The Scout Report
December 20, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 51
The Scout Report will be on vacation December 27th and January 3rd. We will return with the January 10th, 2014 Scout Report.
Best holiday wishes and see you next year,
Max Grinnell, Carmen Montopoli, and Catherine Dixon
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Florence Knoll Bassett Papers, 1932-2000
Historic Pittsburgh Census Schedules
Environmental Ethics Case Studies
National Institute of Nursing Research: Publications
Society of Architectural Historians: Digital Resources
Maryland Geological Survey
Boston Society of Architects
Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
Art Deco and the Decorative Arts in the 1920s and 1930s
Arts and Aging: Building The Science
100 Resilient Cities
Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister
The Original Epcot Project
'Tis the season to ask, "What type of Christmas tree is this?"
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Born in 1917, Florence Knoll Bassett is an American architect and furniture designer whose impressive resume includes work with leaders of the Bauhaus movement as well as numerous exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art during the 1950s. She became quite well known for her reinvention of the modern office space, with many interior designers, architects, and others becoming inspired by her work over the decades. This digital collection from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art brings together over 1,280 items, including letters, drawings, sketches, designs, photographs, and more. Visitors will find that the material has been divided into seven series ranging from Biographical Material to Awards. Additionally, the search engine provides an effortless way to search through all of the materials . Overall, it's an amazing look at the career of this modernist pioneer. [KMG]
Have you ever wanted to know more about the residents of 19th century Pittsburgh? Then you're in luck, the Historic Pittsburgh Census Schedule lets you do just that. Hosted by the University of Pittsburgh's Digital Research Library, the schedules found on this website include census data collected from 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. Visitors can search the census schedule by individual name, street, or even city of birth, occupation, or gender. It's a rather nifty way to learn about the cultural and geographical milieu of the Steel City during this period of dramatic growth. Historians and geographers will find it particularly useful and it's easy to see how spending time on the site could be a regular part of their research. The site also includes access to other components of the Historic Pittsburgh site, such as Maps, Finding Aids, and a Chronology of key events from the city's unique history. [KMG]
This lovely offering from the MIT OpenCourseWare project takes interested parties through the world of biology via course readings, discussion questions, assignments, and exams. The topics cover genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, and evolution. The Study Terms section is quite useful, as it covers a host of useful terms from cell signaling, immunology, cancer biology, and genetics. Moving on, the recitations are worth a look as they offer lecture notes in a succinct and learned fashion. It's worth noting that visitors can download each set of activities separately or they can also use the Download Course Materials area to download everything at once. [KMG]
The American Physiological Society (APS) has created a wide range of teaching resources through its collaborative digital library over the past several years. This particular corner of the site brings together a number of environmental ethics case studies which cover everything from GMOS to the fluoridation of drinking water. Currently, the site contains a dozen different resources, including "Food Aid and Population Control," "Reviving Extinct Species," and "Progress vs. Family Tradition." Resources can be filtered by Grade/Age level or even Pedagogy. Additionally, users are encouraged to craft their own resources and submit them for possible inclusion. [KMG]
Every year the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINH) produces a raft of helpful research papers, plans, white papers, and other documents. On their Publications page, users can look through some of these documents, which include "Palliative Care: The Relief You Need When You're Experiencing the Symptoms of Serious Illness." The site also includes the FOCUS Series, which constitutes a collection of information sheets that provide current research findings on topic such as asthma, behavioral science and HIV/AIDS, pediatrics, and women's health. The site also contains fact sheets from the National Institute of Health (NIH) that cover matters directly related to the world of nursing research. [KMG]
Based out of Chicago, the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has compiled this annotated list of digital resources that will edify and entertain those with an interest in the built environment. The thematic sections offer SAH Resources, Preservation Resources, Image Collections, and Regional Architecture. Within each of these are links to high-quality sites and useful resources, such as the SAH's in-house newsletter and blog. The Full Text Resource section is a rare gem as it includes complete versions of classic works like "Craftsman Homes" from 1909 and William Halfpenny's "Useful Architecture" from 1760. [KMG]
The ScienceBlogs site brings together a range of thoughtful perspectives on science from science writers, commentators, and others. On the homepage, visitors will find thematic sections that include Environment, Humanities, Education, and Brain & Behavior. Each of these areas contains recent posts listed chronologically, along with a section of Editor's Picks and Insights. This last feature provides a series of visual illustrations and infographics that help bring the subjects to life. Channel Surfing is another great component of this site, presenting prominent posts in a column format that makes scanning for recent topics quite easy. Users can also look over the ScienceBlogs twitter feed or explore a number of dramatic images of planets, cells, and other scientific matters within Super Photos. [KMG]
The Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) provides excellent information about the geology of the Old Line State, along with public reports and updates on various ongoing projects. The homepage features live earthquake data and maps that deal with oyster habitat restoration projects, fact sheets, and new reports on lead concentrations in well water across the state. The Publications area contains dozens of maps (such as that of the "Maryland Gold District") and links to Popular Publications such as "Caves of Maryland" and "Baltimore Building Stones Tour." The Data section is also quite useful, offering a number of informative data sets on sediment distribution in the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore Harbor. Finally, the Education area contains an "Ask a Geologist" link that's quite useful for getting answers to Earth-based queries. [KMG]
Established in 1867, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) consists of over 3,500 members and produces a wide range of professional publications. On its site, visitors can look through eight sections, such as Programs, Education, and Advocacy. It's easy to get started with the Latest News area, which features updates about BSA members and their work in and around the city. Additionally, the homepage contains an extensive list of upcoming events and featured jobs. Within Programs, visitors can become familiar with the various services offered for the general public, including walking tours, lectures, and online exhibits. The BSA's core publication, ArchitectureBoston, is a must-read and contains links to illustrated articles and roundtable conversations on urban development, green design, and much more. [KMG]
Founded in 2005, the University of Florida's Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere is a rather unique, multi-disciplinary hub of intellectual activity. With a stated purpose of facilitating and promoting university-level humanities research, a good portion of the material here is aimed at an internal university audience. Yet there is still a great deal to explore for the general public. The Grants/Resources area contains links to some of the center's digital projects, including the Digital Worlds Institute and Digital Humanities. Within this last section, visitors will find an excellent list of recommended readings and bibliographic information. Working Groups is another informative section, containing information on the center's thematic research interests, which include projects on medicine and culture and environmental humanities. [KMG]
This celebration of Art Deco and the decorative arts was lovingly crafted by the specialists at McGill University's Library. The original in situ exhibit that accompanied this site was crafted for the 10th World Congress on Art Deco. Here, visitors can browse through the images from the collection organized into categories that include Bon Voyage, Montreal Leisure, Interior Design, and Book Illustration. Visitors should not miss The Exhibition area as it features a thematic essay about the famous 1925 Paris Exposition International des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which set the design world on fire with its promises of modernity and beautiful living. [KMG]
How can the arts improve our lives as we age? It's a great question and one that is addressed in this 28-page report from the National Endowment for the Arts. Released in 2012, this report presents the official summary findings from a National Academies Workshop formally titled "Research Gaps and Opportunities for Exploring the Relationship of the Arts to Health and Well-Being in Older Adults." The report contains an executive summary, a brief background essay and several short chapters, including "Musical Training and Brain Function" and "Music Therapy for Dementia." It's an engaging work that sits at the intersection of arts, medicine, and public policy. [KMG]
The future of cities is the subject of much hand-wringing in urban policy circles. As of late, a popular topic has been the concept of urban "resilience" and the Rockefeller Foundation has taken this matter on with its 100 Resilient Cities initiative. On its website, first-time visitors should first explore the "What is Resilience?" area. Here, the topic is explained in detail and an infographic links to a number of helpful resources. Moving on, visitors can explore the foundation's blog and some of the Most Read entries, such as "The Five Fastest Growing Cities" and "Slumdog Urbanism." Each entry features a comments section that allows visitors to chime in with their own thoughts on resilience in the 21st century. The site is rounded out with a nice subscription feature, allowing readers the opportunity to receive email updates once new material is published on the site. [KMG]
This remarkable exhibition from the Getty Foundation brings together two rare masterpieces of Medieval English art: stained glass from Canterbury Cathedral and illuminations from the St. Albans Psalter. First-time visitors can watch a short preview of the in situ exhibit and then move on to detailed online exhibition galleries. The Behind the Scenes area offers first-hand commentary from manuscripts curator, Kristen Collins, and her time studying the St. Albans Psalter. The Cult and Place section offers up commentary on the major figures associated with these two artistic marvels, Saint Thomas Becket and Christina of Markyate, a holy woman associated with the Abbey Church of St. Alban. It's a fantastic look into this aspect of the medieval world and art historians will thoroughly enjoy this exploration. [KMG]
What exactly does the United States Constitution mean? It is subject, of course, to ongoing meditation, debate, argument, and interpretation. This useful site provides one lens of interpretation of the Constitution, based primarily on Supreme Court case law and legal analysis. Visitors can look over each section of the Constitution individually, including all of the articles and amendments. Additionally, the site contains a complete table of Supreme Court cases, along with those cases that have been overruled as well as proposed amendments that have not been ratified. Additionally, the site contains a gallery of significant primary source documents from American history. Interested users should not forget to download the helpful app that is also included here. [KMG]
Most people do not realize that the original vision of Walt Disney World included a plan for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), known today as Epcot. This wonderful exercise in online journalism brings together a veritable cornucopia of material related to the planning and original concept for this proposed community. The site contains over a dozen areas, such as Epcot Model, CGI Rendering, Concept Arts, Essays, and even Walt Disney's Biography. The Essays area is a masterstroke, containing pieces like, "Epcot and the heart of our cities" and "The Mouse that roared." The real core of this whole idea is contained within the 26 minute film crafted by Disney and his colleagues to promote their vision; it must be watched in its entirety to fully appreciate this fascinating master plan. For folks interested in the future and past of urban visions, this site is a true dream. [KMG]
Filemail gives visitors the ability to send large files quickly and seamlessly without any registration. It can be integrated with popular email programs and the size limit on files is 100MB, which is quite useful. This particular version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
So much Twitter, so little time? TweetQureet allows interested parties to receive their most relevant tweets from the Twitter timeline in a daily email digest. The program will use existing followers and tweets to determine your key interests and topics. Overall, it is quite handy and easy to use. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
Christmas tree wars: Making fir fly
Christmas trees are no get-rich-quick crop
Work on a Christmas tree farm is year round
From Pre-Christmas Tree to O Tannenbaum
National Christmas Tree Association
The American Christmas Tree Association
Around the holiday season, some families spend hours agonizing over what type of Christmas tree to purchase. Some enjoy the durability of an artificial tree (no watering required) while others remain staunchly committed to real life firs , pines, or other conifers. Recently, The Economist reported on an ongoing kerfuffle between two trade groups: the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) and the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA). The NCTA represents farmers who grow Christmas trees as an agricultural crop while the ACTA claims to speak for both tree farmers and those who produce and market artificial trees for market. Jami Warner, a spokesperson for the ACTA commented, "We believe that both kinds of trees are good trees and it's up to the consumer to decided what is right for themselves." Meanwhile, the NCTA's spokesperson, Rick Dungey, entered the fray by referring to artificial trees as "plastic tree-shaped decorations." Undoubtedly, the debate over which tree is best will continue on for many Christmases to come, regardless of one's personal preference. [KMG]
The first link leads to the mentioned article from The Economist, commenting on the ongoing tussle between these two trade organizations. The second link will take visitors to a piece about the world of Christmas tree farming, courtesy of this Tuesday's Monterey Herald. Moving on, the third link will whisk users away to a great piece from the Chico Enterprise Record about the life of noted local Christmas tree farmer, Joe McNally. Next, is an interesting piece on the history of Christmas trees from celebrated travel guru, Rick Steves, courtesy of the Huffington Post. From there, visitors can in turn explore the official homepage of the National Christmas Tree Association or the official homepage of the other major Christmas tree trade group, the American Christmas Tree Association.
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