The Scout Report -- Volume 21, Number 26

The Scout Report -- Volume 21, Number 26

The Scout Report

July 10, 2015 -- Volume 21, Number 26

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




Research and Education

  Teaching Structural Geology in the 21st Century: Visualizations
  Free Computer Tutorials at GCFLearnFree
  Reporters Without Borders
  Civil Rights Data Collection
  National Student Clearinghouse Research Center
  It's No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons
  The Poetry Foundation: Learning Lab: Teacher Specific Resources
  National Geographic: Atlas Explorer

General Interest

  The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum
  Westchester County: Digital Collections
  Frontiers in Psychiatry
  Podcast Archives: Buddhist Geeks
  Mosaic: The Science of Life
  The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values
  MoEML: The Map of Early Modern London

Network Tools

  Google URL shortener
  Easel.ly

In the News

  Aging, Anti-Aging, and the Quest to Stay Healthy in the Long Run



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Research and Education

Teaching Structural Geology in the 21st Century: Visualizations

·http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/structure/visualizations.html

For college professors looking for engaging activities that will instill the basic constructs of structural geology, these visualizations will provide welcome sustenance. Topics include Orogeny, Uplift and Erosion, Isostasy, Maps and Mapping, Folds, Faults, and Shear Zones, Sandbox Movies, Microstructures and Fabric, and Stress and Strain. Within each topic area there are a number of visualizations that may be integrated into undergraduate classes and projects. For example, within Uplift and Erosion readers will find a depiction of the Plio-Pleistocene tectonic shortening of the Transverse Ranges in California, as well as a visualization that "shows a cut-globe view of the continental collision between India and Eurasia from 60 million years ago to present." Anyone with an interest in geology and the earth sciences will find much to enjoy on the site. [CNH]


Free Computer Tutorials at GCFLearnFree

·http://www.gcflearnfree.org/computers

The Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF) offers numerous online courses as a way to help users learn the essential skills needed for living and working in the 21st century. Here, readers will find a compendium of courses designed specifically for users who don't quite feel comfortable in the world of Computers. Each course is broken down into easily understandable lessons. Readers may progress at their own pace, building knowledge along the way. Courses include Computer Basics, a Mouse Tutorial, a Typing Tutorial, Internet 101, Internet Safety, and others. The Internet Safety course is an especially helpful tool. In it readers learn about passwords, how to spot email spam, strategies for staying safe while browsing, the do's and don'ts of financial transactions, and even how to deal with online harassment. In all, the lessons on the site can serve readers who are complete newcomers to the world of computers, as well as those hoping to hone their skills. [CNH]


Reporters Without Borders

·http://en.rsf.org/

For educators designing lesson plans on journalism, the Reporters Without Borders site can offer insights into the lives of journalists working around the world. Readers may browse the site according to region, including information on Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe/Ex-USSR, and Middle East/North Africa. Selecting any of these tabs triggers a drop down menu of respective countries. Selecting any of the countries navigates to an archive of all the articles published about that country written in the past decade or so. Other important features of the site include a World Press Freedom Index, which evaluates each nation on a number of variables to assign them a yearly ranking. In the 2015 rankings,for instance, Finland was found to be the most powerful proponent of a free press in the world, while the United States was ranked number 49, after South Africa, Samoa, El Salvador, and many other nations. [CNH]


Civil Rights Data Collection

·http://ocrdata.ed.gov/

The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) has been collecting vast swaths of data about "key education and civil rights issues" in schools around the country every other year since 1968. The results are available on this fact-filled website, which will come as a boon to data lovers, education researchers, teachers, principals, and others with an interest in how the United States has faired in its attempts to make its school systems more equitable and inclusive. There are a number of ways to search the site. Readers may like to start with the School & District Search. Here they may choose a school name, school district, city, street address, or other information to access detailed and specific data on Student Enrollment, Staffing and Finance, and other fields. [CNH]


National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

·http://nscresearchcenter.org/

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has been gathering data on colleges and universities for over 20 years with the goal of "enabl[ing] better educational policy decisions leading to improved student outcomes." There are plenty of fascinating projects to scout right on the home page, which is continually updated as new reports are released. These reports span four broad categories: Signature Reports, which provide national data about students' experiences; Snapshot Reports, which periodically investigate enrollment trends; Term Enrollment Estimates, which are released in the fall and spring and offer timely estimates of postsecondary enrollments; and High School Benchmarks, which review high school-to-college transition rates for high school graduates. Recent publishings have explored spring 2015 term enrollment, persistence among students enrolled in four year colleges, and other topics. [CNH]


It's No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons

·http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/activities/political-cartoon/resources.html

Political cartoons can be sophisticated, incisive, and, above all, persuasive. What is it that makes these commentarial artworks so impactful? This activity from the Library of Congress is designed to bring the nuts and bolts of political cartoons to life in the classroom, offering up a number of representative works and analyzing their contents. Readers may like to start with the overview before moving onto About This Activity, which clarifies a few basic constructs before outlining how to integrate the activity into the classroom. The Cartoon Analysis Guide outlines the key elements of a well-composed political cartoon, such as symbolism, exaggeration, labeling, analogy, and irony. Of special interest, the Learn More About Political Cartoons section features audio commentary on several classic cartoons, courtesy of Sara W. Duke, of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Divison. [CNH]


The Poetry Foundation: Learning Lab: Teacher Specific Resources

·http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/resources#teacher

The Poetry Foundation is one of the web's most trustworthy sources for all things poetry, and this extensive list of free teacher resources is no exception. Here educators will find a wide variety of helpful lesson plans, information, course materials, assessment advice, activity ideas, insights and techniques, and other opportunities and tools. For instance, one link will take readers to lesson plans corresponding to the popular Favorite Poem Project, while another navigates to the WEB English Teacher site with dozens of activities organized in alphabetical order. While a few of the links need to be updated, this list can provide hours of ideas for poetically inspired classrooms. [CNH]


National Geographic: Atlas Explorer

·http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/map/atlas

These atlases from National Geographic will bring geography lessons to life for students of every grade and level. With zoomable maps of Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America, the United States, and the world's oceans, this collection is both informative and expansive. Within each category, users may switch between geopolitical and geophysical maps to experience varying perspectives on the shifting boundaries of national lines, as well as the corresponding rivers, mountains, and other landmasses that often define and contextualize human events. In addition, the Human Footprint function, which can be found under Africa, maps the impact of human beings on the fast-developing continent, with explanatory blurbs signaling points of interest from the Nile to the Cape of Good Hope. [CNH]


General Interest

The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum

·http://www.rgm.lv/

This elegant and moving site from the Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum tells the stories of six survivors of the Holocaust. By putting a human face to the horrific numbers - between 1941 and 1945 more than 70,000 Jews and Roma were murdered in Latvia - the site brings the realities of life and death in the Latvian ghettos into startling focus. The experiences of these individuals, told through poignant combinations of image and text, include a dockworker who saves Jews from certain death, a Jewish woman who carefully records her experience for later testimony to the Allied forces, and a young boy who survives the concentration camps to find a new life in America. Readers are encouraged to scout the MAP tab on the landing page, where Google Street View images from present-day Riga are juxtaposed with images and oral histories that recount the experience of the Ghetto, street by street. In all, these innovative features work to bring this terrible period to life with the words of those lucky enough to live through it, and bring a sobering new perspective to one small piece of an international human tragedy. [CNH]


Westchester County: Digital Collections

·http://archives.westchestergov.com/digital-collections-main

Westchester County, which consists of 48 municipalities spreading out along the Hudson river north of New York City, has a written history that stretches back to the visits of Giovanni da Varrazzano and Henry Hudson in the 16th and 17th centuries. These digital collections from the Westchester County Archives tap into that cultural and historical richness with a bevy of atlases, historical maps, cemetery records, and photography collections. Of particular interest are the Commissioners of Forfeiture Proceedings, 1784-1786, replete with records of the lands seized from Loyalists during the American Revolution. The John Gass Photograph Collection, which boasts over one thousand images, is also worth perusing, as are the Westchester County Government Annual Reports: Park and Recreation Commissions, 1923-1955 (gaps). The Archives digitizing efforts are well under way, and each of the 21 digital collections have been cataloged using CONTENTdm to make for easy keyword searching. [CNH]


Frontiers in Psychiatry

·http://journal.frontiersin.org/journal/psychiatry

Frontiers in Psychiatry is an academic accomplishment: a high quality, peer-reviewed, open access journal publishing the most outstanding discoveries in the world of psychiatry. Here readers may peruse cutting edge articles in 15 different sections, including Addictive Disorders and Behavioral Dyscontrol, Eating Behavior, Molecular Psychiatry, Neuropharmacology, and others. Over 700 full-length articles make up the well-stocked Archive, including recent publications on a community-based health program for abused children in Brazil, breakthroughs in understanding Tourette Syndrome, and video games for mental health and well-being. Searching for topics of interest is easy and detailed. For instance, "bipolar" returns 22 Articles, 100 Authors, and 11 Research Topics. [CNH]


Podcast Archives: Buddhist Geeks

·http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/category/podcast/

The Buddhist Geeks Podcast first hit the airwaves in 2007. Since then, the series has become a huge hit among tech-savvy Buddhists with well over 350 podcasts in the archives, and even more added every week. Topics run the gamut from virtual reality to mediation to the overlaps and conflicts between Eastern religion and science, but all the episodes orbit the founders' fascination with the interface between Buddhist practice and the ever-expanding connective technologies that define the 21st century. Of particular interest are episode 351, in which JoAnna Harper and Emily Horn speak about inclusivity and diversity in Buddhist communities, and Episode 338, in which philosopher David Loy "presents a social narrative that features a living Cosmos waking up to itself." In addition to the podcasts, there are also several dozen videos, such as the talk "Pain is Not Suffering," by Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal. [CNH]


Mosaic: The Science of Life

·http://mosaicscience.com/

Mosaic is unlike any other online science magazine. With lively and fascinating features on biology and medicine, Mosaic bucks the trend of just about every media outlet on the web and actually encourages the free reproduction and distribution of its articles. Exploring the site is easy. The home page features all the latest stories, which, at the time of this writing were varied, including a look into Kawasaki disease, a rare childhood heart condition; the complexities of facial discrimination; and an exploration of homesickness in the modern world. For readers who would like to delve deeper into topics of interest, the site can be scouted by stories, which are sundry, and topics, of which there are five (Environment, Genetics, Infection, The Body, and The Brain). There is also an excellent weekly podcast. [CNH]


The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values

·http://thecenter.mit.edu/

The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values is not your average think tank. It is collaborative, nonpartisan, and develops research and programs in a a variety of fields, ?from science and technology to education and international relations.? Yet the heart of the center?s work lies in its mission to ?emphasize responsibility and examine meaningfulness and moral purpose between individuals, organizations, and societies." Readers may like to start with Media, where they will find videos of the Dalai Lama speaking, photographs of events and speakers, and a press room with articles from around the web. In addition, Insights from Dalai Lama Center Fellows (which can be located by navigating to http://fellows.thecenter.mit.edu) is an excellent blog where the center?s fellows reflect on everything from health care in rural India to The Pleasure of Figuring Things Out. [CNH]


MoEML: The Map of Early Modern London

·https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/

MoEML, the Map of Early Modern London, uses modern technology to recombine and present centuries-old data in new ways. Based on the Agas Map, a woodblock-printed 16th-17th century bird's-eye view of London, MoEML encompasses four separate related projects: a digital edition of the Agas Map; an Encyclopedia and Descriptive Gazetteer of London people, places, topics, and terms; a Library of digital texts, marked up in TEI, an XML format for text encoding; and a digital edition of the 1598 text of John Stow's A Survey of London. Information is still being added to the MoEML, but it is already possible to start a search at the gazetteer and be referred to more information and a location on the Agas Map. For example, after searching "Tower of London," you can locate the Tower on the Agas Map, be referred to MoEML digital texts mentioning the Tower, and see variant spellings. In addition, there is a list of lines in Shakespeare where mention of the Tower of London occurs, which in turn link to the digital editions of each play. [DS]


Network Tools

Google URL shortener

·http://goo.gl/

The Google URL shortener is as intuitive as it is powerful. Users may paste any web address into the appropriate text box, select Shorten URL, and a shorter, more manageable URL will appear. For instance, "https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/home," which is 49 characters long, becomes "goo.gl/8rrlvp," which is just 11 characters long. Though most users will most likely shorten URLs for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, these concise versions can also be helpful for business cards and presentations, among other possibilities. In addition, the Google URL shortener saves your activity and tracks the number of times the shortened URL is clicked, either in the past two hours, day, week, month, or all time. [CNH]


Easel.ly

·http://www.easel.ly/

To date, 800,000 users have created over one million infographics on Easel.ly. The reason is clear: Easel.ly manages to make the usually tedious and time consuming process of creating engaging infographics relatively simple and efficient. The interface is fairly minimal and user-friendly. Most users will want to begin with a Vheme (template). From there, the site offers fresh options each step of the way, using drag and drop functions to fill out your targeted product. The results look surprisingly professional and can help users present even complex information in streamlined and attractive formats. [CNH]


In the News

Aging, Anti-Aging, and the Quest to Stay Healthy in the Long Run

Study of 1,000 38-year-olds shows 'biological age' ranges from 30 to 60
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/07/07/study-of-1000-38-year-olds-shows-biological-age-ranges-from-30-to-60/

Ageing rates vary widely, says study
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-33409604

Dan Belsky: Duke University
http://sites.duke.edu/danbelsky/

Researchers Study 3 Promising Anti-Aging Therapies
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/researchers-study-3-promising-anti-aging-therapies/

American Federation for Aging Research: Infoaging
http://www.afar.org/infoaging

What it's like to grow old, in different parts of the world
http://blog.ted.com/what-its-like-to-grow-old-in-different-parts-of-the-world/

We all know that biological age and chronological age don't always match up. But the results from a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which assessed the biological age of 1,000 38-year olds, surprised even some experts. Tracking HDL cholesterol, dental health, cognitive function, and other markers of aging, the investigators concluded that the biological age for the participants ranged from 30-years old to a startling 60-years old. Experts say that the findings point to possible early intervention and prevention measures that could stop a number of chronic and acute health difficulties before they start. Taken with recent advances in anti-aging therapies such as enhanced flu shots, blood-enhancing injections, and calorie-restricting diets, new medical technologies could help us age more wisely over the long run. [CNH]

The first two links, from the Washington Post and the BBC, respectively, provide coverage of the study that has recently illuminated the differences between biological and chronological age. The third link navigates to the homepage of Dan Belsky, an Assistant Professor at Duke University and the lead author on the study in question. After perusing Belsky's profile, interested readers may like to select Papers, where they will find the study, "Quantification of biological aging in young adults," (available for free and in full) listed first among the selected publications. Next, Karen Weintraub, writing for Scientific American, outlines three promising anti-aging therapies, and the American Federation for Aging Research website features aging related-articles and information from around the web. Lastly, Jared Diamond comments on what industrialized societies can learn from some tribal communities about how to treat aging and the elderly.





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