The Scout Report
January 16, 2015 -- Volume 21, Number 2
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Serendip Studio: Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology
Mapping the Republic of Letters
Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve
The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America
Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop
The Edwin O. Reischauer Center
Careers in Logistics
Animal Facts: National Geographic
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
CIA’s Clandestine Services Histories of Civil Air Transport
The Untold History of Women in Science and Technology
Yahoo! News Digest
Obama Proposes Free Community College for All
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Musopen is a non-profit intent on providing classical music resources and educational materials online. On the site, readers will find recordings, sheet music, and even textbooks free of charge. One may click either Music Catalog, Sheet Music, or Music Education to begin scouting the site. While music education leaves something to be desired (the site promises to add more resources soon), the music catalog and sheet music sections are much more developed. The music catalog can be searched by composer, performer, instrument, period, and form. For instance, clicking on Claude Debussy pulls up a brief biography plus several dozen recordings that are available for listening and download. Likewise, clicking on Sheet Music pulls up hundreds of composers with at least one piece of free sheet music available for each. [CNH]
The Zooniverse provides an extraordinarily popular venue for citizen science projects. To explore what’s on offer, readers may click on projects, then select either science or laboratory. Dozens of possibilities present themselves, from programs that examine how galaxies form to projects that study the lives of the ancient Greeks. Readers may join a project and start contributing to data analysis of various kinds, from coding British World War I diaries to monitoring the wildlife of urban Chicago. Teachers will appreciate the extensive Education resources on the site, found within the Community tab. Zoo Teach, a companion website, can be explored by subjects (sciences, math, humanities, arts) as well as ages (from middle school through higher education). This is where readers will find lesson plans and activities to brighten a wide range of related topics. [CNH]
For readers who love Do-It-Yourself projects, the MAKE Magazine website will constitute a welcome discovery. As the publisher notes, the magazine “celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will.” Some of the featured projects, like Anouk Wipprecht’s 3D-printed, Edison-Powered Spider Dress 2.0, inspire awe. Many others are well within reach of a seasoned amateur engineer. Readers may want to start with Projects to scout possible ventures, each one labeled as easy, moderate, or difficult. For instance, designing your own 3D-Printed Eyeglasses is considered a moderately challenging endeavor. Also of interest, the site’s Blog often updates several times a day with DIY news, views, and interesting possibilities from around the web. [CNH]
Serendip Studio is “a digital ecosystem, fueled by serendipity.” Organized around seven broad categories - playground, brain & behavior, complex systems, biology, science education, science & culture, and art exhibitions - the site features over 10,000 pages of resources for secondary school teachers and their students, all focused on various topics within the life sciences. For instance, within the topic “Is Yeast Alive?” readers will find a downloadable student handout and set of teacher preparation notes available that will help lead students through a hands on lesson with yeast. The thousands of resources tucked into this bountiful website provide equally inspiring access to other life science ideas and experiments. [CNH]
The Republic of Letters was a loose knit and dynamic long-distance intellectual network that blossomed in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe and the United States. Through the use of hand written correspondence, some of the greatest thinkers of England, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States stayed informed about the ideas that were shaping their worlds. Mapping the Republic of Letters, a joint project between the Stanford Humanities Center and its international partners, seeks to visually represent these interconnected webs of correspondence through interactive visualization tools. The video introduction on the homepage, a nicely produced three-minute series of interviews with some of the founders of the project, is a great place to start. Readers may also explore the narrative panorama that visually tracks correspondences across time and continents. The Case Studies are another great feature of the site. Here, readers will find a number of influential thinkers, such as Voltaire, Franklin, Galileo, and Locke. [CNH]
Carol Dweck is one of the most influential social psychologists of the past quarter century. Her work has primarily focused on motivation, personality, and development, and her key contributions have been related to implicit theories of intelligence, or what she calls “mindset.” This 10-minute TED talk, filmed in November 2014, provides readers with a pithy introduction to Dweck’s groundbreaking ideas. In it, she argues that we have been misleading ourselves and our children about how abilities develop and makes a passionate case for praising effort over talent, process over content. Subtitles are available in ten languages, including Burmese and Hebrew. [CNH]
This beautiful collection from the Library of Congress traces the multitude of cultures and voices that inform American music, from Irish hymns to Indian ragas. Educators will find rich resources on the page, starting with the Educator’s Guide to Songs of America, but also covering topics like Stand Up and Sing: Music and Our Reform History. Click on any of the Featured Items or navigate to Collection Items for audio and video recordings of a diverse range of American music. Then read the Articles and Essays and examine Interactive Maps, Timelines, Biographies, and many other informative modules. [CNH]
The Japanese Neo-Pop artist Mr. produces colorful, fanciful paintings and art installations, drawing from his self-described obsession with anime, manga, and the otaku subculture. Though his work often appears playful, upon closer inspection darker, more complex themes emerge, as the artist addresses anxiety and rebels against constrictive social norms. The Seattle Art Museum is currently presenting Mr.’s work of the past 15 years, centered around the massive art installation the artist composed in response to the March 11, 2011 tsunami and nuclear accident. A number of paintings are available for viewing on the site, as well as commentaries, a photo of the artist in his studio, and a fascinating hyperlapse video of a museum crew assembling Mr.’s installation, “Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings.” [CNH]
The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, housed at the Johns Hopkins University, is one of the most comprehensive think tanks concerning relations between Washington and East Asian governments. Named for the first Japanese-born and Japanese-speaking U.S. Ambassador to Japan, the center has been examining diplomatic relationships for almost 30 years. Readers can learn about the Reischauer Center’s activities via About Us, then continue with the Center Overview and the Message from the Director. The Research area features a host of topics, from U.S.-Japan Policy Dialogue to Asia-Middle East Relationships. Perhaps most fascinating of all, readers can scout 15 years worth of Yearbooks (found under Publications), in which experts examine the important issues in that year’s diplomatic relations between Japan and the United States. [CNH]
This 37-page PDF pamphlet, developed by the Council of Logistics Management, outlines the benefits of a career in logistics. Perfect for guidance counselors or educators who advise young people on beneficial career paths, the document is divided into seven sections: Introduction, The Nature and Importance of Logistics, Salary Information, Where the Jobs Are, Job Profiles, Education and Training Required, and Council of Logistics Management. Suggested logistics positions include a diverse range of possibilities, including analyst, consultant, logistics engineer, material manager, warehouse operations manager, and many others. Some tidbits from the pamphlet: most logistics managers hold at least a four year degree; 50 universities offer logistics-related degrees or courses; and middle level logistics managers earn between $70,000 and $80,000 a year, on average. For anyone looking for solid information about careers in logistics, this pamphlet from the largest logistics trade organization in the world will not disappoint. [CNH]
Do you ever wonder about the Cane Toad? How about the Wart Newt? Or maybe you’re more fascinated by the Caroline Wren or the Tundra Swan. Whatever your proclivities, this enormously informative site from National Geographic will delight and edify. The Animal Facts are categorized by Amphibians, Birds, Bugs, Fish, Invertebrates, Mammals, Prehistoric, and Reptiles. Within each category there are at least a dozen (and usually more) individual animals to explore. For instance, if you opt for the camel spider you will find that this six-inch desert insect (technically a solpugid) can run 10 miles per hour and that it preys on insects, rodents, lizards, and small birds. [CNH]
This interactive map of energy production, consumption, and expenditures packs a tremendous amount of information into an easily searchable and up-to-date database. Readers can start with any state in the U.S. to access a profile overview and quick facts. For instance, clicking on Colorado reveals that the Centennial State boasts vast fossil fuel holdings, including the Niobrara Shale, and that it’s crude oil production rose by 146% between 2007 and 2013. The Data tab offers further information about Energy Indicators, Prices, Environment, and other topics, while Analysis will take readers to an informative overview of the state’s petroleum, natural gas, coal, and renewable energy resources. [CNH]
Though the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was officially founded in 1961, its history really begins in “the rubble of Europe after World War II.” In an unusual act of foresight and esprit de corps, European leaders recognized that the best way to ensure peace was to build cross national economic bonds. Today, the OECD is made up of 34 nations and the website offers a veritable wealth of information. Readers might like to begin with What’s New on the homepage, or perhaps explore the Data section that compares countries across key indicators, or peruse the Economic Outlook 2014 within the Report section. A detailed explanation of how the OECD functions can be found in the About section, as well as an excellent history, a range of publications, an outline of the budget, and many other interesting insights into the workings of this important international organization. [CNH]
The Civil Air Transport (CAT) was founded just after World War II to support Chiang Kai-Shek’s forces in their civil war with Mao Zedong’s communist fighters. However, the clandestine airline also ran operations during the Korean War and in support of the French during the First Indochina War. Later, CAT morphed into the better-known operation, Air America, which operated throughout the Vietnam War. This website links to a 16-page PDF that documents previously unreleased historical artifacts from CAT’s 20-year history. The PDF includes dozens of photographs and a brief history composed by Alfred T. Cox, the former president of CAT. The site also links to Additional Publications about Air America. For anyone interested in the CIA’s post-World War II clandestine operations, this is an important find. [CNH]
The White House provides this website, a set of largely unknown stories of female pioneers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, dating from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Examples include Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) who, in 1843, wrote the first computer algorithm for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Lovelace's story is read by U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith. Other women in STEM who appear on the site are astronaut and physicist Sally Ride, environmentalist Rachel Carson, molecular biologist and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Cytonome/ST Lydia Villa-Komaroff, and geneticist Barbara McClintock, the only woman to win an unshared Nobel Prize for her work. With women from across the Administration sharing stories of their personal heroes, this website is intended to inspire girls to go into the STEM fields. Visitors are also invited to share what they are doing in their own communities to inspire young women to pursue careers in science and technology. [DS]
Yahoo! News Digest, which won the Apple Design Award in 2014, is a simple, user-friendly, and visually pleasing news app that provides a “definitive summary” of the day’s events, once in the morning and then again in the evening. Yahoo! chooses headlines based on a combination of input from algorithms and editors, and sends a push notification when the digest is ready for viewing. Available for iOS 7.0+ and Android 4.0+, readers may select to receive the Digest by text or email. [CNH]
Looking for a way to get your students engaged with and excited about computer programming? Hopscotch, designed for iPhone and iPad (iOS 7.0+), allows kids to program their own games, stories, and animations - minus the complicated coding languages that usually accompany such an endeavor. Hopscotch won the 2014 Children’s Technology Review Award for Best Educational Technology and receives glowing reviews from users. [CNH]
Obama, in Tennessee, Begins Selling His Community College Tuition Plan
Federal Promise Unveiled
The Genius of Obama’s Two-Year College Proposal
President Obama’s community college proposal doesn’t make the grade
College the New High School?
FACT SHEET - White House Unveils America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition Free Community College for Responsible Students
President Obama’s State of the Union Address this week will cover a number of topics, from health care to the tax code. But so far the idea that has garnered the most press has been his proposal to bankroll the first two years of college for all Americans, regardless of their family income. At a cost of $60 billion over ten years, the plan has already sparked hearty debate among op-ed pundits. Critics point to the low retention rates at community colleges, and question the efficacy of making college free for middle class families who can pay. Supporters admire the simplicity of the plan and claim that it will further desegregate higher education, both racially and economically. Whatever the outcome of the president’s proposal, one thing is certain: an important national conversation about the state of higher education has been reawakened. [CNH]
The first two links, from the New York Times and Inside Higher Ed, provide readers with coverage on Obama’s proposal, which he outlined in a speech in Knoxville, Tennessee. The third link navigates to Richard D. Kahlenberg’s glowing review of the proposal in the Atlantic, while the fourth link presents the Washington Post’s critique of the details of the plan. Next, readers may link to an exploration of what college means to American society and the U.S. economy, courtesy of the New Yorker. Finally, the sixth link provides access to the White House’s Fact Sheet in which the plan is outlined in detail.
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|Internet Scout Team|
|Catherine Dixon||[CBD]||Managing Editor|
|Debra Shapiro||[DS]||Contributing Editor|
|Kendra Bouda||[KAB]||Metadata and Information Specialist|
|Elzbieta Beck||[EB]||Internet Cataloger|
|Corey Halpin||[CRH]||Software Engineer|
|Yizhe (Charles) Hu||[YH]||Web Developer|
|Zev Weiss||[ZW]||Technical Specialist|
|Chris Wirz||[CW]||Administrative Coordinator|
|Annie Ayres||[AA]||Administrative Assistant|
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