The Scout Report -- Volume 25, Number 33

The Scout Report -- Volume 25, Number 33
August 16, 2019
Volume 25, Number 33

General Interest

Theme: World Photography Day

Tech Tools

Revisited

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General Interest

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Canadian Museum for Human Rights: Stories
Social studies

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights, which opened in Winnepeg in 2014, fosters an appreciation for the importance of human rights, spurs informed dialogue and invites participants to identify the contemporary relevance of past and present human rights events, both at home and abroad. As part of this mission, the museum offers dozens of thoughtful and informative stories sharing narratives about current and historical human rights issues both in Canada and around the world. For example, one recent story focuses on how Canadian musicians have engaged in dialogue around various human rights movements throughout the past several decades, while another story centers on the ongoing Rohingya crisis spurred by persecution in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and calls for justice by Rohingya women. Stories are tagged with categories such as civil and political rights and human rights violations, which visitors can use to browse by theme, but it may be easiest to simply view all of the stories and browse them by title. In addition to photos and images, many of the museums stories incorporate videos and suggestions of further reading, and virtually all of the stories include questions designed to encourage reflection and empathy among their readers. [JDC]

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Kakapo Files
Science

The charming kakapo, found only in New Zealand, is a large, flightless parrot with many unique characteristics, such as its nocturnal nature and its slow reproductive rate. The kakapo is also critically endangered, with its current adult population at fewer than 150 birds, but scientists working towards the species recovery are hopeful that 2019 will be a record breeding year. Those interested in keeping up with the latest news about these charismatic birds should check out Kakapo Files, a podcast from Radio New Zealand. Launched in December 2018, this podcast documents the kakapos 2019 breeding season, which, thus far, has featured high points like 42 of this years chicks graduating to become juveniles as well as low points like the outbreak of a respiratory fungal infection that has claimed the lives of several birds. Kakapo Files is hosted and produced by natural history writer and zoologist Alison Ballance, and it frequently features guest appearances by conservationists who work directly with the kakapo. Those interested may stream and download episodes of Kakapo Files at the link above, where they will also find many photographs. Listeners are able to subscribe via podcast platforms such as Spotify, Stitcher, and RadioPublic. [JDC]

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The Pudding: Hipster Summer Reading List 2019
Language Arts

Are you a book lover who prefers to eschew the best seller lists and seek out books that nobody else has heard of? If so, this interactive data visualization from The Pudding may be for you. Here, visitors will find The Puddings creatively named Hipster Summer Reading List 2019, a project that was artisanally crafted by analyzing over 100 million checkout records from the Seattle Public Library to find fiction books that havent been checked out in over a decade. As visitors scroll down the stack of 276 little-read books, which are by default organized alphabetically by title, a menu on the left appears with options to filter and sort the books by vintage (i.e. publication date) and by obscurity. Choosing a title from the stack yields a popup graphic with an image of the books cover (when available), a link to its Goodreads rating (if it has one), and a link to its WorldCat entry so readers can see what libraries near them have it. Published in June 2019, this project was created by Russell Goldenberg and Amber Thomas, who are, respectively, an editor and a senior journalist-engineer at The Pudding. [JDC]

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OpenIntro
Mathematics

Instructors and learners of statistics may be interested in the independent nonprofit OpenIntro, whose mission is to make educational products that are free, transparent, and lower barriers to education. Here, readers will find three introductory statistics textbooks that are well-suited for courses at the high school or college level. Two of them, OpenIntro Statistics and Advanced High School Statistics, were updated with new editions in 2019, while the third textbook, Introductory Statistics with Randomization and Simulation, was published in 2014. All three can be downloaded for free as PDF files, and each textbook also has a variety of supplementary content available, such as data sets, R packages, LaTeX files, online apps, and more. OpenIntro also offers practice labs for several statistical programs: R (and RStudio), SAS, and Stata, as well as numerous videos aligned to different sections of each textbook. Additionally, instructors can register with OpenIntro for free to gain access to extra resources like solutions to even-numbered exercises and sample exams. For anyone interested in learning statistical skills, OpenIntro is a valuable resource. [JDC]

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Will Future Astronauts Need To Worry About Moonquakes?
Science

A study published this spring in the journal Nature Geoscience made headlines with its evidence suggesting that the moon may be tectonically active. Inspired by this new research, this lesson plan from Science Friday asks students to examine seismic data collected by several of NASA's Apollo missions, as well as high-resolution images of the moon's surface that were captured more recently by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC; featured in the 7-19-2019 Scout Report). The students' objective is to use this evidence to weigh whether future crewed missions to the lunar surface need to be concerned about the possibility of moonquakes and to make a recommendation to NASA accordingly. This lesson plan was written with students in grades 6-10 in mind and is estimated to take approximately 1-2 hours. Interested earth science teachers can download the entire lesson plan as a PDF and as a Microsoft Word document. While the majority of the lesson can be completed offline, it should be noted that students will need internet access to view the LROC images. Published in July 2019, this lesson was written by Science Friday's education director Ariel Zych and aligns with several Next Generation Science Standards. [JDC]

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Theme: World Photography Day

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Camera and Locomotive
Social studies

From the Library of Congress (LOC) comes Camera and Locomotive, an interactive story map that explores how "[t]wo defining technologies of nineteenth-century America - railroads and photography - developed largely in parallel and brought about drastic changes in how people understood time and space." Organized into seven chapters plus an introduction, the story map begins in the 1860s with an overview of the construction of transcontinental rail lines connecting Omaha and Sacramento, a feat that was documented by three photographers (Andrew Joseph Russell, John Carbutt, and Alfred A. Hart) whose work became an influential part of the Manifest Destiny narrative. Next, the story explains some of the ideas and events that set this ambitious plan into motion before delving into the biographies of each photographer and their work in turn. This engaging story map incorporates numerous historical photos and images from the LOC's vast holdings, and those interested can follow links back to each item's entry in the LOC's digital collections. Camera and Locomotive was created by Micah Messenheimer, an associate curator of photography in the LOC's Prints & Photographs Division. [JDC]

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Historical Photographs of China
Social studies

Based at the University of Bristol, the Historical Photographs of China project has been digitizing, archiving, and disseminating thousands of photos of modern China since its launch in 2006. The bulk of these photos are from worldwide private collections held outside of China. Because many of the photographic records within China were destroyed during the 1966-1969 Cultural Revolution, these archives may be of particular interest to scholars of modern Chinese history as well as to general audiences. Visitors may like to begin by browsing the Featured Collections, which highlights some of the projects particular strengths, such as the work of the diplomat Fu Bingchang and photos relating to the lives of men who served in the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, and in the Shanghai Municipal Police. The Lucky Dip section, which offers up a random sampling from the archive, is also an excellent way to explore this fascinating collection. This large archive was originally known as Visualising China, but over its first decade the collection grew so much that a new platform was needed, so it migrated to its current web home in 2017. The Historical Photographs of China project is directed by Robert Bickers, a professor of history at the University of Bristol. [JDC]

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Unsplash for Education Collections
Arts

As all students (and instructors) who have ever given presentations should know, well-chosen images can transform dull, wordy slides into engaging works of art. The website Unsplash has been a reliable source of free high-quality photographs since it was founded in 2013, and in July 2019 Unsplash announced its partnership with Instructures learning management platform Canvas as part of its Unsplash for Education campaign. To accompany this, Unsplash has also curated 10 collections of images on themes likely to be relevant to students and teachers, including (for example) math and science; geography; nature; and politics and current events. Each collection offers well over 100 photographs, all of which can be freely downloaded and used for any purpose with no permissions needed. Visitors whose image needs are not met by these collections can search the entire Unsplash database (which contains over 1,000,000 photographs) by using the search bar at the top of the page. [JDC]

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Cambridge in Colour
Arts

For beginning photographers, the transition to a DSLR camera from a simple point-and-shoot or smartphone often comes with a steep learning curve. One resource that can help remedy this is Cambridge in Colour. Here, readers will find an extensive collection of free tutorials and tools created to help new digital photographers learn the ins and outs of this craft. While there are many photography blogs online, Cambridge in Colour strives to provide more permanent, reference-style content that readers can continue to benefit from time and again. Toward this end, its well-organized tutorials typically focus more on concept than procedure, are highly visual and often interactive, and cover each topic thoroughly but concisely, while also aiming to remain as independent of the type of camera or software as possible. A selection of tutorials highlighted as photography essentials, as well as recent additions, are featured on the main page, while the full list of tutorials, links to various calculator tools, and the Cambridge in Colour forums can all be easily located through the sites menu. Cambridge in Colour was founded in 2005 by Sean McHugh, a chemical engineer by training who launched the site while pursuing his PhD at the University of Cambridge. [JDC]

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Harry Ransom Center: Stanley B. Burns, MD Tintypes Collection
Arts

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center (HRC) has a wealth of collections related to the history of photography, many of which are now available online, including the Stanley B. Burns, MD Tintypes Collection. Dr. Stanley B. Burns, who donated the collection to HRC, is a New York City ophthalmologist who began collecting historical photographs in 1975 and established the Burns Archive in 1977. The 121 tintypes, primarily portraits, in the collection at HRC are unique in several ways. First, the images are exceptionally large; the most common size in tintypes is the one sixth plate, or 2.75 x 3.25 inches; many of the Burns collection images are imperial or mammoth plates, larger than 6.5 x 8.75 inches. In addition, the tintypes are hand-colored and are in period frames. For example, a portrait of the 20th U.S. President, James Abraham Garfield has an image size of about 12 x 9.75 inches, with painted skin tone and background, and is in an ornate frame, characterized as Barbizon School. Including this frame, entire piece measures 22.5 x 20.5 inches. Visitors to the site can browse the entire HRC, with options to filter by photography format, subject, date, and frame style. [DS]

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Tech Tools

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Later
Social studies

Later describes itself as a "visual marketing program for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest." It allows users to schedule posts on supported platforms via their computers for a later date. The upcoming scheduled posts can be edited on Later's drag-and-drop Visual Content Calendar. Later can post photos from your phone, desktop computer, Google Drive, or Dropbox. The Help Docs item located under More on Later's site leads to detailed instructions including Getting Started guides, video tutorials, an FAQ list, and more. Under Training users can locate materials to help them make more effective use of their social media (especially Instagram), including free courses, training guides, downloads (such as templates, worksheets, and flowcharts), as well as case studies. Later's free tier allows users to schedule 30 posts per month across all supported platforms. Additional monthly posts and other premium features are available with a monthly subscription. [CRH]

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Pet
Science

Pet is a simple command-line snippet manager that can be used to govern a library of shell commands. Users are able to give each stored command a name and a description, making Pet particularly helpful for rarely used or more difficult commands. The Pet site offers the following command as an example: 'echo | openssl s_client -connect example.com:443 2>/dev/null | openssl x509 -dates -noout'. In Pet, such a complex command can be renamed something easily recognizable like "Check expiration of an SSL Certificate." Within the command itself, it is possible to provide placeholders that Pet will prompt the user to fill in before executing the command. Pet also provides an interactive search feature that allows users to locate the snippet they wish to run. Snippets can by synchronized across a number of machines using either Gist or GitLab. The Pet README shows how it can be integrated with common shells like Bash, Z shell, and fish. The Pet website offers installers for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Pet is also available in the official repositories of many Unix-like systems. [CRH]

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Revisited

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Seeing Science: Photography, Science and Visual Culture
Arts

We originally featured this resource in the 8-27-2018 Scout Report, and it remains a fascinating project for those interested in the intersection between photography and science to explore.

Seeing Science: Photography, Science and Visual Culture offers readers an exploration of "the central role photographic images play in [...] furthering science and how photographic images made in and about the sciences impact public opinion, policy and funding, science education, as well as visual and popular culture." Here, readers will find a wealth of content, including a timeline detailing the development of photography, a collection of short essays on topics like "Science Photography and the Art Museum," and a gallery of photographs grouped into science themes (for example, artificial biospheres and celebrity scientists). Created as a year-long project in 2016-2017, Seeing Science was produced and curated by Marvin Heiferman, Visiting Senior Research Scholar at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC), with art direction by Kelley Bell, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at UMBC.

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