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Category: Websites

Mar 01 2017

Websites of Interest

Apron Strings and Kitchen Sinks: The USDA Bureau of Home Economics: This digital exhibit from the National Agricultural Library highlights the work of the USDA Bureau of Home Economics, which was in existence from 1923 to 1962. The Bureau of Home Economics was the first major unit of the federal government to be headed by a woman: Louise Stanley. Stanley was bureau chief from 1923 to 1943, succeeded in 1943 by nutrition researcher Henry Clapp Sherman as the Bureau’s name was changed to the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics. This change reflected a more intense focus on nutrition as part of the war effort. In 1944, Hazel Katherine Stiebeling, a home economist and nutrition researcher, became chief. This exhibition is comprised of five exhibits that reflect the work of the Bureau and highlight its publications. For example, see Sewing and Pattern Design for an assortment of women’s work clothes patterns, including many aprons designs. There is also an accompanying timeline.

Colorado Agriculture and Rural Life: The Colorado Agricultural College (now known as Colorado State University) was founded in 1870 in what was then the Colorado Territory of the United States. Offering academic programs in farming, ranching, and home economics, the college played a key role in the economic, political, and cultural development of Colorado. This trove of primary documents published between 1820 and 1945 was made possible by funding from the United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and commemorates the history of agriculture and agricultural education in the Centennial State. There are more than 1,200 items represented here, organized across nine thematic collections. The most substantial collection is Bulletins – Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, featuring advice on everything from “Cattle Feeding in Colorado” (May, 1896) to “Irrigation waters and their effects” (October, 1903).

Entomology Today: Insects make up the most numerous and diverse forms of life on Earth. While not the most cuddly of creatures, they are essential to nearly every terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem. For more than 125 years, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) has served the professional and scientific needs of those interested in insects and their impact on the world’s populations. Here readers will find the official blog of the ESA, Entomology Today. Insect-related discoveries, news, and events are shared across three sections: Featured Articles, Insects in the News, and Entomology News. Readers will also find a link to the official website of the ESA as well as a listing of Entomology Job Opportunities. The material here will be of interest to anyone, from students to researchers to hobbyists.

PLOS Collections: Meta-Research: From the Public Library of Science (PLOS) comes this extensive collection of articles and papers related to meta-research in the field of biology. To put it simply, meta-research is research about research. More specifically, meta-research investigates ways to improve research practices in order to “improve the quality and reliability of scientific research.” In this collection, biological meta-research is sorted into seven categories, including Methods, Reporting, Sources of Bias, and Reproducibility. Within these collections, visitors will find a number of papers relating a variety of topics, including the importance of blind data (July 2015), gender representation on the boards of mathematical journals (August 2016), and a study candidly titled “How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-data of Survey Data.”

Feb 01 2017

Websites of Interest

Audubon’s Aviary: The Final Flight: From the New York Historical Society comes this online exhibit of John James Audubon’s watercolor illustrations of birds, which appeared in his work Birds of America, published between 1827 and 1838. This website accompanies a three part exhibit at the New York Historical Society, which showcased Audubon’s work in chronological order. Visitors can explore this collection in a variety of ways. Visitors new to Audubon’s work may want to start with Explore, where one can view paintings that Audubon composed of specific species, annotated with insights about Audubon’s artistic process. These annotations centers on Audubon’s later work, which was featured in Part III of the exhibition. Visitors interested in Audubon’s earlier work can view select materials from Parts I and II of the exhibition through a series of links on the right side of their browser. Meanwhile, visitors can view the entirety of the Historical Society’s collection (including materials featured in all three exhibit installations) in the Gallery. Another highlight of this website is the Video section, where visitors can view a captivating ten minute video that places Audubon’s paintings alongside footage of the bird depicted in the painting. Finally, those wishing to learn more about how the birds that Audubon depicted sound in nature can do so through Bird Calls.

BBC Radio 4: The Infinite Monkey Cage: From BBC Radio 4 comes the Infinite Monkey Cage, a “witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes.” Hosted by physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince, this podcast features lively discussions with guests scientists about a variety of ways that our everyday lives are shaped by scientific phenomena. As of this writing, the most recent episode centers on science’s “epic fails.” The hosts explore erroneous aspects that were originally part of some of the most famous scientific theories, and discuss the ways that mistakes can actually be beneficial to science. Other recent episodes include an exploration of the the science behind sleeping, a panel discussion with a chemist and solar scientist about the elements necessary to create the universe, and a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Each episode is approximately 30 minutes in length; visitors can download and listen to current and past episodes on this website.

Open Educational Resources (UMass-Dartmouth): An increasing number of educational resources are available via the public domain, providing instructors with unprecedented opportunities to incorporate a diverse range of primary source material, textbooks, open courses, and more into their classrooms. This abundance of materials, however, can present instructors and librarians with a new challenge: how to discern what materials will be relevant and useful in their classroom or educational institution. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has created this guide to Open Educational Resources to help. Here, visitors will find an extensive list of resources organized into five categories, including For Educators, For Learners, and Image and Video Resources. Lists are accompanied by short video tutorials designed to familiarize visitors with open educational resources and the role of these resources in both the classroom and in the broader academic community. One video in the For Educators section depicts faculty perspectives on the specific distinction between Open Education Resources and Open Access. While aimed specifically at those working in higher education, instructors and librarians in all settings will find material of use in this research guide.

World Science Festival: Video: Since 2008, the World Science Foundation has sponsored the World Science Festival, a series of lectures, panel discussions, performances, and debates that aims to “produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries.” The Festival has featured a diverse collection of guests, including Anna Deavere Smith, Philip Glass, Stephen Hawking, and Oliver Sacks. On this website, visitors can check out dozens of videos created through this project. Many videos take the form of ninety-minute panel discussions, allowing visitors to hear multiple perspectives on a range of engaging issues. For example, the most recent video features a geneticist, a synthetic biologist, an ethicist, and a philosopher/bioethicist in conversation about the ethics of altering the humane genome. Another recent panel features actors, directors, and writers discussing the process of capturing important scientists and scientific discoveries in film and on stage. Visitors can watch most recent videos directly from this website, while the complete archive of World Science Festival videos is available on the organization’s YouTube page.

Jan 03 2017

Websites of Interest

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University: Visual Archives: The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is home to a vast digital archive featuring photographs of plants and trees from around the world, along with a number of historical photographs of the arboretum itself. Collectively, these photographs “trace the evolution and management of the Arboretum’s landscape, record individual taxa in the living collections, and capture these same plants growing in their native habitats.” These images are arranged into interactive galleries for easy, enjoyable browsing. In one such gallery, the Arnold Arboretum Plant Image Database, visitors can browse Plant Images and filter their searches by Season or by Character (e.g. bark, flower, insect), allowing visitors to observe each plant in detail and see how they change throughout the year. In another interactive gallery, visitors can browse through 42 images taken in South Central China and Tibet, including close-up photographs of plants taken by botanist Joseph Rock in the 1920s. In total, the Visual Archives contains over 65,000 images.

Globe at Night: Light pollution has greatly diminished how well individuals around the world can view the night sky. For the past decade, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory has hosted Globe at Night, a citizen science project that collects global data about light pollution. The project invites participants to fill out a form that details their location, the sky conditions, and what constellations they observe. On this website, visitors can explore collected data in a variety of ways, including an Interactive Data Map and a Regional Map Generator. In 2015, Globe at Night collected data from 105 countries. Thanks to widespread citizen participation in this project, Globe at Night provides useful information for stargazers around the world. Those interested in participating can find more information here.

Monarch Butterfly Migration and Overwintering: The Monarch butterfly is the only butterfly species that migrates from the northern regions of North America during the winter months. From the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) comes this informative website and citizen science project dedicated to “the unique and amazing phenomenon” of monarch butterfly migration. Here, visitors can learn about the migration routes of monarch butterflies via maps and a link to a video from the Encyclopedia of Life. Visitors can also check out a link to an interactive map from Annenberg Media that charts the sightings of eggs, larva, and adult monarchs throughout the year. One can access this map by clicking on the Report Your Sightings link on this webpage. Here, visitors are encouraged to submit their own sightings of monarch butterflies in order to help map the route of migrations. In this way, anyone can observe monarch butterfly migration from the northern United States south to Mexico by clicking on any pin on this map, which are color coded to denote the month of the siting.

The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science (Pew Research Center)
: What is the definition of “organic” food? Are genetically modified (GM) foods safe to eat? What foods comprise a healthy diet? A new study from the Pew Research Center reveals that the U.S. public is divided on answers to these questions and others relating to issues in food science. In this one-hundred-page report, readers can examine the results of a 1,480-person survey that asked a variety of questions related to food safety and health. The survey reveals, for example, that a little over half – 55 percent – of Americans believe that organic produce is healthier than non-organic produce. Meanwhile, 39 percent of Americans described GM foods as “worse” for individual health than non-GM foods. What factors influence these attitudes? Interestingly, Pew found little correlation to geography or political ideology, but did find that age played a role. This report also examines the public’s perception of the overall importance of diet to health and the accuracy of food science.

Dec 01 2016

Websites of Interest

Inhabiting the Anthropocene: This blog from the Anthropocene Learning Community at the University of Oklahoma, explores the many ways that humans are impacting the earth. Authored by an interdisciplinary group of ecologists, biologists, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, and other scholars, Inhabiting the Anthropocene aims to “provide a kind of ‘guided tour’ of scholarly literature relevant to the broad theme of the Anthropocene, and to the idea of habitability.” With this aim, the blog features reflective essays (What We’re Thinking) along with an extensive interdisciplinary bibliography of scholarship relating to the Anthropocene (What We’re Reading). Recent contributions include a consideration by biologist Ingo Schlupp that outlines how humans influence not only species extinction, but also the rise of new species; an essay by historian Peter Soppelsa about how to date and historicize the anthropocene; and an analysis by political theorist Marit Hammond on the role of art in the Anthropocene.

Project Noah: For nature lovers, science instructors, and anyone interested in learning more about biodiversity, Project Noah (Networked Organisms and Habitat) is a citizen science project that invites users to submit photographs of living organisms and browse the website’s impressive public repository of photographed organisms. Created by New York University’s Interactive Telecommunication program with support from National Geographic, Project Noah is an interactive software platform with a phone application component that complements this website. Visitors are encouraged to include as many details and images as possible for each plant, insect, or animal captured. Once shared with the Project Noah community, anyone can add species suggestions or leave comments. Visitors to this webpage can browse current photographs by a number of categories (including birds, fungi, reptiles, plants, and arthropods.) Science instructors interested in using Project Noah in the classroom can register for a Teacher’s account through the Education section.

Science Sessions Podcast: From the renowned, multi-disciplinary science journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) comes the Science Sessions. Each of these short podcasts features interviews with scientists (many of whom are members of the National Academy of Sciences) who have discovered a number of fascinating topics. Recent episodes include a conversation with biologist Eve Marder about what the nervous system of crustaceans suggests about neuro-flexibility in humans; a discussion with hydrologist Andrea Rinaldo on how he and his team used cell-phone data in order to analyze human mobility patterns to uncover clues about the spread of cholera; and an interview with climate change researcher Joshua Elliot about how climate change could impact the supply of water for irrigation. These short sessions provide intriguing introductions to a variety of fields of study. Interested listeners can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Untamed Science: For anyone interested in learning more about all living things and how they interact with one another, Untamed Science is a highly engaging video series and blog dedicated to the topic. Headed by University of Hawaii ecologist Rob Nelson, Untamed Science features accessible descriptions and entertaining videos about specific creatures (found in the Tree of Life section) as well as central scientific topics (found in the Biology section). The style of these videos range from mesmerizing (such as the gorgeously shot amphibian video) to goofy (such as the music video about species classifications). All are informative. These videos are accompanied by accessible descriptions and diagrams. Visitors may also want to check out the Untamed Science blog, which features science news and DIY experiments.

Oct 03 2016

Websites of Interest

Genome: Unlocking Life's Code

Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code: Timeline of the Human Genome: In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick contributed to decades of genomic research when they concluded that the DNA molecule exists in the form of a double-helix. 60 years after this discovery, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) set out to highlight and commemorate the past, present, and future importance of genomics. As one component of an extensive exhibit, the Timeline of the Human Genome takes readers through this fascinating history, from 1865 when Gregor Mendel presented his research on plant hybridization to the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. Events on the timeline are accompanied by brief descriptions and many provide glossary links to key terms, such as “genomics,” “protein,” and “DNA.”

GotScience.org

GotScience.org: Founded in 2008 by the nonprofit organization Science Connected, GotScience.org is a free, digital magazine dedicated to making recent scientific research available – and accessible – to members of the general public. Edited and authored by a diverse group of journalists, freelance writers, and photographers, GotScience.org summarizes and analyzes recent research studies and news events so that individuals understand the significance and limitations of these new studies. Each article includes links to original peer-reviewed journal studies. Visitors can search for articles by subject tags, including Astronomy, Engineering, Environment, and Health. Recent articles highlight research on solar energy, the effects of sunlight on sleep, and the impact of global climate change on the Totten Glacier in Antarctica. In addition to research summaries, GotScience.org also features interviews and book reviews. Educators can sign up for a free GotScience.org Discussion Guide.

Technology in Brewing

The Reflection of Technology in Brewing: Curious about how the practice and attitudes around beer brewing have changed throughout U.S. history? If so, you’ll want to check out The Reflection of Technology in Brewing, an online exhibit curated by Meg Morrissey at the University of Michigan Library. Here, readers can learn about American beer brewing, including home brewing during the colonial era; the growth of commercial brewing as a result of Industrial Revolution innovations; beer marketing following the repeal of Prohibition; and the recent resurgence of home brewing. Readers will find a variety of primary documents that illuminate the ever-shifting role of beer and brewing in the United States. Readers may browse eighteenth century home brewing manuals or read parts of F.W. Salem’s 1880 treatise, Beer, its History and its Economic Value as a National Beverage , in which Salem, responding to the growing temperance movement, argues that beer was a preferable alternative to hard liquor.

Visual Cinnamon

Visual Cinnamon: Nadieh Bremer has a degree in Astronomy and worked as a consultant, where she used Machine Learning to gain insight about data. She realized that she wanted to use these skills to create interactive visuals and became “a self taught Data Visualization designer.” On her website, Visual Cinnamon, visitors can explore Bremer’s collection of captivating interactive visuals illuminating a wide variety of scientific and social scientific data. Bremer’s background in astronomy is showcased in her projects on the solar system and exoplanets, which help visitors visualize the relative size of these planets. Another project graphs U.S. employment data, allowing visitors to explore the relative number of people employed in a variety of fields in 2014 while also examining age demographics within each field. Visual Cinnamon has plenty to offer for visitors who want to browse Bremer’s work and learn interesting facts in the process. For those looking to learn more about the craft of Data Visualization, there are Data Visualization tutorials and tips in the Blog and Resources sections.

Sep 01 2016

Websites of Interest

Biocubes: Life in One Cubic Foot: What can we learn about diversity in our ecosystem by examining and comparing different sites, one cubic foot at a time? The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s educational web page Biocube: Life in One Cubic Foot (which accompanies an ongoing exhibit of the same title at the museum) is a resource designed to help science educators facilitate student exploration of this question. On this site, visitors can learn about the current Biocubes exhibit, which emerged from a partnership between a group of Smithsonian scientists – including biodiversity scientist, Chris Meyer – and photographer David Liittschwager. Liittschwager and this team of scientists set up one hollow cube around the world and examined and photographed all the species that appeared in this cube throughout the day. These gorgeous photographs were featured in National Geographic and, eventually, published as a book. On this website, educators can find lesson plans and teaching resources to lead their own biocube projects in the science classroom. This site also contains an online interview with Meyer and a link to an article in Smithsonian that features Liittschwager’s photographs.

F1000Research: F1000Research is an online journal that publishes articles, opinion pieces, posters, and slides relating to life science and medicine. Topics addressed in this journal include health, nutrition, disease, and ecology. As part of the open science movement, which seeks to make new scientific research quickly accessible to all, F1000Research publishes new articles within seven days of submission and allows visitors to read through the open peer review process themselves. This format allows science students and researchers to quickly engage in new publications and also, at times, explore conversation and critiques of recent studies. Visitors can browse recently published articles or conduct a text search for papers of interest. The Channels feature is another great way to explore published research. These thematic collections have been curated by institutions and context experts and include articles, posters, and slides – often from conference presentations.

Nova Labs: Evolution: The team behind the popular PBS series NOVA, produced by WGBH in Boston, has created a collection of online Labs that provide interactive learning experiences relating to a number of scientific topics. The most recent addition to the series is the Evolution Lab. In this engaging resource, learners can participate in two activities: Build a Tree and Deep Tree. In the Build a Tree activity, students create an evolutionary tree by reading about a variety of species and identifying the traits that connect them to one another. Meanwhile, Deep Tree is an interactive chart that demonstrates the connections between 70,000 species, from algae to bananas to human beings. Visitors can search for any species to learn about their classification and characteristics or to explore how any two species are related to each other. These two interactive activities are accompanied by an educator’s guide, which includes lesson plans and worksheets for the classroom. In addition, this page includes Videos, an Evolution Quiz, and a Meet the Experts component.

Sciblogs: Funded by the Science Media Centre, a science and technology journalism organization in New Zealand, Sciblogs is a collection of multiple science blogs addressing all aspects of science, including health, technology, and the environment. Visitors to this website can browse for blog entries of interest across all affiliate blogs via general topics. Alternatively, users can explore individual blogs at their leisure, such as Mind Matters, a blog focused on brain science; Nano Girl, a blog dedicated to nanotechnology; and Physics Stops, about all things physics. Each blog is authored by a different scholar, journalist, or research scientist, resulting in a multitude of voices and perspectives. Sciblogs publishes new entries from all of its affiliate blogs on its homepage, facilitating browsing and allowing visitors to quickly stay up-to-date on their favorite topics.

Aug 01 2016

Websites of Interest

Data.gov: Data.gov is part of the U.S. government’s ongoing efforts to make government agency data accessible to the general public and available for use by individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and web developers. This site contains over 183,000 data sets from 77 different agencies and sub-agencies of the government, including the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education. Anyone can search the data sets or browse for data by agency or topic. Data.gov is designed to encourage the practice of “civic hacking,” a practice of using open government data to increase civic engagement and connect citizens with useful information. Data.gov provides examples of how citizens, local governments, businesses, and consumer organizations have used their data. In addition, the site includes links to a variety of software applications that utilize this open government data that may be of interest to citizens.

HHMI BioInteractive: Diversity of Organisms: BioInteractive is a website created by science education specialists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and hosts a rich collection of award-winning online resources for the biology classroom. Its Diversity of Organisms page contains a number of resources about characteristics, classification, and evolution of different organisms. One highlight of this page is its engaging short films: Popped Secret explains how scientists identified that modern day corn was cultivated from the teosinte plant and The Guide: A Biologist in Gorongosa, directed by Academy Award winner Jessica Yu, is a portrait of a young Mozambique boy who decides to pursue a career in biology in order to preserve Gorongosa National Park. BioInteractive also excels at providing accessible visualizations that illuminate biological processes, such as the lifecycle of a virus. Finally, BioInteractive includes an innovative, interactive activity called “WildCam Gorongosa” where students can examine 52 photographs from Gorongosa National Park and, with the aid of some online tools, see if they can identify animals.

Open Syllabus Project: Launched in January 2016 by a group of scholars at the American Assembly at Columbia University, the Open Syllabus Project contains data from over one million university syllabi. Using publicly available syllabi along with faculty contributions, the Open Syllabus team enters every text assigned to students into a database. Faculty, librarians, and students can then search for a text using the Syllabus Explorer tool to see a list of other works assigned alongside that text and discover its “Teaching Score” – a score developed by the team to reflect how frequently a text is assigned. While this tool is useful for university instructors considering what to include on their own syllabi, it also provides insight for anyone interested in examining trends in scholarship and higher education. Open Syllabus team members David McClure and Joe Karaganis noted in a recent New York Times article about the site’s launch, “Teaching captures a very different set of judgments about what is important than [scholarly] publication does.” The Open Syllabus Project provides insight into what faculty judge important to teach to undergraduate students.

ScienceOpen: Launched in 2014, ScienceOpen is more than just an open access journal. Rather, this publishing network strives to facilitate open and public communication by connecting scientists, encouraging collaboration, and facilitating open-source peer review. To this end, ScienceOpen employs a unique “post-publication peer review process” that allows researchers to publish papers after a brief, one-week general review. This serves to ensure that the research meets basic ethics requirements. Once published, other researchers can provide feedback to authors. The original authors, in turn, are invited to post revised versions of their papers. ScienceOpen currently hosts almost 15,000,000 articles, which visitors may browse by discipline. In addition, ScienceOpen editors have compiled collections of articles by topic. Researchers are also invited to create a personal profile in order to participate in public forums with peers.

Jul 01 2016

Websites of Interest

Digital Media and Learning Research Hub: The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub is an international research center based at the University of California Humanities Research Institute at UC Irvine. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the DML Research Hub has three stated goals: to examine how digital technology has altered education (including formal and informal educational sites); to support innovations that use digital media to enhance education; and to research and promote best practices for facilitating education through digital media. The Hub is especially interested in how digital media can enhance civic participation. On its website, visitors can read about the team’s research and watch video presentations about how to incorporate digital media into instruction. Visitors will also find a curated set of free and open resources, culled from websites, webinars, publications, and blog posts. Entries from the collaborative blog, dmlcentral, are most prominent. Authored by a diverse group of academics, blog entries include reflections about online youth activism, disparities in access to digital media, and how digital media is shaping conceptions and experiences of adolescence. New digital media tools for educators are also regularly profiled.

Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems Program: The Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems (ETE) Program, which is housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, works to understand the development of ecosystems over very long periods of time – hundreds of millions of years, in fact. Using fossil records, ETE scientists use paleoecological analyses to uncover a host of different patterns, evolutions, structures, and compositions of ecological communities and their ever changing dynamics. Readers may peruse the history of the ETE program, which dates back to 1990, as well as the fascinating people behind it, such as researcher A. Kay Behrensmeyer. Under the Research tab, readers will find a helpful Glossary, as well as additional information about ETE projects and research in Kenya, Central Asia, South Africa, Wyoming, and other locales. An extensive list of ETE Publications is also available, and while complete articles are not accessible from the site, the reference list offers a look at the range of research that has been conducted over the years.

Expii: Expii functions as an interactive series of math and science textbooks. Po-Shen Loh, a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University, created Expii with the aim of making math and science instruction more interactive and collaborative. The resource can be navigated in one of two ways: users may either search for a specific topic, such as “quadratic equations” or “Newton’s first law,” or they may use the Topic Map for game-like exploration. This second approach reveals the many connections between math and science and allows users to create their own journey through a variety of subjects, such as algebra, physics, astronomy, and calculus. Topics are accompanied by short explanations of concepts and often include complete practice problems. Notably, Expii is a crowdsourced learning site; contributors from around the globe can add their own definitions, create new problems, or update problem explanations.

SciStarter: Citizen science is the idea that anyone, any citizen, can volunteer their time for the good of scientific research and discovery without having to be formally trained. SciStarter is the place to find and participate in citizen science projects, whether that be an extension of one of your current hobbies, like collecting data while bird watching (The Great Backyard Bird Count), or a fun educational activity to do with a child, like collecting bugs (Urban Buzz). As a repository for citizen science projects, the SciStarter Project Finder lets users search for projects and opportunities by type of activity, such as something to do exclusively online, or by topic, such as animals, geography, or health and medicine. There are also ways to limit your search by location, by free or low cost projects, or by projects suitable for students. Each entry includes general information about the project and a link to more information about how to participate. If you’re looking to contribute a project to the database, the For Scientists section of the website offers an easy way to add suggestions, while the blog discusses news and outcomes of current citizen science fueled projects.

Jun 01 2016

Websites of Interest

Audubon: Birding Without Borders: The “Big Year” is a concept unique to the birding community, centering around an informal competition among birders to see who can identify the largest number of species of birds within a single calendar year. This site, hosted by the Audubon Society, follows Noah Stryker, a writer, photographer, adventurer, and birder, as he criss-crosses the globe, searching out rare and common bird species in cities, forests, plains, and just about every other conceivable geography. Along the way, readers may enjoy the author’s adventures with friendly locals almost as much as his identification of Buff-collared Nightjars and Barn Owls. Spoiler alert: Stryker manages to identify over 5,000 unique bird species during his 365 day trek.

BioDitigal Human: BioDigital’s interactive, medically accurate Human platform has been designed to educate the average person about human anatomy and their own health through the use of dynamic 3D graphics and simulations. Available as a web-based or mobile app, readers must first sign up for an account to begin. From there, the system opens up to an image of the human skeleton. Readers may then select from over a dozen options to show and hide the skeletal, ligament, digestive, urinary, reproductive, respiratory, endocrine, nervous, cardiovascular, lymphatic, viscera/fascia, and muscular systems. The program also allows readers to explore in depth conditions related to various anatomical systems, including Blood, Heart, and Circulation, Brain and Nerves, Digestive System, and half a dozen others. The information here strikes an excellent balance between accessible and medically erudite.

DNA Barcoding 101: With a budget of 150 million dollars a year and a history dating back to 1890, Cold Spring Harbor (CSH) Laboratory is one of the nation’s most respected private, non-profit research institutions. Now, the Lab has given the world an excellent educational website on the topic of DNA Barcoding, a method that allows experts and non-experts alike to objectively identify species based on their unique pattern of DNA sequence. The Introduction page outlines the methods and applications of DNA Barcoding. From there, educators may want to download “Using DNA Barcodes to Identify and Classify Living Things,” the PDF document that outlines the experimental methods used to document species. Here readers will learn how to gather samples, use a smartphone to take photographs, drop a pin for location, use a field guide to identify the specimen to the degree possible, and then label and analyze the DNA. All the necessary equipment is listed in the document.

Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet: NASA’s Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet website features a diverse set of resources related to the measurement, analysis, and dangers of global climate change. Here readers will find a collection of Interactive Features all designed to bring to life the sometimes abstract conclusions of scientific articles on climate and its effects on human and other life on Earth. For example, the Climate Time Machine allows readers to go backward and forward through four different key climate indicators, including Sea Ice, Sea Level, Carbon Dioxide, and Global Temperature. Perfect for educators who are looking for impactful visual representations of the rising temperatures on the planet, the interactive makes these measurements visceral in a way that charts and graphs are seldom able to do. Other interactives on the page include the Global Ice Viewer, Quizzes, The Sun: A Virtual Tour, The Water Cycle, and others.

May 02 2016

Websites of Interest

Big Business: Food Production, Processing & Distribution in the North 1850-1900: This online exhibition from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) takes readers deep into the workings of American food production between the years 1850 and 1900. Here readers may scout chromolithographs, trade catalogues, trade cards, and product labels to better understand the rapidly changing world of agricultural practices in the late nineteenth century, as well as the shifting technologies that led to innovations in manufacturing, transport, refrigeration, and other game changers. After reading the erudite introduction on the home page, readers may like to browse through sections dedicated to Farming, Seed Catalogues, Manufacturing, Trade Cards, Shopping, and Food Labels. Each section is packed with excellent overviews paired with original source materials.

Carbon Footprint Calculator: For readers who wonder about their carbon footprint, but don’t know quite how to calculate the long and short of it, this Carbon Footprint Calculator from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will arrive as a welcome resource. The site takes users through several steps. First, readers enter the number of people in their household, as well as their zip code. Next, they enter their average monthly bills for natural gas, electricity, fuel oil, and propane. From there, they enter the number of vehicles their household owns, and how many miles household members drive per year. Finally, readers enter how much their household recycles. At the end, the program tells users what their approximate carbon footprint is. Along the way, readers will be introduced to suggestions about how to reduce their carbon footprint.

HHMI BioInteractive: Patterns and Processes in Ecology: BioInteractive, an innovative educational resource from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), features a plethora of award-winning multimedia resources related to science education, from short films to virtual labs to holiday lectures. This collection of lectures by Princeton University professors Dr. Robert M. Pringle and Dr. Corina E. Tarnita focuses its attention on the sometimes surprising patterns and processes in ecological systems. Here readers may scout lectures on Communities as Ecological Networks, The Science of Camera Traps, Africa’s Savanna Ecosystems, and Modeling Populations and Species Interactions, among other topics. Lectures are between 20 and 40 minutes long and feature excellent visual effects to support the cogent analyses that the researchers present. For readers who are looking for real depth of thinking about ecological systems, these lectures will provide hours of edifying entertainment.

Pew Research Center: Major Gaps Between Public, Scientists on Key Issues: This fascinating study of discrepancies between the general public and scientists on a host of science-related issues can enrich classroom discussions of political science, biology, chemistry, physics, agriculture, astronomy, geology, and other subjects. Originally released by the Pew Research Center in July of 2015, the study opens with a pithy graph detailing the divide between scientists and the public on issues such as evolution, animal testing, overpopulation, and other quandaries. For instance, approximately 100 percent of scientists agree that humans and other living things have evolved over time. However, only 65 percent of the public agrees with this statement. In addition to a general overview, the site links to An Elaboration of AAAS Scientists’ Views and a PDF of the complete report.