Thursday, October 13, 2011

Batch of links

I’m in the process of changing computers. I don’t have a new computer yet, but I’m doing things slowly. I started by (finally) installing IE9, which I hate, and 24 hours later, I had Google Chrome – much better, though I’m still getting used to the layout. In switching browsers, though, all my bookmarks got rearranged. You should know that I have WAY more bookmarks than most people, because that’s the way my brain works. I see something I think is interesting, and I put a bookmark there and get back to it later. That’s also why I often have Post-its and scraps of paper on my desk; it’s all little things on which I need to take action, and when I do, I recycle the scrap of paper (or delete the bookmark). Sometimes, I save something thinking I’ll share it here eventually, but I tend to procrastinate on that. But I can usually just look at my latest bookmarks and do whatever housekeeping needs to be done. Now, however, all my bookmarks have been rearranged in alphabetical order instead of chronological. This would be no big deal if I had dozens, but I’ve got hundreds. So my new project is to go through them, alphabetically, and share here anything that seemed relevant at the time. Eventually, I hope to turn this into a weekly post, perhaps on Friday (to go through what I’ve accumulated during the week), and ideally divided by theme (like on Not Martha, I think that rocks).

In the meantime, here is my first batch. Like I said, this will get more organized and timely in the future!

- The Great Typo Hunt: Two friends spend the summer driving around the perimeter of the United States, correcting typos. I loved Eats, Shoots & Leaves, so you can imagine how much I admire him. Here’s a tiny excerpt from the book: “To/too, their/there/they're, and your/ you're confusion, comma and apostrophe abuse, transpositions and omissions, and other sins against intelligibility too heinous to dwell on. Each one on its own amounted to naught but a needle of irritation thrusting into my tender hide. But together they constituted a larger problem, a social ill that cried out for justice.”

- Random acts of kindness: Ideas for doing something nice for other people every day.

- An abandoned lifeboat at world’s end: This fascinating article describes a real-life mystery on Bouvet Island. Bouvet Island is an uninhabited, entirely inhospitable and sometimes inaccessible island in the Southern Ocean; the closest land is Antarctica, 1,750 km away. In 1964, a lifeboat was found on the island, with signs of life after the wreck, but no human remains. There aren’t any trade routes even remotely close to the island, and we have no idea where this lifeboat comes from, how it got there and what happened afterwards. The thoroughly researched article gives more details, as well as hypotheses regarding what could have happened and arguments disproving those hypotheses. A fascinating read, even though there’s no definitive explanation.

- An argument in favor of the Oxford comma: One of my English teachers used to absolutely insist that we use it, but I’ve since found that it isn’t actually mandatory, at least not in the States. As a result, I tend not to use it. In this sentence, however, the Oxford comma helps to clarify the meaning, but as one commenter pointed out, “Proper punctuation should not be relied upon to clear up poor writing.” At least I’m not a stickler for it or against it.

- BBC Dimensions: If you want to know how big something really is (like the area affected by the 2010 floods in Pakistan, for example), you can enter your postal code and see the outline of it over your city/state/province. This is a great tool to give you an idea of the scale of certain events. Also check out this sister site for the same exercise with numbers (like how many people died of a certain disease, how many people watched the Seinfeld finale, etc., compared to the number of contacts in your social networks).

- Blowing bubbles in the ocean could slow global warming. Really!

- Guess the TV show or movie name: This is a fun program that asks you a series of yes/no questions to guess the name of the TV show or movie about which you are thinking.

- Living with less: A great article about one couple’s take on voluntary simplicity. They gave away many of their possessions (whittling things down to 100 items per person), downsized, paid off debt, are now working less and enjoying life more. Fewer material possessions really did increase their happiness.

- Conscious capitalism: It turns out that two of my favorite companies are adepts. I love this. I hadn’t even realized they were Texas-based until I read this article a year ago.

- Steampunk costume creator Just plain fun.

- Dear Sugar: This is quite possibly the best advice column I’ve ever read. I don’t read it often, from lack of time, but the columnist gives wonderful, thoughtful, considerate and kind advice on a variety of very emotional and complicated topics. The link brings you to column #87, but #44 is also a good place to start.

- Dads in Short Shorts: Funny pictures, usually from the 1970s and 1980s, of men wearing what now look like incredibly short shorts. These used to be all the rage, and if you’re my age, I’m sure you have a picture of your dad wearing these.

- My Mom, the Style Icon: People post retro chic pictures of their mothers. It can be quite inspiring.

- Draw a Stickman: You get to draw a stickman and help him through an animated story. A great way to spend the next 5 minutes!

- Simon’s Cat: You have seen the films, right?

- Eat Wild: I’ve talked about it before, but it’s worth mentioning again. Eat Wild helps you find local farms where you can buy grass-fed, organic and free-range meat, poultry and animal products. In our case, the closest farm is LT Beef. The catch is that meat is often sold in big quantities, so it’s ideal if you have a freezer to dedicate to this or if you’re going in with friends. We have neither.

- Jamie Oliver’s school lunch reform in West Virginia catching on: It was about time for a success story!

- Google Easter eggs. No explanation needed.

- 152 Minutes with Hanson: I liked this article (I still like it, but it’s over a year old now). For the video referenced (as well as 5 reasons why MTV likes it), see here.

- 7 Easter eggs in works of art: Even before I read this article, I always loved how Michelangelo snuck in his pursuit of anatomically correct organs (here, the brain, seat of reason and science) onto the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (even funnier since the Church forbade dissection, a hobby of Michelangelo’s). I can spend entirely too much time on, though.

- There’s a real-life version of the Simpsons’ house!

- Curiosities of scientific nomenclature: Scientifically trained people will have fun with this.

Alright, I’ve spent three days sorting through my bookmarks, and I’m in the Hs now. I’ll post more links next week and will get things sorted out soon, hopefully. Thanks for reading!

No comments: