The Scout Report
February 28, 2014 -- Volume 20, Number 8
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Online Resources: Anatomy
The Aspen Institute
Irving Penn Archives
Video & Sound Gallery: National Institutes of Health
Imperial War Museums: Google Cultural Institute
National Museum of Mexican Art
Arizona Memory Project
Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States
The oldest piece of Earth is discovered in Australia
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The Stanford Social Innovation Review is a magazine written "for and by social change leaders in the nonprofit, business, and government sectors who view collaboration as key to solving environmental, social, and economic justice issues." Visitors can look on the website for timely articles on nonprofit management, philanthropy, and global issues. The elegance of the homepage makes it quite easy to navigate and a handy search feature makes it easy to locate items of particular interest. A good deal of the content here is available at no charge and users can scroll on over to the Most Read Articles and Most Read Blog Posts to get an idea of where to start. Additionally, a number of webinars are available at no charge, such as the recent, "Data-Driven Strategy in the Social Sector." Visitors can also explore some podcasts that deal with social entrepreneurship and supply chain management. [KMG]
Ashoka was founded by Bill Drayton in 1980 and today it is the largest network of social entrepreneurs in the world. The organization has almost 3,000 fellows who work in 70 countries on a range of projects. On the organization's homepage, visitors can look over seven different sections, including Fellows, Focus Areas, Engage, and Give. Within Focus Areas, visitors can look over projects that include Nutrients for All and Full Economic Citizenship, which work to create lasting and meaningful change across a variety of communities. Also, to get a sense of its work in action, the Video Room contains a number of short oral histories and other videos. For those interested in learning more, newsletter subscriptions are an option. [KMG]
The University of Alberta has several dozen excellent annotated subject guides for use by its academic community. In an act of great benevolence, it has offered up this guide to the world of anatomy at no charge. On this site visitors can browse through over a dozen helpful sites that provide teaching materials, atlases, quizzes, and other materials that will help medical students and health care professionals. Two of the most useful items here are the "Cells Alive!" site and the "eSkeletons Project" from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, users are encouraged to leave their own suggestions for sites that they feel might be an excellent contribution to the site. [KMG]
If you never thought a government periodical could make compelling reading, you should give Amber Waves a look. It happens to be a publication of the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) and it deals with the economics of food, farming, natural resources, and rural America. On its homepage, visitors can look over the Features, Findings & Statistics area, which offers up commentary and more on topics such as food assistance programs, hog farms, and food safety. Visitors can scroll through the area for easy access to a range of thematic materials that deal with everything from the rural economy to best farming practices. It's also worth noting that Amber Waves is available in a variety of formats, including quarterly subscription through iTunes or Google Play. [KMG]
The Aspen Institute brings together policy makers in order to talk about the big ideas that are on the hearts and minds of people around the world. Conversations about sustainability, globalization, and other matters are all in a day's work and meditation for these people and this blog is a great way to enter some of these conversations and engage with some large and compelling discussions. Visitors to the site will find pieces on the minimum wage, public school reform, and the role of community colleges in 21st century America. If looking for a specific topic, there are dozens of headings, ranging from the Affordable Care Act to youth sports, that can be perused. [KMG]
In 1995, the photographer Irving Penn donated his archives to the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). Two AIC departments - the Ryerson & Burnham Library and the Department of Photography - manage the paper and photographic materials in the Penn archive. This website presents a unified view of the Irving Penn Archives, so that prints in the permanent collection can be viewed alongside of materials held in the photographic and paper archives. For example, using one of Penn's more famous sitters, Pablo Picasso, a user can view the portrait "Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, France," 1957; read Penn's notes on portraiture, and his meeting with Picasso; and also see related works such as "Catalonian dancers," shot for a Vogue magazine feature, "Picasso's Barcelona," published in July 1949. [DS]
Visitors with an interest in the operations of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will find much to keep their attention on this site, where visitors can learn about the activities of the NIH director. The current director, Dr. Francis Collins, maintains an ambitious public relations schedule that finds him offering expert comment on a range of health policy matters. Through this video and sound gallery, visitors can watch Dr. Collins speak about new drug testing programs, biomedical research, and healthcare innovation. The clips are arranged chronologically and visitors can also search all of these materials. It's a great way to stay current on key NIH activities and to learn about the direction of this government agency. [KMG]
The first railroad in Massachusetts was chartered in 1826 and since that time the commonwealth has seen dozens of operators expand and contract their operations. Interestingly enough, by 1836 railroad corporations had to submit reports of their activities to the Secretary of the Commonwealth and in 1871 a Railroad Commission was established to oversee these companies. This wonderful digital collection from the Massachusetts State Library brings together dozens of maps, manuscripts, and annual reports related to the operations of these companies. The Maps area is remarkable as it features over 270 maps that document various railroad surveys from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century. Moving on, the Annual Reports area includes over 50 reports from the Public Service Commission that provide valuable insights into railroad operations. The Manuscripts are another great feature, as this section contains a range of acts that document the potential and realized ambitions of a range of small, medium, and large railroad companies, including the Dorchester and Milton Extension Railroad Company. [KMG]
Businesspeople, and anyone with an interest in the machinations of business-related matters, will find much to enjoy at the Business Insider site. The offerings here include long form reports, current news updates, and topical news offerings divided into such themes as Tech, Finance, and Strategy. First-time visitors might wish to get started by looking at the Trending topics, which cover everything from the smart phone market to stock performance updates. Visitors are also welcome to register online to receive special updates, newsletters, and other materials that might be of interest. As a great feature of personalization, there is also an option to receive alerts every time items of particular topical interest are added to the site. [KMG]
Many institutions, such as the Imperial War Museums in Britain, are choosing to partner up with the Google Cultural Institute to host digital exhibitions online. On this corner of its site, visitors can explore different collections, artists, and artworks related to World War One. Currently, there are 78 items in total, including wonderful paintings by John Singer Sargent and Henry Tonks depicting the privations and trials of war. Visitors can view a map of the artworks' geographical locations and also use the site to create personalized galleries. Also, the Sort Function allows users to examine these items in the order that they have been added. This is an especially great feature for returning visitors. [KMG]
Created as part of the Regional Plan Association (RPA), America 2050 is a coalition partner of Transportation For America. As the national infrastructure planning and policy program for the RPA, its goal is to provide consult and leadership on a broad range of transportation, sustainability, and economic development issues. Since its start in 2005, the RPA has published a range of influential policy papers and related documents. From its homepage, visitors can look over recent tweets and then click on over to thematic areas, which include Infrastructure, Megaregions, and Commentary. The Maps area is worth a look, as well, as it includes offerings like "A Phasing Plan for High-Speed Rail" and "Underperforming Regions." Moving on, the Research area contains dozens of intriguing reports, such as "New Strategies for Regional Economic Development" and "Megaregions." [KMG]
Located in the Pilsen neighborhood, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago aims to celebrate the works of Latina/o artists. If you can't get to the actual museum, its site has a range of information about its collections, outreach efforts, and educational programs. The Collections section introduces visitors to the various artworks housed at the museum, such as Folk Art, Photography, and Textiles, and lists contributing artists, appraisers, and detailed information about its Permanent Collection Policy. Moving on, the Education area has some fine resources for teachers who might be visiting the museum without their students, including some digital resources of note. Also, the site includes a listing of special programs, complete with a link to the museum's press room and an area where folks can sign up to join its mailing list. [KMG]
What can you learn about a university from its student newspaper? Certainly it will capture the spirit of the time, the passions of the community, and of course, coverage of gridiron heroes. The Decaturian is one such fine daily and it documented life at Milliken University for many decades. This digital collection brings together issues from 1903 to 1951 and is a rich repository of information about life in central Illinois. The funds for this project came from a grant provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and visitors can perform a search across all of the issues here. New visitors may wish to start their exploration with the March 1906 issue, which features a timely meditation on the academic experience titled, "The Value of Collateral Subjects." [KMG]
The Arizona Memory Project serves as a vast repository of items related to the state of Arizona and its people. It's quite impressive as they have over 100,000 items kindly offered by a range of institutions from around the state. This wealth of information can be a bit overwhelming for first-time visitors who might do well to check out the "Spotlight On" section. Here, visitors can get started with a few select items, such as WPA posters, portraits, and architectural renderings. Folks with a geographical bent may wish to look over the "Where in Arizona?" interactive map where visitors can learn about the Arizona Memory Project's partners, such as the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, and the items they have contributed. Also, visitors can use the Browse function to find items arranged by collection, time period, or topic. Educators shouldn't miss the Teacher Resources and the project's Flickr feed is a great addition, housing a trove of Arizona-related images. [KMG]
The Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) of the University of Richmond has recently created a digital version of a wonderful historical atlas: Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's 1932 Atlas of Historical Geography of the United States. Reproducing nearly 700 maps, this digitization project has enhanced the original collection and added the dramatic functionality of 21st century technology, including an amazing zoom feature. Brave visitors can start directly by Entering the Atlas, while the more cautious can view an introductory video or read over the chapter titles to find specific areas of interest. There is much to peruse, including sections on The Natural Environment and Explorations in the West and Southwest, 1535-1852. A number of maps within these sections, such as "French Explorations in the West 1673-1794," even allow for time-lapse animation. This site is a great find, especially for educators, historians, geographers, and the general map enthusiast. [CD]
So you'd like to invite some friends and colleagues to an event? There are plenty of ways to accomplish this task and the Attending application can handle it with ease. Visitors don't need to sign in but can create their own free event page straight away. As the site notes, the point of this application is to help users "put on any kind of small, free, useful event." It is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
Scissors Fly is a great way to collect and organize pieces of bric-a-brac from around the web. To help you get started, the homepage offers a great demonstration and the Explore feature shows you a beta version of what your scrapbook can look like. It's quite fun to use and interested parties can organize their clippings, edit their boards and share them with others around the world. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
4.4 billion-year-old crystal is oldest piece of Earth
Australian gem is 'oldest piece of Earth ever found'
At 4.4 Billion Years Old, Oz Crystals Confirmed as Worlds' Oldest
Hadean age for a post-magma-ocean zircon confirmed by atom-probe tomography
Zircon chronology: Dating the Oldest Material on Earth
How Carbon-14 Dating Works
Diamonds may be forever, but it appears that a certain zircon has been around at least 4.4 billion years, which is a hefty chunk of time. This remarkable discovery was reported in the journal, Nature Geoscience, this week and the reaction from the scientific community was encouraging. As it turns out, the ancient crystal was found in a sheep ranch in western Australia back in 2001 and it has a translucent red color. Professor John Valley of the University of Wisconsin (the lead study author on the project) remarked that ever since the discovery of this specimen 13 years ago there had been significant debate about its age. In this follow up study, researchers used a technique called atom-probe tomography which allows scientists to image single atoms of lead and determine the isotopic ratio. Valley and his team made some other interesting discoveries as a result, such as noting that the surface of the Earth cooled much more quickly than others originally thought. [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to a great piece on this discovery from CNN's Elizabeth Landau. The second link will whisk users away to a similar bit of coverage, courtesy of The Independent. Moving on, interested parties will find a thoughtful behind-the-scenes look at this story from NPR's Morning Edition. The fourth link will take users to the aforementioned Nature Geoscience journal's site that contains a preview of the scientific article on this discovery. The fifth link will whisk users away to a great article from the American Museum of Natural History on how scientists date zircon. On a related note, the last link leads to a fine explanation of how carbon-14 dating works, courtesy of the folks at How Stuff Works.
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