The Scout Report
October 19, 2012 -- Volume 18, Number 42
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has created this rather fine blog to feature insight and analysis from economists working at the intersection of research and Fed policymaking. People working in the fields of public policy, economics, monetary policy, and financial services will find much to enjoy here. Visitors can comment on different posts or follow embedded links that lead to working papers from other Fed system banks and policy groups. On the right hand side of the page, visitors can Pick a Topic to get started with their exploration. Of course, there's the more conventional way to read around the site, which is to just scroll through the entries. Recent posts have included meditations on the seasonality of U.S. monetary policy, the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium, and the rising costs of college tuition. [KMG]
The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has produced high-quality educational materials for decades, and its website is a great resource for teachers working in the physical sciences. On the site, visitors can take advantage of collections created to support thematic textbooks or peruse online programs such as EarthInquiry. This particular resource contains a series of web-based and print investigations that allow students "to explore geoscience phenomena using global, national, and local data." The site also contains a physical geology lab manual designed for use in college classrooms and materials for high school students, including an Earth science curriculum complete with classroom activities and quizzes. The site is rounded out by a set of links to content created by other organizations. [KMG]
The New Hampshire Historical Society, a nonprofit organization based in Concord, has been working to preserve the history of the Granite State since 1823 - and has the historic documents to show it. On the homepage, visitors can make their way through ten sections, including Library, Museum, and Publications. The Library area is particularly useful for scholars, as it contains links to online bibliographies, a sampling of historic maps, and other materials. In the Publications area, visitors can find selections from the journal "Historical New Hampshire" and audio versions of some articles as well. Some of the most interesting pieces here are the articles on the history of tourism in the White Mountains. An Education section provides resources for teachers and learners, such as slideshows, tips on working with primary sources, and the history of Native people in the state. Finally, the site also includes a place where visitors can sign up for the Society's electronic newsletter. [KMG]
This research project based at Stanford University "traces the evolution of militant organizations and the interactions that develop between them over time." The project was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense Minerva Initiative, and was completed under the direction of Dr. Martha Crenshaw. The purpose of the project is "to identify patterns in the evolution of militant organizations in specified conflict theaters and to discover the causes and consequences of their evolution." Visitors can click on a number of interactive genealogies of militant groups in Iraq, Italy, Somalia, and Pakistan at different historical moments in the 20th century. Each of the maps has links to Group Profiles which provide information on group size, formation, ideology, activity, leaders, ties to other groups, resources, community relationships, and more. The site is rounded out by a form where visitors can leave feedback and also learn more about the project. [KMG]
Using computers to do science is a great way to get young people hooked on the enterprise, and mobile apps and other devices make this easier than ever. The Macs in Chemistry site features dozens of applications that will help users learn about chemistry (and more) through interactive activities, quizzes, and so on. In the At a Glance area, visitors can learn about the tutorials archived here, data analysis tools, and mobile science apps. This last section is a real gem, as it contains dozens of applications including everything from 29 interactive maps of the brain to chemistry formula exercises to a working seismograph. The rest of the applications are divided into alphabetical sections. Visitors should click on the Software Reviews area for timely and detailed reviews of each application's strengths and weaknesses. The site is rounded out by a contact form and a set of useful links. [KMG]
How do people learn about physics? It's an important topic, especially as many countries seek to train a new generation of physicists. The Physical Review Special Topics: Physics Education Research (PRST-PER) journal is committed to providing high quality research on the teaching and learning of physics. Visitors can scan through the journal's newer articles via Recent Papers, where they will find works like "Development and implications of technology in reform-based physics laboratories" and "What do students do when asked to diagnose their mistakes? Does it help them?" There are several hundred articles which visitors can scan through at their leisure or search by keyword. Finally, users can take a tour through the News, Announcements, and Editorials section of the site to learn about new site features and updates from the American Physics Society. [KMG]
This podcast series is part of the SUNY University at Buffalo's School of Social Work outreach efforts and is a rather fascinating and useful resource. The purpose of the series is "to engage practitioners and researchers in lifelong learning and to promote research to practice, practice to research." The conversations here include interviews with top-notch researchers, professors, and others. On this site, visitors can browse through past podcasts, which include conversations about topics like online bullying, community organizing, and developing an effective relationship with patients. Also, visitors can sign up to receive each new podcast when it is released via iTunes. Finally, users are encouraged to leave feedback on the episodes they find compelling. [KMG]
Learning about food science can be quite fun and engaging. These resources from the folks at the food science department at Pennsylvania State University are designed to be used in a range of classroom settings and are perfect for educators. Currently there are seven activities on the site, including "Catalysis Enzymes in Pineapple," "In a Jam and Out of Juice," and "Practical Fermentation: A Guide for Schools and Colleges." Visitors shouldn't miss the Food Scientists-The Naked Scientist link as it leads to an external site that has wonderful experiments using simple kitchen items to teach interested parties about the chemistry of food science and related topics. Finally, the "Molecular Biology: First Steps - How to Extract DNA in your Kitchen" activity is always a crowd-pleaser. [KMG]
The American Film Manufacturing Company (also known as Flying A Studios) was founded in Chicago during the fall of 1910. They decamped for the warmer climes of Southern California the next year and they began producing dozens of short films over the next few years. Digital Collections at the University of California, Santa Barbara has created this remarkable offering of photographs from the Flying A era of 1912-1917 for those with a penchant for the early days of American filmmaking. The collection includes over 300 glass plate negatives of actors, actresses and film sets from the studio. Visitors will find great shots of the cowboy actor Art Acord, along with dozens of other actors in a variety of locations, including Antelope Valley, Santa Barbara, and Coos Bay in Oregon. [KMG]
Truly this website offers a bounteous literary "harvest". This cornucopia was started in 2006 when the University of Illinois Library at Urbana -Champaign entered an agreement with the Open Content Alliance to create a scanning center at the library. In the first year, they scanned over 6000 volumes related to Illinois history, culture, and natural resources. First-time visitors can use the Search function to browse around or the Newly Added Books to check out the latest additions. Some of the more recent titles include a profile of an early Chicago leader ("Arnold Damen, S.J") and works on the history of Champaign County. Visitors will love the Collections area as they can make their way through a marvelous record of life in the village of Elmwood Park and a collection of pamphlets related to the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition. Visitors can also use the About area to learn more about the project's goals, staff, and contributing institutions. [KMG]
The University of San Francisco has a marvelous archive at their Gleeson Library, where holdings include hundreds of rare documents from the past five centuries penned by a diverse set of literati such as E.M Forster, Sherwood Anderson, and others. All told, the collection contains eighty items, and visitors can browse all of the items by keyword or via a more detailed search. Perhaps the most unique item here is an autography by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. This is a collection that will delight literary scholars, dedicated readers, and others with a penchant for such matters. [KMG]
There's lots of talk about the Civil War these days, and a myriad of organizations have started releasing digital collections, mobile applications, and so on. The Wisconsin Historical society has created this digital collection of over 20,000 original documents containing a wealth of diaries, regimental histories and hundreds of newspaper articles and maps. The materials are divided into sections that include Stories, People, Places, Regiments, and Battles. Visitors are encouraged to get started by clicking on the This Day in Civil War History to get a flavor for the events from each day during the four-year conflict. Also, the Brief Excerpts from the Collection allow visitors to dip into the offering here with ease. The Places area is quite excellent, as visitors can read narratives from those soldiers and other people who set forth into the war from towns small and large around the Badger State. [KMG]
The Imperial War Museums (IWM) is a group of five museums in Britain with collections documenting conflicts from the First World War to the present. IWM has made a contribution of 78 works of art by 53 artists to the Google Art Project: a collaboration between Google and 151 partners located in 40 countries to make digital versions of art visible to more people. Most of the works contributed by IWM date from World War I, including John Singer Sargent's 1919 painting “Gassed,” showing the aftermath of a mustard gas attack, or from World War II, such as “Preparations for D-Day” and “1944” by Richard Ernst Eurich. Works in the IWM gallery at Google Art can be viewed on a timeline, zoomed in, with extensive captioning for details, or on a map. There is also a link to the Museum's website to see more related art from the other 156 collections available. [DS]
This helpful site provides interested parties with a way to quickly turn their business receipts into expense reports. Visitors can take a photo of their receipt and once it's sent along, a monthly expense report is generated at your convenience to turn your clutter of receipts into a smart, manageable format. Versions range from a free basic edition to £9.99 a month for premium to £4.99 a month for corporate. There is a free iPhone/iPad app with unlimited receipt storage, but no app options are available for Android or Blackberry at this time. [KMG]
FotoMix 9 provides a nice and free tool for interested parties to crop, resize, rotate, enhance, mix and match their photos to create a range of images without the learning curve of higher-end software. For those unfamiliar with the tools, the site includes a helpful tutorial to get acquainted with the program. This particular version is compatible with Windows XP and newer. [KMG]
Facebook users raise privacy concerns as company tweaks security settings
When the Most Personal Secrets Get Outed on Facebook
Three years, deleting your photos on Facebook now actually works
Three Facebook Privacy Loopholes
Facebook: Data Use Policy
The Brief History of Social Media
Once upon a time, if you wanted to learn something about someone you would have to ask face-to-face. Perhaps you could read about them in a newspaper or scan through an old school yearbook. Today, over 1 billion people use Facebook and their past, present, and future activities, likes, interests, and dislikes are available for widespread public consumption, consideration, and dissection. Facebook and other social networking sites can be immensely valuable, but the balancing act between preserving one's privacy and sharing information with others is delicate as well as problematic. This week, there was more concern raised about Facebook's privacy settings and there was widespread confusion among users. This Monday, Facebook announced another dispatch about their vast range of privacy controls. This came after a variety of online rumors that Facebook was scanning private messages between users to equate conversation with page "likes" and several other pieces of related scuttlebutt made the rounds as well. As with most stories involved with online interactions, this story is very much in flux even at the time of this writing. [KMG]
The first link will take users to a bit of reporting from this Monday's Guardian that deals with some of the recent concerns raised about Facebook's privacy settings. The second link will take interested parties to a thoughtful piece that originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal about some very personal secrets that were inadvertently revealed via Facebook. The third link will take individuals to a good piece from Ars Technica about the ability to permanently delete one's photos from Facebook. The fourth link leads to a nice summary of three notable Facebook privacy loopholes, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal "Digits" blog. The fifth link will take users to Facebook's official data use policy in its entirety. Finally, the last link provides a nice summary history of social media, courtesy of Professor Anthony Curtis of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout
Internet Scout Team Max Grinnell Editor Carmen Montopoli Managing Editor Edward Almasy Director Rachael Bower Director Andrea Coffin Metadata Specialist Autumn Hall-Tun Internet Cataloger Sara Sacks Internet Cataloger Tim Baumgard Web Developer Corey Halpin Web Developer Zev Weiss Technical Specialist Debra Shapiro Contributor
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