The Scout Report -- Volume 27, Number 38

The Scout Report -- Volume 27, Number 38
September 24, 2021
Volume 27, Number 38

General Interest

Theme: History of Los Angeles

Revisited

In the News

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General Interest

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The History of English Podcast
Foreign Languages

Readers who have ever wondered how Guillaume became William or why English orthography is so challenging should tune in to The History of English Podcast. Every month since 2012, host Kevin Stroud has guided listeners on a language journey, from the origins of the Indo-European language family in the central Asian steppes, to the series of Germanic, Norse, and French invasions of the British Isles, and into the classics of Middle English such as The Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Since this is a history podcast, the best place for new listeners to start is Episode 1. On the page linked above, users can find the episodes in chronological order by clicking the "Episodes" tab in the menu at the top. Each episode can be played in a browser window, downloaded as an mp3 file, or heard on most podcatchers. Visitors looking for more can click the "Resources" tab to find written sources and links to related language podcasts. There is also an opportunity for listeners to become part of the podcast. On the "Voice Samples" tab, native English speakers can leave a recording of their voice and place of origin, to help in future episodes exploring the development of modern accents and dialects of English. As of this writing, the podcast has only just reached the 16th Century English Reformation, so there's plenty of language history yet to come. [MJZ]

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Visual Story Lab
Social studies

Nonprofit outreach coordinators, social media managers, and fundraisers will find much useful information in Visual Story Lab (VSL). The project, created by Resource Media and funded by the Brainerd Foundation, the Compton Foundation, and the Seattle Foundation, was sparked after staff at the non-profit realized that policy and consumer arenas were being dominated by corporate communications. They decided to start leveling the playing field by providing the best knowledge, ideas, and experience they could tap through visual storytelling. In a media environment that bombards users with visual messages, VSL aims to seize these opportunities to deliver compelling messages and drive social change. VSL offers three main services on the page linked above: "Reports" on various socially-conscious topics and strategies for visually representing them; a "Toolbox" that contains guides for utilizing social media, making effective infographics, managing photo libraries, and more; and a "Blog" that features real-world accounts from visual storytelling professionals, including reflections on what has and has not worked. Readers looking to learn how to improve and expand the reach of their visual storytelling will find VSL a great place to start. [RMP]

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SciShow Tangents
Science

SciShow Tangents is not your typical science podcast. Hosted by Hank Green, Ceri Riley, and Sam Schultz, this weekly podcast features discussions of funny science topics and weird research, which frequently lead to tangents and delightful distractions. From the page linked above, interested listeners can click "Episodes" to find more than 130 episodes (as of this writing) covering topics such as "Teeth" (July 6, 2021), "Sticky Things" (May 11, 2021), "Eyeballs" (Sept. 15, 2020), "Ducks" (Mar. 31, 2020), and "Mars" (May 14, 2019). Listeners can also subscribe to the podcast on Spotify or use the RSS feed to get episodes on the podcatcher of their choice (just click on "Listen & Subscribe"). SciShow Tangents is part of Complexly, the production team behind content such as SciShow (featured in the 02-26-2021 Scout Report) and Crash Course (featured in the 07-06-2021 Scout Report), among many other entertaining and edifying offerings. The podcast is produced in partnership with WNYC Studios. Readers can follow on Twitter (@SciShowTangents) to hear about new episodes and get other updates from the show. [MJZ]

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Climate History
Science

Climate change presents possibly the greatest challenge facing human civilization, yet its causes can be fiendishly complex to understand. To get a grasp on the decisions, technologies, and historical events that have led to our current climate crisis, K-12 science educators will want to check out the interactive infographic Climate History. The page is organized chronologically, and readers can navigate the climate history timeline either by scrolling through or jumping to specific historical moments between the years 1800 and 2020. Each chapter is organized around a different theme (e.g., Growth, War, Automotive) and discusses relevant social contexts driving climate change. For example, the 1970 chapter discusses "Earth day, Chlorofluorocarbons, and the Ozone Layer" and features an embedded video about the impact of chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer. The 2020 chapter connects climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic. The final chapter has links to resources for readers interested in taking action or learning more, including Conservation International, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The site was created by Marjoe Bacus, a web developer and digital designer, and received an Honorable Mention from the Awwwards for web design. [MJZ]

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Roll with Cole and Charisma
Social studies

Accessibility designers and researchers, individuals with disabilities or friends or family members with disabilities, or readers simply wishing to better understand life with disability will enjoy Roll with Cole and Charisma. This YouTube channel, run by interabled and interracial couple Cole Sydnor and Charisma Jamison, covers the day-to-day highs and lows of life with a wheelchair. Sydnor, who is a wheelchair user, and Jamison, who is not, make videos about their experiences with adventure and travel, dating and intimacy, daily routines, and perceptions of their relationship and lives. They also generously answer many, many questions with honesty and grace and review the accessibility (in their case, wheelchair-friendliness) of various locations, such as shopping malls, restaurants, various cities, and even Disney World. Though the experiences highlighted in their videos are not always happy, Roll with Cole and Charisma raises awareness on accessibility and inclusion with shining positivity. [RMP]

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Theme: History of Los Angeles

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Lost LA
Social studies

From deserts to beaches to subterranean tunnels, the Lost LA video series explores Southern California's past with the help of primary source material from the archives of the University of Southern California Libraries. Episodes explore beloved landmarks like Dodger Stadium and Yosemite ("Before the Dodgers" and "Yosemite"), subcultures from surfers to radio evangelists ("Beach Culture" and "Ghost Towns"), and untold stories such as Los Angeles's geographic segregation ("Coded Geographies"). Each 20-30 minute episode is hosted by writer and public historian Nathan Masters. Some of the 23 episodes are accompanied by lesson plans, which can be found by clicking "Lost LA Curriculum Project" in the "Overview" section on the page linked above. Readers can also click "Articles" for text-based articles on topics not covered in the video series, such as deeper dives into various Los Angeles neighborhoods and features on the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. Lost LA is produced by KCET, part of the Public Media Group of Southern California, with funding from California Humanities, California State Library, Union Bank, and The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. [HCL]

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Stories and Voices from L.A. Chinatown
Social studies

The unique history, special character, and contemporary challenges of Los Angeles's Chinatown neighborhood are the subject of this exhibit, which combines oral history from community members with archival documents, photographs, and maps. The exhibit is organized into the themes Opportunity, Vision, Exclusion, Resilience, Community, and Tradition, which appear as clickable tiles toward the bottom of the page linked above. For each theme, there is a video showcasing interviews with community members, as well as written quotes and historical documents. For example, the "Opportunity" page explores entrepreneurship through 1940s restaurant menus, while the "Exclusion" page features a 1921 identity certificate used for tracking Chinese Americans and a 1940s map showing buildings slated for demolition to make way for a freeway. Displacement is a key theme of the exhibit and continues to be relevant today, as Chinatown has become a pressure point for gentrification debates in the city. Viewers can navigate to the "Contributors" page to learn more about the community members featured and their relationship to Chinatown. The exhibit can be explored in either English or Chinese by toggling in the top left corner of the landing page (videos are available in English with Chinese subtitles). Stories and Voices from L.A. Chinatown is the first exhibit in the Archive Alive series, a collaboration between The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; the Library Foundation of Los Angeles; and the Los Angeles Public Library (previously featured in the 11-08-2013 Scout Report). [HCL]

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The Hidden History of Los Angeles Podcast
Social studies

Why is the Los Angeles River so ugly? Have any military battles occurred in LA? What's the story behind the downtown skyline? And what is the right way to pronounce "Los Angeles," anyway? The Hidden History of Los Angeles attempts to answer these questions and more in each 20-60 minutes episode that covers "the lesser known aspects of Los Angeles history." The host is Robert Petersen, a SoCal native who by day is a California Deputy Attorney General and by night a musician. Some episodes feature interviews with prominent authors, activists, or historians, while others illuminate little-known historical tales or shed new light on iconic city landmarks. For example, Episode 36 explores the Mount Wilson Observatory's role in shaping our understanding of the cosmos, while Episode 1 recounts Clarence Darrow's trial for jury tampering. The podcast offers something for new transplants and seasoned Angelenos alike, earning it the distinction of being one of the most popular podcasts about LA. [HCL]

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Autry Citizen Journalism Project
Social studies

The Citizen Journalism Project zine from the Autry Museum of the American West engages residents across Los Angeles County to share stories from their communities. Three issues are available on the page linked above. The first issue, "Signs of the Times," highlights "scenes of action and protest," and the themes of "visibility, voice, and the longing for recognition and respect." Contributions include poetry, essays, and photos from the Women's March, Immigrant March, and Occupy protests. The second issue, "LA: LA," features stories by and about Angelenos, covering topics such as gentrifiation and anti-Semitism. The third issue, "Portraits of a Community," considers community values and activism. The project is inspired by LA's bilingual La Raza newspaper, which was published as part of the Chicano Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The zines are best viewed on a desktop or tablet. The Autry Citizen Journalism Project is sponsored by Wells Fargo. [HCL]

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Los Angeles Almanac: History
Social studies

The incredibly comprehensive Los Angeles Almanac claims to be the only online almanac devoted exclusively to one city. The History page linked above includes a chronological timeline of the county's history (the History Timeline of Los Angeles County section) and a collection of entries organized by time period, from Early Los Angeles History and Mexican Los Angeles, to 20th Century Los Angeles County. The Topical Los Angeles County History section should not be missed: all entries are sorted into topical themes such as African American History, Crime & Justice History, Food History, Government History, Military History, and many more. Finally, the L.A. Video section offers a list of short videos covering various historical events and landmarks. The page can be navigated by scrolling or using the links at the top to jump to specific sections. Additionally, readers can also explore other sections of the Almanac covering areas such as "Geography" and "Government," which are linked in the menu at the top of the page. [HCL]

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Revisited

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Acid Free Magazine of the Los Angeles Archivists Collective
Social studies

Last featured in the 09-22-2017 issue of the Scout Report, Acid Free offers a fresh look at contemporary issues in cultural heritage preservation from Los Angeles-based archivists. Since being featured, the magazine has published issues covering themes such as Roots, Movement, and Space.

Acid Free is the biannual online magazine of the Los Angeles Archivists Collective. This vibrant, eclectic magazine, now in its thirteenth issue, will be especially relevant for librarians and archivists, but may also appeal to anyone interested in archives, history, or the Los Angeles area. The most recent issue centers on the theme of Money and considers the relationships between money, cultural heritage institutions, and labor advocacy, as well as looking at how money is present in archival collections. Readers will find, for example, an article investigating the use of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans by cultural heritage institutions to protect workers ("Where the Money Went"), and another looking at physical currency as an archival object ("A High Price to Pay"). Readers can check out all current and past issues of the magazine by scrolling the page linked above, or connect with the collective on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@laacollective on all three platforms). [MMB] [HCL]

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In the News

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Understanding "Fire Tornadoes" and their Link to Climate Change

Scientists Are Learning More About Fire Tornadoes, The Spinning Funnels Of Flame https://www.npr.org/2021/08/23/1029638870/fire-tornadoes-scientists-funnels-flames

Can Scientists Predict Fire Tornadoes? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-scientists-predict-fire-tornadoes/

Can a tornado be made out of fire? https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/meteorology-climatology/item/can-a-tornado-be-made-out-of-fire/

What exactly is a "fire tornado"? https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/07/harvard-researcher-examines-a-fire-tornado/

Fire Whirl Research https://www.firelab.org/project/fire-whirl-research

The Carr Fire Vortex: A Case of Pyrotornadogenesis? https://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/nauslar/Lareau_et_al-2018-Geophysical_Research_Letters.pdf

Climate change can drive stronger hurricanes and more intense wildfires, perhaps causing phenomena such as "fire tornadoes" to become more common and widespread. A fire tornado is a proportionally larger version of a "fire whirl" - a funnel of heated, rotating air. Also known as pyrogenetic tornadoes due to their means of formation, fire tornadoes are exceedingly rare, associated only with the most extreme wildfires. Yet fire tornadoes are also very dangerous because of their ability to accelerate and amplify wildfires due to high winds, such as the 143 mile per hour winds generated by a fire tornado during the 2018 Carr Fire in California; and because fire tornadoes may be able to generate their own weather, including pyro-cumulonimbus clouds that produce thunderstorms. Scientists are trying to learn more about fire whirls and their larger cousins, including generating fire whirls under laboratory conditions to understand their formation, and gathering real world data to assess whether phenomena like fire tornados are becoming more common or just more commonly documented due to the prevalence of smartphone cameras.

In the first link, visitors can listen to an NPR news segment discussing a viral video of a 2021 fire tornado generated in California's Tennant Fire and hear from Jason Forthofer, a firefighter and researcher with the U.S. Forest Service who studies such phenomena. Readers can click the second link for an article by Forthofer in Scientific American, where he writes about research into the Carr Fire tornado and what scientists are doing to understand the physics of fire tornadoes. The third link from the Library of Congress features an overview of key terminology such as fire whirl, fire tornado, firestorm, and fire devil, as well as highlighting historical occurrences of fire tornadoes, such as the Great Peshtigo Fire that occurred in Wisconsin in 1871. In the fourth link from The Harvard Gazette, visitors can read an interview with Loretta Mickley, a research fellow in chemistry-climate interactions who discusses the role of climate change in driving massive wildfires and fire tornadoes in the Western U.S. The fifth link from the U.S. Forest Service summarizes existing research into fire whirls and offers recommendations for firefighter safety in such situations. The final link is to a research article from Geophysical Research Letters, which relates researchers' use of satellite imagery and radar observations to document similarities between the dynamics of tornadoes and those present in the Carr Fire vortex. [MJZ]