Monday, July 31, 2006

Big Bang Misconceptions

The Angry Astronomer, Jon Voisey, addresses some common misconceptions on the big bang. The blog post is quite lengthy and informative. Short attention span version: (1) there wasn't a bang, (2) undefined "pre-bang" era doesn't undermine theory, (3) there is evidence, (4) the Big Bang doesn't support or challenge the idea of a God.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Morphine - "Buena"

A hodge-podge of links:

Odd musical instruments with audio samples (such as this cigarbox guitar).

Placeopedia - a Wikipedia/Google Maps mashup.

Good, free online education sites.

Unsolved problems in mathematics.

Excellent summaries of key philosophers and schools of thought and online videos of philosophical lectures.

A list of musicians by educational degree.

6 best ways to learn physics.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


For a light-hearted guide to world mythologies past and present, visit From the Deity of the Day to the searchable Holy Database, Godchecker compiles substantial anthropological information in a fun format. Be sure to check out some of the featured collections.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Joe's Goals

One of the best Sopranos' scenes ever: Anthony intimidates Dr. Kennedy at the golf course, simultaneously handing him a "gift" putter while menacingly pushing him into a water hazard. As the heart doctor pulls our his PDA to make an appointment for Uncle Junior, Anthony slaps the gizmo to the ground and says, "Remember it."

I've tried geek organizational approaches from the hipster PDA to web tools like Planzo. Despite my best intentions, I always fall back to the Anthony Soprano GTD method - remembering the important stuff.

Joe's Goals is a good technique for those with commitment problems when it comes to goal setting. Why? It's simple. Set your goals and check them. If you're trying to learn French, add a check when you study and two checks for a double session. If you want to stop biting your nails, set a negative goal and subtract points for ever indiscretion. Joe's Goals also tracks your success in weekly, monthly, and tri-monthly reports.

Although the site contains few bells and whistles, the bear-bones approach might be just the necessary tonic to remember the important stuff: such a paying off your gambling debts.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Visual Novel Constructor

Blade Engine is simple, free software for designing "Choose Your Own Adventure" styled graphic novels. The downloadable samples show what can be accomplished with some sharp images and nice music. Looks like a way for a clever teacher to turn study aids into a fun diversion.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Digital Book Index

The Digital Book Index is probably the most complete index of eBooks on the web, indexing over 124,000 titles from thousands of university sites, private publishers, and the Gutenberg Project. In addition to a decent search function, the material is also browsable by subject and author. Although some sites, such as Questia, require a fee, over 2/3 of the site listings are entirely free and the rest usually allow some kind of "sampling".

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Second Look

Huey Lewis & The News "I Want A New Drug"

Here's a second look at some excellent sites worth revisiting.


A few months back, we looked at some of our animal friends using Nuvvo's do-it-yourself course sites. Professor Piggly created an intranet for his friday morning course so that his students could catch-up on the material they missed nursing hangovers. Ms. Bunny Pierzing launched a commercial site to demonstrate her revolutionary new body piercing techniques. And Terry Turtlebaum's was using Nuvvo to spread the latest gossip on how Jack Bauer was going to get off that Chinese steamboat.

All their sites are still doing well. Enrollment is booming and their needs are growing. Fortunately, so is Nuvvo. As always, Nuvvo offers a free, easy-to-use and stylish alternative to coursesites such as Blackboard or Moodle. And the Savvica guys roll out more features all the time.

Terry Turtlebaum's benefited from the new ranking system and tags as more and more 24 fans are flocking to his site. Professor Piggly has used Skype Web and iCalendar to keep in touch with his students. After a couple Gatorades and a hearty breakfast (works much better that coffee and orange juice), his students are having impromptu afternoon courses through Nuvvo. Unfortunately, it's been such a success that hardly anyone shows up Friday mornings. Finally, Bunny's piercing site has a cult following. She's brought on some other experts from across to country to share their knowledge as paid professors. As her little site has become a full-time business, Bunny's decided to take advantage of the enterprise offerings. More storage, CSS customization, ad control, and permissions settings are just a few of the additional features she's using.

So if you haven't yet, take a look at Nuvvo and see all the news on the blog.

Good Sh*t

Fans of softcore porn and hardcore educational links - if you haven't been to GoodSh*t, you're missing out. Fred's prolific postings covers the world of science, art, literature and music (with lots of..umm...detours along the way).


Another Web 2.0 gem, Vyew is a fantastic, free alternative to whatever remote meeting software we use at the office that never seems to work. These guys have also been adding a ton of new features including desktop sharing.

Finally, not to keep pinching the good post from Learn Out Loud, but over on their blog, they just posted a great listing of the better selections available through Librivox. It's a good way to load-up for your summer holiday.

Also, thanks again to Beth for listing some more of my links over on Proftitutes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Seb Chevrel Showcase

Seb Chevrel has gathered his educational and artistic multimedia projects in a showcase that will keep you busy for hours. From the Valley of the Kings to German Expressionism, his sites combine video, animation, and interactivity to make complex topics comprehensible and fun.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Walter's Educational Links

I saw Walter's collection a couple months back. Don't know why I never posted it, because he's really got a fine collection of links on every subject imaginable. From accounting to shakespeare and everything in between, Walter's put a great deal of energy into his one-man See the student section for a broad variety of materials or the business subject libraries for a deep collection on specific topics. Business students should also check out his quick notes series available as free downloadable pdfs.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Easy Online Powerpoint x2

A few weeks back, we looked at Gliffy, an online presentation program that's an excellent alternative to MS Powerpoint for a quick presentation. Now, more advanced users that want to create a professional quality presentation also have an online alternative.

Empressr doesn't hold back a thing in their free tool, making it one of the more impressive AJAX programs I've seen online. While I've just started to play around with the program, I've found it very easy to create basic Powerpoint slides and to also add some multimedia - which can be a bit trickier to master with Microsoft. Since Empressr is entirely web-based, users won't have to worry about problems of launching the slides on a different computer (fonts not working, video not launching, etc). Best of all, the presentations don't have the Powerpoint "feel" which can get a bit tiresome.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Illustration Class

Von R. Glitschka's blog teaches illustration through a series of downloadable zipped lessons. Each lesson focuses on a specific drawing technique, taught through handouts, examples, and teaching notes. Also see this collection of 37 artists' takes on the creative process.

Friday, July 14, 2006

What My Friends Are Up To

A brilliant live performance of É Isso Ai by Ana Carolina and Seu Jorge.

Time for another round-up of all the great things going on with my friends in the world of free-educational materials.

The biggest news right now is the mention of Jason and Textbook Revolution in This is by far the biggest coverage the site has received. Congratulations to Jason and be sure to check out the article. Our friends at Freeload Press were also mentioned. These guys are doing a great job of creating professional quality textbooks which they make available for free through the placement of ads. It's an excellent idea and a great way to cut costs for students without sacrificing content.

Next, I've gotten to know Peteris in Latvia, who's been doing an excellent job of gathering these free science audio and video lectures. He plans to create a proper database-style website soon, but in the meanwhile, see his site for a wealth of resources.

Over at Learn At Loud, Jon's posted some links to some cures for the Summertime Blues. My iPod is filling up with these suggestions ranging from a 9 1/2 hour rendition of Huckleberry Finn to some great iPod exercise mixes. Also, the LOL free archive has recently surpassed 1000 entries. Congratulations on this milestone in the growth of this excellent resource.

Over at Proftitutes, Beth added listed the Stingy Scholar as one of her top ten blogs. Proftitutes has some really interesting educational comentaries. Thanks for mentioning me. Also, visit the other sites on the list. They're some great suggestions.

Finally, I apologize for the sporatic posting recently. I've been busy with - among other things - a great new job, and I've been forced to do much of the blogging on the weekend. I prefer to have a new post appear every weekday, but thanks for bearing with me. I'm still committed to five post a week and I don't plan on changing that any time soon. Please keep up the suggestions via comment and emails.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Best Chinese Language Site Ever

I don't know how many readers are studying Chinese or plan to start, but here's inspiration to do it., a government initiative, presents culture and language through well-made, interactive lessons with audio and video. The powers-that-be might not like letting the internet in, but they're sure giving a lesson on how to use it. For another excellent resource, see

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Absolutely Unintellectual Links

Just as a change of pace, I thought I'd post some fun links with absolutely zero academic merit.

Here's Sport Diario de Futbol's collection of Zidane headbutt parodies. Don't worry about the language - the links speak for themselves.

PINK is the new BLOG - the current homepage in this household (after mininova was vetoed as being no fun). For more great celebrity gossip, see The Superficial, Teddy and Moo, Just Jared, Hollywood Rag, and Pop Sugar.

Some really funny banned Ikea commercials.

A list of problems solved by MacGyver.

Office Pirates - a funny site in the vibe of the Onion during the 90s. Some very good jokes, too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Comic Book Angles

As recommended by xenmate, here's Wally Wood's overview of useful panels for the beginning comic book artist. Also, check out John K's (of Ren & Stimpy fame) animation lessons - some of the best free resources on the web. His blog isn't half bad either.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Smart Digg

A Digg for educational materials. It's an obvious idea that's been tried several times. But qoolsqool might have finally gotten it right. In addition to an intuitive, pleasing interface and budgeoning community, the site smartly organizing the resources by category and media type. Consequently, it's easy to find both travel links and audiobooks for your trip. Be sure to see the best materials, also available via RSS feed. Here's hoping that the site continues to grow.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mouse Party

Flashback to math-camp with the sounds of TMBG "Ana Ang".

Here's another cool flash animation site explaining the biological effects of drugs on the brain. This one, however, has tripping mice. See also this Dutch site.

Steal this Wiki, offering collaborative updates to the Abbie Hoffman classic.

Some concise, practical tips on how to turn off distractions and focus on writing.

An alphabet for your overly stimulated child. Start building your math-camp dynasty today.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

World in Video

From Google Maps Mania, here are some sites linking video clips to their global locations. Virtual Tourism, a particularly good site, also has plenty of factual details to accompany the video. Be sure to see this iPod tourguide mashup map.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cloud in a Bottle

From Steven Spangler Science, here's how to make a cloud in a bottle. With only a soda bottle, water, and matches you can create a scale model of how a cloud forms. Watch the video here. The experiment steps have also been broken down more basically on WikiHow.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Future of the Book

The Institute for the Future of the Book is a loosely assembled group of programmers, academics, and artists with a common focus: what will replace the printed page? The site gathers a variety of perspectives and projects from GAM3R 7H30RY, exploring videogames as a book where the reader participates, to software, to blogs and artistic expressions.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Two Good Audiobook Blogs

Previously, we've looked at a number of literature related podcasts. However, in spite of the many pages devoted to the topic, it can still be difficult to find some free short stories for your ipod. Both Miette's Bedtime Stories Podcast and Mr. Ron's Basement are stellar options, both with high quality, listenable audio. With both sites the content selection varies from classics to lesser known selections in the public domain.