The Scout Report
April 24, 2015 -- Volume 21, Number 16
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
AACC: 21st Century Center
Nature Outlook: Cancer
The Bread and Roses Strike of 1912
SparkNotes: Math Study Guides
Entomology and Nematology: Featured Creatures
TED Talks: Mental health for all by involving all
MacArthur Foundation: What We're Learning
Van Gogh Museum
U.S. Supreme Court Media
Brookings Institution YouTube
Faultline: Earthquake History and Science | Exploratorium
Is it Time to Put a Woman on the $20 Bill?
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The mission of Arkive, a British nonprofit, is to educate readers about biodiversity and conservation. This section of the the larger Arkive site focuses entirely on birds. Here readers may explore thousands of species listed in alphabetical order. Each record consists of a description, as well as photos, videos, and notes on biology, habitat, and threats. For example, the Arkive site tells us that the Abbot's booby (Papasula abbotti) is "a large slender-bodied, black-and-white seabird" that breeds on Christmas Island and lives on a number of islands in the Indian Ocean. In addition to scrolling alphabetically, readers may refine their searches to various conservation statuses and topics, including geographies, newly discovered species, and the effects of climate change. This is an excellent resource for educators teaching biology and conservation, as well as anyone interested in biodiversity. [CNH]
This excellent website from the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) provides a range of thought provoking articles, discussions, and reports. Beyond scouting the homepage, which features some of the site's Latest Stories and Latest Opinions, readers may search by Topics, Recommendations, and Resources. Topics include relevant examinations of Completion (how to help students complete degrees and certificates), College Readiness, Opinions, and other topics. The Resources tab is also packed with helpful research, toolkits, videos, and webinars that can be read or watched online for free. The AACC 21st Century Center is a hub of information for educators, parents, and students interested in community college education. [CNH]
This special supplement to the international weekly science journal, Nature, tackles the latest advancements and findings on the medical treatment of cancer. Are we closer than ever to finding a cure for cancer? Will it come from nanotechnology or bioinformatics or some other field entirely? This special issue is divided into two equally fascinating sections, Outlook and Collection. For readers looking for a quick but learned look at what cancer is and how it functions, Herb Brody's excellent introduction can provide some orientation to the special section. From there, the Outlook section hosts a number of readable articles that broadly examine the topic from a range of angles, such as the contribution of statistics to our understanding of cancer, the role of prevention in treating cancer, and a look at cancer in the developing world. The Collection section then offers rigorous peer-reviewed literature on cancer treatment. [CNH]
When thousands of mill workers went on strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts in the early winter of 1912 to protest wage cuts, no one knew that the the slogans, songs, and peaceful protests of these mostly immigrant strikers would inspire generations of labor organizers. This online Exhibition from the Digital Public Library of America commemorates the bravery and boldness of the strikers with well researched text and compelling photographs. Readers may start by selecting one of six themes: Lawrence: An Industrial City, A Worker's Life, The Strike, The Strikers and their Allies and Adversaries, Mobilizing Beyond Lawrence, and The Strike Ends, A Legacy is Born. Each section is packed with photographs and historical facts. For educators teaching labor history, or for anyone interested in the discourses and actions that led to improved working conditions in the United States, this exhibition will delight and edify. [CNH]
While many English teachers might consider Spark Notes a distraction and a bane, it turns out that the Math section of this well-known tool's website offers some excellent resources for everything from pre-algebra to relatively advanced calculus. Students who are in need of some easy to follow math tutoring may find the site especially helpful. Selecting any of the several dozen sections on the main page navigates to an in-depth treatment of that topic. For instance, the Operations area under Pre-Algebra opens to a General Info Section and then eight different topics (Order of Operations, Problems, Properties of Addition, Problems, etc.), each featuring step-by-step explanations. While the math presented here is clearly best learned with a good teacher and a great textbook, the SparkNotes site proves surprisingly helpful as a supplement. [CNH]
The Entomology and Nematology Department at the University of Florida has teamed with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to produce this incredible encyclopedia of insects, nematodes, arachnids, and other organisms. Readers may search by Common Name, Scientific Name, Crop or Habitat, Higher Classification, or Recent Additions to find the creature of choice. While the site's concentration on Florida-based creatures may seem limiting at first, the sheer complexity and diversity of organisms listed here will likely keep readers glued to their monitors for extended periods of time. For instance, selecting Common Names pulls up a list of hundreds of creatures, listed in alphabetical order, from the admiral ants to zombie flies. Each organism is accompanied by an introduction, distribution, description, life cycle, and other categories of information. [CNH]
This National Science Foundation-sponsored site hosts a range of videos, games, and profiles focused on getting girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects. The message is clearly aimed at pre-teens, with videos featuring girls working on projects that explore subjects like the ecological impacts of bicycles and the physics of solar panels. Videos are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Profiles section of the website looks to five girls as they talk about their love of science, and the games section features three different free online games (AquaBot, Rule the Roost, and Dream Team) that explore basic science subjects in a narrative game format that is designed to keep kids interested. For parents, teachers, and others that work to get girls interested in science, the SciGirls website provides some helpful opportunities. [CNH]
Infotopia is an academic search engine designed for "students, teachers, and especially homeschoolers." Created by Dr. Michael Bell (former chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians) and Carole Bell (former middle school librarian and director of libraries), Infotopia uses a Google custom search to provide accesses to previously vetted websites selected by librarians, teachers, and educational professionals. Rounding out this powerful search feature, Infotopia provides tabs on a series of different topics, from Arts to Biography to Games to Health. Each tab opens up to more subject links, for instance Biography features Biography, Hispanic Bios, and African American Bios. Selecting any of these sub-topics navigates to a page of related external resources, such as African-American Odyssey, Time for Kids: Black History Month, and The Franklin Institute. Readers will also be pleased to find an excellent blog elaborating on teacher-recommended resources. [CNH]
Time magazine recently named psychiatrist and "well-being warrior" Vikram Patel one of The 100 Most Influential People in the world. In this TED talk from June 2012, readers will discover the brilliance, charm, and knowledge that have made him famous. Dr. Patel begins his presentation by outlining the very real health effects of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. In fact, he informs his audience, people suffering from mental illness live, on average, 20 years shorter than their mentally healthy counterparts. He then outlines how severe the problem is in so-called developing countries, where an estimated 90 percent of sufferers don't receive the care they need. From there, Dr. Patel outlines his program, which trains everyday people to administer mental health services, apparently to a very effective degree. This talk is well worth watching for anyone interested in mental health, psychotherapy interventions, and the health policies of developing nations. An interactive transcript of the talk is also available, along with suggested Related talks. [CNH]
In its more than 30 year history, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has given more than $5 billion to "defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society." Along the way the foundation has helped produce a tremendous amount of knowledge in a range of fields. The What We're Learning section of the Foundation's website offers reports, articles, and summaries of some of that knowledge. On the site, readers may scout the resources, which are published about once a week. Articles include treatments of such topics as aging successfully, state spending on substance use disorders, police treatment of Nigerian widows, protecting journalists in Mexico, and many more. [CNH]
The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) functions as a hub for big, bright, interdisciplinary ideas online. The blog section of its website offers an array of thoughtful pieces by HASTAC members. Recent articles have featured an interview with history of technology scholar Cathy N. Davidson on the nature of trust in online learning environments, a first hand account of a course run by the Women's Coding Collective, and a webinar video from a course on teaching and researching with Scalar, a free open-source publishing platform. From the blog, readers may also link to the rest of the HASTAC site, which highlights events (both online and in person), groups, and topics from around the international scholarly community. [CNH]
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam provides the world's largest collection of works by the talented Vincent Van Gogh. On its website, readers may directly travel to inspiring works of art like Almond Blossom and The Bedroom, or they may search the 852-item archives by selecting Collection. One of the more visually inspired offerings of the website, however, comes from selecting Read Full Story under Meet Vincent. From there, readers may scroll through several biographical pages that link out to a letter written in Van Gogh's scrawling cursive, a treatment of the variegated mental associations in his prose, and other tidbits. The Van Gogh seems to set the standard for innovative museum websites with this beautiful and interactive example. [CNH]
The Oyez Project at Chicago-Kent is a phenomenal resource for anyone who wants to understand the workings of the United States Supreme Court. In fact, as multimedia archive, the site "aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October 1955." The site can be scouted in a number of convenient ways. First, readers may simply explore the Latest Stories, which include Weekly Roundups, articles, and analyses of goings on at the Court. For more focused searches, readers may prefer to select Cases and Justices. The Cases tab navigates to every case that has been argued in the Supreme Court, along with a summary and, often, audio files of the oral arguments. The Justices section, on the other hand, provides summaries and rulings of every justice that has served on the Court. In addition, the excellent Tour function provides a DIY tour of the Supreme Court, complete with peaks into the Exterior, the Great Hall, the Courtroom, and the offices of select justices. [CNH]
The Brookings Institution, which conducts research in economics, urban policy, governance, foreign policy, and global economy and development, is often considered the most influential think tank in the world. Now readers can access the big ideas Brookings is famous for in digestible video installments on the Institution's YouTube channel. Recent topics have explored everything from girls' global education to race in America to how to bring back manufacturing in the U.S. Most videos are between one and three minutes long, though some films of speeches and panel discussions can go on for an hour or more. One particularly interesting episode features economist David Wessel's analysis of whether federal taxes reduce income inequality in the United States. The answer? Somewhat, but not much. [CNH]
First mentioned in the April 21, 2006 Scout Report, and significantly revised and updated since, Faultline provides the history and science of earthquakes in an accessible fashion that is appropriate for elementary through high school students and fun for adults. The broad sections of the site remain the same as they were in 2006: Live Eye on the Earth, Great Shakes, Quake Basics, Damage Control, and Active Zone. However, the content has been reorganized and more modern media added. In Active Zone, there's a whole slew of media, from seismic podcasts to earthquake songs. A 40-second video, the same length as the San Francisco Earth Quake in 1906, shows how the buildings on Telegraph Hill shake in an earthquake, using the fun medium of jello sculture. If the link at Faultline doesn't launch, an alternate 2-minute version is provided by the artist who created the sculpture, Liz Hickok, at http://www.lizhickok.com/467760/telegraph-hill-earthquake/ [DS]
Most social networking sites are built and sustained by selling their users' personal information to advertisers. In addition, Facebook and other platforms provide nearly as much space to flashy ads as they do to the work of helping people connect to their friends and family. Ello, which was created by designer and entrepreneur Paul Budnitz and was released in August 2014, seeks to be the antithesis of all that. The social media site does not sell its users' info or host ads. While one wonders how the company will ever make money, the resulting production is refreshingly simple and unflashy, with an artsy emphasis on beauty over profit. Sign up takes only minutes and the only requirement is a working email address. [CNH]
For anyone working with teams of people on multimedia projects, Frame.io provides a way to co-create and co-edit video, photos, audio, documents, and other modalities all in one place. Recently launched, Frame.io operates on the premise that more and more people are working with more complex media programs but are forced to use different platforms for different parts of the same project. So, for example, teams use Vimeo for their video, email for communication, and Dropbox to share files. Frame.io wraps all of the functionalities of those various services into a single well-designed platform. It's fast too - 5x faster than Dropbox. So when users are uploading and sharing large files, there's less lag, which leads to greater productivity. The company offers 2GB of free file storage on a single project that can include up to five collaborators. For larger projects, the paid tiers start at $15 per month. [CNH]
Lawmakers Push Bills Campaign to Put a Woman on the Twenty
Congressman Proposes Putting a Woman's Face on the $20 Bill
Should a woman replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill?
US Senator Says It's Time to Put a Woman on the $20 Bill
Behind the Viral Campaign to Put a Woman on the $20 Bill
Women On 20s
The push to put a woman on the $20 bill got serious this week when House Democrat Luis Gutierrez introduced the “Put a Woman on the Twenty Act.” The proposal came just six days after Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire introduced a similar bill to the Senate. In each case, the bills propose knocking Andrew Jackson’s countenance from its perch on the $20 bill, a place it has occupied since 1928. While the move strikes some as unnecessary and divisive, advocates believe putting a woman on the $20 bill can function as a symbol of the United States’ commitment to equality. As Representative Gutierrez put it, the act could serve as “a powerful statement to my daughters and to young women across this country.” At this point, of course, no one can say what the chances are for an eventual change. However, one thing is certain: if a bill passes, the next big question will be which important woman should take the former president’s place on our currency. [CNH]
The first and second links, from NBC News and Time respectively, provide coverage of Representative Gutierrez’s introduction of the “Put a Woman on the Twenty Act.” The third link, by L.A. Times reporter Samantha Masunaga, offers brief insight into Senator Shaheen’s proposal, along with an overview of Women on 20s, the grassroots effort that seeks to put a woman on the $20 bill in time for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote in 1920. In addition, ABC News offers a more in-depth look at the history behind the possible inclusion of a woman on American currency, while the National Journal features an interview with Susan Ades Stone, the executive director of the grassroots activist organization Women on 20s. Finally, the last link navigates to the Women on 20s website, where readers can learn more about the movement from the organization itself.
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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|
|Samantha Abrams||[SA]||Internet Cataloger|
|Corey Halpin||[CRH]||Software Engineer|
|Yizhe (Charles) Hu||[YH]||Web Developer|
|Cea Stapleton||[CS]||Web Developer|
|Zev Weiss||[ZW]||Technical Specialist|
|Chris Wirz||[CW]||Administrative Coordinator|
|Annie Ayres||[AA]||Administrative Assistant|
|Adam Schwartz||[AS]||Administrative Assistant|
For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout staff page.