The Scout Report -- Volume 20, Number 46

The Scout Report -- Volume 20, Number 46

The Scout Report

November 28, 2014 -- Volume 20, Number 46

A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison




Research and Education

  Staging the Self: National Portrait Gallery
  Gender Equality Data and Statistics
  LIGO - Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
  Creative Time
  About Art History
  Dickens in Massachusetts Virtual Tour
  Comparative Mammalian Brain Collections
  Imperial War Museums

General Interest

  NASA Astrobiology: Life in the Universe
  LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxemourg
  Barnard & Gardner Civil War Photographs
  Laogai Research Foundation
  San Francisco Symphony - American Orchestra Forum Podcasts
  Inspiring Science: Casting light on great ideas
  G. E. E. Lindquist Native American Photographs

Network Tools

  Waze
  AP Mobile

In the News

  The National Book Awards



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Research and Education

Staging the Self: National Portrait Gallery

·http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/staging/index.html

Portraiture Now: Staging the Self is the ninth installation of the "Portraiture Now" series presented at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery. This installation features the work of six contemporary U.S. Latino artists "who present identities theatrically, in order to rid portraiture of its reassuring tradition that fixes a person in space and time." Instead, the portraits on this site are dynamic, fluid, sometimes even jarring. After reading the brief, contextualizing introduction, browse the site by artist. Spanning the family dynamics of Karen Miranda Rivadeneira, the internalized landscapes of David Antonio Cruz, and the gender experimentation of Maria Martinez-Canas, viewers may find themselves delighted and challenged in equal measures. [CNH]


Gender Equality Data and Statistics

·http://datatopics.worldbank.org/gender/

This data portal is a virtual goldmine of worldwide statistics on gender, based on data sets gathered by the United Nations and the World Bank. Built as a tool for the assessment of World Bank funding of "gender-informed activities," the information gathered here is useful for researchers of all kinds, as well as anyone curious about how global resources are being allocated by gender. To start, click the Visualize Gender Equality map on the homepage, which visually displays the shifting landscape of labor force participation between 1990 and 2012. The Data Visualization App is home to other related visual aids. Readers can peruse statistics and articles by region (e.g.  East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, etc.) and by country. Other resources include Thematic Data, Microdata for Researchers, and World Bank Lending Data. [CNH]


LIGO - Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory

·http://www.ligo.caltech.edu

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), a collaboration between Caltech and MIT, is a facility dedicated to the detection and measurement of gravitational waves. Two installations, one on the east coast and one on the west, operate as a single simultaneous unit to trace the effects of "ripples in the fabric of space and time produced by violent events in the distant universe." From the homepage check out LIGO News, a blog that reports the latest from the laboratory. The Resources for Press & Media section leads visitors to LIGO photos, LIGO chronology, and a LIGO fact sheet, where Frequently Asked Questions are answered. LIGO is one of the great physics labs of our time, and this web site provides insight into the groundbreaking work happening there every day. [CNH]


Creative Time

·http://creativetime.org

In September 2012, Creative Time, in collaboration with scientists at MIT, launched artwork by Trevor Paglen 24,000 miles into space, where it orbits to this day aboard a communications satellite. This is just one of the hundreds of far-out projects this NYC artists' collective has commissioned in the past 40 years. (Another example: the twin beams of light commemorating the twin towers after 9/11.) The group's website is an ever-changing collage of photos, paintings, sculptures, videos, and artistic projects. Must-see areas include the News section of the site, sharing happenings in New York City and around the world, and the Projects section, providing information on Creative Time projects in a searchable and sortable format. These projects are accompanied by detailed information about the project itself as well as the artist behind the work. [CNH]


About Art History

·http://arthistory.about.com

About Art History is a great starting place for readers interested in the complex field of art history. Curated by art historians and museum professionals Alexander J. Noelle and Chelsea Emelie Kelly, the content covers essential art history questions via accessible but nuanced essays and entries. The site may be browsed by Art History Categories such as Artists A to Z, Art History 101, Timelines of Art History, and many more. Readers can also access diverse offerings, such as "Leonardo da Vinci's Lost Masterpiece" and "Explore the World of Pop Art!," directly from the rotating display on the home page. Noelle and Kelly also edit and write The Art History Blog, a complementary offering that is accessible from the bio section of this site. [CNH]


Dickens in Massachusetts Virtual Tour

·http://library.uml.edu/dickens/exhibit/VirtualTour.html

Charles Dickens has been credited with everything from radicalizing class consciousness to inventing Christmas. Certainly, he was wildly famous by the standards of his day. This website from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell chronicles Dickens and Massachusetts: A Tale of Power and Transformation, a museum exhibit that ran in Lowell for half a year in 2012. Featuring over a dozen short videos shot on site at the museum and covering topics such as Dickens Finds His Power, Early Career, Married Life, and Dickens Arrives!, this site is packed with detailed information about the man, his work, and his trips to America. [CNH]


Comparative Mammalian Brain Collections

·http://brainmuseum.org/index.html

The University of Wisconsin, the University of Michigan, and the National Museum of Health and Medicine have come together to assemble one of the world's largest collections of well-preserved mammalian brains. Now readers can access photographs of the brains of over 100 different species and view stained sections of a variety of brains, including those of humans, sea lions, and otters. Readers can scout the site by the List of Specimens, which is organized both by common name and scientific name or read selections about Brain Sections, Brain Evolution, and Brain Development, among other topics. This site will be of interest to biology teachers or anyone with an interest in the fascinating world of mammalian brains. [CNH]


Imperial War Museums

·http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections-research

The collections at the Imperial War Museum cover Britain's engagements in armed conflict during the 20th and 21st centuries in sympathetic and fascinating detail. The aim is to "record the toil and sacrifice of every individual affected by war," utilizing film, oral history, art, large objects, and personal letters and diaries. Perhaps the best way to explore this site, is by using the Collections Search feature. Here, readers can browse through the over 600,000 items housed in the museum's collections. Items range from weapons and ammunition to propaganda posters to soldiers' shoes and are accompanied by detailed descriptions and full catalog records. This is a wonderful site for exploring the largely forgotten experiences of soldiers across the British Empire during World War One and World War Two. [CNH]


General Interest

NASA Astrobiology: Life in the Universe

·https://astrobiology.nasa.gov

The Harvard physicist Paul Horowitz once said in an interview with Time Magazine, "Intelligent life in the universe? Guaranteed. Intelligent life in our galaxy? So overwhelmingly likely that I'd give you almost any odds you'd like." As yet, however, scientists haven't found it, but NASA's Astrobiology Program is certainly looking. This site gives readers insight into the search for life on other planets, as well as our current understanding of how life developed here on Earth. The About Astrobiology section provides an erudite overview of the field, and the frequently updated articles on the homepage are likely to inspire curiosity. One of the really unique offerings of the site is the section entitled, Ask an Astrobiologist. Here, readers can Submit a Question to astrobiology experts or peruse previously Answered Questions. [CNH]


LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxemourg

·http://www.lisdatacenter.org

The Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg (LIS) has attracted some big names in economics over the past few years, including the income inequality scholar Branko Milanovic and, most recently, Nobel Prize winner and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. What's the draw? Huge, globally relevant income data sets. Data fans can register to gain access to these data sets themselves and the Working Papers provide a great way for readers to explore LIS-based research. Abstracts and full texts of all submissions are available here and the Working Papers Search Engine allows for an easy search of the LIS database by author, year, or keyword. The News & Events section highlights recent happenings at LIS, including Workshops, Lectures, and published studies. Additionally, visitors to the site will find an informative 30-minute documentary about this important economics think tank in the About LIS section of the site. [CNH]


Barnard & Gardner Civil War Photographs

·http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/rubenstein_barnardgardner/

The American Civil War, a conflict that claimed approximately 620,000 American lives (more than the American casualties of WWI and WWII combined), was the first of the world's wars to be widely photographed. Most of those pictures were taken by just two men: Alexander Gardner and George N. Barnard. Gardner, a Scottish immigrant born in 1821, shot battlefield scenes, as well as iconic images of Abraham Lincoln. Barnard, who was born in Connecticut, continued to capture the devastation of the War well after its end. Dozens of images from both of these quintessentially American artists are now available online through Duke University's Digital Collections. The collection is easily searchable and selecting any of the photographs listed in the Contents section of the homepage will open up descriptive titles and Full Catalog Records for each one. [CNH]


Laogai Research Foundation

·http://laogai.org

Stuart Foster, an American Sociology professor who pleaded guilty to stealing money from an associate while teaching at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, spent the better part of a year in a forced labor prison in southern China. The stories he told about his experience, which included assembling Christmas lights for export to American markets and sleeping on a concrete floor with dozens of inmates in a single room, simply confirmed what the international community has long suspected about China's prison system. This website, from the Laogai Research Foundation (LRF), documents the system's many human rights abuses. Start with the homepage, where you can view News & Views, LRF Commentaries, and LRF Events. Next read the excellent overview What is Laogai, which provides a history of the Chinese prison system up to the present day. [CNH]


San Francisco Symphony - American Orchestra Forum Podcasts

·http://www.sfsymphony.org/Watch-Listen-Learn/Podcasts-and-Music/American-Orchestra-Forum-Podcasts

Founded in 1911 in the wake of the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire, the San Francisco Symphony has flourished for over one hundred years, winning eleven Grammy Awards and performing around the globe. Now, with the symphony's freely available podcasts, listeners can engage with this epic institution's culture and creativity from the comfort of their homes. The seven chapters of Talking About American Orchestras is a great place to start. Listeners can learn about the Historic Context of the American Orchestra, Orchestral Creativity, On the Stage, and others. Next, From the Archives provides the chance to meet the orchestra in the context of each conductor who has taken the podium. Especially exciting for classical music lovers is the section SF Symphony Concerts Streaming on KDFC.org, where full performances of some of the world's greatest soloists are featured. [CNH]


Inspiring Science: Casting light on great ideas

·http://inspiringscience.net/category/series/

Inspiring Science, a blog by a science enthusiast with degrees in plant genetics and evolutionary biology, seeks to make science accessible and exciting to a lay audience. It often succeeds. Words of Science is an especially captivating column. For instance, have you ever wondered what alluvium, petrichor, nychthemeron, or interstitial mean? These entries define and elaborate on scientific vocabulary in ways that not only clarify specific concepts, but also illuminate the way scientists attempt to understand the world. Other columns, such as Discussions, Foraging, and Natural Selection continue the trend, with explanations, ideas, and ponderings. For science writers, the QM Workshop series features the author's account of a weeklong quantum mechanics workshop. [CNH]


G. E. E. Lindquist Native American Photographs

·http://lindquist.cul.columbia.edu/

The Burke Library & Archives at Columbia University in New York City put together this digitized collection of images in 2012. Selected from the papers of missionary G. E. E. Lindquist (1886-1967), the digital collection includes "1,322 photographs, 124 postcards, 388 negatives, and 34 glass plate negatives/lantern slides" dating from 1909 to 1953. One interesting feature of the collection is Explore Faces. Software was used to recognize the faces in the digitized images, extract, and collage them. The result is 84 pages of browsable faces, any of which can be clicked on to see the full image. The images in the collection are fully cataloged, which means that it is also possible to select from lists of names, topics, and places drawn from the individual image descriptions. In addition, the website is mobile-friendly. [DS]


Network Tools

Waze

·https://www.waze.com

Phone based navigation systems are one of the great innovations of the early 21st century. But they have their drawbacks - like when they take you down a road dead-ended by construction. Waze seeks to improve on the greatness by tapping into real drivers driving real roads. Put simply, it's a community-based navigation and traffic app. So when a waze user sees traffic or other obstacles, they tell the app, and the app tells all the other drivers. It's a fluid, continually self-updating account of the roads as they actually are. Available for Apple devices (iOS 5.0 and up) and Android (2.2 and up). [CNH]


AP Mobile

·http://www.ap.org/apmobile/

The Associated Press, the multinational nonprofit news agency that publishes and republishes in about 1,700 newspapers worldwide, has its own award-winning news app. AP Mobile sports a clean, intuitive layout, beautiful photos, and rich content. It is available for iOS 7.0+ and Android 2.3.3+. [CNH]


In the News

The National Book Awards

2014 National Book Awards
http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2014.html#.VHOik764l9s

Redeployment by Phil Klay review
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/26/redeployment-phil-klay-review-incendiary-stories-of-war

Review: 'Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China' by Evan Osnos
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/review-age-of-ambition-chasing-fortune-truth-and-faith-in-the-new-china-by-evan-osnos/2014/05/16/9b122786-cef0-11e3-937f-d3026234b51c_story.html

Acquainted With the Dark: Louise Gluck's 'Faithful and Virtuous Night'
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/books/review/louise-glcks-faithful-and-virtuous-night.html?_r=0

Review of the Day: brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2014/06/02/review-of-the-day-brown-girl-dreaming-by-jacqueline-woodson/#_

Book News: Ursula K. Le Guin Steals The Show At the National Book Awards
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/11/20/365434149/book-news-ursula-k-le-guin-steals-the-show-at-the-national-book-awards

The National Book Awards have been recognizing the achievements of great writers since the first awards were distributed in the early spring of 1950. While the winners have sometimes been controversial, (in 1962, the publishing world balked when an obscure novelist, Walker Percy, beat out both Catch-22 and Revolutionary Road and in 1987, Toni Morrison's Beloved lost to Paco's Story), in the end the National Book Awards are always about exceptional writing. This year's winners represented the cream of the American literary crop, including a book of war stories by an ex-marine who had served in Iraq, an expose of contemporary China, a book of poems both elegiac and clear-sighted, and a young adult memoir composed entirely in blank verse. If members of the literati harbored concerns about the state of American letters, these winners should put their hearts and minds at ease. Each, in its singularity, frames pressing, perhaps even universal, issues in the most humane and generous ways. [CNH]

The first link takes readers to the National Book Awards homepage, where they may watch videos of the awards in categories, such as Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The second, third, fourth, and fifth links navigate to reviews of the books. In the Guardian, Edward Docx praises Redeployment, by Phil Klay, as "a daisy chain of incendiary fictional accounts of frontline military experience." Writing for the Washington Post, John Pomfrett calls Evan Osnos' Age of Ambition a "compelling and accessible investigation." The New York Times's review of Louise Gluck's new book, Faithful and Virtuous Night, is especially enthralling for its direct quotes of the author's poems, the School Library Journal's review of Jacqueline Woodson's new work goes so far as to compare brown girl dreaming to "a young person's version of Song of Solomon." After the reviews, readers can click the sixth link to connect to an NPR article about Ursula K. Le Guin's acceptance of an award for distinguished contribution to American letters in which she "stole the show." Together, this collection is sure to inspire budding and veteran wordsmiths alike.





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