The Scout Report
April 19, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 16
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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The Classroom Capsules and Notes section of the Mathematical Sciences Digital Library is chock-full of compelling resources for college-level mathematics instructors. One particular gem within this trove is the Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 Collection. This collection brings together what appeared in the print journals of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and includes 16 items total. Each article has a page with a summary of the article, publication information, and a link to a pdf copy of the full article. It's a diverse set of materials, spanning "Early Sundials and the Discovery of the Conic Sections" to a pip of an article that deals with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse, titled "Torsional Oscillations in Suspension Bridges Revisited, Fixing an Old Approximation." [KMG]
Science in a minute? Sure, why not! Scientific American is offering up these bite-sized offerings that give a brief intro to a range of science-related topics and investigations. New, minute-long offerings are added every weekday, and recent additions have included "Fly Cells Divide by the Clock," "Twitter Reveals Language Geographic Distribution," and "Bed Bugs Bollixed by Bean." Visitors can sign up to learn about new additions via their RSS feed or iTunes. These short audio blurbs could easily be used in any number of classrooms to keep students engaged. It's a great resource and one that can be used with a range of learners. [KMG]
This helpful set of materials was created by the folks at the State University of New York's Upstate Medical University. The teaching file includes images, figures, and descriptions of current topical issues in X-ray imaging physics. A team of scholars worked onsite, their efforts supported by a grant from the Radiological Society of North America Research and Education Foundation. The materials are divided into seven sections, which include Radiography, CT, Mammography, and Image Processing. First-time visitors shouldn't miss the Introduction area, which includes information about the world of digital images and their history. Moving on, each of the additional sections contains narrative texts, technique overviews, and explanatory material designed for people getting acquainted with the field. [KMG]
Where's the intersection between arts management and online technology? It's a complicated question, and the people at Technology in the Arts (TitA) have some great insights into the matter. The program is a research initiative conducted by the Master of Arts Management program at Carnegie Mellon University. Be sure to check out the About TitA section before perusing the site. The blog offers thoughtful posts on website design for arts organizations, interactive LED installations in hospitals, and online resources for arts managers. There are also podcasts that feature conversations on tech tips for small arts organizations, mobile ticketing devices, and audience engagement. Finally, TitA's publications include surveys of arts organizations, along with other relevant documents. [KMG]
This intriguing collection from the University of Miami Libraries brings together videos, outlines, and selected transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with first-generation Cubans exiled since the Cuban Revolution. The project began in 2008 and its stated goal is "to document the Cuban experience on the island and in the diaspora." Currently, the project contains over 40 interviews with a range of leaders, non-profit organization directors, and activists. First-time visitors may wish to start with the interview of Horacio Aguirre, the publisher, director and editorialist of Diario las Americas, one of Miami's Spanish-language newspapers. As a whole, it's a remarkable slice of social and cultural history and one that will be of great interest to historians and persons with a particular penchant for oral history. [KMG]
Undergraduates, graduate students, and the generally curious will find much to wander through here. The librarians at Syracuse University have created dozens of subject guides for everything from anthropology to writing & rhetoric. Each guide contains links to books, databases, journals, dissertations, electronic resources, and so on. Visitors will note that some of the resources are only licensed to those with a formal Syracuse University affiliation, but many of them can be used freely. The specialized materials here include course guides, and websites from various institutes, organizations, and professional trade groups. [KMG]
Policy wonks and other like-minded individuals will have a field day at the U.S. Energy Information Administration's website. The Administration's work involves the collection, analysis, and dissemination of "independent and impartial energy information." A highlight of the webpage is the Today in Energy area, which features key updates on timely topics, such as the U.S. supply of natural gas. On the right-hand side of the page, visitors can find Data Highlights, a section that offers information about crude oil prices and other energy sources. Scrolling down, visitors shouldn't miss the Features area, which includes topical overviews like "What is shale gas and why is it important?" Additionally, the What's New area on the left-hand side is a fine place to look over reports like the "Annual Energy Outlook" and "Alternative Fueled Vehicle Data." [KMG]
The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) was founded at Harvard University in 1940 and "promotes the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide for the benefit of all." The SAH's outreach programs include the "Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians," an annual conference, study tours, and more. On the homepage, visitors can peruse the SAH News, the Association's informative and creative blog, and the Publications and Research area, which contains some member-only sections. The general public, however, can still take advantage of a number of digital resources here. Resources include the SAH Archipedia Classic Buildings, and external archives, such as the Julia Morgan Collection, Building Canada, and the Drawings & Documents Archive at Ball State University. Finally, visitors may also wish to look over the Jobs and Careers area for information about new and exciting careers in the field. [KMG]
The tagline on the America Revealed website says it all: "America Revealed explores the hidden patterns and rhythms that make America work." A remarkable series from PBS, the show talks about everything from how fresh seafood is sourced to how farmers combat crop pests. The Stories section includes a collage of images that, when scrolled over, provide accounts from a variety of people and industries. First-time visitors might want to watch the "Introduction to Manufacturing" series, which explores items that are made in the United States. Visitors can also use the Map section to look for stories of note from around the country, from Long Island to Southern California. The Teachers area includes ten lesson plans and links to additional resources. Finally, visitors can click on the Episodes area to watch complete episodes of the program. [KMG]
John Penley is a photographer and political activist closely associated with the squatters' rights movement and housing protests of the 1980s and 1990s in New York City's Lower East Side. This vibrant collection from the New York University Library brings together dozens of his provocative photographs that document the demonstrations, protests, and other political actions in which he took part during these two decades. Throughout these images, interested parties will also see well-known artists and residents of the neighborhood such as Keith Haring, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsburg. It's a great pastiche of social and urban history and will delight anyone with a love for New York and social movements. [KMG]
George Washington wore many hats during his lifetime (president, surveyor, and businessman, among others) and he was also particularly keen on taking care of his estate and family. He was intently interested in health and medicine, and interest explored by this exhibit from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The site offers a good introduction via the Explore tab, after which visitors can continue to sections that include At the Battlefront, On the Plantation, Home and Hardship, and In Sickness and in Health. Each section contains primary documents (such as paintings, journal entries, and maps) that bring this fascinating story to life. There are educational resources here, including lesson plans and discussion questions for use by teachers. Finally, visitors shouldn't miss the interactive traveling dental kit used by President Washington to care for his famously bad teeth. [KMG]
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is "committed to interdisciplinary research that will ultimately increase driving safety and further transportation systems knowledge." During the Institute's time, its researchers have carried out over 1,000 short- and long-term research projects in areas including accident data collection, bioengineering, psychology, and public policy. On the website, visitors can connect with the UMTRI via social media, check out a Quick Links area, and learn about upcoming events. Scholars will want to click on over to the Publications area to view a compete list of publications, which include "Road Safety in Two European Megacities: London and Paris" and "Predicting Vehicle Sales from GDP in 48 Countries: 2005-2011." Other sections here include Data at UMTRI, Educational Opportunities, and Facilities & Services. The site is rounded out by a link to the Safety Pilot program. This initiative hopes to create a system by which cars can communicate with other cars, traffic lights, and roadside devices in order to make driving much safer. [KMG]
Congressman Frank Annunzio of Chicago represented his constituents for 28 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and was always a strong advocate for causes dear to Italian Americans. Annunzio was a consummate Chicagoan: before he was elected to political office in 1965 he was a teacher and a director of labor for the state of Illinois. During his time in the House, he worked tirelessly to have Columbus Day declared a national holiday, among other activities. This digital collection from the University of Illinois at Chicago Library brings together 348 images culled from negatives in the James S. Parker Collection in the Special Collections Department. The images feature Annunzio working with constituents, marching in parades, making speeches and visiting different parts of Chicago. [KMG]
The horrors of war are many and the fighting often extends to the homefront via various forms of propaganda. This magnificent collection from Brandeis University brings together 87 propaganda posters from World Wars I & II in glorious color and equally glorious black and white. The posters deal with a number of themes, including the work of the Red Cross, the subscription of Liberty, and Victory loans. Many notable artists contributed work to this effort, including James Montgommery Flagg, Adolph Treidler, and Haskell Coffin. Visitors can browse the posters by title, author, or date. First-time visitors may wish to start by looking at the rather dramatic "All together!" poster or the demanding "Are you 100% American" work created to promote the purchasing of U.S. government bonds. [KMG]
Librarians have always turned to the American Library Association (ALA) for statistical data on library use. This year, to reach a wider audience, the ALA has published "The State of America's Libraries" as a special e-issue of the Association's journal, "American Libraries" (also available as a downloadable pdf). The 80-page report present a sometimes bleak, but overall inspiring, picture of conditions in U.S. Libraries. Libraries are always heavily-used in times of economic downturn, but, as publicly funded institutions, libraries of all types are feeling a squeeze. The report states that the full effects of sequestration on libraries will not be known for some time. However, it is apparent that sequestration is aggravating "an already bleak situation for school libraries, where the number of school librarians has declined," due to funding cuts. Another worrisome area is digital publishing: as e-books increase in popularity with the reading public, many library users are unaware that libraries loan e-books, and some publishers still refuse to sell e-books to libraries for lending. The report concludes with 14 pages of sources, so that those who seek more information can find it easily. [DS]
The collections at the Manchester Art Galleries are prodigious and this fine digital archive allows users to look at over 25,000 works. Given these vast holdings, new users may wish to start by look at the Highlights of the Collection area. Here they will find a remarkable collection called Remembering Slavery. It's a brief tour based on seven objects that are linked to Manchester's involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. The three other highlight collections include Hidden Gems, and New Faces, which features some wonderful new additions. The Costume Online area features a pleasant melange of thematic tours, including Clothes for Work, Recycled Fashion, and Materials and Making. In this final area, visitors can learn about everything from club clothes to Victorian get-ups for riding a bicycle. Additionally, visitors can search the entire collection for items of particular interest. [KMG]
The world is full of sounds delightful, eerie, and melodic. If you are looking for sound effects for just about any situation, look no further than the solid aural content right here at the SoundGator website. The offerings here are contained in 26 different categories, including Household Sounds, Fire Sound Effects, Drink Sound Effects, and Crowd Sound Effects. Visitors can search all of the effects as they see fit or browse by categories that include Recently Added and Most Discussed. The materials here are available to embed or download for personal use. [KMG]
If you have grown weary of a cluttered landscape of bookmarks you may want to give Neater Bookmarks your kind attention. The extension has a clean, crisp look and features a search engine along with a feature that remembers the last opened folders and scroll position. Also, it comes with several keyboard shortcuts that are quite helpful. This version is compatible with all operating systems running Google Chrome. [KMG]
A public name for ‘Bb’
Can One Buy the Right to Name a Planet?
Name Your Own Exoplanet – For $4.99
No, the IAU does NOT officially name planets
Can Anyone Pay To Name An Exoplanet? It’s Complicated
Who should have responsibility for naming exoplanets?
How much would you pay to place a planet in your name? For the price of a fast-food meal, a company called Uwingu will take your suggestions and add them to their database for exoplanets: planets outside of the solar system. While fundraising for science using your $4.99, the names are compiled and placed up for vote by popular demand, with the most popular names winning their places in orbit. This contest has raised several points of concern, with the most volatile coming from the International Astronomical Union stating that Uwingu is merely a scam with no real weight in naming exoplanets. Currently, exoplanets are classified via official systemic designations upon discovery; despite how uninteresting these names are, the IAU has remained firm in their stance that Uwingu’s contest is misleading. As the debate continues, even more issues have been brought forth in the scientific community: Who controls naming a planet? Can the right to name a planet be bought and sold? Is it a public decision or an academic one? As the influence of social media continues to penetrate the scientific sphere, the clash between new and old schools of thought has risen once again in the form of a popularity contest gone awry. [MP]
The first link directs visitors to the official Uwingu announcement for the naming contest, which remains active despite ongoing criticism. The second link will take visitors to the IAU’s official press release response to Uwingu’s questionable efforts. The third link is Time writer Michael D. Lemonick’s coverage of the exoplanet-naming debate. The fourth link will bring speculative users to a debunking of the IAU’s rights to planet names by Penn State Astronomy assistant professor Jason T. Wright. The fifth link will take visitors to PopSci writer Rebecca Boyle’s coverage on the exoplanet controversy. The sixth link takes users to a Houston Chronicle blog by Eric Berger on who actually holds the right to name exoplanets.
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