Saturday, March 16, 2013

From the Scout report

Despite the hype, you can't do it all, you can't be it all or know it all.  However, from time to time, it is possible to take a look at things that may be of interest.  Internet Scout is a free e-newsletter that comes out most weeks and lists interesting web sites, often in the science or humanities.  Here are some from this week's that may appeal:

3. Understanding Disorders at the Cellular Level

The Genes to Cognition website addresses the world of modern neuroscience through lectures, fact sheets, papers, and other materials that cover depression, autism, bipolar disorder, and a range of other disorders. This particular resource is a video of a conversation with Dr. Daniel Pine on the different approaches to understanding disorders. More specifically, Pine speaks about how researchers are looking into how we might understand neurological disorders on the cellular level. Along with this conversation, the site also has links to several other related lectures. At the bottom of the page, visitors can view an interactive 3D model of the brain, complete with 29 structures that can be rotated for detailed viewing. [KMG]

6. JSC Digital Image Collection

This high-quality collection is provided courtesy of NASA's Johnson Space Center, and it contains over 9,000 images. Visitors can get started by looking over the FAQ area, which provides answers to questions like "Where can I et prints and high-resolution scans of this imagery?" and "What is a 'fuzzy match?'" After this, visitors can perform a full-text search across all of the items, or use the Browse area. This last section allows visitors to look around by mission, equipment, or station location. Visitors with any level of interest in space technology or other related fields will find this resource fascinating. [KMG]

14. The University of Florida Book of Insect Records

Everyone knows about the Guinness Book of World Records. But does everyone know about the Book of Insect Records? Based at the University of Florida and maintained and edited by Thomas J. Walker, the work "names insect champions and documents their achievements." The book is divided into chapters, so visitors can use the Table of Contents to get started on their journeys. In total, there are 40 chapters, including Most Tolerant of Cold, Shortest Generation Time, and Smallest Eggs. Each chapter can be downloaded for easy access and there's ample documentation for each record. This work could be used in any number of general biology or entomology courses and it is quite a find. [KMG]


19. The peer-to-peer business model continues to attract attention and consumer interest

Peer-to-peer rental: The rise of the sharing economy

Share Everything: Why the Way We Consume Has Changed Forever

Sharing Economy Provides Extra Cash and Creative Expression

SXSW coverage: How can Houston help the sharing economy?

Value from nothing-the sharing economy


Would you like to rent a surfboard? Perhaps you could go for a luxe parking space in a prime location for a day or two? Traditional ways of purchasing these goods and services have been around for decades, but the world of peer-to-peer rental could be a game-changer in terms of how people and businesses connect with each other for such transactions. One particularly notable business in this arena is the Airbnb website, which allows users to purchase overnight stays in rooms rented out by private individuals. This intriguing business model is made possible by technology and it seems to work well for items that are generally expensive to buy and are owned by a range of people who do not use them on a consistent basis. Speaking about this recent trend, author Rachel Botsman noted that this peer-to-peer rental market is worth around $26 billion. It has also acquired another

nickname: "collaborative consumption." It is worth noting that owners of these various goods and services can find value in their underutilized assets, and a recent article in The Economist speculates that companies may be able to use this model to rent out spare offices, copy machines, and other pieces of equipment. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an article on the rise of the sharing economy, courtesy of The Economist. Moving along, the second link will take curious visitors to a fine piece from the Atlantic Cities' Emily Badger on how this model work for a start-up kitchen in Washington, D.C. Moving on, the third link will whisk users away to a piece from the Forbes website about a talk at SXSW about the sharing economy from Airbnb cofounder Nate Blecharczyk. The fourth link will take visitors to a piece from the Houston Business Journal about how businesses and partners in Houston might become more involved in the sharing economy. The fifth link will take visitors to a thoughtful post from the "Flip the Media" site's Patrick Doherty about the sharing economy. Finally, the last link will take visitors to the Airbnb website. Here interested parties can learn a bit about how the business works and maybe even find a deal of their own.

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