The Scout Report -- Volume 27, Number 7

The Scout Report -- Volume 27, Number 7
February 19, 2021
Volume 27, Number 7

General Interest

Theme: Conservation

Tech Tools

Revisited

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General Interest

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Penn and Slavery Project
Social studies

Founded in 2017, the Penn and Slavery Project researches the University of Pennsylvania's ties to slavery and scientific racism. In doing so, the project hopes to correct false narratives about Penn's history and create increased accountability and change. The message of accountability is not limited to their campus, either; the project emphasizes "that no colony, state, or well-funded university was buffered from slavery's reach." The project is powered by undergraduate student researchers and designers, with support from faculty and fellows. Readers can explore the students' reports by semester (Fall 2017-Spring 2019) on the Student Reports page. Users can also explore the research by topic ("slave ownership," "finances," "medical school," and "campus"). The project also acknowledges gaps in research. For example, the contributors note that "while the archives provide ample information about powerful white men who helped create the university, the information about the lived experience of enslaved people is much harder to find." For more information about the project and its impact, readers may want to explore the relevant news stories catalogued on the About page. [EMB]

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Robots Reading Vogue
Social studies

Robots Reading Vogue explores the digital humanities (DH) possibilities presented using data from Vogue magazine. Vogue creates a DH bonanza, as it has been "continuously published for over a century," and is "completely digitized," resulting in some six terabytes of data and thousands of covers and images. Several experiments are showcased on the website, including the Diana Vreeland Memo Generator, a project that pulls the text of over 200 memos written by Diana Vreeland (former editor-in-chief of American Vogue) to create Vreeland-esque memos on the fly. Another project, Advertisements in Vogue, looks at the frequency of ads per issue and plots the data on a graph. The interactive charts allow readers to compare the advertising highpoints for companies like Estee Lauder, Tiffany & Co., and Calvin Klein. Robots Reading Vogue is a joint project at Yale University, headed by Associate Director for Access and Research Services at the Haas Arts Library Lindsay King and Director of the Digital Humanities Lab Peter Leonard. [DS]

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Open Book Publishers
Language Arts

At first glance, Open Book Publishers may look like an ordinary bookselling site. What makes the literary hub unique is that it not only publishes books in traditional print and ebook formats, but it also publishes "free online editions of every title in PDF, HTML and XML formats that can be read via our website, downloaded, reused or embedded anywhere." This online format also allows for more interactive texts, as authors can embed images, audio, and more. Readers can browse the latest titles on the home page or sort by categories, including Digital Humanities and Sciences, using the left-hand panel. Educators may want to pay special attention to the selection of Textbooks and Learning Guides. The site also provides information about the submission process and hosts a blog packed with book reviews and other insights. In addition to sales and donations, Open Book Publishers receives financial support from the Polonsky Foundation, the Thriplow Charitable Trust, the Jessica E. Smith and Kevin R. Brine Charitable Trust, and The Progress Foundation. [EMB]

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Black History in Two Minutes (or so)
Social studies

As readers continue to celebrate Black History Month, the Black History in Two Minutes (or so) podcast is a wonderful resource to learn the full scope of U.S. history. The award-winning show explores important people and events from the past and present. These episodes create more accurate depictions of well-studied events such as the Civil War and school integration, while also highlighting prominent figures left out of most history books (for example, a recent episode discusses Oscar Micheaux, the first Black indie filmmaker). The resource is well suited for educators, too; as the name implies, episodes are short and accessible to a general audience. The podcast is executive produced by an impressive team: Robert F. Smith, (Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners); Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University); Dyllan McGee (an Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker and co-founder of McGee Media); and Deon Taylor (film director and founder of Hidden Empire Film Group). Professor Gates also narrates the series. Listeners can subscribe on their favorite podcast platform, including Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Android, and Stitcher. Readers will also find the show on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. [EMB]

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Maps of Home
Social studies

Maps of Home tells the story of growing up and going back. This theme may be relatable to many readers, as COVID-19 led to many relocations and returns. In the piece, author Dylan Moriarty reminisces on the nearly two decades he spent growing up in Janesville, Wisconsin. He later moved to New York, returning to the Midwest mostly for "holiday pop-ins" in the years that followed. A family member's illness caused Moriarty to return to Wisconsin for a longer period of time, and he decided to reflect on his homecoming in this data visualization. The nostalgic prose and engaging visuals make the piece a sweet read, culminating in a memorable line: "It is enthralling realizing that for each of those folk, this lil' dot [referring to map coordinates] blows out to a whole other story." To add an audio element to the piece, users will want to click the "Hover for Companion tunes" button in the right corner. This will initiate a fitting playlist, beginning with the song "Home Again" by Michael Kiwanuka. Maps of Home was created with Mapbox and OpenStreetMap data. Readers who enjoyed this piece may wish to explore the other posts on Moriarty's blog, Moriarty Naps. [EMB]

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Theme: Conservation

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Conservation Biology Institute
Science

Based in Oregon, the Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) collaborates with diverse stakeholders to advance conservation scholarship and solutions. Since its founding in 1997, CBI has supported major projects in the fields of forestry, renewable energy, wildlife risk modeling, and more. Recent accomplishments include collaborating on an international environmental risk screening tool, assisting on a species stabilization project for the Quino checkerspot butterfly, and coordinating a regional rare plant monitoring system. Readers can view a full list of accomplishments and project summaries on the About page. The site also hosts the Institute's Blog (under News and Events), Reports (under Products and Publications), and recordings of their Webinars (also under Products and Publications). Jim Strittholt serves as the Institute's president and executive director, and he guides an impressive team with expertise in various scientific disciplines (including wildlife ecology, software engineering, and botany). To stay up-to-date on the team's activities, readers can subscribe to CBI's mailing list. The button to do so is located at the bottom of the home page. [EMB]

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Learning Session 53: Indigenous Peoples & Community Conservation
Science

Many Indigenous peoples serve as caretakers for the Amazon, as "around 30 percent of Amazon lands are within their territories." This is particularly true for Indigenous peoples in Ecuador, where nearly half of the country's land contains the Amazon biome. This hour-long learning session led by Juan Carlos Garcia, conservation director of WWF-Ecuador, focuses on conservation lessons from this region. Juan Carlos Garcia begins his talk by providing a brief overview of Ecuador's land, people, and economy. Then, he presents two case studies, exploring conservation work through the lens of the Zancudo Cocha community and the Achuar Indigenous Peoples. Finally, he shares several reflections, among them, the importance of prioritizing community knowledge, building relationships between communities and other partners, and considering both environmental and human impacts of conservation work. Though this talk was recorded in September of 2017, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Forest and Climate team continues to produce learning sessions on related issues of sustainability, biodiversity, and conservation. Readers will find these videos by navigating to the main page of the WWF Forest and Climate YouTube channel. [EMB]

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Conservation Biology for All
Science

Though the complete Society for Conservation Biology site was previously featured (check out the 09-17-2004 Scout Report), this free textbook resource supported by the site is worth highlighting independently. Perfect for undergraduate and graduate level courses, Conservation Biology for All curates commentary from leading conservation thinkers, bringing together expert scholarship on a range of relevant topics. The more than 300 pages and 16 chapters explore topics such as the history and future of conservation science (Chapter 1), invasive species management (Chapter 7), and humans' role in sustainability (Chapter 14). A nice feature of the textbook is the Suggested Reading and Relevant Websites sub-sections that conclude each chapter. These suggestions can help professors pull together syllabuses or assist readers interested in digging deeper into a topic. At the link above, readers can download the entire textbook or pick and choose chapters of interest. Conservation Biology for All was published in 2010 and edited by Navjot S. Sodhi and Paul R. Ehrlich. [EMB]

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What Conservation Efforts Can Learn from Indigenous Communities
Science

A recent report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reveals that "nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history." This harrowing statistic is not without a glimmer of hope. Annie Sneed's May 2019 article for Scientific American distills information from the report and highlights one of the key takeaways: Indigenous people, the original inhabitants, owners, and caretakers of land, continue to implement better land stewardship practices than other models. Per the report, "at least a quarter of our planet's land is owned, used, occupied or managed by Indigenous peoples," and a significant portion of that land is "terrestrial areas with very low human impacts." To improve overall conservation efforts, it is crucial to incorporate Indigenous leadership and practices. These practices include: creating species-rich habitats, managing lands through traditional burning techniques, and restoring areas of land degradation. As the article concludes, it is time for a new type of conservation, one "with respect for human rights of the peoples who are living there, who are managing these areas." Readers may also want to browse the IPBES media release and summary of the report itself, linked near the beginning of the article. [EMB]

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Conservation Careers
Science

Those interested in transitioning to a conservation career will want to check out this vocational hub. Dr. Nick Askew directs Conservation Careers, relying on 20 years of conservation sector experience to assist those new to the field. While personalized features of the site require a membership (and a monthly fee), readers can still enjoy many resources for free. For example, navigating to the Advice tab, visitors will find guides, podcasts, and webinars sharing career stories and tips. One such aid is "The Ultimate Guide to 15 Key Conservation Jobs." Here, readers will learn about the breadth of job options in the field, from humanities-based careers that draw on photography and storytelling skills, to science jobs that rely on research experience. Various webinars, videos, and resource links are embedded throughout the guide, making it a comprehensive source of career knowledge. Once users have more confidence in what a conservation career entails, they can dive into the job search process. At this stage, readers may want to check out the conservation job postings on the home page or Jobs tab. [EMB]

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Tech Tools

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Textadept
Science

Textadept is an extensible programmer's editor with a design that focuses on minimalism and speed. Following a pattern similar to the venerable "emacs" editor, Textadept uses a small core written in C that wraps a Lua interpreter that provides a base for building and extending the editor. The author strives to keep the C portion under 2000 lines of code and the Lua portion below 4000 lines of code. In the author's benchmarks, Textadept consumes 15 MB of memory on start up, growing only to 20MB when opening several dozen source files, with negligible CPU usage even when under heavy usage. Despite this small size, Textadept has built-in support for more than 100 different programming languages, a theme system, and an auto-completion system. Extensive technical documentation on Textadept's internal APIs will allow more technical users to customize the editor essentially however they like. The Textadept user manual provides a Getting Started section, followed by a more in-depth description of the editor's various features. The Download section of the Textadept site provides installers for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. [CRH]

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Sigil EBook
Science

Sigil is a cross-platform EPUB ebook editor. It provides full support for the EPUB 2 specification and is currently being extended to support EPUB 3 as well. Sigil itself offers source code editing and a preview view, but a companion application called PageEdit can be installed to also provide WYSIWYG editing features. Sigil is able to import documents from plain text and HTML format, with automatic syntax checking and code cleanup available as optional steps in the import process. The FlightCrew plugin can be used to ensure that the documents produced comply with all the requirements of the EPUB standards. The Sigil GitHub site provides installers for Windows and macOS systems. Linux and BSD users can locate Sigil installers in their system's package repositories. [CRH]

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Revisited

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Conservation 101: A Guide To Land & Water Protection in the US
Science

Conservation and biodiversity preservation are not just the work of scientists; everyone has a role. This primer from the 09-25-2020 Scout Report is a great resource for readers wanting to better understand key considerations and players in the conservation realm.

Newcomers to land use and protection may enjoy "Conservation 101," a comprehensive reference guide compiled in 2015. The guide begins with a brief introduction to public lands in the United States and conservation generally. For example, the Public Land Conservation section includes an outline of "Government Agencies that Manage Public Lands and Affect Environmental Policy." Next, the guide explains the various protective statuses assigned to public land. Readers wondering about the difference between "wilderness" and "wilderness study areas" or "national parks" and "national monuments" will find the answers in this section. The following section shifts to private land conservation, with a focus on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), "a Federal program that was established by Congress in 1964 to provide funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water, and easements on land and water." The guide concludes with an overview of "core environmental laws," including the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. This resource was created through collaboration between The Conservation Alliance, the Outdoor Industry Association, and Outdoor Alliance. [EMB]

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