Saturday, February 19, 2011

Compendium of Links #4

I just got back from a day of newspaper layout for the college newspaper. As the managing editor… I stay the longest. But I also enjoy my work, which is probably the only reason I’ve survived this long in my major. So, the rest of the day will likely be filled with writing papers and a novel, running to Wal-Mart, and possibly watching a movie.

So much has been going on this week that I haven’t done nearly as much online reading as I normally do. I’ve been writing a novel, trying out (and getting a small part in) the school’s musical, and of course gearing up for another issue of the school newspaper. Oh, and taking the senior test. Glad that’s over.

Social Scientist Sees Bias Within – from the New York Times: psychologists are overwhelmingly liberal. Who’da thunk?!? *sarcasm dripping* (Via World blog.)

A Self-Referential Story – This is a sentence that tells you the link goes to a story sounding like this the whole way through. This is a sentence telling you that it is funny. This is a sentence that tells you I got this link from my roommate.

Good music that my friend showed me…

It’s Canadian folk stuff. The voice is vaguely Celtic, maybe.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Compendium of Links #3

Last night I was up until 2:30 a.m… so I guess that means I was up until early this morning? And yet my eyes popped open at 8:30 a.m. Sigh. But I guess it gives me time to do a little homework before Mom shows up with my newly-repaired car! Oh yeah, and Valentine’s Day is Monday, but I probably won’t be posting anything before then.

3 Fun and Useful Google News Mashups will let you make a customized timeline, topic/article cloud, or even a map. Great for a visual person! (Via Interesting Pile.)

I’m still working on finishing this article, but “Get Smarter” from The Atlantic Magazine is pretty fascinating.

Pandemics. Global warming. Food shortages. No more fossil fuels. What are humans to do? The same thing the species has done before: evolve to meet the challenge. But this time we don’t have to rely on natural evolution to make us smart enough to survive. We can do it ourselves, right now, by harnessing technology and pharmacology to boost our intelligence. Is Google actually making us smarter?

In other words, this article is the antithesis to Nicholas Carr’s “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”. And that one is one of the articles a couple of my friends had to read for their English Capstone class.

Another one they had to read was “The Art of Slow Reading” from The Guardian. The fifth paragraph reads as follows:

Still reading? You're probably in a dwindling minority. But no matter: a literary revolution is at hand. First we had slow food, then slow travel. Now, those campaigns are joined by a slow-reading movement – a disparate bunch of academics and intellectuals who want us to take our time while reading, and re-reading. They ask us to switch off our computers every so often and rediscover both the joy of personal engagement with physical texts, and the ability to process them fully.

Speaking of reading, an old friend from the Ramblin’ Irishman homeschool message board has started a new YouTube stream, Dan Reads Good Poems. The name explains it all. “If” by Rudyard Kipling, “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe, and “The Road Less Traveled” by Robert Frost are among the offerings. He has a good reading voice.

Computers, however, do not; but you can at least tell whether it’s a girl or a boy by the voice. Interesting Pile gave me another link, this time one that tells us how to find out the gender of your computer. (Mine’s a girl.)

Another visual person used his computer to make a set of elegant word clouds visualizing the words in the 66 books of the Bible. Then this person put them all together in a YouTube video and put a little pretty music under the slideshow.

And the closing humorous video for your entertainment: courtesy of The Onion, via a computer-science friend.

Dark humor, but funny.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Eureka! (Tropical plants edition)


Never figured out what this plant was back when I saw it everywhere in Central America. But tonight I found out what it was! It's a heliconia! Also known as a false bird-of-paradise, or a number of other things.

Wow... this plant even has its own international society.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Compendium of Links #2

And this time, it really is #2. For the next few months (at least), I’m going to try to post a few of the links I’ve read each week on Saturday morning. It’ll give me a good reason to keep this blog active, no? And I generally find some interesting links…

Since January 30th, I have found:

The Stanford University Persuasive Tech Lab tries “to create insight into how computing products–from websites to mobile phone software–can be designed to change people’s beliefs and behaviors. Our major projects include technology for creating health habits, mobile persuasion, and the psychology of Facebook.”

The Ethnologue used to be in print and really expensive. Now it’s online, and apparently free. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about any language in the world…. and it’ll tell you what languages are spoken in any given country.

The Google Art Project is nifty!

While reading World Magazine, I noticed a blurb about 750words.com. “The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. Unlike many of the other exercises in that book, I found that this one actually worked and was really really useful.” So he made a website to let other people do it too. It’s simple but effective.

Somebody named Mark Leynell wrote 12 questions to ask of albums so people can listen intelligently to a given set of songs. These take into consideration the music, lyrics, and arrangement of the songs in the album.

The Anti-Joke tickles my fancy: “What’s brown and sticky? A stick.” “What would George Washington do if he were alive today? Scream and scratch at the top of his coffin.” (FYI, Mom, you probably wouldn’t like this. It’s more my brother’s type of humor.)

And my roommate showed me this video:

I love dry humor and animal voiceover videos.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

*Sniff* ah-CHOO!

I came down with a cold over J-term break. Not the best way to pass the time, but it could’ve been worse, I suppose.

Today’s goal… has not been developed yet. I suppose I might do some writing, whether in my journal or on my computer; I might also find a good book to start reading. And I do have a very messy desk I should clean up.

But sitting and doing nothing feels like a really good idea right now. At least, my sinuses seem to think so.

Coming next week—actual thoughts!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

World issues week

Apparently this was the week that the world decided to intrude itself into the U.S. news consciousness. Egypt’s government is slip-sliding away; Tunisia’s was/ doing the same; Jordan’s may be showing signs of… something; Yemeni people are standing in solidarity with the Egyptians; and the U.S. isn’t exactly sure what to do with it all.

But in other news—there was a bit of good news. South Sudan voted to secede from the North, and its independence is being recognized.

sudanvoting

(Picture by Mark Allen White, relative of a friend.)

There are still some things that need to be smoothed out—one region on the border is claimed by both the North and the South, for one thing—but so far, so good. As long as the unrest in the other countries doesn’t spread to the Sudan and mangle things up.

Praise the Lord for this bit of good news, though. He knows South Sudan needs it…