The Scout Report
August 16, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 33
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Geology of Britain Viewer
2011 Language Mapper Tool
American Society for Engineering Education: PRISM
City of Boston Archives: Online Collections
University of Virginia Teaching Resource Center
Anthropology Ethics: Online Resources
The Calculator Pad
Anatomical Sciences Image Library
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Florida
This Old House
California Department of Transportation
Physics Teacher Education Coalition
Historic American Buildings Survey
Encyclopedia of Indianapolis
The National Security Archive: The Limited Test Ban Treaty
Up in the air, business class options continue to improve, but at what cost to the coach traveler?
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If you've ever wanted to wander from John O'Groats to the Cotswolds without leaving your desk, this most wonderful website is for you. Created by the British Geological Survey, the Geology of Britain viewer helps interested parties learn more about the landforms in their backyards. After opening the viewer, visitors can click on an area of interest to look at everything from possible earthquake threats to rock layers to soil composition and more. Visitors should note that they can zoom in on the map and also use place names to refine their searches via the Go to Location button. Additionally, the basemap can be modified to show satellite photographs or various street maps as overlays. Finally, the site contains walking guides for several regions of Britain that might be helpful for those with a penchant for perambulation. [KMG]
Where do people in the United States speak French? Or Chinese? Answers to both questions can be found on this well-designed site, provided by the US. Census Bureau. The data used comes from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey. (Users can view the complete report and accompanying tables here as well.) Visitors should definitely click on the About Language Use area to learn more about the methodology behind the questionnaire that determined linguistic distribution across the United States. Also, there's a Historical Language Questions area that features selected questions dating back to 1890. It's great to just click around the map to learn more about these patterns and, as a bonus, it's quite easy to use. [KMG]
Prism is the flagship publication of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and it contains helpful information for those who are passionate about helping train a new generation of engineers. On the site, visitors can read issues published since October 1998, which cover a rich diversity of topics. Recent articles have addressed how engineering students are working on getting the best communication skills possible and the potential of photonics and optics. Visitors can use the search bar at the top of the page to look over the past issues or contact the editors to suggest future topics. [KMG]
Boston has the oldest city archive in the United States and has recently embarked on an ambitious program to digitize more photos, maps, and other pieces of visual ephemera. This site offers a number of thematic photo collections, including ones dedicated to public institutions, city landmarks, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and public celebrations. Visitors shouldn't miss the Peter H. Dreyer collection, which was gifted to the city by this well-known photographer. The 470 images in the collection document the city during the Bicentennial and in an era when the entire Hub was a bit less gentrified. The Bridge and Ferry photographs document the city's diverse set of engineering landmarks, along with images of the various machines and the men that crafted each of these unique structures. Finally, the School Department area offers up historic shots of the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and other notable institutions. [KMG]
Most colleges and universities have resource centers where graduate students and professors can learn more about the craft of teaching. The University of Virginia's excellent Teaching Resource Center is dedicated to "committed conversation about teaching at all levels and in all academic disciplines." On the site, visitors can look over seven sections, including Programs, Workshops, Consultations, Publications, and Teaching Tips. This last area is a true gem, as it contains tips organized into themes such as diversity, grading, critical thinking, course development and design, and of course discussion leading. The Occasional Paper Series is worth a visit for meditations on "A Teacher's Attention" and "In the Undergraduate Mind: The First-Year Experience from Three Perspectives." [KMG]
Studying humankind can give us great insight into the complexities of society and culture. However, any research involving human subjects comes with a thorny set of ethical considerations. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Ethics Center has curated this collection of online resources related to ethical dilemmas and situations in anthropology. The materials are divided into four areas: Case Studies, About, Additional Teaching Resources, and Codes of Ethics. The Case Studies area is quite well-developed, containing 20 rigorously vetted case studies from SUNY-Buffalo, the Society for Economic Botany, and the Smithsonian Institution. For those just entering the field, the Codes of Ethics area might be quite useful. It offers up professional codes from organizations like the American Anthropological Association, the American Association of Museums, and the American Folklore Society. [KMG]
This helpful resource for folks seeking to learn more about physics is a great resource for teachers and physicists of all stripes. Offered as part of The Physics Classroom site, the Calculator Pad provides students with practice solving physics word problems. Visitors to the site will find that there are a number of problem sets here for their consideration. Each set consists of 25-35 problems with audio-guided solutions. The sets are divided into four thematic areas, including Mechanics, Electricity, Waves, Sound and Light, and Ray Optics. Each problem is written quite succinctly and it's nice to have the option to have the answer hidden from view initially. [KMG]
If you're hoping to learn about everything from the femoral artery to the phalanges, this image library collection can get the job done. The American Association of Anatomists (AAA) has created this collection of links to high-quality resources that cover five topical areas, including the brain, histology, and development. Each area has at least six links, but the centerpiece is the anatomy area, with 15 resources in total. The development area is quite fine as well; links include a multi-dimensional human embryo and the e-Mouse Atlas Project, "a detailed model of the developing mouse." [KMG]
Geographers, urbanologists, historians, and long-term readers of the Scout Report know the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps quite well. Other parties can now get to know them just as well via this digital collection from the University of Florida. The maps were initially created to help fire insurance agents determine the degree of damage to a property and as such they document the size, shape and construction of buildings in intimate detail. Additionally, the maps include street names, property boundaries, lot lines, railroad lines, and topographical details. On the site, visitors can search the entire collection via keywords, such as Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Miami. Usually a search will return a set of documents, complete with information about when each set of maps was initially released. [KMG]
This Old House was arguably one of the first "reality shows," as it profiled celebrated craftsman Bob Vila's renovations of numerous old homes from Seattle to Sarasota. Today, the show has a cast of hosts, and this website brings together the latest episodes for viewing by DIY-lovers and those who just like to watch people passionate about home restoration. Currently there are over 50 episodes on the site, some of which profile specific homes and others which cover certain construction and renovation projects and techniques. Some of the topics covered here include installing surge protectors, stone cutting techniques, and the installation of an anti-scald shower valve. [KMG]
The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) manages over 50,000 miles of California's highway and freeway lanes, provides inter-city rail services, and also works on a host of other transportation initiatives. Visitors can dive right in via the Highlights section, which offers an overview of the California State Rail Plan, information about webinars, and links to long-term transit feasibility studies. Other sections of the site cover Travel, Business, Engineering, News, and Maps. This last area contains the QuickMap, which offers a real-time map of current traffic conditions, along with maps designed for truckers and motor home owners. The Engineering section contains information about ongoing projects, along with financial information and planning documents. Finally, the site includes a separate page about the Bay Bridge and links to press releases and video clips. [KMG]
Created by staff members at the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PETC) is a network of institutions committed "to improving the education of future physics and physical science teachers." On the site, visitors can look through the Library area, which contains curricula, help for new teachers, information on teacher preparation, and ten other topics. The Latest Additions area is a great way to learn about what's been added to the site in recent days and weeks. Moving along, the Special Initiatives contains information about programs designed to create a groundswell of support for physics education across the country. Also, visitors can learn about Conferences & Workshops that the PETC sponsors for educators. [KMG]
The Historic American Buildings Survey is a stellar repository of material that will delight and amaze persons with a passion for the built environment. These photos, drawings, and other items document achievements in architecture, engineering, and landscape design in the United States and its territories through a comprehensive range of building types, engineering technologies, and landscapes. All told, there are over 556,000 separate items here covering everything from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Pueblo of Acoma. First-time visitors may wish to look at the Background and Scope area before diving in. It's easy to search the collection, and users might want type in a hometown, a favorite building, or even an architectural style. All in all, it's a wonderful trip through American history via its historic landscapes, urban, suburban, and other. [KMG]
In the past few decades, a number of large American cities have embarked on ambitious encyclopedia projects to document their history, culture, and geography. Indianapolis was one such city, and this impressive 1,600-page encyclopedia was published in 1994. Today, a digitized version resides on this Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis website, where it offers a wonderful way to learn about Indiana's largest city. Visitors can search the encyclopedia at their leisure, while the viewer makes it quite simple to print out selected pages and to zoom in and out on each page. The volume has a dozen overview essays covering broadcasting, African-Americans, cultural institutions, education, and journalism. Anyone with an interest in urban history and all things Hoosier will find this work to be tremendously valuable. [KMG]
This latest electronic briefing book from the National Security Archive at George Washington University brings together some fascinating documents related to the 1963 accord outlawing nuclear testing in the atmosphere, under water, and in space. This treaty was called the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) and for decades many wondered if the nations that signed onto this document might have violated its terms. Here, visitors can look over 26 documents, including internal memos from the CIA, reports from the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee, and State Department documents related to China's first nuclear test. Section F is a real gem, as it contains a wealth of materials related to government responses and thoughts on the test ban during the 1970s. [KMG]
If you're looking for a new way to present your work, you might do well to look at Slides. The application stores users' presentations in the cloud and it's quite intuitive in terms of adding audio, video, images, and text. The site contains a helpful tutorial and this particular version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
We've all had our hands in the dishwater when an important call comes in. The Air Call-Accept application gives users the ability to just wave their hand across the proximity sensor, and voila: the call is accepted. It's quite useful for people who are driving around quite a bit, though others will certainly find it efficacious. This version is compatible with devices running Android 1.6 and newer. [KMG]
The Future of Business Class
The race to build better business-class seats on airplanes
As Airlines Focus on Business Class, Will Coach Decline?
A Hard Landing for the Middle Class
Long-haul Business Class Comparison Chart
Transportation Library Menu Collection
Many people aren't that concerned about how they fly through the sky, as long as it's safe and on-time. But business-class travelers are very much concerned about the amenities they have onboard, and in recent years, a number of major carriers have upped the ante. Last week, JetBlue announced that it would introduce lie-flat seats and even private suites on certain flights. This is considered a rather unusual move, as this is something more commonly done by older legacy carriers. The bigger question is how the added amenities for business class will affect coach passengers in the long run. Obviously, the airlines are hoping it will mean greater profits. Given the difficult times that airlines have faced in the recent past, if the move proves successful, it may become a growing trend in coming years. [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to a post from The Street about the hyper-competitive market for first-class flyers, along with some details about the types of amenities they can expect on certain carriers. The second link will take users to a piece from the Seattle Times on the race to build better business-class seats on airplanes. Interestingly enough, the piece notes that such luxe accommodations account for almost half of the revenue of Lufthansa or British Airways. Moving on, the third link will take users to a bit of commentary from travel writer Peter Greenberg on these developments. The fourth link leads to a well-written editorial by the Washington Post's Harold Myerson about how these changes will affect the middle class traveler. The fifth link leads to a rather elaborate set of business-class seating charts, courtesy of SeatGuru. The final link will take visitors to an excellent set of historical first-class food menus from a range of airlines, including American, Lufthansa, United, and Alitalia.
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