Here is a selection of the links I have posted over the last year:
Arts and Letters Daily website
According to founder Denis Dutton, Arts & Letters Daily is a web portal for “the kinds of people who subscribe to the New York Review of Books, who read Salon and Slate and The New Republic — people interested in ideas.” A&L Daily’s layout evokes the 18th century broadsheet format associated with The Enlightenment. Three columns of links dominate the site: Articles of Note, Book Reviews, and Essays/Opinions. Each link is introduced with a 25-word teaser. The teasers are often witty and provocative.
HowStuffWorks is a website dedicated to explaining the way many things work. These things could be mobile phones, mortgages, pickpockets or cults. The site uses photos, diagrams, video and animation to explain complex terminology and mechanisms in easy-to-understand language. It was founded by Marshall Brain in 1998 and has 58 million visitors annually.
As someone who sometimes falls asleep on the sofa watching a film, I find this site very helpful. They give you a detailed plot summary and the endings of hundreds of films. In fact, with some films it’s probably better to skip the film and go directly to the spoiler.
New Yorker short stories
If you like short stories, I can recommend the New Yorker magazine. They have a monthly section of short story podcasts. They are beautifully read and have a discussion included afterwards. You can then go to the magazine archive and find the written version. All of this is absolutely free.
The Skeptic’s Dictionary
The Skeptic’s Dictionary is a collection of sceptical essays by Robert Todd Carroll, an atheist and uncompromising sceptic from the USA. The site was launched in 1994 and contains more than 400 entries. It covers such categories as alternative medicine, cryptozoology, extraterrestrials and UFOs, frauds and hoaxes, junk science, New Age and the paranormal. For me this is an invaluable resource, which helps to explain the appeal and popularity of these irrational beliefs that have survived despite the enormous advances that science has propitiated and the power of the scientific method to explain the world.
An excellent trivia website with 91,000 quizzes and over 1,700,000 questions. They have 1,900,000 members but you can play without being a member. The quizzes are organised into categories such as history, geography and science.
The website podictionary.com is a place where you can hear short podcasts with a transcription about words, their meanings and their history. Words you can listen about include: nemesis, quagmire, scapegoat and trivia.
Spiked is an online magazine focusing on politics, culture and society. The magazine describes itself like this :
Spiked is an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms. spiked is endorsed by free-thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx, and hated by the narrow-minded such as Torquemada and Stalin. Or it would be, if they were lucky enough to be around to read it.The website was launched by Mick Hume in 2000 after the bankruptcy of its predecessor, Living Marxism magazine. It is currently edited by Brendan O’ Neil. It is a bit difficult to place on an ideological continuum. Their social critique has been defined as Libertarian Marxist but they have been criticised by journalists such as George Monbiot for following a right wing and pro-corporate agenda while pretending to be left wing. you like contrarian opinions, go to their website:
videojug.com is a website where you can find short videos explaining how to do thing.The list is very extensive and includes: Manners And Body Language Across Cultures, Serving In Tennis, Wedding Etiquette and Strategies For Rock, Paper and Scissors.
World Wide Words
World Wide Words is a website run by the linguist Michael Quinlon. He discusses new terms, displays weird words, gets behind expressions in the news, helps you with tricky points, and answers questions. Quinlon collaborates with the Oxford English Dictionary. He is the author of dictionary of affixes, Ologies and Isms, Port Out, Starboard Home: And Other Language Myths and Gallimaufry about words that are vanishing from the language.
This is a podcast hosted by professor Russell Roberts, a student of Milton Friedman and an Austrian School economist, who teaches economics at George Mason University. The weekly podcasts feature Roberts interviewing a guest, often a professional economist, with each programme lasting about an hour. The podcast is notable for its clarity and these thoughtful conversations really help you to understand the economic way of thinking as applied to a vast range of subjects. Provocative and stimulating – I highly recommend it.
Open Yale Courses
Open Yale Courses is an initiative of Yale University to share full video and course materials from its undergraduate courses. Its website launched in December 2007 with seven courses from various departments and they now have 15, with the goal of reaching 30 by 2010.