The Scout Report
September 27, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 39
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
American RadioWorks: Second-Chance Diploma: Examining the GED
The Higher Education Academy: Engineering
Digital Preservation Tools Showcase
The Atlantic Cities
Project for Excellence in Journalism: Journalism Tools
Mathematical Association of America: Reviews
Brain Science Podcast
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics: Surveys
Blanche Payne Regional Costume Photograph and Drawing Collection
Pennell Photography Collection
Enrico Fermi and the Nuclear Chain Reaction
Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Resources for Early Career Scientists
The Ojibwe People's Dictionary
Walter B. Wriston Archives
Can you crowdsource a census of the galaxies?
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Many have heard of the General Educational Development (GED) test, but it might remain something of a mystery. Those who take this exam are hoping to have a second chance to finish high school (in a manner of speaking) and the thought is that it will lead to a better job or further education. This fascinating documentary takes a look at the world of the GED and it is presented by the American RadioWorks organization. The documentary is divided into seven chapters, including The History of the GED and The Problem with the GED. One section that should not be missed is the Academy of Hope. Here visitors can learn about an informal place in Washington, D.C. that provides adults with the tutoring and support necessary to pass this exam. It's a great piece for anyone with an interest in education policy in the United States and it's certainly one that is worth sharing with other educators and like-minded folks. [KMG]
The Higher Education Academy supports a diverse network of "learning and teaching practitioners involved in engineering and materials across" the United Kingdom. Their work includes crafting high-quality events, conferences and a realm of information for educators, including newsletters and journals. In the Engineering Teaching Guides section, visitors can look over a dozen useful guides, including "Learning and Teaching in Laboratories" and "Approaches to the Teaching of Design." Also included as an engineering resource is the STEM blog which brings together a range of resources. Visitors can explore everything from the feedback of colleagues to the usage of information technology in the classroom. Additionally, the site contains access to the excellent journal, Engineering Education. [KMG]
The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program works with the Library of Congress to craft high-quality solutions to the problems facing a wide array of digital management initiatives across different sectors. Part of their work includes compiling a list of helpful tools for persons within the digital preservation community. On this site, visitors can examine over 40 tools and services that have been identified as of late. Sortable categories include Tool Type, Usage, and Content Domain. Within each of these, visitors will find a brief description, information about the intended user audience, and the basic function of each resource. Some of the items here include Recollection, the Simile Exhibit, and Voyeur, which is a web-based text analysis environment that can use texts in a variety of formats. [KMG]
What will the future of cities be like? It's a riveting question and one that excites the passions of the folks at The Atlantic Cities website. Their work here "explores the most innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today's global cities and neighborhoods." Visitors should browse through their newest articles, which might include "Why Our Kids Need Play" and "How Poverty Taxes the Brain." The site also has some neat features, including the Charts, Photos, and Urban Wonk areas. Geographers and artists will love the Maps section, which includes both scholarly and humorous offerings. First-time visitors should pay special attention here to "A Block-by-Block Map of Brooklyn, in Garbage" and "One Map, A World of Temperatures." Additionally, visitors can also sign up to receive their e-newsletter and other updates, including information about upcoming conferences and lectures sponsored by The Atlantic. [KMG]
The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism has garnered significant accolades in recent years and their professional toolbox is well-heralded. This particular component of their site brings together thematically organized tools for a range of partners, including citizens, print journalists, online journalists, journalism teachers, and journalism students. The resources here include helpful tools, blogs, apps, news sources, teaching guides, and other materials culled from a range of experts. Visitors can also search through these materials at their leisure or sign up to receive updates about new additions as well. [KMG]
What, you might ask, is going on in the world of mathematics? Hundreds of new books and works are published in this fantastically diverse field every year. The folks at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) have seen fit to create a set of detailed reviews that offer insight, irreverence, and eradication all in one fell swoop. Visitors can look over the Featured Reviews on the site's homepage to find trenchant critiques of works such as "Algebra for Symbolic Computation" or "Actuarial Mathematics for Life Contingent Risks." Clicking on the Browse list allows visitors to explore over 9400 different reviews by rating, reviewer, or topic. The topic list is thorough and includes several hundred headings, including applied topology, dimension theory, and integral geometry. [KMG]
Understanding how the brain works is a fascinating and engaging question, worth ruminating every day, if possible. The Brain Science Podcast does just that. Dr. Ginger Campbell, an experienced emergency room physician, has a long standing interest in mind-body medicine, the brain, and consciousness. As host, she features the latest books about neuroscience along with interviews with scientists from all over the world. Visitors can click on the Latest Show to listen in on her latest conversation or click on Past Episodes to dive on into her past ruminations. Here they can take advantage of conversations discussing the pre-frontal lobes, gut feelings, and neurophilosophy. Additionally, visitors can look over the Free Transcripts area to read through complete transcripts of all the programs on her site. The site is rounded out by a place to leave feedback, an FAQ area, and a link to her RSS feed. [KMG]
The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) performs a great deal of survey work in order to learn more about everything from earned doctorates in the United States to business partnerships across different disciplines. On this site, visitors can look at these various surveys on topics that include Education of Scientists and Engineers, Science and Engineering Research Facilities, and Science and Engineering Workforce. For each individual survey, visitors can learn more about the data in each area, read related publications, or look through the questionnaire. Policy types will appreciate the "Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development" as it contains several policy briefs on how the funds are deployed across the country, along with commentary about what types of projects are funded. Finally, visitors should also consider signing up to receive updates about new reports via RSS feed or email. [KMG]
Professor Blanche Payne of the University of Washington traveled throughout the world on her own, during a time when it was quite rare for women to do so. In 1936 and 1937 she made extensive trips to countries including Albania, Bosnia, and the former Yugoslavia. Through photographs and illustrations she documented the folkways, indigenous costumes, and daily lives of various cultures. Her collection was donated to the University after her passing and this digital collection brings together photographic prints, pattern drawings, watercolor paintings, and postcards from her journeys. Under the Explore Collections area, visitors can browse the full collection, men's costumes, children's costumes, and other themes at their leisure. All told, there are over 1200 items here- a trove of material for anyone studying folk culture, arts, and related subjects. [KMG]
Architectural Digest is one of the world's premier periodicals dedicated to architecture and interior design. Their website is a trove of materials for those dabbling in such matters. On this site, visitors can look through one of six sections: Interiors + Inspiration, Celebrity Style, Architecture + Design, Shopping + Sources, News, Culture + Travel, and In the Magazine. These areas are rich in content and commentary from diverse caravansaries. First-timers might enjoy a jaunt on over to the Daily AD to get their daily dose of what's happening in the field. A random visit to the site might bring up a photo gallery of 25 inspiring staircases from around the world, a renovation of a chateau in the Loire Valley, or a look into the homes of some of Southern California's movers and shakers. Additionally, users can sign up to receive updates about their special editions and website only features. [KMG]
Joseph J. Pennell was a successful commercial studio photographer who worked in Junction City, Kansas from the early 1890s to the early 1920s. During his long tenure in this quaint burg he managed to document all facets of town life. Through portraits of local celebrities, prominent families, soldiers, and photos of local businesses the culture of this town at the turn of the century was preserved. This digital collection from the University of Kansas brings together almost 6000 images culled from his many years in the community. Visitors can browse around at their leisure or they can also use the Browse by Categories area to look around by subject. Interesting topics include architecture, boxing, street scenes, and Thanksgiving. The zoom feature is especially worth noting as it allows for a rather life-like examination of the collection. All in all, it's a remarkable archive and one that will warrant several return visits. [KMG]
On December 2, 1942, the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction took place under the squash courts at the University of Chicago. At the helm of this momentous occasion was noted physicist Enrico Fermi. It was a tremendous event and this website pays tribute to his work and legacy. Crafted by librarian Andrea Twiss-Brooks at the University of Chicago, the site contains primary documents related to this event, a biography of Fermi, an image gallery, and suggestions for further reading. First-time visitors might do well to start with the About Enrico Fermi section for a bit of background on this remarkable scientist. Moving on, the Commemorative Events area shares stamps issued in his honor along with information about the statute created by Henry Moore for the test site. The most unique document here is the digital audio file "To Fermi-With Love." It's a remarkable audio tribute to the man and his work, and visitors can listen to his voice. Finally the Image Gallery contains a number of key images related to this event, along with a hand-drawn sketch of the test site and anniversary photos of the various scientists involved with these events. [KMG]
What is it like to be a postdoc or new faculty member in the sciences? This series of guides and meditations is a great way to learn about such things, and it is based on workshops cosponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The full-length book offered here, titled "Making The Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty," can be downloaded in its entirety or as individual chapters. The chapter titles include "Obtaining and Negotiating a Faculty Position" and "Staffing Your Laboratory." Additionally, there are some equally fine stand-alone resources, such as the trenchant "Writing a Letter of Recommendation." The site is rounded out by the Additional Resources section, which contains a number of professional development resources crafted by the HHMI and other peer organizations. [KMG]
The Ojibwe People's Dictionary was created by faculty and students in the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. The project was the brainchild of Professor John Nichols who worked to digitally record Ojibwe elders as part of a research grant for the National Science Foundation's Endangered Languages Program. Working with a team of creative colleagues they decided to create this online dictionary which includes helpful documents, video clips, images, and elaborate illustrations. The How to Use the Ojibwe People's Dictionary section is a great place to start as it includes search tips as well as keys to Ojibwe parts of speech and regions of use. Visitors can also browse the dictionary or browse through the Cultural Galleries to look over some of the illustrative materials that include images from Ojibwe life, complete with background information on how to pronounce the related words and phrases. [KMG]
Walter Wriston was a well-known banker, former chairman of Citicorp, and expert on commercial banking. Born in 1919, he worked at the company for almost 40 years, helping the bank develop their first credit card while also finding time to serve as the chairman of President Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board. After he passed away in 2005 his family donated his papers to Tufts University. Their in-house digital collections team has digitized over 100 of these items and placed them online here. They include speeches, papers, photographs, and other items key to his career. One item that should not be missed is his 1989 speech "Doing Business in the Information Age." There are also a number of compelling editorial pieces, including his 1990 op-ed piece from the Wall Street Journal titled "The beltway-media complex". Visitors can sort through all of these images by using the search feature. [KMG]
Soundings is MoMA's first major exhibition of sound art, presenting work by 16 contemporary artists, all born in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, who work with sound. The artists include: Luke Fowler, Toshiya Tsunoda, Marco Fusinato, Richard Garet, Florian Hecker, Christine Sun Kim, Jacob Kirkegaard, Haroon Mirza, Carsten Nicolai, Camille Norment, Tristan Perich, Susan Philipsz, Sergei Tcherepnin, Hong-Kai Wang, Jana Winderen, and Stephen Vitiello. Probably the best way to view the online exhibition is to skip right to the Artists section (URL listed above), where there is a list of linked artists names. Following the links will lead visitors to images of each artist's works, biographical information, and of course, sound. For example, look at and listen to Susan Philipsz's Study of Strings, 2012, an installation at Kassel Hauptbahnhof. This piece is a reinterpretation of a 1943 composition by Pavel Haas (Czech, 1899?1944), who composed the score while imprisoned at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. A performance was filmed in 1944 for a Nazi propaganda film. Philipsz's piece omits the instruments - and musicians - who were executed at the camp. [DS]
If you're a designer, small business professional, or other independent minded soul you might do well to take a look at the Logo Design site. Users can quickly make their own professional logo quite easily here and it doesn't require a design background to get started. Visitors can click on the Sample Logos area to see what others have done and there's also a Logo Design Tips area that offers a nice primer on the subject. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
Have you ever wanted to share something but only wanted to make it available for a limited number of views? BlinkLink can make this possible. Visitors can enter an image, video, or link they would like to share with others. They can then include a message and insert the number of times they would like the item to be viewed. It's a neat way to share things and it is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
Galactic Census: Over 300,000 Galaxies Cataloged by Thousands of Volunteer Scientists
What do you find when you crowdsource the universe?
Kaboom! Milky Way's Black Hole Erupted 2 Million Years Ago
NASA: Exploring the Universe
It's hard enough to count humans on Earth, but how difficult is it to craft a census of known galaxies? With a little help from a few thousand friends, it's not that bad actually. The University of Minnesota started the Galaxy Zoo 2 project with hopes of compiling information on all the galaxies in the universe. Information was gathered from 2009 to 2010 with over 83 thousand volunteer scientists working to analyze images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Interestingly enough, humans emerged as better than computers at analyzing certain characteristics of galaxies, including shape and general structure. The statistics are quite mind-boggling: over 16 million classifications of 304,122 galaxies were complied during this period while this same research would have taken a single scientist 30 years to complete! The next census of such matters will tell scientists about the galaxies of the past, combining images from local universities with images from deep space acquired by the marvelous Hubble Telescope. [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to a piece from this Tuesday's International Business Times reporting on this impressive census. Moving along, the second link will whisk users away to a great article from the Christian Science Monitor about this remarkable bit of crowdsourcing for galaxy classification. The third link will take users to a fine bit of science reporting from Discovery News about the eruption of the Milky Way's Black Hole some 2 million years ago. The homepage of the Galaxy Zoo follows next. Here visitors can learn about this marvelous initiative, view wonderful images, chime in on discussion boards, and so on. Next, users will discover NASA's terrific site, Exploring the Universe, where visitors can learn about some of their upcoming projects, listen in on some of their podcasts, or check out the latest news releases. Finally, the last link will lead to the Hubble Site which contains thousands of images captured by this iconic telescope, along with screen savers and wall murals.
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