The Scout Report -- Volume 26, Number 10

The Scout Report -- Volume 26, Number 10
March 20, 2020
Volume 26, Number 10

General Interest

Theme: Global Water Resources

Tech Tools

Revisited

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General Interest

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Where International Communities Cluster
Social studies

Celebrate the power of diversity with Where International Communities Cluster, a visual dataset showing "countries mapped to the U.S. region with the largest percentage of its immigrants and expatriates among the total population." Users can browse this data in two ways: searching by country on the left-hand side panel (where the over 100 countries included are sorted alphabetically), or exploring by state directly on the map (the buttons in the top right corner allow for easy zooming and navigation). The data reveals interesting international revelations. For example, Columbus, Ohio is home to many immigrants from Algeria, while Columbus, Indiana is home to many immigrants from Spain. Readers curious about how Ilia Blinderman and Izii Carter (from the digital publication The Pudding) created this project can click the "How we made this" link in the lower right-hand corner to learn about the method used to turn IPUMS census information into this interactive dataset. [EMB]

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Carnegie STEM Girls: Do It Yourself Science
Science

From homemade bath bombs to toothbrush-and-rubber-band robots, the Do It Yourself Science collection from Carnegie STEM Girls has over three dozen at-home experiments for aspiring scientists. The experiments show that "you can demonstrate cool scientific principles and test out your ideas with everyday objects found all around you." Each experiment is accompanied by a materials list and set of instructions, and most also feature additional content. For example, the "Edible DNA" experiment links to information on related careers in biology and neurobiology, while the "Scribble Bots" experiment includes a couple of electricity-themed fun facts. A project of the Duquesne Light Co. Center for STEM Education and Career Development, Carnegie STEM Girls aims to help "girls recognize that STEM topics and careers are pretty cool." In addition to the resources highlighted, the site hosts other tools for students, parents, and teachers including She's Livin' It!, which profiles women in STEM careers, and Careers A-Z, which provides information on many STEM and STEM-adjacent career paths. [EMB]

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The Drunken Odyssey Podcast
Language Arts

An episode a day keeps the writer's block away – or, at the very least, The Drunken Odyssey ("a podcast about the writing life,") provides insights on the writing process that may get you one step closer to putting pen to paper. Hosted by author John King, the podcast promises "eclectic interviews with writers from a variety of genres..[and] features discussions of all aspects of the writing process…[including] the scrawled notes and tortured drafts that lead writers there." Episodes are typically an hour long and can be streamed via the above link, as well as on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. On the website, listeners will find various ways to search for episodes. A tab at the top of the page links to the "Podcast Episode Guide," which catalogs the over 400 episodes. Additionally, the left-hand side panel has a chronological archive, as well as a list of categories that sort episodes by theme, from "Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart" to "Literature of Florida." As an added bonus, readers may want to check out the "Literary Memes" tab at the top of the page, where you may find a smile and a spark of inspiration. [EMB]

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USDA: FoodData Central
Science

Food Data Central is an excellent resource for those interested in health and food-science research. Published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the website includes "five distinct data types that provide information on food and nutrient profiles." Readers may want to begin on the About Us section, which includes information about the five data types. For example, Foundation Foods consists of nutrient composition for a wide range of foods and ingredients, while Experimental Foods provides links to relevant agricultural research data from multiple sources. The other three data types are: Standard Reference Legacy Release, Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies 2013-2014 (FNDDS), and USDA Global Branded Food Products Database. A useful search bar is available both on the center of the Home page and on the left-hand side of the screen when visiting other pages. Search inquiries include all five data types, and the results list indicates where each individual search result originated. For example, searching "mochi" brings 1 hit from FNDDS and 87 from the Branded Food Products Database. Users should note that limited search features and results are available when conducting a search on a mobile device. [DS]

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Mind Field
Social studies

Readers interested in exploring psychology and human behavior may enjoy Mind Field. Launched in 2017, this YouTube series examines the psychology of our senses, memories, and feelings by bringing in real subjects to test theories in an attempt to "reveal some of the most mind-blowing, significant, and least-understood aspects of the human psyche." With a mixture of social experiments and scientific explanations, the series has the vibe of a reality show that you can trust – making it a fun and engaging way to learn about complex psychological processes. For example, the "Touch" episode features experiments with pain placebos, testing whether the anticipation of pain causes someone to feel a false sense of pain. And, the "Do You Know Yourself?" episode examines how memories can be manipulated. The show is hosted by Michael Stevens, an educator and entertainer with a background in psychology. As of this write-up, there are 3 seasons totaling 24 episodes. Most episodes are around half an hour in length. [EMB]

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Theme: Global Water Resources

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Beneath the Waves
Science

Craving a coral reef adventure from the comfort of your computer screen? Beneath the Waves is for you! This award-winning documentary "explor[es] one of Australia's most unique, spectacular and mysterious marine environments: the Kimberley." As highlighted in the resource, over half of all terrestrial life exists beneath the ocean surface. Clicking the "Begin" button allows viewers to explore this first-hand – taking a virtual deep dive into "one of the most intact large tropical marine ecosystems left today." Seven chapters of embedded clips guide you through virtual adventures with a team of researchers as they explore aquatic life and explain the challenges and triumphs of their work. Along the way, readers will encounter everything from crocodiles to crustacean specialists and unlock additional content that provides an in-depth look at some of the species mentioned. Viewers also have the option of clicking the "View Map" button in the top-right corner to search the collection at their own pace. The documentary is a project of the Western Australian Museum and was directed by Sam Bodhi Field and produced by Alice Ross. [EMB]

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Circle of Blue
Social studies

Award-winning journalism nonprofit Circle of Blue coined the phrase, "where water speaks" – and rightly so. From breaking headlines to daily and weekly newsletters and all podcasts and programs in between, Circle of Blue serves as a resource hub for the intersection of "water, food, and energy in a changing climate." Under the WaterNews tab, readers can explore "The Daily Stream" (a daily post on the latest water topics), subscribe to the weekly newsletter, and read up on other prominent stories. Those who prefer auditory learning may want to check out "What's Up With Water," a weekly podcast found on the Water Podcasts page. The Features section surveys particular areas of interest, such as "Water and Climate" or "Water and Financial Risks." On the Zeropolis page readers will find a new initiative that "highlights cities across the globe that are grappling with severe water shortages." Under HotSpots H2O readers will find information on the "changing, often stressed global waterscape." Similarly, the Choke Point section highlights case studies of agricultural regions stricken by water scarcity and contamination. Readers may want to read the Choke Point: Index section before diving into the specific studies. Finally, the Convenings page includes audio recordings and transcripts from past water-related speakers and events. [EMB]

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The Deep Sea

Produced by "creative coder" Neal Agarwal, The Deep Sea, "an interactive visualization of the ocean," takes users on an educational and entertaining journey into marine depths. It is a long scroll from the surface to the "deepest point in the ocean reached by humans," but with over one million views, users have certainly found the virtual journey worthwhile. In the first 100 meters, readers will encounter recognizable creatures such as manatees and clownfish. Killer whales come into frame just past 100 meters, as do sea lions, bull sharks, and sea turtles as you approach "The Twilight Zone." At 332 meters you have made it to "the deepest [point] any human has ever scuba dived," an accolade achieved by Ahmed Gabr in 2014. You have probably heard of snow angels, but what about sea angels? You will discover these creatures in the mid-400s (spoiler alert, they are described as "majestic sea slugs that use wings to propel themselves,"). Fast forward to 3,800 meters for a quick history lesson as you reach the Titanic's "final resting place." Then, in 4,000s, search for the fangtooth fish (it looks as scary as it sounds). At the end of the journey, you will reach "Challenger Deep" – the deepest part of the ocean reached by humans, namely Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh, who journeyed nearly 11,000 meters below the water's surface in a submarine. [EMB]

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Water Dialogues
Science

Concerned about the erasure of indigenous voices in water management practices, Water Dialogues "explores our conversations around the need to bring our diverse knowledge systems together to address the complex and increasingly critical water issues we face today." The three-chapter podcast (which is available at the link above to stream as individually parts, or as one full episode) was created by Lindsay Day as a part of her Master of Science thesis at the University of Guelph. Day worked in conjunction with a larger project exploring "methods and models for effectively and equitably implementing Indigenous and Western knowledge in water research and management in Canada," which included holding two Water Gatherings, collaborative meetings organized to bring together diverse ideas on water management. Conversations from these gatherings, as well as additional interviews, are included in the podcast. Interested readers may also enjoy Day's full thesis, "Reconciling How We Live With Water: The Development and Use of a Collaborative Podcasting Methodology to Explore and Share Diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Perspectives," which is available for free download following the link embedded in the About section. [EMB]

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World Water Day: Must-Watch Documentaries
Social studies

Grab your popcorn and prepare for a water system world tour with "World Water Day: Must-Watch Documentaries," a list from the Al Jazeera news network. The list features eight documentaries, representative of four continents and four major themes: gender-justice in water systems, disaster relief and prevention, environmental degradation, and aquatic research and exploration. For example, Senegal's Sinking Villages explores how rising sea levels impacted villagers, while Kenya's Water Women discusses the disproportionate effects of water policies on women in Kenyan communities. In China's Underwater Hunt, you will meet Zang Yi, "China's first female deep-sea submersible pilot," and in The Colorado River: A Lifeline Running Dry you will learn about political power struggles over water usage and control. The documentaries are embedded in the list for easy viewing, and all of them are less than an hour in length – perfect for educators to use as a lesson plan for World Water Day, or for interested readers to binge watch in honor of the holiday. [EMB]

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Tech Tools

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rsnapshot
Science

Rsnapshot is a utility that maintains a set of automatically rotated backups. For example, it can be configured to keep hourly backups for the past day, daily backups for the past week, weekly backups for the past month, and monthly backups for the past year. The specific number and timing of backups is completely configurable by the user. In creating these backups, rsnapshot makes extensive use of hard links so that space is only consumed by files that changed between backups. Files that did not change between backups all refer to the same underlying data on the disk. In addition to backing up local drives, rsnapshot is also able to back up files from any remote system reachable via an SSH connection. The rsnapshot FAQ also provides an example of how a Linux machine running rsnapshot can serve as a central backup server for a network of Windows machines. Rsnapshot is free software, distributed under the GNU General Public License, with source code available on GitHub. Users of major Linux and BSD systems can find rsnapshot in their system's package manager. Users of macOS can install rsnapshot using MacPorts, Fink, or Nixpkgs. Windows users can install rsnapshot via Cygwin. [CRH]

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Marble
Science

Marble's developers describe it as a "virtual globe and world atlas." Marble uses OpenStreetMap to provide street maps, satellite maps, and topographic maps. It also pulls in data from other public sources to provide a number of data layers including real time weather, cloud cover information, earthquake measurements, real time traffic, and more. Marble can also display educational and historical maps as well as maps of other planets. It also incorporates a number of routing and navigation tools like car, bike, and pedestrian navigation with turn-by-turn directions. Marble is free software, distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public License, with source code available under the Developers section of the website. In the Install section of the Marble site, users can locate installers for Windows and macOS systems as well as instructions for how to install Marble on most common Linux distributions. [CRH]

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Revisited

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International Water Law Project
Social studies

The International Water Law Project was last featured in the 10-26-18 Scout Report. Since that issue, the resource continues to add relevant water law and policy materials, including a new blog post on the UN Watercourses Convention.

Access to fresh water is a fundamental need of every society. As such, international law and policy have become involved to help maintain the quality and quantity of water resources and balance access to them among all interested parties. The International Water Law Project provides readers with comprehensive information on the subject, featuring full texts of the major diplomatic agreements, including United Nations agreements regarding international watercourses and transboundary groundwater aquifers, treaty drafts, and regional agreements organized by continent. This resource also includes a section on international case law, a helpful list of transboundary water management organizations, an extensive bibliography, and a list of related websites. Readers may also want to check out the International Water Law Project's blog, where they will find thoughtful essays by legal scholars from around the world on various aspects of water law, with blog archives dating back to 2009. The International Water Law Project is created, directed, and actively maintained by Gabriel Eckstein, Professor of Law at Texas A&M University.

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