Welcome to the BEN portal, the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Pathway for biological sciences education. The BEN Portal provides access to education resources from BEN Collaborators and is managed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Over 18,827 reviewed resources covering 77 biological sciences topics are available. BEN resources can help you engage student interest, shorten lesson preparation time, provide concept updates, and develop curricula that are in line with national standards for content, use of animals and humans, and student safety.
Materials can be browsed by subject, resource type, and audience (potential audiences covered include pretty much every age level you can think of). Not everything is free, but the majority seems to be.
This seems like an interesting resource, especially if you’re teaching science topics.
A South Pacific island, shown on marine charts and world maps as well as on Google Earth and Google Maps, does not exist, Australian scientists say.
The supposedly sizeable strip of land, named Sandy Island on Google maps, was positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia.
But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea.
The phantom island has featured in publications for at least a decade.
» via BBC
This part was key for me:
Australia’s Hydrographic Service, which produces the country’s nautical charts, says its appearance on some scientific maps and Google Earth could just be the result of human error, repeated down the years.
I’m familiar with this phenomenon in article citations (i.e. people re-cite something they obviously never actually saw/read, because the citation is incorrect to the point that the article cannot be located), so it doesn’t surprise me that it might occur in other situations.
Though you’d think with as much satellite info that Google has, they would’ve figured that the island wasn’t there long before now…
The point of all this is that it is not the existence of knowledge but the convergence and cross-pollination of knowledge that drives progress.
Now, the challenge with the internet is that it’s a medium increasingly well-tailored for helping us find more of what we know we’re looking for, but increasingly poorly suited to helping us discover what we don’t yet know exists and thus don’t yet care to be interested in.
So how do we discover what we don’t yet know we’re interested in and take an interest in what doesn’t appear to be “useful”?
Seems to me that reading widely (perhaps with the help of your local library? ;)) is a good step in the direction of finding things you don’t yet know you’re interested in. Social media and internet sources of information can be quite useful in this way as well.
With the current popularity of hackerspaces and makerspaces in libraries, library hack-a-thons, and hacking projects for librarians; it is clear that library culture is warming to the hacker ethic. This is a highly positive trend and one that I encourage more librarians to participate in. The reason I am so excited to see libraries encourage adoption of the hacker ethic is that hackers share several core values with libraries. Working together we can serve our communities more effectively. This may appear to be counter-intuitive, especially due to a very common public misconception that hacker is just another word for computer-criminal. In this post I want to correct this error, explain the values behind the hacker movement, and show how librarians and hackers share core values. It is my hope that this opens the door for more librarians to get started in productive and positive library hackery.
NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) compiled the information. The page has links to overviews, state-specific pages, cleanup and recovery information, mental health information, multi-language resources, social media information, apps and widgets, and more.
I didn’t even know NLM had a disaster-related center, so this is doubly helpful. :)
My added comment: VOTE. I don’t care who you vote for, just make sure you exercise your right to vote.
(Apologies to any non-U.S. citizens who may be following me… I don’t like talking politics, but voting is important. :) )
Here’s something to add to the ‘ol RSS reader (or twitter @crunchgov if that’s your thang. TechCrunch, one of the better sites for news and information about tech and the tech industry, today launched CrunchGov to track on government and tech policy-making. The site will have 3 three initial CrunchGov products (report card, policy database, and legislation crowdsourcing). Read more about it on their post explaining the CrunchGov roll-out as well as their methodology/FAQ behind the site.
…the NY Times published an article “Nonpartisan Tax Report Withdrawn After G.O.P. Protest” which points to the increasing politicization of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the non-partisan think tank of the US Congress.
To the NY Times’ credit, they posted a copy of the report in their story. We’re hosting a copy on FGI servers for your convenience.
A couple of comments:
1. I’m not qualified to conclude whether or not the methodology of the report is sound (I’m sure others will do/have done that), but that there have been attempts to suppress/take it down bothers me. Slap a disclaimer on it if you must, update it to correct anything that’s wrong, but don’t just remove it from circulation.
2. What goes on the internet stays on the internet. As CRS is no doubt now aware, removing something that had been publicly available only draws more attention to the document. (They should have asked USDA about that…)
When you engage in an activity that is intrinsically motivated, you’re not looking for some outside reward. Those of us who are very lucky are able to find paying jobs that sometimes involve flow activities for us. When I’m really in the zone, writing software can be a flow activity for me, but other days, when I’m slogging through something, it’s that paycheck that keeps me going. And I believe that most library users are the same way. Of course we’ll always need to serve folks who are slogging through a paper they don’t really want to write, but I’d like to spend some time thinking about how we might enable as much flow in the library as possible. I want to figure out how to make our collections genuinely pleasurable to use.
When describing physical browsing, people used emotional words. They felt joy when they encountered that serendipitous find in the stacks. They felt tranquility when they browsed the new books shelf in the reading room. One sociology PhD student described to me in loving detail her favorite place to study in the library. She described the lighting, the smell, the quiet, the beauty of her surroundings, the pleasure she felt at running her fingers over shelves of books on her favorite subject. Another student told me, with clear distress and frustration, that he used to spend every lunch hour in the new journals room, happily browsing, but now felt at a loss because the library had cancelled their print subscriptions and he had to rely on online access. If he knew what he was looking for already, he said, online access was very fast and efficient for getting it, and there were times he really appreciated that. But he also felt he had been robbed of a great pleasure, and one of the ways he felt most comfortable staying current with research in his field.
This is a long one, but full of interesting points to consider.
Few things are more explicitly ephemeral than a Tweet. Yet it’s precisely this kind of ephemeral communication – a comment, a status update, sharing or disseminating a piece of media – that lies at the heart of much of modern history as it unfolds. It’s also a vital contemporary historical record that, unless we’re careful, we risk losing almost before we’ve been able to gauge its importance.
But what I wonder is: what can we do about it?
The “I Know…” series of blog posts shows relatively simple tricks [malicious] websites can use to coax a browser into revealing information that it probably should not. Firewalls, anti-virus software, anti-phishing scam black lists, and even patching your browser was not going to help.
Fortunately, if you are using one of today’s latest and greatest browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.), these tricks, these attack techniques, mostly don’t work anymore. The unfortunate part is that they were by no means the only way to accomplish these feats.
Professionally? I’m a librarian, not a curator of a collection of books. Books are just one (sometimes small) part of what I do for a living. Further, being a librarian means I get rid of books sometimes. I get rid of books that are duplicates or inaccurate or damaged or smelly. I get rid of books to make space, to improve the look of the collection, and to make sure I have up-to-date information. I get rid of books that were donated to the library but for which the library has no use.
The University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine, in partnership with the U-M Library’s MPublishing division, announces the release of The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia, an original, open access digital collection of archival, primary, and interpretive materials related to the history of the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic in the United States.
The collection, located at www.influenzaarchive.org, contains more than 16,000 digitized documents—correspondence, minutes of organization and group meetings, reports from agencies and charities, newspaper accounts, military records, diaries, photographs, and more—along with interpretive materials contributed by scholars of history and public health.
I will confess a definite weakness for this sort of thing… and this site looks awesome. :)