The Scout Report
December 12, 2014 -- Volume 20, Number 48
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Close Reading of Poetry
Advanced Technological Education Television
Philosophy of Love in the Western World
Mitigation of Climate Change 2014
The Pennsylvania Gazette 1728-1800
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
HathiTrust Digital Library: 19th-20th Century Psychology Texts
YaleGlobal Online Magazine
The Personality Disorders Institute
David Chalmers: How do you explain consciousness?
World Digital Library
United Nations World Food Programme
Humanitarian Engineering at Mines
Latin Music USA | PBS
Exaggeration of Scientific Claims Is Already Present in Academic Press Releases, New Study Finds
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This handy guide from University of Victoria English professors G. Kim Blank and Magdalena Kay, provides a well-composed and insightful rubric for reading poetry. While the introduction points out that there is no single way to read a poem, the rest of the entry provides some important tips. For instance, when interpreting, it's important to continually reference the poem as it stands. The authors expound on ten themes: Title, Key Words & Tone, Word Order, Figurative Language: Imagery, Sound: Rhythm & Rhyme, Speaker & Voice, Time & Setting, Symbol, Form, and Ideas & Theme. The site is especially suited for late high school and early college students, but it can also help clarify the interpretation of poetry for anyone who loves to read. [CNH]
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program is designed with two purposes in mind. First, it aims to connect community college students with the skills and networks they need to achieve success in technology driven growth industries. Second, it hopes to help those industries grow by giving them the labor force they need. ATETV, an integral part of this innovative program, aims to visually represent the relevance of ATE to the modern workplace and prospective students. Through over 200 videos, the website tracks myriad ATE sponsored projects and student success stories from community colleges around the country. Typically 2-10 minutes in length, videos range from FAQs about the project to career opportunities in wind energy. The Collection is easily sortable by category (Agriculture, Biomanufacturing, Environmental Technology, Photonics, etc.) and anyone interested in the future of technological education will delight in these well made snapshots. [CNH]
Irving Singer has been publishing on the topic of love and sexuality in Western culture since the 1950s. This course is an expression of his decades of research and thinking, and it is available for free from MIT Open Courseware. Readers may peruse the topics of the course readings and even purchase the books if so desired, which include tracts by Friedrich Nietzsche, George Bernard Shaw, and four treatises by Singer himself. Then watch the course unfold through four Video Lectures in which Dr. Singer takes on such topics as same sex marriage, Greek concepts of love, and Freud's theories of the libido. [CNH]
The United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 to examine reports of human-induced changes in global temperatures. Since then, the IPCC has produced five major assessment reports, and several special reports on particular topics. This site is dedicated to Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, a report composed by IPCC in response to a request for a comprehensive assessment of the current science on climate change mitigation. Readers may start with the excellent 12-minute video that presents an overview of the different possibilities for mitigating climate change over the next 20 years, including renewables, nuclear energy, reforestation, and increased efficiency. The full 1,400-page report is also available for free download on the site. However, readers may wish to peruse the 33-page Summary for Policymakers, which presents the same information in a condensed and visually stimulating manner. [CNH]
The Pennsylvania Gazette, founded in 1728 and purchased by Benjamin Franklin the next year, was considered the most successful newspaper in the colonies. It published the first political cartoon in American history and ran for over 70 years before closing shop a decade after Franklin's death. Sponsored by Accessible Archives, this site includes a brief but fascinating chronicle of the paper, as well as almost a dozen blog posts highlighting original content from the paper. Blog posts include "His Majesty's Desertions from Autumn 1758," originally published in the Gazette on November 9, 1758, and the "Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783," originally published on December 3, 1783. [CNH]
The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) has been a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and Stanford University since its inception in 1962. Readers may want to start with the About section, where they can peruse the history of the center, including resident scientists' discovery of quarks, the J/psi particle, and the tau lepton. In total, researchers at SLAC have received six Nobel Prizes and hundreds of other important awards. Back on the homepage, have a look at the Multimedia section, where you can watch a short video about accelerating particles with plasma and watch a lecture on profiling molecules with x-rays. The Headlines and SLAC in the News sections feature articles concerning the latest events, awards, history, and breakthroughs at the laboratory. [CNH]
The HathiTrust Digital Library is a partnership between academic and research institutions "offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world." Named "Hathi" for the Hindi word for elephant - because the apocryphal elephant never forgets - this free resource will serve anyone with an internet connection and a thirst for knowledge. For instance, the current link navigates to a collection of 19th and 20th century psychology texts, 238 of which may be read in full on the site. With volumes such as The American Journal of Insanity, published in 1845, and the Archives of psychology, spanning from 1908 to 1923, there is much to explore in these pages. If psychology is not for you, the Collections section is another great place to scout. Here, readers can explore what others are searching for in the Trust, such as "Islamic Manuscripts" and "Records of the American Colonies." For those doing any sort of historical research, this site is definitely worth while. [CNH]
Founded in 2001, YaleGlobal Online is a periodical from the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. The magazine explores "the implications of the growing interconnectedness of the world," in which nations are bound together by economic, environmental, health, labor, security, technological, and many other concerns. After mining the homepage for the latest headlines, readers may delve into the site by Topics and Regions. The Special Reports section highlights such topics as the Global Economic Crisis and the World of Surveillance. Editor-in-Chief Nayan Chanda's excellent fortnightly column, Bound Together, located under the Essays tab, tackles everything from the evidence for global warming to analyses of the interrelated economics of China, India, and Brazil. [CNH]
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) was once thought to be nearly untreatable. However, developments of psychotherapies focused on the symptoms and underlying etiology of BPD have changed that. The Personality Disorders Institute (PDI) at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University hosts an excellent website that provides an overview of BPD and one particular treatment for it, Transference-Focused Psychotherapy. On the site, readers can learn about the labile emotions, stormy relationships, self-defeating behaviors, and troubled identity that define BPD in Overview of Borderline Personality Disorder. The treatment itself, with its focus on exploring and promoting change within these same four areas, is also a great read. The Radio Interviews section is another great resource, featuring several researchers on BPD, Transference-Focused Psychotherapy, and other related topics. [CNH]
David Chalmers is famous for his delineation of "the hard problem of consciousness" - that is, the very fact that we subjectively experience anything at all. In this talk, Chalmers outlines his distinction between this hard problem and what he sees as the "easy problem" of objectively explaining how the mind and brain work. He then lays out two fresh theories of consciousness. First, he posits that consciousness might be fundamental to the universe, equal in its scope to space, time, or mass. Second, he asks whether consciousness might be universal - whether every complex system, from a flower to an orangutan might have some level of more or less developed consciousness. These are big ideas. After watching the talk, readers may want to brush up on the background. The interactive transcript offers a great way to delve deeper into the structure of the argument, as do the speaker's footnotes and the speaker's reading list. [CNH]
The World Digital Library offers a bounty of digital items that span 193 countries and over 3,000 years. One fascinating way to experience the site is to simply watch the featured items as they tick across the homepage, offering a view into ancient Arabia, medieval Europe, and Shackleton's explorations of the South Pole. Readers may enjoy the explore tab, which opens to categories such as Place, Time Period, Topic, and Language. In addition, the site features Timelines and Interactive Maps for United States History and Illuminated Manuscripts from Europe. Lastly, the search engine allows readers to locate their special interests among the 10,930 listings on the site. [CNH]
The World Food Programme (WFP), which employs over 11,000 people to work in 75 countries around the world, is the single biggest food aid organization on earth. Since 1961, WFP has brought nutrition to hundreds of millions during times of war, natural disaster, and economic instability. The homepage is alive with information. Start with News About Hunger, which continually updates with stories about the program's activities. Then check out the Our Work section with subjects such as School Meals, Nutrition, and Logistics. You can also click on the Countries tab for a drop down menu of all the nations the WFP serves, with links to the work being done in each country.[CNH]
The Humanitarian Engineering program at the Colorado School of Mines trains students to "co-create just and sustainable solutions for communities." As the site explains, too often engineers design projects without listening closely to what communities, especially poor communities, really want. The program educates students toward a number of outcomes, including collaborative identification of problems and building technologies that promote just and sustainable solutions. Readers can explore the program by Events, Program, Partners, Publications, and an In the News section with links to articles about the program, faculty, and students. Of special interest, readers may also link to an excellent ten minute video of the program's work in Honduras in the winter of 2007. [CNH]
If you are looking for the newest in neuroscience, and you'd like it in the form of punchy, approachable podcasts, look no further than Neuropod, a series of podcasts by "self-confessed neurogeek," Kerri Smith. Smith, who holds a master's degree in science communication from Imperial College London, provides an upbeat look at topics that run the gamut from psychosis to education to how the brain keeps time. Hosted by the Nature Publishing Group, podcasts have been published monthly since 2006 and the archives contain a host of wonderful material. [CNH]
WGBH Boston makes it easy to enjoy the popular series, Latin Music USA, even without a television. Explore the Music provides visitors the opportunity to delve into Latin genres like Salsa, Mambo, Tejano Rock, and Latin Jazz. The Resources section includes all types of material, from books to websites to a complete song list for the show - with artist names and song titles linked to the episodes in which they appeared. There's also a 12-page viewing guide with activities for kids and families, and artists categorized by genre - Los Lobos and Carlos Santana in Chicano Rock; Marc Antony and Ruben Blades in Salsa. And of course readers can watch the show online or buy the whole series and soundtrack on DVD and CD. [DS]
Designed for millennials who need a little help with budgeting, the Money Level app is good looking and easy to use. The goal is to "create a secure future for the next generation" by promoting smart, everyday financial decisions. An accompanying Blog is also accessible from this site and offers great posts, such as "7 Things You Need to Know about Student Loan Refinancing" and "Mobile Banking in Public: Staying Safe and Secure." Level Money is available for Android 4.0+ and iOS 7.0+. [CNH]
If you're a teacher who uses technology as a way to present information in a creative and engaging way, then Nearpod might be a welcome addition to your interactive curriculum. It combines presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into a single, integrated program. Users can create their own presentations or select from a number of Ready-to-Use Nearpods. Note, there are four pricing options for education users- the Silver Edition is free. Nearpod is multiplatform, allowing teachers and students to interact through iOS devices, Android devices, Windows 8.1 devices, tablets, and any PC or MAC. [CNH]
The Point When Science Becomes Publicity
Science and health news hype: where does it come from?
Most Exaggeration in Health News is Already Present in Academic Press Releases
The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study
Preventing Bad Reporting on Health Research
Are Scientists Themselves to Blame for Exaggerated Claims in Science Journalism?
Every few years, eminent scientists publish a round of op-ed pieces decrying the news media's exaggeration of their findings. But what if it's not the magazines and morning talk shows doing the bulk of the exaggerating? A new study, published this week in The BMJ, found that most overstatements of scientific findings originate not from the news outlets themselves, but from the press releases published by university PR departments. In fact, the researchers found that, when press releases contained unwarranted embellishments of research findings, between 58 and 86 percent of news stories followed suit. However, when press releases hued closely to the original, peer reviewed papers, instances of media exaggeration dropped to between 10 and 18 percent. These results, the researchers argue, place responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the academy. [CNH]
The first link takes readers to the Atlantic's excellent, in-depth coverage of the newly released article. The second and third links, from The Guardian and Medical Xpress, fill out the story with shorter expositions. The research itself can be read in full (and for free) in the fourth link, while the fifth link navigates to an editorial by Ben Goldacre, in which the physician-academic-author suggests an accountability program to counter exaggerated claims. Finally, readers will find a 2012 report that linked media exaggerations to trumped up study abstracts.
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