August Quick Hits: Online Finds

There’s less than a week left before school starts again, so I hope the summer has been good to you. I have been enjoying my time away from school and love spending time with my family, who I don’t get to see as much during the school year.

One of my great pleasures during my summers used to be reading novels. Nowadays, I find myself reading more non-fiction, and I also still love reading print magazines. We do have an Ipad, and my oldest son loves reading list sites such as Listverse, and others.

Here is an abbreviated list of things I’ve found interesting online this summer:

  • The Citizen Science page on the Scientific American website is a great place to find projects you can take part in, in various ways. One project, for example, is mapping the genes in American Cockroach and will take two of them from you if you’d like to participate in the study. Of course, there are many more interesting, less icky projects there.
  • I am a doodler, but vlogger Vi Hart, takes the art to a whole new level by taking stop motion animation to math class in a series of fast paced and well illustrated videos. Doodling in Math Class, so far, is a twelve-part collection that shares some interesting mathematical ideas.
  • Since I still haven’t won the Powerball or sold a startup company for millions of dollars yet, I’m still very much interested in the growing disparity between the “haves” and the “lesser haves”.  John Sutter’s list of “Must Reads” actually includes a number of videos regarding income inequality in the United States. The article can be found at CNN and it includes links to many of the recommendations.
  • I avoid going to see anything in the theater that I can catch later on for free, unless it’s the kind of affair that deserves to be seen on a large screen. I do, however, love seeing the previews because they give away how good or awful most movies are going to be. Even trailers have evolved, as this interactive article from Wired magazine discusses the art of this ever-changing bit of art and advertising.

waking life montage

  • The Director as Dream Figure” is a short essay in Harpers about one of my favorite lesser known movies, Richard Linklater’s animated, Waking Life, and how it is connected to a number of the director’s other movies. If you haven’t ever seen Waking Life, I highly recommend that you do (a few times).
  • Even if you haven’t yet created a movie about your life, there’s probably enough information on your Facebook to fill a museum all about YOU … and that’s the idea behind Intel’s “Museum of Me” which uses that info to create a 3D tour as though it were hung in a grand museum about your likes, friends, favorites and all that other good stuff you post. Depending on your perspective, it’s either a grand tribute to your life or a really scary visualization of how much information about you is already out there.
  • I love graphs and other visual aids that help you understand a complex issue or idea. This site is called information aesthetics, and its motto is “Where form follows data”. It has a collection of interesting and (sometimes) informative graphs.
  • Sometimes, the illustrators get it wrong, but the image they create is so catchy, that it sticks and is reproduced so many times that it becomes the “norm”. Icons are the memes of the artistic world and they went viral before the advent of video. Even science illustrators get it wrong (big time) and this short article about one scary looking dinosaur is a great example of how long it takes to correct it.
  • I am still fascinated by virtual tours (i.e. visiting places through our best electronic means), though I know nothing beats actually going there. Still, there are some vistas you won’t be able to get even if you really go there in person, and for that there is a great site at pixelcase interactive media. Most of the forty plus, 360 degree panoramic views are of New York and places in Australia, but there are some breathtaking shots of places in Canada, Brazil, London, Paris and Zimbabwe.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2013. All rights reserved.