The Scout Report
November 15, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 46
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
History of Science and Technology
Learn Chemistry: Higher Education Resources
The Civic Federation
Iowa Maps Digital Collection
National Center for Science Education: Publications & Media
Pew Research Journalism Project: Twitter News Consumers
NAACP Interactive Timeline
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Faculty
Civil War Collection at Gettysburg College
National Museum of African Art
Blue Sky Innovation
Whaling History: Laura Jernegan, Girl on a Whaleship
ARKive [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on June 13, 2003]
Indiana Farm Security Administration Photographs
Gravity Highlighter 1.1.5
Can a meaningful climate change agreement come out of Warsaw?
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The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections have covered vast territory over the past decade, and don't show any signs of slowing up. This rather enticing offering brings together digital versions of publications about scientific research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as unique or valuable titles in science and technology held by the UW libraries. Visitors will enjoy the variety of this collection, which includes titles like "Pioneer Microbiologists of America," "The Bestiary: A Book of Beasts," and "Cyclopaedia, or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Science." Users can search within each item or across the entire collection. One item that should not be missed is "A Comparative View of the Human and Animal Frame." This document, published by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins in 1860, was intended "to give a comparative view of the variation in form of the bony skeleton or framework of those animals most frequently required by the artist, designer, or ornamentist." Within these pages, visitors can find beautiful illustrations of the skeletons of lions, horses, bears, gorillas, and many others. [KMG]
What's the best way to teach chemistry? Some teachers may wish to start with this site, created by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The materials are divided into sections that include Teaching and Learning Chemistry and Teaching and Learning Methods. The bulk of the hands-on classroom materials are located in the Resources area. Activities include "Design Your Own Fireworks Show!" and "Sewage Pollution: A Case Study," and incorporate student and teacher guides, handouts, worksheets, writing activities, and more. The Enhancing Employability area includes very useful materials on how chemists can develop their business skills and commercial awareness before they enter the workforce. Finally, the site gives visitors the opportunity to sign up for updates via a range of social media or email. [KMG]
Established in 1894, the Civic Federation is a non-partisan government research organization "working to maximize the quality and cost-effectiveness of government services in the Chicago region and the State of Illinois." On this site, visitors can learn about the Federation's research programs, the Institute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability (IIFS), and updates on Chicagoland governance. The section dedicated to the IIFS is most useful, as it contains research reports on the state of Illinois' budget, infrastructure, and related matters. In the Press Room, visitors can take advantage of basic primers and fact sheets which include "Cook County Property Tax Primers" and "How Does the City of Chicago Spend Your Tax Dollars?" The Library area contains all published reports dating back to 1993. Visitors can search through these offerings by Issues, Government, and Report Type. [KMG]
The Iowa Digital Library has done the cartographically inclined a great service by digitizing hundreds of maps from the Hawkeye State's grand and glorious past. On the homepage, visitors will be treated to a moveable feast of maps, including one of Scott County from 1875, a stylized map of the University of Iowa campus from 1943, and an official railroad commissioners map of the state from 1915. Visitors can browse the maps by state, county, township, town, or country via a series of drop-down menus. Additionally, visitors can browse all of the maps by time period, advertisements, publisher, or contributing institution. Persons with an interest in the history of cartography, United States history, or other related subjects will want to make multiple visits to this site. [KMG]
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) works to provide information and advice as "the premier institution dedicated to keeping evolution and climate change in the science classroom." The Publications & Media area contains a range of NCSE reports, videos, special publications, and links to in-house blogs. Interested parties may wish to sign up for the "Evolution Education Update," which is a weekly email newsletter that recaps the key stories of the week related to evolution education. The site also contains the complete run of the "Creation/Evolution Journal," which was published from 1980 to 1996. Visitors shouldn't miss the NCSE Reports area, which contains about two dozen reports on key topics, including the teaching of evolution in schools and "Intelligent Design Theory." [KMG]
How do adults get their news? Based on a recent study from the Pew Research Journalism Project, approximately 8 percent of all adults in the United States get their news through Twitter. It's an interesting finding amidst many in this report sponsored via a collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The report looks at a wide range of topics, including analysis of conversations on Twitter around major news events, exploring how people discuss major issues via this particular form of social media. Interestingly enough, the report notes that the majority of those polled (85 percent) get news at least sometimes on mobile devices and that Twitter news consumers are younger and more educated that both the overall population and Facebook news consumers. Visitors can read the complete report here and also peruse additional reports such as "News Coverage Conveys Strong Momentum for Same-Sex Marriage" and "Twitter and the Campaign." [KMG]
This interactive timeline from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) highlights interconnected events from the past 100 years of African American history. Visitors should start by selecting a year from the Milestones map. The important event from that year will shown in a visual web, connecting it with other events around the United States in the Impact map. Clicking on More Info after opening a year on the timeline will direct users to a wealth of related information, including history, impact, important people, rich multimedia, and related resources. The well-tooled design of this site means that the seemingly few individual top-level years lead to a deep understanding of struggle for fair and equitable treatment of minority Americans, and of how individual laws, protests, and other events interacted with one another to lead to today's United States. [CM]
The Chronicle of Higher Education does a fine job of reporting on all things related to higher education. This corner of the site is dedicated to faculty at post-secondary institutions. While some of the content is behind a pay-wall, there's still a significant amount of free material available. One good place to start here is with "Find out What Professors Are Making." This interactive database contains recent data from a national survey conducted by the American Association of University Professors. Moving along, the site also contains More Faculty News, which leads to recent stories on curriculum changes, business education, research, publishing, and teaching. The Latest News area is a gem as well, as stories here are updated several times a day. [KMG]
It is fitting that Gettysburg College has such a wonderful collection of historic images related to the Civil War era. This particular trove brings together hundreds of letters, lithographs, maps, paintings, pamphlets, political cartoons, and sheet music. The Artifacts area is a great place to start, as it contains a wonderful small pocket bible that belonged to Lewis Tway, a soldier who was in the conflict from 1863 to 1865. There are also a number of personal effects belonging to Frederick Kronenberger, a member of the 2nd New Jersey Volunteers. Additionally, the Photographs area contains dramatic scenes from the Gettysburg battlefield and environs. Finally, the site also has a diverse set of publications from the New England Loyal Publication Society in Boston, which was dedicated to bolstering public support for the Union. [KMG]
MASSCreative works to empower "creative organizations and the public with a powerful voice that brings the attention and resources necessary to build vibrant, creative communities." The organization is supported by generous contributions from The Boston Foundation and Hunt Alternatives Fund. On the site, visitors can learn about about outreach efforts, which include seminars on business development strategies for artists, internship opportunities, and the unique Create The Vote program. This particular program is designed to let interested parties know where their elected officials and candidates stand on a range of issues, most notably the arts. Additionally, in the Advocacy area, visitors can learn more about long-term creative cultural celebration campaigns. [KMG]
The National Museum of African Art is known for its fabulously diverse collections, which cover all aspects of artistic life across the African continent. Visitors to the site can look through areas including Highlights, Artists, and Cultural Groups. This last area is a wonderful place to start, as visitors can look through dozens of cultural groupings to find items that range from cutlery to sculpture. Each item has a detailed thumbnail image, along with information about the time period in which it was created. The Highlights area contains over a dozen themed areas, including African Mosaic, African Textiles, and Contemporary African Art. Finally, the Artists area is perfect for people who already have knowledge of a celebrated African artist and wish to learn more about his or her work, medium, and contributions to these artistic traditions. [KMG]
The Chicago Tribune has broken new ground with this ambitious initiative to gather news, analysis, and events related to innovation and entrepreneurship. As the site indicates, "Blue Sky informs, inspires and connects an audience that looks at business…in new ways." Visitors can get started by looking over the short-form news stories on the homepage. Recent pieces have covered the curious barge built by Google, the financial stability of Groupon, and the transformation of event planning via mobile apps. Visitors can look over the event calendar, which brings together information about ongoing activities such as mobile app contests and networking events. The Innovation Hub area is a good place to look around, as it features content gathered from organizations recognized for expertise in the field of innovation. Finally, visitors can sign up to receive updates from Blue Sky via Facebook, Google+, or email. [KMG]
In October 1868, 6 year old Laura Jernegan from Edgartown, Massachusetts set out on a three year whaling voyage with her family and the ship's crew to the whaling grounds of the Pacific Ocean. Her story lives on today via her fabulous journal which has been digitized and placed online here, courtesy of the Martha's Vineyard Museum. The site's interface includes a "Magic Lens," an innovative tool that allows readers to see typed text superimposed over Laura's handwriting by mousing over the section of interest. First-time visitors should click on Laura's Story to learn about her life story via photographs, journal entries and what happened to her after her return. The Map of Whaling is a great way to to learn about Laura's journey, major ocean currents, migration patterns, and other major whaling routes. For folks with an interest in visual culture, the Artifacts area contains dozens of items that one would have found on a whaling ship, including a small water cask, serving mallets, waif flags, and several sextants. [KMG]
There is little more fascinating than the overwhelming variety of life on our planet. This variety is represented in dazzling detail by a team of wildlife photographers, filmmakers, conservationists, and scientists who have partnered with wildlife charity Wildscreen to create "an awe-inspiring record of life on Earth." Visitors to the site can browse a library of images, videos, and information about over 15,000 species, from extinct to vulnerable. ARKive also allows users to browse by place and conservation status, for those users who are interested in finding out about endangered species close to home. The Educate tab provides materials for teachers, all of which are sorted into appropriate age categories. Finally, a Fun section adds a little levity to an otherwise very serious topic, offering a blog, activities, games, quizzes, and other options for those who enjoy learning through play. [CM]
During the 1930s, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) worked to transform and document the lives of farmers across the United States who were affected by the Great Depression. During the 10 years of its existence, the Indiana office of the FSA worked to document economic and social conditions in Indiana, including rural resettlement and rehabilitation programs and planned communities. Visitors can explore the work of the nine photographers assigned to the project here captured in over 670 photos. It's worth noting that users can browse by county, photographer, or by keyword search. Additionally, the site contains a study guide for teachers and students who wish to learn more about the historical and cultural context of these rather unique items. [KMG]
The tagline for this helpful extension is that it is "teaching computers how to read and understand language." As users browse the Internet, this extension learns more about what they like to read and recommends more articles that fit the profile. This is based on an Interest Graph, or "a list of topics and concepts derived from what you've been looking at on the internet." When Gravity Highlighter finds a story you might like, it adds it to your newsfeed, which can be further refined by giving suggestions a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. This version is compatible with all operating systems running Chrome. [KMG]
Ohm Studio is a great way to bring musicians together to work on any number of creative endeavors of the musical variety. The program has a state of the art user interface that allows musicians to work online with fine sound effects, a powerful audio engine, and a range of digital instruments. The site contains a helpful How To area that includes answers to questions such as How to add a track and How to add an effect. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
At climate-change summit in Warsaw, countries look to lay foundation for global pact
Warsaw and climate change: end of the beginning?
Leaders gather in Warsaw for climate change negotiations
Typhoon prompts 'fast' by Philippines climate delegate
Warsaw Climate Change Conference
Called to order by the United Nations, representatives of more than 190 countries met in Warsaw this week to discuss how to address climate change beyond 2020. The road ahead is difficult, and while most people are not expecting major breakthroughs, the hope is that these talks will lay a key foundation for a global agreement to be reached in time for 2015 talks in Paris. There are many questions of course, including the query from developing nations: "How will you help us cope with the effects of climate change?" Commenting on the proceedings, Jennifer Morgan, director of the World Resources Institute's climate and energy program, remarked that a key challenge was "The issue of equity--how do you decide who does what, who pays for what?" The typhoon that struck the Philippines was very much at the fore during the proceedings, and Yeb Sano, the head of the Philippines delegation to the climate talks, planned a hunger strike until the participants made meaningful progress. During his remarks he noted that, "What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. We can stop this madness right here in Warsaw." [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to a new story on the Warsaw summit from this Monday's Washington Post. The second link will lead to a bit of commentary from environmental lawyer Alistair McGlone about whether these negotiations will be meaningful in the long term. The third link will whisk users away to a piece from Financial Times journalist Jan Cienski about the political backdrop for this major summit. The fourth link leads to a bit of reporting from BBC News on the fast by Philippines climate delegate Yeb Sano. The fifth link will lead interested parties to the official United Nations website created to provide information on the Warsaw Climate Change Conference. The final link will take visitors to the official text of the Kyoto Protocol, complete with highlights of the proceedings.
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