The Scout Report -- Volume 27, Number 37

The Scout Report -- Volume 27, Number 37
September 17, 2021
Volume 27, Number 37

General Interest

Theme: Extreme Weather

Tech Tools

Revisited

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General Interest

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Explore: Pearls of the Planet
Science

Get ready to witness astounding sights and adorable animals with Pearls of the Planet, a library of live cameras from animal sanctuaries, research centers, and conservation projects from around the world. On the page linked above, visitors can see live footage of amazing wild (and sometimes domesticated) animals and entrancing ecosystems, organized into thematic groups. There are more than 60 livecam themes to check out, arranged in alphabetical order for easy browsing. Highlights include "Project Puffin," "Owl Research Institute," "International Wolf Center," and "Aquarium of the Pacific," among others. Once users have selected a theme to visit, they will be taken to a page with live camera footage. There, readers can click "Facts" for details about the footage being viewed or scroll for information about the camera location and to see photos taken on-site. There are also links to blog entries and related content. Visitors are sure to find something to enjoy, whether searching for meme-able moments or just a bit of zen in the workday. Pearls of the Planet is operated by Explore (previously featured in the 06-17-2011 Scout Report), a multimedia organization dedicated to documenting extraordinary causes. In addition to live camera footage, Explore's website includes a "Blog," "Newsletter," and more than 250 documentary "Films," which can be accessed through links at the bottom of the page. Follow Explore on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@exploreorg on all platforms). [MJZ]

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CosmoQuest
Science

Astronomy buffs, stargazers, and students of all ages will want to check out CosmoQuest, an online community space where citizen scientists can participate in expanding our knowledge of the universe through collaboration with scientists from NASA, OSIRIS-REx, Dawn, and other organizations. While the citizen science aspects of CosmoQuest are on hold (as of this writing), visitors can still find much to inspire on the site. There are frequent blog posts (click on "Space News" in the top menu) covering space missions, emerging scientific research, and the implications of deep-space images from Hubble and other space telescopes. CosmoQuest also produces a podcast, Daily Space, which offers a "roundup of launches, landings, and everyday discoveries," with hosts Pamela L. Gay, Beth Johnson, and Annie Wilson. Perhaps the best aspect of CosmoQuest is the community space created among astronomy lovers. Visitors can join chat boards to talk science, share code or memes, and play games (click on "Forums & Chat" in the top menu), as well as find links to astronomy clubs and other activities. CosmoQuest is a multi-institutional collaboration produced as part of the Planetary Science Institute, a private non-profit dedicated to exploring the Solar System. Readers can stay in touch on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@cosmoquestx on all platforms). [MJZ]

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British Library: Digital Scholarship Blog
Language Arts

Librarians, archivists, and researchers should check out the Digital Scholarship Blog from the British Library (previously featured in the 02-09-2018 Scout Report), which won the 2018 Digital Humanities Award for Best Blog Post or Series of Posts. The blog is updated by the Digital Curators from the library's Digital Scholarship Department, with contributions from colleagues and special guests. The department, founded in 2010, is made up of a group of cross-disciplinary experts in digitization, librarianship, digital history and humanities, and computer science, to support researchers and staff seeking how best to utilize the library's digital collections and data. Blog posts may feature topics such as calls for applications to various programs or contests and details on upcoming conferences. Many posts also feature relatable content such as anecdotes from staff and students about working on improving citations, writing noteworthy articles on Wikipedia, the ups and downs of preserving and integrating older formats, seeking efficient ways to add data, and more. Readers can navigate the blog by scrolling through recent posts or find older posts in the Archives menu on the right side of the page. [RMP]

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Wheelmap
Social studies

Wheelmap is a free online map of wheelchair accessible places around the world. On the map, the accessibility of locations is designed through a traffic light system: green for full accessibility, orange for partial accessibility, and red for inaccessibility. Visitors can use the Search bar to find and check the accessibility of nearby locations or filter the search for specific kinds of places (e.g., Transport, Education, Toilets) and degree of accessibility. Wheelmap can be used in web browsers or installed as an app on both Apple and Android phones. Wheelmap is a "participatory mapping and crowd-sourcing project," which means users worldwide can contribute by marking public places for wheelchair accessibility. On the map, locations that need to be marked are designated in gray. Visitors can click "Get involved" in the menu to find out how to participate in mapping, report elevator breakdowns, and help with outreach about this and other accessibility issues and projects. Wheelmap is a project of Sozialhelden, an organization dedicated to tackling social issues like accessibility for individuals with disabilities. It is funded through grants, prizes, and donations, and supported by the efforts of volunteers. To keep up to date, follow @wheelmap on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. [MJZ]

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On Being: Starting Points & Care Packages
Philosophy

On Being (previously featured in the 05-01-2015 Scout Report) is an award-winning public radio show hosted by broadcaster and New York Times-bestselling author Krista Tippett. On Being focuses on deep, sometimes difficult conversations and topics on the religious, spiritual, and moral aspects of human life. Starting Points & Care Packages offers collections of podcasts, interviews, poetry, meditations, essays, and more, making these collections ideal for philosophers, theologians, writers, and poets alike. Listeners new to the program will enjoy the collections just as much as existing fans - there's even a collection specifically for those diving in for the first time - as each one provides a convenient, focused access point to the program's larger content. Starting Points & Care Packages includes collections on topics such as exhaustion, caregiving, race, relationships, conflict, science and nature, uncertainty, joy, and even the mundane. Each collection approaches its topic from a spiritual and/or moral standpoint and invites listeners to examine themselves and the world around them more thoroughly, to probe deeper, and to ask more questions. [RMP]

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Theme: Extreme Weather

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Mr. Tornado Documentary
Science

The 1974 Super Outbreak was the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded. In its aftermath, Japanese-American meteorologist Ted Fujita spent 10 months analyzing the outbreak using a previously untested methodology, including groundbreaking aerial analyses and detailed mapping of damage patterns. His ideas transformed the field of meteorology and earned him the nickname "Mr. Tornado." Fujita is the subject of the 53-minute documentary Mr. Tornado, which aired June 29, 2021 and was produced by PBS as part of the American Experience film series. The film highlights Fujita's tornado research, hands-on approach to applied scientific work, and contribution to aviation safety through the discovery of microbursts - sudden downdrafts of wind that can cause airplanes to fall from the sky. The full film is available to view on the page linked above (as of this writing), and viewers can also scroll to find clips and links to further reading suggestions. A written transcript of the film is available by clicking the down arrow in the Menu under the video player. Mr. Tornado was written, produced, and directed by Michael Rossi. [HCL]

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Extreme Weather Film and Lesson Plans
Science

Educators looking for an engaging angle to teach about climate change and weather should check out these five lesson plans from National Geographic (previously featured in the 05-17-2019 Scout Report). Students will practice forecasting and measuring weather, identifying weather patterns, and making connections between weather and climate. For example, in the lesson Climate Change and Rising Seas (grades 5-9), students learn the difference between global warming and climate change and perform a hands-on experiment to predict sea level rise. Lesson plans include accompanying videos from National Geographic and ideas for assessing students' knowledge. All five lesson plans appear as clickable tiles in the Activities section of the page linked above. Readers can scroll to the Film Clips section to view selected clips from the film Extreme Weather, and keep scrolling to find links to articles, photo galleries, and more classroom resources, organized thematically around climate change, weather, sea level rise, and forest fires. The film Extreme Weather and the accompanying lesson plans were produced through the support of Lockheed Martin. [HCL]

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Red Cross Disaster Apps
Science

This suite of free apps from the Red Cross helps users track weather alerts across the globe, to make sure loved ones are safe and learn how to respond before, during, and after a severe weather event. There are four apps available under the Disaster Apps section of the page linked above. The "Emergency App" lets users monitor their locations or the location of loved ones with 35 different extreme weather alerts. Alternatively, users can download specialized apps for hurricane, tornado, or earthquake information. The apps offer customizable alerts and the ability to push notifications to users' mobile phone, Apple Watch, or Android wearable device. In an emergency, the apps can notify loved ones that users are safe or guide them to nearby Red Cross shelters. Each app provides instructions to prepare for disasters and develop a family preparedness plan, and during an emergency, the in-app toolkit can be used for a flashlight, strobe light, or audible alarm. Every app is available in English and Spanish and can be downloaded for Apple or Android devices. Visitors should also check out other apps in the Red Cross suite for first aid, blood donation, swimming safety, and more. [HCL]

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Live Storm Chasing
Science

Live Storm Chasing lets extreme weather followers view live streams from storm chasers across the country, to see the on-the-ground stories behind the radar display. Recent streams on the site have shown flooding from Hurricane Ida, rescue efforts for the California Caldor Fire, and tornadoes in Iowa. On the "Map" linked in the page header, users can view a U.S. map with current live streams and footage from recent streams. Using the Map Overview tool, users can overlay active weather alerts, storm reports, and radar to see current weather events and view footage from different locations impacted by each event. On the "Discover" page, users will find archived footage from recent live streams. Clicking on any video will lead to the project's YouTube channel (Live Storms Media), which has storm chasing videos dating back 10 years and playlists organized by weather event. In addition to storms and fires, streamers post footage of other events such as eclipses and volcanic eruptions. Users can also download the Live Storm Chasing mobile app to stream their own footage. Viewers should note the live streams are not censored and may include mature language and disturbing images. [HCL]

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NOVA Cloud Lab
Science

Clouds play an important role in weather, and scientists look at clouds to understand and predict weather events and climate patterns. In this hands-on lab, learners practice classifying types of clouds, analyzing data like cloud temperature and rainfall rate, and using data to predict storms. Learners will utilize the same real-time satellite data and imagery that scientists use to analyze clouds and view hurricanes and storms. Users can click "Challenge" (and click "Guest Pass" if they do not wish to make an account) to access four activities: "Cloud Typing," "Inside a Megastorm," "Analysis and Reconstruction," and "Storm Prediction." Visitors can also jump to see all the video content from the lab by clicking "Video Library" on the page linked above, and then click "Cloud Video Quizzes" to test their knowledge. Educators may want to check out the "Educator Guide" for ideas to incorporate Cloud Lab activities into the classroom. Visitors may also want to explore some of the other NOVA labs available in the drop-down menu labeled "The Labs," which include content such as "Polar," "Exoplanet," "RNA," and "Sun." Cloud Lab was developed by PBS in partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Goddard Space Flight Center, the S'COOL Project, and NASA's CERES experiment. [HCL]

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Tech Tools

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SunWise UV Index
Science

Skin cancer is one of the most common yet preventable cancers, and overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major cause. The SunWise UV Index mobile app provides access to location-specific information about UV intensity to help users plan their outdoor activities. The app includes daily and hourly UV intensity forecasts and regional maps showing areas of high and low intensity. The daily forecasts are paired with condition-specific advice on minimizing danger from sun exposure. The UV intensity data displayed in the app is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Weather Service, and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The app is free and is available for both Apple and Android devices. [CRH]

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PyMETAR
Science

PyMETAR is a python library and companion command-line utility to fetch and parse weather reports provided by weather stations, primarily those located at airports. This data is provided via an API maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a standardized format. Users provide the tool with a four-letter station code and receive weather data in a structured format. The included pymet2.py example demonstrates how to use all the features of the library. The pymetar utility provides a quick way to access weather data from a shell prompt or script. PyMETAR requires Python version 3 and can be installed via Python's pip package manager. [CRH]

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Revisited

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After Katrina: Washed Away? Justice in New Orleans
Social studies

Extreme weather is a social as well as meteorological phenomenon, which is illustrated in this report, last featured in the 09-14-2007 Scout Report. Since the report was published, the Urban Institute has released other content related to natural disasters, such as "Improving the Disaster Recovery of Low-Income Families" (found in the "Policy Debates" section linked in the page header).

Numerous organizations have investigated the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and many have offered follow-up analyses of the situation in and around New Orleans. One such organization is the Urban Institute, whose researchers released a compelling 15-page review of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the criminal justice system of New Orleans, titled After Katrina: Washed Away? Justice in New Orleans. Written by Caterina Gouvis Roman, Seri Irazola, and Jenny Osborne, the report draws on interviews with criminal justice stakeholders living and working in greater New Orleans. The authors examine the functioning of the criminal justice system before and after the hurricane, and the report concludes with a number of policy considerations and lessons for other jurisdictions to draw from experiences in New Orleans. [KMG] [HCL]

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