The Scout Report -- Volume 26, Number 9

The Scout Report -- Volume 26, Number 9
March 13, 2020
Volume 26, Number 9

General Interest

Theme: International Happiness Day

Revisited

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General Interest

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Resource Watch
Science

Resource Watch "provides trusted and timely data for a sustainable future," by compiling global environmental information formatted for a variety of audiences. Readers may want to start on the About page. Scrolling to the bottom, Research Watch suggests what each audience can rely on the website for. For instance, journalists can use it to "access trustworthy data to discover new insights and inform stories," while citizens may use it to "share your findings to inspire action and hold decision-makers accountable." On the Data page, users can explore maps and datasets that compile information on topics such as "Employment in Agriculture" and "Volcanic Eruptions." They can also navigate the "Near Real-Time Data" tool, where users can select a variety of humanitarian and environmental issues and see their effects displayed on an interactive globe. On the Dashboards page, users will find several different subjects, such as Cities and Ocean. After selecting a subject that piques interest, readers are led to a curated resource collection focused on that topic. The Blog page spotlights stories focused on subjects ranging from climate events to global equality. Finally, under Get Involved visitors can suggest a story or dataset and subscribe to Resource Watch's newsletter. Resource Watch is a branch of World Resources Institute and is made possible through a "global partnership of public, private, and civil society organizations." [EMB]

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Lest We Forget
Social studies

Dr. Stuart Lee, Project Leader for Lest We Forget, had a realization: "few people in Britain were unaffected by the [First World] War." This realization inspired the resource, on a mission to preserve and memorialize this history. From photographs to letters to memorabilia, the site features mementos of the War in a way that feels both informative and symbolic. While the online Archive is no longer accepting submissions, users can enjoy the hundreds of items already cataloged. Under Archive, visitors can explore all the catalogued items, use a map to navigate, or Browse by Collection (such as Chesney School Oxford and Faringdon Town Council). The archive also has an advanced search feature, accessible after selecting any of the three previous options, that allows users to filter by class, value, and item set. Additionally, visitors may want to explore other archives mentioned on the site. For example, on the About page on the archive, users will find a link to the Europeana 1914-1918 collection. This project has a similar aim: "to collect material that relates to the Great War and those involved in or affected by it." Similarly, scrolling to the bottom of the Home page, users will find a link to a Cabinet collection, Remembering the First World War in 10 Objects. Lest We Forget is a collaboration between Oxford University, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. [EMB]

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Deafverse
Social studies

Created by the National Deaf Center, Deafverse "is a choose-your-own adventure game," designed to provide deaf teenagers with ideas and tools to help them navigate obstacles they may face in real life. In the game, players are introduced to Catbot (a robot) and several other characters that will be their companions throughout their journey. Players then walk through scenarios where they are tasked with problems and choices intended to build self-advocacy and decision-making skills. All content is available in American Sign Language, English closed-captions, and English audio, and accessibility settings can be adjusted by clicking the "Settings" button in the top right corner. Players will need to create a free account to access the game. In addition to the game itself, users may want to browse the Resources section, which features Player and Teacher Strategy Guides available for free download (including accessible versions). These guides expand on the work of the game and include discussion prompts and activities. The Resources page also features an Accessibility Guide and additional tools for educators. All of the game's content was created by a team of deaf individuals from the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, "a national research center committed to helping deaf Americans succeed after high school." Readers can learn more about the team and their work on the Meet the Team page. [EMB]

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Van Gogh: The Life
Arts

In 2011 Gregory White Smith and Steve Naifeh published Vincent Van Gogh: the Life, adding to the large body of scholarship already extant on the famous Dutch artist. Shortly thereafter the authors published this website, working in collaboration with the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of South Carolina (UofSC), and Elizabeth Petit, Professor of Art History at UofSC and research editor for the book. Although the website is a companion to the book, it does not have to be used in conjunction; rather, it provides supplemental content including more than 28,000 research notes that identify sources, "share the authors' insights and assessments of sources," add Van Gogh biographers and scholars "into the discussion over controversial issues in the literature," and more. Clicking the yellow "Enter" button in the lower right-hand corner will transport users into the world of Van Gogh. From there readers can view these research notes (under Notes), a gallery of family photographs and family trees (under Family Tree), and a collection of Van Gogh's artwork (under Gallery). Readers may also want to check out the People page, where they can learn more about other individuals included in the book. After identifying characters that pique their interest, visitors can return to the Notes page and conduct a search to learn even more. For example, American reformer Jane Addams is mentioned on the list of people and by searching the notes it appears that Addams was an acquaintance of Margot Begemann, a neighbor and perhaps love interest of Van Gogh's. [DS]

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Weather Wiz Kids
Science

Monsoons, microbursts, mesocyclones, oh my! Immerse yourself in the world of meteorology with Weather Wiz Kids. Launched by meteorologist Crystal Wicker, the site is on a mission to introduce children, teachers, and parents to "the fascinating world of weather." To do so, the website divides its resources into four main sections. Under Weather, visitors can learn science and safety facts relating to over a dozen subtopics (such as "Clouds" and "Thunderstorms"). This section also features a Weather Words glossary of relevant vocabulary. Next, under Disasters, users will find resources on major events such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Teachers may want to pay special attention to the Activities subsections (accessible from the left-hand side panels on each natural disaster and weather topic page), as they often include lesson plans. The Experiments page hosts over three dozen activities, each with directions, materials, and a brief description of their purposes. Finally, as the name alludes, the Kid's Zone section is a great place for kids and kids-at-heart, with weather-themed jokes, stories, games, and additional resources. Wondering "What's the difference between el nino and la nina?" or "Why do leaves change color?" You can find those answers (and more) on this page, too, under Kid's Questions. [EMB]

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Theme: International Happiness Day

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The Positive Lexicography Project
Language Arts

Jouissance! Suaimhneas croi! Mechaye! Bazodee! Around the world, there are many ways to express joy, as The Positive Lexicography Project reminds us. This database curates "an evolving index of untranslatable words related to wellbeing from across the world's languages." Words can be explored by theme (such as Relationships, Feelings, or Character) or by Languages (with over 100 included). Each word in the database is color-coded by linguistic origin and includes a brief definition, helping users expand their vocabulary and worldview. For example, under Aesthetics, a subcategory of Feelings, visitors may discover "leggiadria," an Italian word for "loveliness," and "iki," a Japanese word for the principle of "simplicity." Or, under Love, a subcategory of Relationships, readers can delve into expressions of affection, from the Greek "storge" ("care and affection," between family members) to Arabic "ishq" ("true, all-consuming love,"). Select words also link out to other dictionaries and resources. By clicking the "Submit a word" box in the upper right-hand corner, users also have the option of filling out an online form to add their own contributions to the list. The project was researched by positive psychology lecturer Tim Lomas, designed by graphic designer Joana Patrasc, and developed by interface engineer Maynard Russell. [EMB]

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2019 World Happiness Report
Social studies

Now on its seventh edition, the World Happiness Report offers "a landmark survey of the state of global happiness." The 2019 report, edited by John F. Helliwell (Vancouver School of Economics), Richard Layard (London School of Economics), and Jeffrey D. Sachs (Columbia University), centers on "how happiness has been changing over the past dozen years, and how information technology, governance, and social norms influence communities." The Report explores these themes through seven chapters, respectively titled: Happiness and Community: An Overview, Changing World Happiness, Happiness and Voting Behaviour, Happiness and Prosocial Behavior: An Evaluation of Evidence, The Sad State of US Happiness and the Role of Digital Media, Big Data and Well-Being, and Addiction and Unhappiness in America. Readers have the option of downloading the full 136-page report in PDF form or exploring individual chapters (by clicking "Explore the Report" and then navigating the chapter hyperlinks on the right-hand side of the webpage). Readers can also explore the previous six World Happiness Reports under Read the Reports. The FAQ page includes additional content about the report's creation, such as how the data was calculated and how benchmarks were set. Finally, the News page may be of interest to readers looking for the latest stories on global happiness. The World Happiness Report is a collaboration between the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Ernesto Illy Foundation. [EMB]

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I am a Work of Art
Health

I am a Work of Art is both the title of this resource and the prompt given to young artists tasked with creating a piece reflective of the sentiment. As a result, the American Art Therapy Association curated a digital collection of hundreds of pieces, ranging in form from paintings to sculptures, that all demonstrate "the important role of art and creativity in mental health, wellness, and social-emotional well-being." Readers can view the collection in its entirety, or sort the pieces by age level by clicking the respective links under the introductory paragraph at the top of the page. The content is sorted into two groups: pre-K and elementary student submissions and middle and high school student submissions. While the collection was created in 2017, readers who are interested in further exploring a link between art and well-being may enjoy other resources on the site, such as the Story Library or Art Therapy in Action video series, both found under the About Art Therapy tab. The American Art Therapy Association is a nonprofit organization for art therapists, a profession that seeks enrichment through "art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience." [EMB]

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The Science of Happiness
Health

"What makes [you] happy?" When asked this question, interviewees on The Science of Happiness podcast gave varied answers, including "sunny days, no stress, music, and community." This question is one of many explored through the podcast, which is produced by Public Radio International and the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. The podcast is on a mission to help listeners "learn research-tested strategies for a happier, more meaningful life, drawing on the science of compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, and awe." Hosted by Dacher Keltner, a renowned psychology professor, episodes include conversations, experiments, and special guests that help listeners understand and cultivate happiness in their lives. Topics covered range from "How To" guides such as "How To Be Less Hard on Yourself" (Episode 54) to guests sharing advice on "awkward relationships" (Episode 27) and "express[ing] gratitude" (Episode 32). Since the inaugural episode in February 2018, the series has grown to 5 seasons and over 50 episodes. These episodes are around 20 minutes in length, making it a perfect listen for a short commute. Listeners can find all of the episodes on podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Google Play, or via this link, where they can also read the full transcripts. [EMB]

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Action for Happiness
Health

As the Dalai Lama proclaims, "happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." Learn about actions you can take to amplify happiness on the aptly named resource, Action for Happiness. The resource "bring[s] together like-minded people from all walks of life and help[s] them take practical action, drawing on the latest scientific research…from diverse fields including psychology, education, economics, and social innovation." On the Actions page, readers can browse over 50 of these action items, from long-term goals such as "Find your true purpose," to short-term events like "Organise a party in your street." After clicking on an action item, readers will find additional content such as a rationale for that action, steps to success, and a resource list. Those looking for guidance on small "daily actions" they can take may want to download a monthly "Action Calendar" from the Calendars page. On the 10 Keys page, readers can explore the acronym "GREAT DREAM," used to represent "ten keys to happier living:" Giving, Relating, Exercising, Awareness, Trying Out, Direction, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance, and Meaning. Readers looking for in-person resources may want to explore the Course, Events, and Cafes pages, while educators should check out classroom resources on the School page. Finally, tech-savvy readers can download Action for Happiness's app, with personalized daily content. Of note, the app is designed for UK time zones and may not be as effective elsewhere. [EMB]

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Revisited

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Flowing Data: What Makes People the Most Happy
Social studies

We last featured this dataset in the 09-14-18 Scout Report, and it remains a great resource to return to if you are looking for statistical analysis that will make you smile.

From FlowingData (featured in the 1-22-2016 Scout Report) comes "What Makes People the Most Happy," published in June 2018. Here, statistician Nathan Yau analyzes "a corpus of 100,000 happy moments" created when researchers at MIT, the University of Tokyo, and Recruit Institute of Technology asked 10,000 people to each list 10 happy moments. Yau used natural language processing to break the responses down into basic subject-verb-object components, then examines these for patterns. The results showed that while most of the happy moments featured the self as the main subject (e.g. "I got a new car"), many happy moments stemmed from others (e.g. "My husband made dinner for our family") or were felt on behalf of others (e.g. "My best friend got his old job back"). Yau's lighthearted textual analysis includes visual representations of the different categories under consideration, as well as notes on how he analyzed this dataset and links to related FlowingData articles.

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