Internet Scout Report

Research and Education

Darwin Correspondence Project

Started in 1974 by the American scholar Frederick Burkhardt, the Darwin
Correspondence Project has been scouring the globe to find all of the
letters written by (and to) Charles Darwin. So far, they have collected
over 14,500 letters and they have placed transcripts of thousands of
these letters online on this very fine site. Currently there are about
5000 digitized (and searchable) letters available here. They include
all of the surviving letters from his rather momentous voyage on the
Beagle and all of the letters from the years around the publication of
Origin of Species in 1859. The site also contains thematic collections
of letters that deal with Darwin’s evolving thoughts on religion,
science, ethics, and the very boundaries of science and religion.
Without a doubt, this is a site that will warrant several visits and
for anyone with a penchant for the history of science this site is one
that will be most welcome. 

Getting Started With Excel

Excel is a very common spreadsheet application, and developing mastery
of this powerful tool can be a bit difficult for those who might be
less experienced with its various features and analytical tools. This
rather useful Excel tutorial is part of the website,
which was developed by Professor Sharon Garrison of the University of
Arizona. The tutorial is divided into eight sections, which include
“Entering and Editing Data”, “Formatting the Worksheet”, and “Creating
a Chart”. Each section contains several short paragraphs of text,
complemented effectively with a few helpful graphics. The tutorial is
rounded out by several problem assignments that will make sure students
have mastered some of the basic features of Excel.

Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching

Based at the University of Plymouth, the Centre for Innovation in
Mathematics Teaching has developed many instructional materials
designed to help both novice and experienced math teachers. This
particular area of their website provides access to a number of
interactive mathematics tutorials. The materials are divided into eight
units, including those that deal with factors, mathematical diagrams,
proportion, and estimating. Within each unit, users will find a number
of example questions and related exercises. All of the materials
offered here are quite accessible and easy to use, and users will find
coverage of everything from prime factors to the sometimes-daunting
Pythagorean theorem.

Restoring Prosperity: The State Role in Revitalizing America’s Older Industrial Cities [pdf]

American cities have undergone a robust period of renaissance and
rejuvenation as of late, but not all cities have been able to partake
in this process. This vexing topic is the subject of a May 2007 report
authored by Jennifer S. Vey for The Brookings Institution. This
particular 84-page report is primarily concerned with examining older
industrial cities in the Northeast and the Midwest, and the work notes
that while the moment is right for growth and development in these
urban locales, state governments need to create a “new urban agenda for
change.” The report also offers up five primary objectives for such an
agenda, including transforming the physical landscape of these older
regions and working towards growing the middle class in these places. 

Global Corruption Report 2007 [pdf]

The international organization Transparency International is well-known
for its distinguished work on investigating corruption around the
world, and this latest report from their research team is timely and
tremendously valuable. The 429-page report takes a close look at
judicial corruption around the world. As the report notes this
disturbing trend “undermines economic growth by damaging the trust of
the investment community, and impedes efforts to reduce poverty.” The
report includes findings from dozens of countries, and also reveals
that at least one in 10 households had to pay a bribe to get access to
justice. Visitors will also appreciate the many tables and charts that
populate this document, and of course, they can also search through the
document for material of particular interest.

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture: Image and Text Collections

The decorative arts and material culture get their full due at this
lovely online collection created by the University of Wisconsin’s
Digital Collections program. With generous funding from the Chipstone
Foundation, the staff members at the Digital Collections program have
digitized a variety of primary and secondary resources related to the
decorative arts, with a particular focus on Early America. The
materials offered here for consideration include items from the
Chipstone ceramics and furniture collection and a number of important
early documents, such as “The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director”
from 1754 and Humphry Repton’s 1794 work, “Sketches and hints on
landscape gardening”. The site includes several dozens other works, and
visitors can also look through all of the materials via a sophisticated
search engine. 

Get Body Smart [Macromedia Flash Player]

Since the days of Andreas Vesalius, humans have been fascinated with
describing and accurately depicting various parts of the body in all of
their intimate detail. In recent years, a number of enterprising souls
have placed materials online that deal with both human anatomy and
physiology. Scott Sheffield is one such individual, and he has drawn on
his many years of university teaching to create this fine set of
instructional diagrams, drawings, and related items. First-time
visitors to the site can look over sections that address the skeletal
system, the muscular system, and so on. Within each of these sections
visitors can view detailed illustrations of various parts of the
anatomy, such as the pectoralis major and the biceps brachii.
Additionally, each section contains a quiz and a helpful tutorial.
While the site may be most helpful for students of the human form (such
as nurses, medical technicians, doctors, and aspiring sculptors), just
about anyone will find something of interest here.

ABC Science Podcasts [iTunes]

The “ABC” in question here happens to be the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation and they have come up with a smashing collection of science
podcasts. Visitors can sign up to receive new podcasts via RSS feed,
but they should definitely test the waters here by listening to any one
of Dr Karl’s “Great Moments of Science” or an edition of “Talking
Science”, which features interviews with various luminaries in the
worlds of science. Further on down the homepage, visitors will
encounter programs that deal with the mind (“All in the Mind”), the
world of occupational health (“Life Matters”) and the philosophical
musings of thoughtful people (“Ockham’s Razor”). Overall, there is some
very delectable material here, and one can imagine that such podcasts
could be passed along to science classrooms everywhere. 

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