The Scout Report
January 24, 2014 -- Volume 20, Number 3
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Massachusetts Real Estate Atlas Digitization Project
The Field Museum: Science Podcasts
California Natural Diversity Database
Nurse as Educator: Principles of Teaching and Learning for Nursing Practice
Open Educational Resources
Paradox & Infinity
Butterick's Practical Typography
Smithsonian Research Online
Butler University Irwin Library Images Collection
U.S. Census: Data Visualization
The Americana Sheet Music Collection
Ryerson & Burnham Archives Archival Image Collection
From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians
Tax Policy Center: TaxVox
Indianapolis Postcard Collection
Is it time for a new password?
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What buildings were in the Fenway area of Boston in 1908? How about in Worcester in the 1870s? The state of Massachusetts has answers to these questions via its collections of real estate maps from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All told, the State Library's collection includes over 200 atlases, covering 6,500 maps from 12 counties and more than 80 municipalities. Assisted by funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this site brings together 167 of these volumes. Visitors to the site can examine all of the volumes either as PDF files or via Flickr. It's a rather engaging collection and visitors will thoroughly enjoy browsing through the genealogy of the Bay State's built environment. [KMG]
As one of Chicago's great scientific institutions, the Field Museum offers up everything from public lectures on paleontology to visiting exhibits on the legacy of the Columbian Exposition. As astute visitors already know, you don't have to be walking across the Museum Campus to experience its fabulous wealth of knowledge. For example, its Science Podcasts site is a veritable cornucopia of learned and fun commentary on the museum's in-house research, exhibits, and much more. There are three podcast and video series here, including The Field Revealed, Science at FMNH, and What the Fish? Visitors may want to start with "The Brain Scoop," which features "chief curiosity correspondent," Emily Graslie, in a weekly video series about the great work that's going on at the Field. As mentioned above, What the Fish? is another great component of the site. Through this biweekly podcast series, the museum's self-proclaimed "former fish nerds" dive into various topics surrounding the biodiversity of fishes, including discussions on general biology, ecology, and evolution. [KMG]
What is the goal of the California Natural Diversity Database? Simply put, it is "a program that inventories the status and locations of rare plants and animals in California." On its page, visitors can look over a remarkable database of GIS-mapped locations, along with key facts about the database, a host of white papers, and information about its vegetation, classification, and mapping program. The Maps & Data area is a true find, as it contains interactive maps that offer visitors the ability to engage with data over time. Materials dating back to 2003 may be accessed here. Also, users can submit their own data to the database via the Submitting Data to CNDDB section of the site. Interested users can also sign up to receive updates about the site and its new additions. [KMG]
Nursing as a profession continues to attract the best and the brightest students. With all of this interest, students may find themselves looking for high quality resources to supplement their classroom instruction. This site was designed to accompany the Nurse as Educator textbook but can be used without the accompanying volume, if so desired. A great place to start is the Student Resources area, which contains links to flashcards, interactive glossaries, crossword puzzles, and small group discussion questions. Teachers will definitely appreciate the Case Studies area as it presents a solid set of cases related to real world nursing encounters. The site is rounded out by the Web Links area which includes germane resources related to each chapter from the book. [KMG]
Many faculty members of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences have created digital educational resources for their students. In the interest of sharing these excellent resources, the Open Educational Resources site presents digital video, texts, simulations, animations and illustrations crafted by these learned individuals. First-time users can get started by looking over the Featured Content area, which brings together everything from a hands-on, Flash-based application that helps students learn about energy consumption to a lesson on seismic hazards. Additionally, visitors can also sign up to receive updates about new additions to the site and also learn more about contributing their own work. [KMG]
What is a paradox? More importantly, what is infinity? These concepts can blow one's mind in the best way possible and they are the subject of this course at MIT. Offered up as part of that august institution's Open CourseWare initiative, this semester long course was first offered in spring 2013 by Professor Agustin Rayo. In short, the course "explores different kinds of infinity; the paradoxes of set theory; the reduction of arithmetic to logic…." On the site, visitors can download the syllabus, the course calendar, the readings, and look over the lecture slides. The Readings area contains some lovely pieces, including "The Paradoxes of Time Travel" and "The Eleatic Hangover Cure." [KMG]
This website begins with an introductory statement that will ring true to most folks: "If you work with information and ideas, then writing plays a central role in your professional life." Butterick's Practical Typography offers up sage and thoughtful advice about how typography can be used to enhance and illuminate good prose. Visitors who might be pressed for time can look over the "Typography in Ten Minutes" area to get a sense of some bedrock principles introduced in the work. For those with more time, the complete work is also available here, along with a Summary of Key Rules and the all-important Why Typography Matters area. Visitors shouldn't miss the Sample Documents area which contains sample formatting suggestions and more for research papers, letterheads, resumes, and websites. [KMG]
Every week, every month, and every year, the Smithsonian Institution and its various entities produce publications that appear online and in digital form. One could imagine that looking for each document separately would be quite time-consuming. Fortunately, the Smithsonian Research Online site allows visitors to look for such documents quickly and efficiently. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can look over areas such as Reports, Export Data, Statistics, and an FAQ section. All of these areas contain helpful information, including links to other sites with related reports and documents. The homepage also has a basic search engine that allows users to limit their search to certain authors, titles, years, or even by museum or department. [KMG]
What is mid-century modernism? Some might only be acquainted with it via the popular TV show, Mad Men, or others through well-known structures such as the World Trade Towers. Modernism sprang up all over the world from the 1950s to the 1970s, and one rather fine example can be found on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis. This most wonderful digital collection presents images and plans for the modernist Irwin Library, crafted by noted architect, Minoru Yamasaki. On the site, visitors can make their way through dozens of images that tell the story of this rather unique building, along with offering up images of Yamasaki at the dedication as well as students using the building for various activities, even studying. [KMG]
The U.S. Census Bureau has at its disposal a vast array of information for the general public. This online gallery provides access to several dozen visualizations documenting population change, settlement patterns, and more. First-time visitors might do well to look over the Migration Between California and Other States and the Center of Population, 1790-2010 visualizations as they are both quite compelling. The Population Bracketology visualization is a fun activity that asks people to test their knowledge of population data across the United States. Geography teachers can also use these visualizations to create conversation with their students on various demographic trends. [KMG]
Based at the Mills Music Library at the University of Wisconsin, the American Sheet Music Collection contains thousands of pieces of sheet music published in the United States before 1900. Many of these items came to the library as gifts, including a significant group of publications that once belonged to composer/publisher Joseph P. Webster. The musical genres included here are impressive, and include airs, folk songs, gallops, hymns, marches, and nocturnes. Visitors can perform a guided search across all of the items, or just search for specific items of note. It's quite interesting to type city names into the search engine as the results may indicate where songs, both well-known and unknown, were published originally. This is an impressive collection and musicologists and others will find much to enjoy here. [KMG]
Where can you look at hundreds of different Chicago buildings in one place, as rendered by a sketch club of great distinction? Why, on this remarkable website created by the Art Institute of Chicago, of course. This collection brings together over 4,500 images created by the Chicago Architectural Sketch Club and is remarkable in the way it documents the city's growth (vertical and otherwise) over the past century or so. Visitors can explore the items here by title, city, state, or even creator. It's also fair to say that Chicago isn't the only place covered here, as the celebrated Sketch Club also fanned out across the United States and the globe. All in all, there's truly something for everyone with an interest in the built environment and the site warrants bookmarking for repeated exploration. [KMG]
The subject of religion is fascinating and, at times, controversial. Fortunately for those with an interest in such matters, Frontline has taken on the subject of the first Christians in this meditative work. The documentary features New Testament theologians, archaeologists, and historians who serve as both "critics and storytellers." It makes for compelling viewing, and it also includes pictures of recent archaeological discoveries, ancient texts, maps, and charts. On the homepage, visitors have access to the complete documentary, along with six thematic sections that include "Jesus' Many Faces," "The First Christians," and "Why Did Christianity Succeed?" The site also contains a Biblical quiz, an interview with scholar, L. Michael White, and much more. [KMG]
The Brookings Institution offers comment on topics such as financial restructuring, international relations, and metropolitan policy. Its Tax Policy Center is one of its thematic centers that provides access to white papers, commentaries, data sets and other resources related to this complex subject. This in-house blog, TaxVox, offers up thoughtful musings on the wide world of taxes that will be of note to policy makers and journalists, as well as the general public. Visitors can scan through these posts at their leisure, which include "Taxing Bitcoin" and "Time to Park the Commuter Tax Subsidy." Additionally, the site contains a search engine and a list of Recent Entries. [KMG]
Since the copyright for the postcard was first issued in 1861, people have found that the "small, thin postcard is a quick and inexpensive way to keep in touch with others." Hoosiers love postcards just as much as anyone, and this delightful collection from the Indianapolis Public Library brings the magic of the postcard alive. Here, visitors can look over 500 postcards depicting scenes from around the Circle City and elsewhere. The curious guest can look over cards featuring poetry from James Whitcomb Riley, the Emrichsville Bridge over the White River, and much more. Visitors shouldn't miss the wonderful images of the World War Memorial, Riverside Boulevard, and a host of images related to various cultural institutions downtown. [KMG]
Looking to turn images into PDF files? It's easy to do with YouSnap and it can be a great tool for capturing notes from meetings, presentations, and other gatherings. The app helps isolate and select the important areas in these images and then instantly corrects the perspective and enhances the image quality. This version is compatible with all devices running Android 2.2 and newer. [KMG]
Where have you been and where are you going? It's easy enough to get an answer to this first question via the Wheresmytime app. This time tracker app runs automatically in the background and records the time you spend in each location. It also creates automatic time sheets for each day and users can also tag their places as well. This version is compatible with devices running Android 2.2 and newer. [KMG]
Your password is easy to crack
Who goes there?
The 25 most common passwords of 2013
The Internet's 25 Worst Passwords, and What They Say About You
The World's Fist Computer Password? It Was Useless Too
Microsoft Safety & Security Center: Create Strong Passwords
News flash: your password may need a bit of a reboot. This simple and rather thorny fact seems to be all over the news these early weeks of 2014. Media outlets from Britain to Bangalore have been talking about password issues, presenting an array of excuses for their sub-par construction, including the difficulty of trying to remember too many passwords and sheer laziness. In lieu of this, the Guardian's Steven Poole discussed a recent report from Splashdata that identified the most common password in 2013 as "123456," followed closely by the old chestnut, "password." Other entries on the list include "iloveyou," "letmein," and "monkey." University of Sheffield lecturer Tom Stafford remarked that, "Passwords are a great example of how technology asks us to be more like computers rather than computers learning to be more like us." One might then ask what the future of passwords will look like, to which Poole concludes that reliable biometrics might be part of the equation. Until then, if your password is one of those listed above, it might be time to get more creative. [KMG]
The first link will take interested parties to the aforementioned piece from the Guardian, which also offers a bit more of the detailed commentary on Splashdata's study. The second link will take visitors to a piece from the witty Chris Griffith, writing in this Wednesday's "Executive Living" column in The Australian. Moving on, the third link will take users to a piece from CBS news about these curious passwords and their usage. The fourth link will take interested visitors to a rather droll and humorous piece from Slate on popular passwords. A great piece from Wired is up next, discussing the world's first computer password. Finally, the last link will lead readers to a helpful set of suggestions for creating a robust password.
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