Assorted links and other shameless unpaid plugs for sites I happen to like
- Encyclopedia of Life — This site promises to become a complete listing of and full information about every known species in the world. It’s a truly herculean task. However, since I heard about it at a talk by E. O. Wilson, who seemed surprisingly confident about it and the progress already made, there will likely be something to this. It already appears quite impressive at my first glance.
- American Museum of Natural History Lectures — Often, these are lectures by an author with a new book out and are an opportunity for a signed first printing.
- American Museum of Natural History Hayden Planetarium Lectures — Sometimes, these are lectures by an author with a new book out and are an opportunity for a signed first printing. Sometimes they are by a practicing scientist and are an opportunity to hear new science before it hits the press. Occasionally, Neil DeGrasse Tyson introduces the speaker, which may be the highlight that night.
- New York Academy of Science Lectures — These are also usually book signings. These usually include a reception with wine and some food. This is the link for their Science and the City series, which is targeted to a knowledgeable general audience. They also have a tremendous number of lectures and full day events for practicing scientists.
- Mother Jones — Tired of having just one news source (i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, New York Times, Fox Street Journal, AP, Reuters, Fok Snews, etc.)? Noticing that they all have the same stories? Try Mother Jones. They report what others will not. They lean hard to the left, but have no qualms about pointing out problems with either party or their candidates and elected officials. When Clinton was being investigated by Ken Starr, it was MoJo that pointed out that if they wanted to get Clinton, they should have gotten him for being the largest arms dealer in history instead of something as meaningless as a blow job.
- Project Censored — Read the news that didn’t make the news. (Thanks to Jan for the find.)
- TheOnion — The best source of news. Unfortunately, sometimes this actually becomes real news.
- Dilbert — Geeky, of course, but boy does Scott Adams know the technology workplace!!
- Demotivators — If you have seen motivational posters, these are better. Caution: Do not read if you are suicidal.
- Godling’s Glossary — An odd little dictionary with some very funny definitions. Unfortunately, some that were once there years ago are now missing. Lotto used to be defined as a tax on the statistically challenged, for example.
- XKCD — A geeky comic with a great warning line: “Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).”
- Abstruse Goose — A comic that often has a lot of science and math in it, but not always.
Shopping for Gear:
- Campmor — Great deals on a wide variety of camping gear, outer wear, and other assorted products.
- Sierra Trading Post — Great deals largely on slightly out of date or overstocked merchandise.
- Eastern Mountain Sports — Good selection and the best return policy I’ve ever come across. I bought a rain jacket, wore it, got stuck in a serious rain storm a year later and found that the fit didn’t work for me in heavy rain. They took it back and credited my card for the full amount.
- NOAA — The source for the U.S. raw data.
- The Weather Channel — A bit much on hype for my taste. The weather will always be extreme somehow. Why else would anyone watch their station. Still fairly good though.
- AccuWeather — Another major network. Has 15 day forecasts for the seriously impatient.
Shopping for Books:
- BestBookBuys — Compares prices on a number of sites and sorts them by cheapest price including shipping.
Other good blogs to check out:
- Dvorak‘s blog is essentially an RSS feed of assorted interesting information with a strongly opinionated group of dedicated followers. There are no shrinking violets on this site. However, there are a lot of intelligent folks with interesting opinions in between a lower than usual number of assholes.
- Mother Jones is by far the most reputable news magazine I’ve ever read. They lean lefterly but are truly non-partisan. For example, during the whole Ken Starr fiasco, it was MoJo that pointed out that if they really wanted to hit Clinton, they should have gotten him for being the largest arms dealer in history. Their regular blog gets quite a following. Even more interesting, though less attended is the Blue Marble Blog dedicated to environmental issues.
- This new blog, the Cage Match promises to have more heated debates and topics that include science and technology. I like such things; if you do too, check ’em out. Maybe you’ll have the opportunity to become one of the early adopters of this relatively new site.
- Google Scholar — Improve your blog debate skills with links to scholarly journals.
- MSN Driving Directions — This link may go away. I am no longer able to find the way in from their normal interface. This offers the “line drive” feature that is so much easier to read than an actual map or the direction text. The line drive feature dates from the days before Map Blast was bought by PicoFlaccid MicroSoft. They often give the best directions too. But, confirm them, as with any web directions.
- Snopes — Thanks for the reminder Higghawker, that does belong on this page. Snopes is great for researching the truth or falsehood of anything that you suspect may be an urban legend. Before sending on yet another virus warning that claims it will blow up your house and sleep with your girlfriend or other nonsense, why not check here first?
- The Jargon File — A must for those interested in real geek terminology, especially from an older era. It is written in the form of a technical dictionary, and actually is one. However, geeks and geek language from that era cannot be described without a significant amount of humor. The introduction has some interesting bits. Also, for humor, check the definitions for LART, Fuck Me Harder (FMH), FUBAR, and PEBKAC, and many others to find for yourself. FUBAR is funnier if you already think you know what it means.
Environmental Action Sites:
These sites all allow you to sign up for action alerts via email. Clicking the links in such messages will generally take you to a page where you may quickly and easily send email to your elected officials. As a staunch environmentalist, may I suggest that for the issues you find most compelling that you edit the messages to make them more personal. Thank you for every alert on which you take action.
Note: Many of these organizations are international. Being in the U.S. myself, these links may be U.S. specific. There may be international action sites for other countries as well. If the link I provide does not take you directly to their action page to sign up, it means that you may do so right on their main page.
- Environmental Defense
- World Wildlife Fund
- Natural Resources Defense Counsel
- Defenders of Wildlife
- Sierra Club
- Friends of the Environment
- League of Conservation Voters
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Center for Biological Diversity
- Rainforest Action Network
- Ocean Conservancy
- National Wildlife Federation
- Secular Coalition for America — A national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans. Sign up for action alerts in order to email congress and possibly other politicians about church and state issues in current legislation.
- Freedom From Religion Foundation — A national association of nontheists has been working since 1978 to promote freethought and defend the constitutional principle of the separation of state and church.
- American Civil Liberties Union — Need I say more? These people have been the strongest defense of our constitution for many years. Sign up for their action alerts too. Also, search their site for their real statements on controversial issues, such as gun control and NAMBLA. If you’ve been listening to the far right, you may be surprised by the actual positions of the ACLU.
Shopping for Miscellaneous Crap:
- ThinkGeek — A very strange assortment of things, not all computer related. Strangest assortment of caffeinated products I’ve seen.