The Scout Report
April 5, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 14
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Are you curious about how the human body works? If so, the Build-A-Body site may pique your interest in the world of the body's organ systems. The site features a drag and drop game where players are tasked with assembling an organ system and making their way through the nervous, skeletal, excretory, and reproductive systems. The site also contains a set of case studies about the various conditions that each system may encounter over the lifespan. The site is a fine tool for teaching basic concepts of human physiology and anatomy. [KMG]
The tagline of this website is "Studying Earth's Most Diverse Organisms." Anyone interested in entomology will find the images, descriptions, and activities here to be most edifying. Visitors can click on Class: Insecta for classroom activities that profile butterfly and moth wing patterns, and a delightful collection of insects as they appear on stamps from countries all over the world. The Entophiles area features over 150 images of insect macrophotography combined with detailed descriptions. The Ants, Bees & Wasps area is remarkable; visitors shouldn't miss the thread-waisted wasp or the formicid ants. The site also contains select issues of the Cultural Entomology digest, which includes articles like "The Insects of M.C. Escher" and "Butterflies of Ancient Mexico." [KMG]
The effective visual representation of key demographic data through the use of dynamic maps is a powerful tool for policymakers, journalists, and others. The World Bank developed such a program in 2010 as part of the Mapping for Results website. So far, their team has analyzed over 2,500 World Bank-financed projects and geo-coded more than 30,000 locations spanning 144 countries. Visitors can look over the featured articles on the homepage to get a flavor of the projects here, which include stories like "Mapping for Results Goes Local" and "Mapping the Financial Sector in Africa." Visitors can use the interactive map to view projects by country or indicator, which include population density, malnutrition, and infant mortality. Visitors can also learn about the Methodology deployed throughout the maps, which will be useful to those persons looking to understand the inner workings of this complex undertaking. Visitors can sign up to receive updates about the site via Twitter or RSS feed. [KMG]
Crafted by educators at the American Physiological Society, this set of twenty life sciences modules is designed "to increase students' exposure both to female science role models and to hands-on, inquiry approach activities." Each module includes a brief biography of a female science role model and a set of problem-solving life sciences with a multidisciplinary focus. The scientists profiled here include Barbara McClintock, Alice Huang, Deborah Gordon, Dian Fossey, and Betsy Dresser. The activities include suggestions for teachers, assessment ideas, and handouts for students. The site also contains additional inks to educational activities designed for K-12 educators and students, and visitors can sign up to receive updates about new materials via RSS feed or email. [KMG]
The staff at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine has created this remarkable set of over 75 different animations and videos designed for medical professionals and the general public. The items here are divided into topics that include Allergy and immunology, Neurology, Dermatology, Pregnancy and Embryology, and "Surgery." These clips are all quite short and well-recorded, and visitors will find that they are delivered in language that is easy to understand and not laden with jargon. The site also includes a link to a set of "Encyclopedia Articles" which deal with a range of related topics and which can be used in the classroom as well. Finally, the site also includes links to services provided by the school's hospital and information about their academic programs. [KMG]
How do educators teach critical thinking to college students? It's an important task, and one that can be done creatively and in a fashion that speaks to a wide range of learners. This website created by the University of Texas at Austin's Teacher to Teacher initiative compiles fourteen modules: ten focused on specific critical thinking skills and four on specific teaching methods. The Explore tab can be used to look around the modules as organized by class size, type of module, or location (such as in class or out of class) Each module contains a definition and exploration, an annotated bibliography, real classroom footage from the University of Texas, and reflective commentaries from teachers. The modules are divided into four sections dedicated to critical thinking and metacognition. [KMG]
Based at the Office for International Affairs at The Ohio State University, the Mershon Center for International Security Studies "fosters interdisciplinary faculty and student research on national security in a global context." On the homepage, visitors can learn about their upcoming events, read their biennial report, and also check out their newsletter. In the Publications area, visitors can read thoughtful publications like "Terrorism Since 9/11: The American Cases," back issues of the Center's formal reports, and the "Mershon Memo." The Areas of Expertise section includes information about their key areas of interest, which include the use of force and diplomacy and institutions that manage violent conflict. The site also includes the News area, which features updates about their research, media appearances, and forthcoming publications. [KMG]
The Public Art Archive was launched in 2009 as a free resource for comprehensive data and extensive information about thousands of public art installations across the United States. New users should visit the About area for information about the functionality of the site and its history. After a quick visit here, the Browse tab filters this information by artist, collection, location, materials, work type, placement and year. Those unacquainted with the world of public art would do well to start in several large cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and Miami. The clickable map interface makes it easy and quite enjoyable to look at different cities and regions quickly. Browsing around by year is interesting as well; the works are listed chronologically all the way back to the year 1802. [KMG]
The state government of West Virginia has crafted this site to help residents of the state and others learn more about the history and culture of this unique place. The site contains over seventeen areas chronicling state history, quizzes, and resources for teachers. The Highway Historical Markers area is quite a bit of fun, as it can be used to plan a scholarly road trip based around these markers that chronicle the "Lost Colony," the Huntington State Hospital, and historic Brickyard Bend. The Teachers Resources area includes website activities and in-class lesson plans, such as those related to John Brown, racial integration in the public schools, and the Civil War. Finally, the Audio/Video section of the site contains over 70 clips of events like the 1971 Buffalo Creek Disaster, John F. Kennedy's campaign through the state in 1960, and excerpts from the Archives and History Library's evening program. [KMG]
The Beethoven-Haus was founded in 1889; the complex in Bonn brings together Beethoven's birthplace with a concert hall and a research center. This website brings together over 6,100 documents, 1,600 files, and 7,600 text files that tell the story of this masterful composer and musician. A good place to start is the Highlights area, where visitors can look over versions of the Pastoral Symphony, the Ninth Symphony and other works written in his own hand. This area also includes correspondence from Beethoven. The Sounding Autographs area allows visitors to listen to his music and follow the notes of fifteen different compositions. The site also includes sections titled Sketches by Beethoven, Copies by Beethoven, Written Documents, and Pictures and Objects. A search engine rounds out the site, which is a great tool for musicologists and those seeking specific works and the like. [KMG]
Established by a range of industry representatives in 1954, the Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC) was the first university transportation center is the United States. They perform a wide range of research studies, along with offering resources for the press and the general public. First-time visitors can check out their in-house newsletter Compass on the homepage, look over their latest progress report, and learn about upcoming events. Scholars should visit the Research area to learn about their core research areas, their work on sustainable transportation systems, and upcoming workshops and conferences. The Education area contains information on their academic programs, student awards, executive education, and career services. Visitors looking for research scholars affiliated with the NUTC should click on the People tab to learn more about faculty, research associates, and staff members who work on site. [KMG]
Founded by David Pierce, the Media History Digital Library digitizes collections of classic media periodicals for use by historians, artists, and others. On their homepage, visitors can look over the magazines that have been scanned so far, including The Film Daily, Business Screen, Photoplay, The Educational Screen, and Moving Picture World. In the Collections area, visitors can read brief summaries of each publication and perform an advanced search for specific terms and keywords. Additionally, the site includes press releases and a rather chatty and an interesting blog about everything from early sound projectors to stars of the silent screen. Visitors can sign up to receive their newsletter via email. [KMG]
For students and educators seeking to learn more about the world of biology, this website is the perfect resource. Created by the College Board, this site contains information designed to help individuals prepare for the AP Biology examination. The resources here include a guide to conducting investigative labs in the classroom, an overview of quantitative skills, and several other preparatory items. In the Classroom Resources area, visitors can look over curriculum modules and field trip suggestions among other tools. The Related Articles" section features pieces such as "Mendel's Legacy," "Gastrulation: Shaping the Embryo," and "DNA and Computers-A Marriage Made in Heaven." The site is rounded out by a series of course overviews crafted specially for AP Biology instructors. [KMG]
The Blackstone River Valley of Massachusetts and Rhode Island is commonly known as the "birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution." The National Heritage Corridor established to tell the story of this region is quite a gem, and this website provides delectable information about the history, culture, and natural setting of the places covered throughout these two states. A good place to start is the Photos & Videos area to watch short promotional films about the region like Winds of Change and A National Park in the Blackstone Valley. The History & Culture section contains a masterful narrative introductory essay to the park's history, along with a piece on the peopling of the region by a myriad of groups, including the Irish, French-Canadians, and the Hmong. The site is rounded out by a number of lesson plans for teachers and an interactive calendar of upcoming events. [KMG]
This useful set of historic preservation resources was compiled by the USDA's Rural Information Center. It brings together over 50 full-text "how to" information guides and manuals on general and technical aspects of historic preservation. These guides include specialty resources on historic barns, farms, bridges, schools, battlefields, landscapes, lighthouses, interiors, exteriors, preservation techniques, and other facets of historic preservation. The items here are compiled into five areas: Introduction, Journals, Bibliography, Federal and State Resources, and National Organizations. The perfect thing about the site is that it also includes detailed information about items that aren't available online, such as "Keeping Time: The History and Theory of Preservation in America" and "Window Directory for Historic Buildings." [KMG]
Scratchpad is "a quick-and-dirty note taking tool with a minimum of frills." It was designed specifically for students and programmers to document code changes as they happen. This will save programmers from having an extra program on their taskbar. This handy utility is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
The Wave Timer is a cut about the average kitchen timer. This handy application allows users to turn off the alarm at the wave of a hand. It's a fine way to keep a phone nice and clean as potentially dirty hands won’t touch the phone's shiny surface again. This version is compatible with devices running iOS 5.0 and newer. [KMG]
High-Tech Means of Production Belies the Nostalgic Image of Maple Syrup
Birch syrup explored as add-on to maple industry
Maple-syrup making way of life for Salem family
Produces hope for successful maple syrup season
Maple Research Website
When most people think of maple syrup, they probably think of a hardy and dedicated individual in a Robert Frost-esque landscape working tirelessly through the frigid morning air. Once upon a time, this might have been true, but the maple syrup business is changing rapidly. To witness these changes firsthand, one might visit Morse Farm in Vermont. In this idyllic setting there are five miles of pressurized blue tubes that pull sap from a vast landscape of trees. The sap goes into massive tubs where it is processed into actual syrup. Commenting on these changes, Matthew Gordon of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association noted that "Technology has greatly increased that ability to make a full-time living. It's not merely the supplemental income it once was." On another positive note, recent chemical analysis of maple syrup obtained through this 21st century process tastes quite similar to syrup obtained through more traditional means. [KMG]
The first link will take interested parties to a nice article from this Saturday's New York Times about the new technologies entering the world of maple syrup production. The second link will lead users to a piece from Wall Street Journal about how birch syrup might be a game-changer for the seasonal syrup industry. Moving along, the third link leads to an article from the Youngstown (OH) Vindicator about life on a maple syrup farm in Salem, Ohio. The fourth link will whisk users away to a piece from this Saturday's La Crosse (WI) Tribune which describes the hopeful mood surrounding the maple syrup season in that corner of Wisconsin. The fifth link will lead visitors to the Maple Research Website, offered up by the University of Vermont Library. It's a great resource for information on all aspects of maple syrup, including recipes, sugar maple cultivation and so on. The last link leads to the wonderful poem "Maple Syrup" by Donald Hall. [KMG]
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Internet Scout Team Max Grinnell Editor Carmen Montopoli Managing Editor Edward Almasy Director Rachael Bower Director Andrea Coffin Information Services Manager Autumn Hall-Tun Internet Cataloger Sara Sacks Internet Cataloger Tim Baumgard Web Developer Corey Halpin Web Developer Zev Weiss Technical Specialist Evan Radkoff Technical Specialist Debra Shapiro Contributor Holly Wallace Administrative Assistant Michael Penn II Administrative Assistant
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