The Scout Report
May 9, 2014 -- Volume 20, Number 18
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
NOAA Education Resources: Data Resources for Educators
AP Chemistry Course Home Page
Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN)
University of Missouri-Columbia, Department of Economics: Working Papers
Taking Stock: Five Years of Structural Change in Boston's Public Schools
Redirecting Innovation in U.S. Health Care: Options to Decrease Spending and Increase Value
Geography & Map Resources: University of Buffalo Libraries
West Virginia Agricultural and Forestry Experimental Station Bulletins
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta: Center for Human Capital Studies
Cuban Theater Digital Archive
Code for America
Pacific Rim Archive
National Science Foundation: Resources for STEM Education
Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection
Place My Past
Fast food workers set to strike across the world on May 15
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has created this site to help educators find data resources that range from classroom ready, student-friendly interfaces to raw real-time and historical data. The resources here are grouped into several topic areas, including Classroom Ready, Oceans & Freshwater, Climate, and Visualization. This last area is definitely worth a look as it includes the Global Science Investigator. This tool lets viewers choose between different data visualizations including plate movement, human impacts on the ocean, and marine debris. Within Oceans & Freshwaters viewers will find another great resource with Estuaries 101 Real-time Data. The curriculum models here offer a mix of real time data that will help students learn about the world of estuaries around the United States. [KMG]
For people with a penchant for benzene rings and other topics, the AP Chemistry Course site is a great resource. Designed for both educators and students, the site contains resources for teaching to the AP exam as well as a wealth of other items. Interested parties should explore the Classroom Resources where they will find seven different lab activities, such as "Misconceptions and Issues in Quantum Theory" and "Women Scientists of the Manhattan Project.” Additionally, the site features Other Core Resources which includes an open forum for educators along with some basic overviews for crafting a one-semester course in chemistry. [KMG]
The Brain Research through Advancing Innovation Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is part of a new focus aimed at "revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain." The hope is that this ambitious effort will allow researchers to "produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain.” There are a range of federal partners involved, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the US Food and Drug Administration. Visitors can look over some basic FAQ areas, such as Why is this needed? and How will it work? to get started. The site also includes links to advisory group meetings, complete with minutes, and funding opportunities for scholars as well as scientific departments and institutes. [KMG]
Any good economics department has a working papers series and the University of Missouri-Columbia is no exception. On this site, interested parties can look over several hundred papers dating back to 1997. Visitors can search the papers by date of original publication or by faculty member. Recent additions include "Leaning in Advance Selling with Heterogeneous Consumers" and "Incorporating End-of-Course Exam Timing into Educational Performance Evaluations.” The healthy diversity of topics here reflects the wide range of interest among the faculty members, which covers macroeconomics, financial lending practices, and agricultural pricing trends. [KMG]
The Boston Foundation has recently completed a study of the past five years of structural change in Boston's public schools. This report, released in January 2014, is a welcome contribution to research on the state of U.S. public schools and includes updates on grade-level evaluations, school autonomy and “unresolved issues.” There's a nice timeline that runs alongside the text of the report that tracks key educational changes throughout the Boston Public School system over the past decade. For those with an interest in public school reform and the future of American cities, this report is most valuable. [KMG]
Conversations about health care costs in the United States continue to dominate the public sphere and this publication from the RAND Corporation offers some additional insight into this thorny topic. Authored by a team of researchers (including Steven Garber and Susan M. Gates) this 130-page report was issued in the spring 2014 and visitors can download the entire document here. For some basic insights, visitors can read the abstract or peruse the Key Findings. Some of these findings suggest that a "medical arms race" has a deleterious effect on the cost of health care, along with limited rewards for medical products that could lower spending. It's a timely piece of scholarship and one that will be of interest to public policy scholars, health and science journalists, and medical professionals. [KMG]
It's often difficult to find high-quality and well-curated lists of materials related to geography and cartography online. However, this collection created by David J. Bertuca, the subject librarian for geography at the University of Buffalo Libraries, serves as a rich trove of resources. The items here are divided into over a dozen headings, including Government Resources and Map Collections. Each area contains at least ten offerings with Bertuca’s own salient commentary on the contents of each site, tool, collection, or application. The Selected Blogs feature is a real treat as it includes links to the fun and informative worlds of Google Maps Mania and Strange Maps. Visitors can also contact Bertuca directly to suggest links or to inquire about other resources. [KMG]
Interested in livestock auction markets in West Virginia? How about interregional competition in the US broiler industry? This intriguing collection of experimental station bulletins from West Virginia University has got you covered. Visitors can browse this collection of over 200 items by date, bulletin number, and author. The homepage has a Basic Search feature that makes this quite easy and visitors can also store items of note in an online "bookbag" for later consideration. Some of the more recent publications include "Empirical analysis of income distribution in West Virginia" and "Occurrence, etiology and management of ringworm in ewes.” [KMG]
Based at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Center for Human Capital Studies "intends to enhance the understanding of human capital development and labor market issues." On its page, visitors can learn about the center’s annual reports, its Jobs Calculator, and various events and symposia. The Jobs Calculator calculates the net employment change needed to achieve a target unemployment rate after a specified number of months. Visitors can start by entering their own metrics to view statewide numbers or consult a list of FAQs for using the calculator. The center’s newsletter and working papers can be found in the Publications area and the podcasts offer another great feature to the site. Podcast topics include "Economic Gardening: A Homegrown Approach to Growth" and "Help for Difficult to Employ Populations: Colocating Jobs and Training Opportunities.” [KMG]
What is the goal of MNartists.org? Simply put, it is "to improve the lives of Minnesota artists and provide access to and engagement with Minnesota's arts culture." On this site, visitors can look over its database of talented Minnesota artists, learn about new artworks, and read high-quality articles that document the changing and shifting landscape of visual arts across the state. Visitors can navigate to the blog to read musings from artists on their own work and on the work of their colleagues. Moving along, Recent Video/Music/Writing features a mix of aural tapestries, artist statements, and much more. The Resources area includes updates about grant opportunities, along with art contests and upcoming exhibits from institutions in the state, while the News section provides a detailed listing of news from art institutions in Minnesota and across the upper Midwest. [KMG]
The Cuban Theater Digital Archive (CTDA) is a resource for research, teaching and learning in Cuban theater and performance as well as in related fields. The archive was created with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is managed as a digital humanities partnership between the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences and Cuba's National Council for the Performing Arts. The Creators area features profiles of various works crafted by artistic professionals, including Lorelis Amores, Adelfa Cantelli, and Rafael Fiallo. Additionally, the site includes a Digital Objects area that highlights a variety of works of art, including photographs, posters, and theatrical performance. [KMG]
How might we bring local governments together to make better cities? Why not try Code for America? This compelling organization works to "help residents and governments harness technology to solve community problems." Its work is supported by a range of organizations, including Google, the Kauffman Foundation, and ESRI. The site contains a number of topical sections, including Governments, Citizens, and Apps. The Governments area contains links to the ten cities that are utilizing the services of Code For America to create ambitious projects designed to connect citizens to their government. Projects have included work in Oakland and Honolulu where citizen codes rewrote these cities' websites in one day each. Both Free Apps and Paid Apps can be found here and highlight a variety of compelling new projects, such as Adopt-A-Hydrant and the Jail Population Management Dashboard. [KMG]
The Pacific Rim Archive features archival materials related to America's first century of involvement in and impressions of East Asia, broadly defined as the period from 1840 to 1940. Housed at the University of Southern California Digital Library, the five subcollections here include the Mark L. Moody Collection and the Saidee Pettus Hoose Collection. The Moody Collection contains the most items, featuring hundreds of photographs from around China in the 1920s and 1930s, including many images of Shanghai. As Moody owned a car dealership there, it's not surprising that many of the photos here are of cars, along with motor and gas stations. Additionally, users can browse suggested topics, such as "Marines,” "Chrysler,” and "Trains.” [KMG]
DNAinfo Chicago features topical news stories, complete with video clips, photos and much more, about Chicago's many community areas and neighborhoods. First-time visitors should click on the Neighborhoods area to find out about reports from Hyde Park, Logan Square, and dozens of other sections of the city. The Just Posted area includes up-to-the-minute news reports and visitors will also find a daily Chicago newsletter they can sign up to receive. Local visitors should especially not miss the Neighborhood Events section, which contains listings of wine tastings, open mics, and much more from around the Second City. [KMG]
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has crafted this well-curated collection of resources generated through NSF-funded educational research and development projects. The topical areas here include Teacher Development, Instructional Materials, Assessment, and Research Syntheses. Educators can navigate to the Resources area to explore over three dozen items, including the online book Worms, Shadows, and Whirlpools that was designed to help young children learn about science. Teacher Development includes thoughtful research materials, such as "Connecting with Mathematics: Ideas Behind Techniques" and the University of California Museum of Paleontology's "Understanding Science" site. Visitors can search the entire contents of the site at their leisure and they can also provide feedback via an online form. [KMG]
Sara Mary Barnes Roby (1907 - 1986), born into a wealthy family in Pittsburgh, and herself a painter, believed that the best way to support the visual arts was to acquire and exhibit the works of living artists. To this end, she established the Sara Roby Foundation and began collecting American art in the mid-1950s. While the collection is strong in the work of realist painters like Reginald Marsh, Phillip Evergood, and Edward Hopper, Roby also collected abstract works by artists such as Stuart Davis, Louise Nevelson, and Arthur Dove. At this website, view an exhibition slide show by decade of acquisition, or browse by artist's name. There is also an exhibition checklist of the 70 contributed artworks. In conjunction with the exhibition, a 148-page catalog, Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection, by Virginia M. Mecklenburg, has been published. [DS]
Place My Past is a handy application designed to map a family history via historical maps made available online. After uploading family information, visitors can use the annotation tools to mark places on the map for future reference and use. It's a great way to bring a few different worlds together and it's compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
The Weather Odds site helps users learn about the odds of various weather happening at monthly and daily levels. The site relies on past climate data from thousands of locations and it's a fine resource. In the Quick Weather Data area, visitors can check out popular United States locations or use the search engine to breeze along to their preferred habitat. This version of Weather Odds is compatible with all operating systems.
Exclusive: Fast food strikes in 150 cities and protests in 30 countries planned for May 15
Fast-food worker strike about to go global
Fast-food Workers Plan Massive Global Protest
Did the fast-food industry play these Nobel economists for suckers?
National Restaurant Association: Minimum Wage Overview
Home economics: Fast food v. homemade food
Labor organizers have always had a tough time corralling the hearts and minds of fast food workers. For some, it can be a part-time position as they attend school or as they transition to a better paying job. Increasingly, it has become a way of life for many without extensive formal education or skills. On May 15th, a coalition of fast food workers are planning to mount one-day strikes in 150 cities around the world, including Casablanca, London, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Bangkok. Their demands include a $15 hourly wage and the chance to form a union. This is not the first time that such workers have attempted such an action, and it remains to be seen whether this will be more effective than previous industrial actions. On a related note, the mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, has committed to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next three to seven weeks, which has raised eyebrows in some quarters and led to applause in others. [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to a Salon piece from this Wednesday about the upcoming strike. The second link will whisk visitors away to another piece on this proposed action, courtesy of USA Today. Moving on, the third link will take interested parties to a piece from Business Insider, complete with a list of what specific strike actions will be taking place in different countries. The fourth link leads to an intriguing piece from the Los Angeles Times that explores a curious letter regarding a proposal to increase minimum wage for fast food workers. Next up is the National Restaurant Association's official homepage offering its own thoughts on minimum wage. Finally, visitors will find a link to the Mayo Clinic's Nutrition-wise blog, offering up some thoughts on whether it is cheaper to make fast food-style items at home or to eat out.
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