The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 31

August 3, 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

Los Angeles Public Library Photograph Collection

The Los Angeles Public Library has thousands of photographs in its archives. Taken as a whole, the archives represent a thoroughly wonderful portrait of the Southland during the past century or so. First-time visitors should click on the Photo Collection Overview area to learn about the holdings here. One particularly noteworthy addition to the collection occurred back in 1981 when Security Pacific National Bank gave its collection of over 250,000 photographs to the people of Los Angeles. These images included 60,000 images from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and images from the Hollywood Citizen News publication. Also, the collection includes over 2.2 million photographs from the defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner, which ceased publication in 1989. Visitors to the site can search many of these photos online via the search engine, which includes fields where users can enter keywords, photographer, and year. [KMG]

Kentucky Maps

The folks at the University of Louisville Libraries have created a cartographic trove that will excite and delight historians, urbanologists, and geographers everywhere. This collection contains three atlases of Louisville and environs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, along with 74 additional maps from the Lafon Allen Kentucky Maps Collection. Mr. Allen was a son of Kentucky who was an inveterate map collector throughout his life. Visitors to the site can browse all maps by date, or they can view useful indices for the 1876, 1884, and 1913 atlases of Louisville included here. Those persons seeking a bit of background material should read the astute commentary offered by Tom Owen in the About the Collection section. [KMG]

"He Advanced Him 200 Lambs of Gold": The Pamiers Manuscript

Located on the Ariege River in the south of France, the town of Pamiers is an important part of the attractive rural setting in these parts. Some may find it surprising that the town was where a key text in the history of mathematics was written almost 600 years ago. This wonderful feature from the Mathematical Association of America's "Loci" feature describes the Pamiers Manuscript and its importance within the world of mathematics. Authored by Randy K. Schwartz of Schoolcraft College, this feature is divided into 15 parts, including Barter Transactions, Prices and Purchases, and First Shoots of Capitalism. Some of the highlights here include a narrative history of the manuscript (which was intended to teach young men commercial arithmetic) and a discussion of its novel use of negative numbers. [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

Association for Biology Laboratory Education

The Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE) was created in 1979 "to promote information exchange among university and college educators actively concerned with teaching biology in a laboratory setting." ABLE's website includes information about its professional activities, conferences, and the educational resources the Association has created through a set of novel partnerships. Visitors can click on over to the Resources area to look through nine different subsections, including Scheduling Software, Blogs, and Internet Meeting Software. Each area contains a brief review of each resource, along with information about how each item might be used most effectively. Moving on, visitors can look over the Conference area to learn about the professional opportunities offered via conferences and other professional meetings. Finally, visitors can sign up for ABLE membership here and send along any questions they might have. [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

American Physiological Society: Learning Resources

The American Physiological Society (APS) has created this site to help medical professionals and students learn more about physiology through video clips, classroom activities, and fact sheets. The materials here are contained within three primary sections: Digital Libraries, Content Updates, and Education Journals. In the Digital Libraries area, visitors can look into the BioSciedNet (BEN) Portal Site and the APS Archive of Teaching Resources. The APS Archive contains hundreds of items, such as "Plenty of Planaria," which is a student laboratory investigation designed to help students learn about stem cells. The Content Updates area includes essays about classic APS papers, such as commentaries titled "The physiology of the peripheral vestibular system: the birth of a field." Finally, the site is rounded out by the Education Journals area. Here visitors can learn about key journals, such as"Advances in Physiology Education" and "CBE Life Sciences Education," which is a free, online quarterly publication. [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 by Dr. Naveed Ahmad, this website brings together hundreds of high-quality resources for people interested in learning more about the world of radiology. On the homepage, visitors are presented with a list of topical areas, including Career Center, Online Books, Rad Organizations, and half a dozen others. The Online Books area is a good place to start, as it contains nine different textbooks created by a range of institutions, including medical publishing houses and universities. Further along, the Recommended Reading List includes helpful works on topics like diagnostic imaging, radiology procedures, and so on. The site also contains sections that focus on certain physiological regions of the body, such as the chest and the brain. [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

Innovation 20/20 Series

The University of Georgia's School of Education started the Innovation 20/20 Series to showcase teaching innovations in its corner of the institution. This project asks experts from around the institution to share their thoughts, and visitors can view their presentations here. Each talk is about 20 minutes, and after each presentation, there is a bit of discussion and "interactive engagement" with the topic. Some of the recent presentations include "Speed Theorizing as a Pedagogical 'Dwelling' Tool" and "What I've Learned about Teaching Statistics Courses." The archive of presentations dates back to the spring of 2011 and visitors will find a wide range of topics covered here. One presentation that definitely shouldn't be missed is the "Using Metaphor to Explore Teaching and Learning" talk by Deborah Tippins. [KMG]

Geography of H-1B Workers

In 2012, it took only ten weeks for employers to reach the United States' cap on the H-1B visas they need to hire immigrant workers in speciality occupations. This situation presents a problem for certain industries, such as biotechnology, and this special presentation from the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program brings together a set of policy experts to talk about this matter. The site includes videos from the July 18, 2012 session, complete with a discussion of the geography of H-1B workers and the political feasibility of amending the existing H-1B policy. The site also includes an uncorrected transcript of the proceedings, along with links to a working paper on the subject. [KMG]

General Interest

Kinematic Models for Design

For those who may have forgotten the lessons of kinematics from high school, it is the branch of classical mechanics that "describes the motion of points, bodies, and systems of bodies without consideration of the causes of motion." This remarkable digital collection from Cornell University brings together 50 critical books and articles that tell the history of this fascinating subject. Most of the materials here are from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and they include "Kennedy's Mechanics of Machinery" from 1886 and "Durley's Kinematics of Machines" from 1907. Visitors can search the entire collection by keyword and date. They can also download each volume for offline consideration, if they so desire. One item that should not be missed is Charles Babbage's seminal work "On a Method of Expressing by Signs The Action of Machinery". [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

Utah Artists Project

The Utah Artists Project is part of the digital initiative work at the J. Williard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. The goal of the project is "to improve access to information about and knowledge of the work of Utah's most prominent visual artists." The project began with a core list of 200 artists, and since then it has grown significantly. Each entry features biographical information, images of key artworks, and archival materials. A good place to start here is the entry for Anna C. Bliss, a nonrepresentational artist whose work examines ideas about color perception and geometry. The categories of art included here are a diverse, including furniture making, mixed media, and textiles. New material is added to the site on a regular basis, and it's worth bookmarking for a return visit or two. [KMG]

Tacoma Community History Project

Community histories have become increasingly popular, and this interdisciplinary project from the University of Washington-Tacoma is part of that growing trend. The materials here include oral histories gathered by students working under the direction of Professor Michael Honey for his undergraduate and graduate courses. This collection contains 50 oral histories, and visitors can explore all of them via an interactive map or the Explore By Communities tab. It is worth noting that the histories include other communities within south Puget Sound, such as Gig Harbor and University Place. Some of the titles here include "Italians in Hilltop" and "A Blue Collar Town: The Tacoma Labor Movement." The materials date back to 1991 and include transcripts of each interview. Finally, the About area contains information about student involvement in the project, along with information on community involvement and engagement. [KMG]

Thomas H. and Joan W. Gandy Photograph Collection

The Louisiana Digital Library has a wide array of historical collections that document everything from Acadian culture to the vibrancy of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. This particular collection brings together photographs of Natchez from photographers Henry Norman, Henry Gurney, and Earl Norman. Visitors can make their way through over 160 images here, such as shots of barbershops, prominent buildings, distinguished antebellum mansions, and scenes of everyday life. The informal photos are quite wonderful; visitors shouldn't miss "Card game" or the "Children and Snowmen" image. As a whole, the collection answers a number of compelling questions, including "How did people dress to have their pictures taken?" and "What did Natchez-Under-The-Hill look like in the late 1800s?" [KMG]

Cabinet of Wonders

The noted musician and impresario John Wesley Harding has created a new variety show for National Public Radio. It's called "Cabinet of Wonders" and on the program's home page, it says that the show will "make you laugh, think and sing along. Sometimes all at once." The program is recorded live at the City Winery in New York City, and so far performers on the have included John Hodgman, Colson Whitehead, Rick Moody, and Edie Brickell. Visitors can listen to each show in its entirety here, or download the programs at their leisure. Each program features a brief description of the performance, along with related links and other resources. [KMG]


Simply put, Seaquence is "an experiment in musical composition". It's a rather modest way to describe this truly unique online experience. By adopting a biological metaphor, visitors can "create and combine musical lifeforms resulting in an organic, dynamic composition." There are visual "creatures" on the site which can be manipulated by users as they are encouraged to add different elements to the creation "dish" here. The combination of different creatures results in unique musical compositions that always change as they move about the screen. There's a demonstration in the About area, which is a great way to learn about how the different controls work. After completing a composition via their creatures, visitors can save each composition by clicking "share" so they can send them along to friends and other creative types. [KMG]

Irish Museum of Modern Art

If you've been thinking that art in Ireland is all penny whistles and fiddlers and maybe some lace, it's time to pay a visit to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). IMMA displays its collection "in rotating temporary exhibitions, exploring the work of individual artists in solo displays, and through curated group exhibitions." Currently, Time out of Mind: Works from the IMMA Collection is on view at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. At the IMMA website, wander the Museum's wings by taking one of the four virtual tours provided: Mindful Media, work from the 1970s by New York-based Irish artist Les Levine; the Madden Arnholz Collection - old master prints collected by Fritz (Colm) Arnholz and Etain Madden Arnholz, an early donation to the IMMA; paintings made in the last 10 years by Philip Taaffe; and Twenty: Celebrating 20 Years of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The Permanent Collection Database is under construction, and a search feature should be released this year.

Network Tools

Break Taker

Do you need a break? Would you like your computer to give you a reminder about said break? BreakTaker can help by encouraging users "to take short breaks at regular intervals." Visitors can use this application to change the time between break notifications and customize its appearance as well. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


If you're looking to build your own creative and interesting email signature, you may wish to give Sigwich some consideration. Visitors have the ability to add a custom signoff, company name, email, address, social media icons, photo, and a personal tagline. Also, visitors can preview their new signature via a live preview feature that allows them to see how it will look in context. This version is compatible with computers utilizing browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla, and Chrome. [KMG]

In The News

Antarctica, then and now: Icy continent was once a near-tropical paradise

Ancient climate change meant Antarctica was once covered with palm trees

Palm trees 'grew on Antarctica'

Persistent near-tropical warmth on the Antarctic continent during the early Eocene epoch

What would Shackleton have tweeted?

United States Antarctic Program

Antarctic images by Anthony Powell

According to an article published in Nature on the first of August, East Antarctica once supported near-tropical ecosystems, with winter temperatures "warmer than 10 C [50 F]." Of course, this wasn't recent by human standards the Eocene epoch during which these temperatures were the norm occurred about 55 to 48 million years ago. However, this finding may provide insight into how Earth's climate responds to variable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In addition, it allows us to imagine a world very different from the one we know: one in which palm trees flourished at latitudes that today reach summer highs of about 8 C and sink to lows of -50 C. [CM]

The first link takes visitors to a blog entry outlining some of the article's discoveries, including detailed descriptions of the ecosystem. The second leads to an article featuring an interview with one of the study's co-authors that describes both the procedures and findings. Interested parties may want to read the original Nature article itself, accessible via the third link. Bringing us into the modern era, the fourth link leads to an article reflecting on the complicated relationship between the outside world and those overwintering in Antarctica. The fifth allows visitors to explore facts and figures about the United States presence in Antarctica, featuring some great webcam feeds. Finally, the last link leads to a magnificent collection of images and videos of the now-frozen continent.

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