-time visitors can use the Getting Started area to look for items of interest, which include overviews of "The Making of an Engineer," "Creating the First Team," and "Logo Design." The other sections include Teams, Developing a Problem Definition, and Learning the Design Process. Each of these sections contains documents that will help engineers become more effective communicators and the advice is quite sound for those in other disciplines as well. [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

Atomic Energy & Nuclear History Learning Curriculum

How did the atomic age start? It's a very good question and this digital exhibit from the Oregon State Universities Libraries Special Collection offers some wonderful archival material that tells part of this story. The materials here are divided into 17 different sections, including The Manhattan Project, Civil Defense, and Nuclear Engineering. Each of these sections includes various ephemera (such as book covers, signs, and notes) along with a brief narrative essay. Perhaps the most fascinating section here is the Artistic Interpretations of the Atomic Age area. Here visitors can view images from colorful comic books and movie posters, like the one for "The Atomic Kid" starring Mickey Rooney. The site is rounded out by a detailed bibliography, along with a link to the atomic energy collection finding aid. [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

Drexel University Costume Collection

The elaborate costume collection at Drexel University is housed in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. This website brings together archival data and detailed graphics culled from the collection. The hope is that fashion and textile design students, fashion professionals, historic costume scholars, and followers of fashion trends will be able to use these materials to inform their own work. Visitors can use the Search section to look over 3D panoramas and detailed bibliographic records by designer, category, decade, or fabric. It is definitely worth looking at the velvet and wool items under the fabric heading. Design detectives can use the Mystery area to look over items that are a mystery to the researchers here - if they have any clues, they are encouraged to pass them along. Finally, the Digital Gallery area has some fine views of past shows by Geoffrey Beene that appeared on campus. [KMG]

African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library

Based at the East Central Georgia Regional Library, the African American Funeral Programs collection consists of over 1,000 funeral programs dated from 1933 to 2008. Most of the programs are from churches in Augusta, Georgia, and the surrounding area, with a few outliers coming from New York and Florida. These materials are tremendously important historical resources, as most programs contain a photograph of the deceased, an obituary, and a list of surviving relatives. Visitors can browse the collection by name, year of death, city, or funeral site. Additionally, they may wish to use the advanced search feature on the homepage. First-time visitors may wish to click on the featured obituary on the "From the collection" graphic. It's a remarkable collection and one that is worth passing along to friends and colleagues. [KMG]

CNN: Podcasting

CNN produces hundreds of podcasts every week, covering political commentary, geography, world diplomacy, popular culture, and a range of other subjects. This website brings together all of CNN's audio and video podcasts in one convenient location. Visitors can peruse the basic listings on the homepage, or they can also use the By Topic or By Title areas for more specific items. The Audio Podcasts section contains current and past episodes of programs dealing with the culture of Silicon Valley incubators, "Inside Africa" (a series on the continent's challenges), and the well-known biographer Douglas Brinkley. Finally, visitors can also browse the Most Popular Podcasts, which include the program hosted by Anderson Cooper, "CNN Profiles," and a news program designed for students. [KMG]

NFB Interactive: Bla Bla

What does it mean to interact with art? To communicate? And what unique wrinkles may develop as an exploration of these questions is designed specifically for a computer? The National Film Board commissioned Vincent Morisset to create this interactive tale, and it is an experience that warrants several return trips. Morisset has a rather fascinating resume, as he has worked on creating music videos for Sigur Ros and Arcade Fire. Much like his films, this interactive online project requires the participation of the viewer. As the introduction to the film states: "without him or her, the characters remain inert, waiting for the next interaction. The spectator clicks, plays and searches through the simple, uncluttered scenes, truly driving the experience." Without saying too much about the film, visitors can get started by responding to the opening screen's request to "Click Anywhere." There are six "chapters" to the film, each one of which examines a principle of human communication. Visitors will find the playfulness, interesting characters, and unique shapes a real treat. [KMG]

Created by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), is an online platform "that empowers the U.S. government and the public to bring the best ideas and top talent to bear on our nation's most pressing challenges." The "challenges" included here are created by one party (or a "seeker") to a third party or parties to "identify a solution to a particular problem or reward contestants for accomplishing a particular goal." On the site's homepage, visitors can read over the "Featured Challenges" to get a feel for the activities going on here. Some of the featured challenges include the Department of Labor's disability employment app challenge and the Department of Health and Human Services' "My Air, My Health" challenge, designed to help create a "personal, portable, near-real-time, location specific system to monitor and report air pollutants and potentially related physiological parameters". Visitors can use the Search feature to look for specific items of interest or browse a list of challenges grouped by organization. [KMG]

Rational Irrationality

The New Yorker has a number of fine blogs that bring together conversations and debates on public art, theater, development strategies, and the state of haute couture throughout the United States and the rest of the world. This particular blog is under the able direction of John Cassidy, who has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1995. On the site, Cassidy writes about "politics, economics, and more," and visitors will find a great deal of grist for their mills. Recent posts have included mediations on presidential campaigns, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, elections in Greece, and other topics. Additionally, visitors can share the blog posts via a range of social media or offer their own comments. Finally, immediately to the right of each blog entry, visitors will find a guide to the other New Yorker blogs. [KMG]

Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

Organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern, London, this major exhibition of Roy Lichtenstein's work is a great summer vacation destination - and, for those who can't arrange travel to Chicago or London, the website provides a fun mini-break. Short videos at the site include curator James Rondeau, talking about installing the "largest exhibition ever devoted to the iconic American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein." Lichtenstein's widow Dorothy talks about her reactions to the show, and there's even a 46-second animation of a Lichtenstein that was used by the band U2 during their 1997 tour. The Explore Works section of the site gives visitors an inside angle on the artist's creative process, and a current blog post features an interview with Roy Brooks, the graphic designer who worked on the exhibition catalog. [DS]

Network Tools

Pinwheel 1.1.18

A pinwheel is a colorful thing, and this Pinwheel can be quite colorful as well. With this helpful application, visitors can create a public (or private) group album, and then invite their friends to join. Those users can share their photos so they are all available in one place. Pinwheel also has a number of cool filters, and allows visitors to comment on photos. This version is compatible with all devices running iOS 4.0 or later. [KMG]


What is "kwout"? Basically, it's a tiny application that allows users to "quote" a part of a web page as an image with an image map. It is easy to use, as all users have to do is add the kwout bookmarklet to their favorite browser. Visitors can then grab a screenshot, cut out the area of interest, and post it to social media sites, such as Twitter, Tumblr, and so on. Overall, it's a rather neat tool and it is compatible with any operating system. [KMG]

In The News

Amidst celebrations for the 4th of July, some remember and reconsider the War of 1812

War of 1812 Bicentennial: Why does no one remember the war that made Andrew Jackson famous?

New Washington museum exhibit explains War of 1812

Tall ships provide a taste of War of 1812

1812: The War Without a Name

The Official War of 1812 Bicentennial Website

The Library of Congress: A Guide to the War of 1812

This Wednesday, millions of American gathered around their grills and backyards to celebrate the 4th of July. While this holiday is well-known as key part of the American Revolution, another major military conflict continues to go little remembered: the War of 1812. Some have called it the "Forgotten War," but as the bicentennial commemorations continue over the next couple of years, it will most likely gain attention among people in the United States and Canada. Certainly the War of 1812 has rather complicated origins, and no less a personage than prominent historian Richard Hofstadter described the conflict as "dreary and unproductivean age of slack and derivative culture, of fumbling and small-minded statecraft, terrible parochial wrangling, climaxed by a ludicrous and unnecessary war." One key aspect of the War of 1812 that is sometimes overlooked is that it essentially made the political career of Andrew Jackson, who was the commander of the Battle of New Orleans. A number of organizations are currently offering new and thoughtful looks into the heart of this conflict. One such organization, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., has a new exhibit containing over 100 paintings, sculptures, artifacts and documents related to the war. Additionally, this week Boston Harbor hosted a number of tall ships engaged in mock skirmishes to recreate certain naval maneuvers that occurred during this international conflict. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a great piece from Slate's James M. Lundberg about the curious origins of and history behind the War of 1812. The second link will whisk users away to a review of the new exhibit about the War of 1812 that recently opened at the National Portrait Gallery. Moving on, the third link will take interested parties to an article from the Boston Globe about the tall ships that ventured forth into Boston Harbor this week. The fourth link will lead users to a nice article from Grant Calder, a high school history teacher, who writes about how the War of 1812 could use a better name. The fifth link will take visitors to the excellent War of 1812 Bicentennial website, which has information about upcoming events, battle recreations, and so on. The final link will take visitors to a wonderful guide to high-quality resources on the War of 1812, curated by Kenneth Drexler at the Library of Congress.

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