The Scout Report
March 27, 2015 -- Volume 21, Number 12
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Society for the Teaching of Psychology
Common Core State Standards Initiative
Eurasia Outlook - Carnegie Moscow Center
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space
National Science Foundation YouTube Channel
Cato Policy Report
250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives
Grand Teton National Park
Alabama History Online
Syriaca.org: The Syriac Gazetteer
The Risks of Being Lonely
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The Society for the Teaching of Psychology is a great find for anyone teaching this essential social science in high school, community college, or four year higher educational institutions - or for anyone with a passion for the topic. From the homepage, readers may survey the presidential welcome, or explore sections such as STP News and the GSTA (Graduate Student Teaching Association) Blog as ways to stay connected on the cutting edge practices currently used in psychology education. The Resources tab covers topics that range from diversity to teaching competencies. The Teaching Resources section is especially helpful, as it links to presentations, PDFs, and documents about a range of topics, all with the idea of informing educators. Date of publications vary from 1990 to present day, and cover topics like "Educating Students about Plagiarism" and "Psychology of Peace and Mass Violence -- Instructional Resources." [CNH]
The Common Core establishes nationwide benchmarks for reading and math, and has so far been adopted by 43 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). As the official site of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, there is much to offer here for K-12 educators, parents, and the generally curious. Sections of the site cover topics such as What Parents Should Know and Frequently Asked Questions. The Standards in Your State section is an easy way to explore which states have adopted the standards, complete with links to state and territory department of education websites. Perhaps best of all, PDFs of the English Language Arts/Literacy Standards and the Mathematics Standards are available right on the site. [CNH]
Geographically, Europe and Asia form a single, giant, populous landmass. While the bi-continental designation remains a political and cultural artifact, many commentators find it useful to look at "Eurasia" as a gestalt. The Carnegie Moscow Center's Eurasia Outlook blog features articles and insights from scholars, politicians, and commentators on the interpenetrating economies and politics of this unique region, with a special focus on Russia as a powerful, and sometimes destabilizing force. Readers may scout the site by Issues (Domestic Politics, Humanitarian Issues, Energy and Climate, and others), by Regions (Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia, and others), as well as by Contributors and Archives. [CNH]
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2011 to manage the International Space Station. In addition to making access to the station faster and easier, connecting funders to scientists, and making research accessible to the public, CASIS hosts an excellent website packed with information about the space station. Readers may view the short videos on the homepage for more information on the projects CASIS sponsors, or peruse articles under the News & Events tab. Perhaps the most interesting part of the site, however, are the three tabs set aside for researchers, businesses, and educators. In fact, the For Educators tab is especially helpful, as it features Lesson Plans on topics such as "The Laws of Newton" and "Tracking Satellites," a Q&A section, and Additional Resources for teachers. [CNH]
Nearly 13,000 viewers have subscribed to the National Science Foundation's YouTube channel. It's not a secret why. These well-produced and often poignant presentations have managed to pack so much into such a small space. Nearly all the videos clock in at less than four minutes. Many of the clips are just two or three minutes long so readers can easily learn about the birth of planets, the details of the tropospheric ozone, and the wonders of biomedical engineering - all within the timespan of a quick coffee break. The hundreds of available videos are broken into categories such as Computer Science, Brain Research, and Education, among others. Whether you are looking for an interesting tidbit to add to your lecture on Geoscience or you are simply curious about conservation efforts in Central Africa, there is much to enjoy here. [CNH]
The Cato Institute is a think tank that promotes "principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace." For those looking for a libertarian perspective on a wide range of issues, the Cato Policy Report, published six times a year, will not disappoint. Recent cover stories have included an examination of "Science, Reason, and Moral Progress," by Michael Shermer, the renowned science writer and founder of the Skeptics Society; a treatise on "Why Government Fails and Why Ideas Matter," by libertarian economist Donald J. Boudreaux; and questions an article by counterterrorism expert Christopher A. Preble entitled, "The Most Dangerous World Ever?" In addition to the current issue, readers will enjoy the plentiful archive of issues to browse, all available online and as a PDF. [CNH]
The title of this website says it all. A feature of the iLibrarian blog from the Open Education Database (OEDb), readers will find here a list of over 250 excellent digital libraries and archives. The list is categorized by state; within each state, resources are alphabetized. For instance, the state of Arkansas is home to the Arkansas History Commission Archives, the Arkansas State Library, and the University of Arkansas Libraries Digital Collection. Each link is accompanied by a short annotation describing the resource – the Main State Archives boasts collections of "trademarks, Civil War 'Yarns,' and more." Readers will also find a list of Recent Posts and the Most Popular Posts from the iLibrarian blog, which often focuses its attention on free educational resources, such as open webinars, university courses, and informal learning sources. [CNH]
On Broadway is an epic contemporary art project inspired by classic representations of urban life - from Renoir's paintings of Paris streets to Spider-Man comic books to Edward Ruscha's enormous photography project, "Every Building on the Sunset Strip." But On Broadway is also a unique 21st century creation. Curators collected all of the social media posts related to this narrow 13.5-mile slice of Manhattan over a period of 158 days in 2014, and mashed them together to create an interactive digital installation. What emerged is truly a "people's art" project, a montage of "data layers" composed of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other posts and images related to Broadway's buildings, restaurants, theaters, and streets. The one-minute introductory video is a great place to start, while the Images section includes photos of people interacting with the installation, currently on display at the Public Eye exhibition at the New York Public Library. Fortunately for readers outside of New York, the Application serves as a companion to the in situ exhibit, where readers may interact with the actual art installation in its online, digitized version. [CNH]
If you are in the mood for gorgeous photographs of wide-open spaces, the Grand Teton National Park website will be a welcome find. Selecting the Photos & Videos tab navigates readers to several categories where they can view the Grand Tetons wilderness, including the National Park's Flickr galleries and its Facebook page. However, the real jewel can be located under the Videos tab, where readers will discover a number of beautifully produced films. Each four to five minute clip exhibits a different side of the Grand Teton experience, including weather, lakes, rivers, and other topics. In addition to providing fodder for a family trip to the park, these films can easily be integrated into lesson plans and other educational venues. In addition, tabs to Our Work and News & Events provide an overview of the history and current missions of the park, with its emphasis on education, tourism, and research. [CNH]
This website is loaded with information about landscape architecture projects from around the world. Readers may meander from one project to another by clicking the images for such projects as the Leyteire Square at the Bordeaux University; the Yellow Garden at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona; and links to other parks, malls, streets, and even a rooftop farm. Interesting links can also be found by selecting the Links tab (under Resources), where readers can explore Urban Design Links, New Urbanism, Smart Transportation, and Transit Oriented Development, among others. The Crosswaters Ecolodge, which can be located under the Projects tab, is another fascinating find, as it blends landscape and architecture in the the Nankun Mountain Reserve in Guangdon Province, China. [CNH]
The Muse is a free job hunting service. But it's also much more than that. Since its inception in 2012, the Muse has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, CNN, Bloomberg Television, PBS, and other media outlets. What makes the Muse fresh and interesting? On the website, readers can browse over 2,500 open jobs at companies like Facebook, Zappos, Petplus, and many others. However, the site goes way beyond the ordinary listing service. It also features colorful profiles of each company, which include video interviews with employees, photographs of offices, and rich descriptions of the company culture. In addition, the website provides free training on everything from designing the perfect CV to interview skills to tips on how to choose a career in the first place. [CNH]
The Alabama Department of Archives and History has a simple mission: they seek to "tell the story of the people of Alabama by preserving records and artifacts of historical value and promoting a better understanding of Alabama history." A tremendous amount of information is easily accessible on the website. For instance, readers may like to select the Alabama History Timeline, which navigates to a timeline spanning 10,000 BC to the present. Here readers can select any of the seven categories, such as 1901-1950, for links to interesting moments in Alabama history. For instance, Tallulah Bankhead, star of stage, screen, and radio, was born in Huntsville in 1901. There are many other avenues into the archives, such as Alabama Governors, African American Legislators in Reconstruction Alabama, and U.S. Census Statistics among others. [CNH]
Launched in early 2012, PandoDaily covers the "unique startup ecosystem" of Silicon Valley and its many offshoots around the world. Several key pieces make this online magazine interesting. First, in a tech world that is largely run by men, the founder and editor-in-chief of PandoDaily is Sarah Lacy, an award-winning journalist and veteran of the tech scene. She has written two interesting books about tech entrepreneurship and was a senior editor at TechCrunch. Under her leadership, the coverage at PandoDaily takes on a subtle but important FemTech edge that sheds new light on well-trodden issues like online harassment and the abysmal racial and gender demographics in Silicon Valley startups. [CNH]
Created with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others, the Syriac Gazetteer is a collaboratively built "geographical reference work... for places relevant to Syriac studies." Originally published with 2,000 places, the Syriac Gazetteer is growing continually. To get started, the Gazetteer offers both an A-Z listing of place names and an interactive browse maps feature within the Index section. The About and Help pages also provide support and documentation. The Syriac Gazetteer is published under a Creative Commons license, and its data can be downloaded in several XML formats for those who wish to build additional applications with it. The Gazetteer links to Pleiades (a similar resource for places in the ancient world), Wikipedia, and Google Maps. [DS]
For those readers concerned with Internet privacy, Tails will be a welcome innovation. The free, open-source, live operating system can be used from almost any computer. It runs through Tor, an anonymity network of over 6,000 users from around the world, so that readers can surf the web anonymously without sites picking up their IP addresses or other revealing information. The service makes sure sites leave no trace on your computer, and can also be used to encrypt files, emails, and instant messaging. Downloading the program is as easy as clicking a button. [CNH]
Mailpile provides a "secure way to read, write, and organize piles and piles of email." The service is free and easily downloadable to any computer. Searching is quick and easy; the platform is designed to be fast, even on slow computers. All of your mail is encrypted on your computer so you control your information. The encryption is built in, rather than an afterthought like some other email platforms. In addition, unlike web based email companies, there are no ads. [CNH]
Loneliness and social isolation linked to early mortality
Loneliness Can Be Deadly, Study Says
Why Loneliness Is A Growing Public Health Concern — And What We Can Do About It
You Asked: How Many Friends Do I Need?
Researchers Study "Super Seniors" for Clues to their Longevity
Feeling Lonely Tonight? 7 Strategies to Combat Loneliness
The statistics on loneliness are show stopping: one in five Americans are persistently lonely; loneliness has been linked to depression, anxiety, and suicide; and, despite an increase in social media, loneliness has nearly doubled over the last 30 years. This month Perspectives on Psychological Science published a special issue on the topic of loneliness and what researchers found made headlines around the world. One study showed that persistent loneliness is a bigger killer than obesity. Another zeroed in on the biological underpinnings of the condition. A third examined group therapy, individual therapy, and community interventions, and found all three to be effective interventions for helping the lonely. Now that we know the true impacts of loneliness, researchers think it's time to treat it as a serious public health issue – and for those reading the research, it's almost certainly time to reach out to others and make a connection. [CNH]
The first link takes readers to Medical News Today, which offers coverage of the new studies as well as a call to treat loneliness as a public health risk. The second and third links, from Youth Health Magazine and the Huffington Post, expand the coverage with quotes from researchers and experts in the field. Next, Time's Mark Heid uses Dr. Robin Dunbar's research to ask how many friends we actually need. The answer? Just a few, as long as they are close confidants. The fifth link navigates to a recent article about 'super seniors,' those are older people who stay happy and healthy due to a host of interrelated factors - including staying social, active, and busy. Finally, the last link takes readers to a blog post on how to alleviate loneliness, including suggestions like "nurture others" and "work hard to get your sleep."
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|Catherine Dixon||[CBD]||Managing Editor|
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