The Scout Report
February 21, 2014 -- Volume 20, Number 7
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Project Laboratory in Mathematics
The New Role of Safety Nets in Africa
Emerging Nations Embrace Internet, Mobile Technology
UN-Habitat: Best Practices Database
Physics Education Research Central
National Science Foundation: National Medal of Science 50th Anniversary
National Academy Museum: Audio & Video
Confronting Suburban Poverty
Paul Revere Collection at the American Antiquarian Society
GO TO 2040
Adirondack Architectural Heritage
AT&T Tech Channel
Sporting Sketches by Henry Thomas Alken
Century 21 Digital Collection
2nd Avenue Online
Who exactly owns the moon?
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What's it like to do mathematical research? The "Project Laboratory in Mathematics" course from MIT's OpenCourseWare provides some fine insights into this endeavor. The course was originally developed by Professor Haynes Miller and features information about how to help students "explore puzzling and complex mathematical situations." The site includes selected video lectures from the course, instructor insights, and a selection of projects and examples, such as "The Dynamics of Successive Differences Over Z and R." Also, the site includes information on how to customize this course for a variety of settings, along with examples of classroom activities and helpful resources. [KMG]
How might safety nets be contributing positively to the lives of people across Africa? It's a key question for policy wonks and others and it is addressed in intense detail in this corner of the World Bank's website. Here, visitors will find a 166-page report released in February 2014 that provides copious details on how "safety nets are critical instruments for reducing extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity." The report looks at programs in 22 countries and specifically at how donors from middle income countries contribute to these programs in Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone. The site also contains an executive summary, along with a slideshow and several illustrative videos. [KMG]
The presence of cell phones has become ubiquitous in many corners of the world. While smartphones might be rare in most places, mobile technology in the form of basic cell phones are prominently used to send texts, take photos, and make phone calls. This report from the Pew Research Global Attitudes center looks at ownership and usage of cell phones in 24 emerging and developing economies, such as China, Lebanon, Senegal, and Venezuela. Released in February 2014, this 42-page report contains helpful charts, graphs, and summaries of key data on cell phone ownership, internet use linked to national income, and social networking via cell phone. The report is rounded out by a selection of tables that offer additional statistical armature to those seeking visual arrangements of the findings. [KMG]
How can we improve the urban condition? It's a great and pressing question and the UN's Habitat agency has some answers. Here, visitors can look over 4,000 proven solutions to "common social, economic and environmental problems." Visitors can browse these award winning best practices for inspiration and solace as they think about the future of cities. Resources here include documents such as "Brownfield Remediation of the Tangshan Southern Coal Mining Area" and "Parla Citizen's Forum: We All Count: A New Way To Understand Urbanism." It's a great way for policy makers and analysts to get up to speed with the latest research and best practices to understand the power of the city world wide. [KMG]
This fine site serves as "an informational touchpoint and online community for 'producers' and 'consumers' of physics education research (PER)." The site is provided by the American Association of Physics Teachers and visitors can search through thousands of articles, theses and dissertations, research groups, curricular material, and news and events. First-time visitors can use the search engine or can look under the subtopics contained within the "Basic Research" or "Applied Research" areas to get started. The For the Classroom section, located on the homepage, is a great resource for educators and brings together student activities, pedagogy guides, and more. For those with a specific interest, the homepage offers six thematic tabs, including Curriculum, Research Articles, and Dissertations. Within this last section, a number of great resources can be found within titles such as "Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics" and "Transforming Teacher Knowledge: Modeling Instruction in Physics." [KMG]
On August 25, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the creation of the National Medal of Science (NMS), an award first issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. This fun and informative site brings together information about all of the past winners, along with material on the design of the medal and a gallery of images from various NMS events. First-time visitors should visit the About the Medal area and then explore the Selection Process. The Awardees Through the Years area includes profiles of past winners, including Igor Sikorsky in 1967 and Linus Pauling in 1974. The Gallery is another great feature of this site, containing a wide range of excellent videos, including a conversation with Shu Chien about the importance of scientific research and the pursuit of happiness. [KMG]
Founded in 1825 by a group of artists and architects that included Thomas Cole, Rembrandt Peale, Ithiel Town, Samuel F. B. Morse, and Asher B. Durand, the National Academy is both a school and a museum. The museum collection grows each year as new artists elected into the Academy make donations of their work. In the Media Corner area of the National Academy website, a half-dozen videos related to exhibitions are on view, such as John Cage, Judith Shea, or Seismic Shifts: 10 Visionaries in Art & Architecture. Seismic Shifts features 7 artists: Nick Cave, Thornton Dial, Tom Friedman, Vik Muniz, Wangechi Mutu, Betye Saar, and Bill Viola; as well as 3 architects: Greg Lynn, Kate Orff, and Moshe Safdie. In addition to exhibition-related video, "National Academy Museum and School: An American Collection" released in 2011, when the Academy galleries were renovated, fills in the Academy's history and background. [DS]
The Brookings Institution doesn't shy away from the tough topics, in fact, they often embrace them. This recent book by two of their distinguished scholars, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube, looks at the growing problem of suburban poverty. As they note, "suburbia is now home to more poor residents than central cities." This site, created to promote the book, has great resources for policy analysts, scholars, journalists, and the interested public. The accompanying blog is a great way for visitors to read thoughtful commentaries on the metropolitan geography of low wage work or an anti-poverty policy that works for working families. The Communities section is another great feature, providing background information on the seven areas profiled in the book, including south Cook County, Illinois and Tukwila outside of Seattle. [KMG]
Yes, it is true that Paul Revere did once take a horse on a very well known ride across the landscape of eastern Massachusetts. But he did many other things, including spending time as a dentist, an engraver, a printer, and also finding time to make exquisite silverware. This remarkable digital collection from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) brings together an illustrated inventory of Revere's work documented and researched by former AAS president, Clarence S. Brigham. This collection of engravings, published prints, and currency allows users to explore by subject or even conduct a search using a thumbnail gallery. The Subject-Tag Browse feature is a real pip, and users can click on terms such as "animal", "Chippendale style", and "Buildings and structures." This last area is a great place to start, as it features images of Harvard College, the landing of British troops in Boston, and an illustration of a hemp mill. [KMG]
If you love jazz, you'll love the Riverwalk Jazz radio program's website. With two round-the-clock streams of music, the site features over 4,000 song performances, 350 radio programs, dozens of guest profiles, and the tune stylings of the Jim Cullum Jazz Band. The shows cover topics that include the Harlem Renaissance, New Orleans, the Birth of Swing, and the Blues Queens. Visitors can click on one of the music streams to get started or they can learn more about the performers via The Band section. The Bonus Content is fantastic, and visitors can search through interviews, primary documents, and more, including the original Columbia Records accounting page for Bessie Smith and an interview with Clark Terry. [KMG]
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) provides regional plans for the entire Chicagoland area and they work on housing issues, transit, and much more. The GO TO 2040 Plan is designed to help the seven counties around Chicago plan for "sustainable prosperity through mid-century and beyond." On the site, visitors can look over detailed sections that holistically address topics such as human capital, regional mobility, and efficient governance. Visitors with a specific interest in physical planning should look over the Appendices. Here, they will find information on public engagement, research, and analysis. For those with a more general interest in such matters, the Regional Indicators section is a great find and contains community snapshots for all of the cities and villages within the region. Information about how they are working to make GO TO 2040 a reality can also be found in this section. [KMG]
The Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the nonprofit historic preservation organization for New York State's Adirondack Park. Created in 1990, the organization protects a range of rustic buildings, along with a range of other places, including railroad buildings, quarries, and lighthouses. The 428 photos here are derived from an extensive slide collection which was digitized as part of the New York Heritage Digital Collections initiative. The Recent Additions section is a great place to start as it has images of small town buildings and dramatic military installations, such as Fort Ticonderoga. [KMG]
At first glance, one might think that such a site might be quite dry and uninteresting. Not so, as the AT&T Tech Channel contains hundreds of compelling videos about the past, present, and future of the world of technology. Visitors to the homepage can look over their Featured Shows, which include "Mobile Security Show" and the "AT&T Archives." This last area is a gem, and contains over 310 videos. Visitors should not miss the 1946 film, "Television and The Telephone," which provides a short explanation of how the national broadcast network formed a backbone to handle radio syndication along with television broadcast signals. Additionally, users can search all of the materials here by keyword or by topic. The site's Most Popular Tags area includes films tagged with words like "humor" and "science." [KMG]
What is the British sporting life all about? This fine query can be answered in part by these remarkable illustrations crafted by Henry Alken during the early 19th century. Alken was a English sporting artist and he was one of the most popular of his time, known throughout the land as a chronicler of horse racing and much more. He learned at the side of his father, another regarded artist, who also specialized in sporting subjects. This collection contains 74 images, including some lovely renderings of partridges in a field, several steeplechase races, and hunters' life. Visitors can look through thumbnail images to get acclimated to the works or are welcome to check out related resources from around the web. [KMG]
From April 21 to October 21, 1962, Seattle played host to millions of people who sought out a glimpse into the future through the Century 21 Exposition. This world's fair presented an optimistic vision of "a future improved through science and technology" and this online collection from the Seattle Public Library presents over 1,200 photographs of the fair, along with books, brochures, reports, and more. The photos were taken by Werner Lenggenhager, a Swiss immigrant who donated his works to the Seattle Public Library after his death. Visitors can browse the suggested topics, which include Aerial Views, Space Needle, and Seattle Center Before Century 21. Visitors should also be sure to catch the six photos of Elvis Presley as he sang and danced his way across the grounds while filming, "It Happened at the World's Fair." [KMG]
Over a century ago, Yiddish theater was all the rage in New York and other major American cities with a sizable Jewish population. A wide range of well known performers (such as Paul Muni and Leonard Nimoy) cut their teeth on these stages. Of course, the 2nd Avenue corridor in New York City held many of these Yiddish theaters and this site from the New York University Libraries seeks "to capture the memory and to convey the feel of 2nd Avenue as a living part of the history and culture of New York and America." Visitors to the site can browse around the Multimedia area to listen to oral histories or check out some video clips. The Photos area includes a history of Yiddish theater in New York along with several family photo albums. The site is rounded out by a collection of related radio programs and stations. [KMG]
Ken Burns is a popular documentarian and, as it turns out, he is now a popular app, in a manner of speaking. This particular app gives interested parties the ability to view scenes from his documentaries (such as "Baseball" and "Jazz") in a variety of settings. The latest version allows visitors to access the Innovation playlist absolutely free while other playlists containing clips from his other programs are available for a small fee. This version is compatible with iPads running iOS 7.0 and newer. [KMG]
What's going on in the world of weather? Are there storms around Sri Lanka? What about the snows of Kilimanjaro? These can be pressing questions, indeed, and the World Weather app is a great way to stay in touch with weather patterns around the globe. Users will find that they can just type in a city name to see the current weather and also zoom around the globe as they see fit. It's a remarkable addition to the world of existing weather tracking apps and is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
Bigelow: Moon property rights would help create a lunar industry
Bigelow: Lunar private property rights covered by Outer Space Treaty
Moon Mining Rush Ahead?
No one owns the moon says scientist
NASA: Earth's Moon
You have probably wondered: who owns the moon? Technically, the ownership of the moon is governed by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty which requires nations to ensure that activities or experiments of their nation do not interfere with the peaceful exploration and use of outer space. Additionally, under current United Nations law, member states are "prohibited from appropriating the moon." Recently this complex subject has been back in the news again as Robert Bigelow, founder and president of Bigelow Aerospace, has called for clarification from the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) on whether launching a Moon habitat allows them to have a zone of operation that other persons are prevented from entering. It would seem that such a zone would essentially allow Bigelow (and others, potentially) to run a privately run lunar base engaged in mining operations. While this seem outlandish, it's a very real concern. Commenting on the matter, Professor Ian Crawford of Birkbeck College noted that he thought space tourism is more likely to take place before the moon is mined for its minerals. [KMG]
The first link will take interested parties to an article from NASASpaceflight.com about Bigelow's recent renewed interest in the possibility of private moon exploration. The second link will take users to a news article from the Examiner about the world of lunar private property rights. Moving along, the third link will take interested visitors to a great piece from National Geographic's Dan Vergano about Bigelow's quest to clarify private property rights on the moon. Next, visitors will find an article from the Telegraph which talks about the ownership of the moon and various international treaties governing this matter. A great site from NASA follows, which provides information about the moon, complete with photos, videos, and an interactive map of its surface. The final link leads to a fun set of basic facts about the moon, specially selected for children.
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