Of all the things for which I credit the web, and the thing I'm most grateful for, is the way it's expanded my mind and perception of the world. Newspapers and magazines are great, but the ability to stumble upon random information and points of view (check out StumbleUpon.com to get started) that aren't related to the news cycle is a gift that keeps on giving.
I have thousands of bookmarks at this point for articles and web pages that are too good to visit once. This week I thought I'd share a few of those recent links with you.
"The State of the Music Business" - Go to the Huffington Post at www.huffingtonpost.com and do a search for "Mellencamp" to find this article, which quite simply is the best explanation I've read so far for the decline of the music industry, rock and roll, and music in general. Not that I consider John Mellencamp to be any kind of music god, but he makes some valid observations. In the same vein I have to recommend the video interview of Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor by Digg.com founder Kevin Rose at http://dig.com/dialog/Trent_Reznor. Also check out the Reznor article at www.contactmusic.com for another epiphany - "One of the biggest wake-up calls of my career was when I saw a record contract. I said, 'Wait - you sell it for $18.98 and I made 80 cents? And I have to pay you back the money you lent me to make it and then you own it?"
Alternet.org specializes in political and environmental articles, but last December they ran a simple piece by Jen Angel titled "10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy." There were no jaw-droppers in there, but it's still a great list to bookmark. In a similar theme, I should also point out www.cracked.com and an incredible article titled "5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won't)" that blew me away and left me grinning for weeks.
While I'm surfing the web sometimes I wonder what's actually going on inside my computer, and how strings of 1s and 0s make it all possible. I found an interesting article titled "What Your Computer Does While You Wait" that simplified the whole process for me. Visit http://duartes/gustavo/blog/post/what-your-computer-does-while-you-wait.
Generally speaking I've been a failure at math my whole life, but I could still appreciate this blog entry titled "9 Mental Math Tricks" at http://oddline.blogspot.com/2008/09/9-mental-math-tricks.html.
A growing number of people are using devices like the iPhone to read, and the Internet has a collection of free digital books that could put any library to shame. To find those books visit http://educhoices.org/articles/Online_Libraries_-_25_Places_to_Read_Free_Books_Online.html.
For some reason when our problems are big it helps to feel small. I don't know why this is, but check out the image at http://digg.com/d1ofQT to feel utterly insignificant in the cosmic order.
I'm a lukewarm fan of comedian Demetri Martin - I like his style and appreciate his intelligence, but he seems a little condescending. That said, he wrote a 224-word palindrome (reads the same backwards as forwards) that is nothing short of amazing. It's yours to ponder at http://incredimazing.com/page/Demetri_Martins_Palindrome.
At www.topcultured.com, I also stumbled upon a brilliant poster by Ryan Deal that is meant to be hung on the wall of your time machine. It covers the basics of most important inventions like flight, technology, navigation, metallurgy, chemistry, health, etc. so you can take credit as the inventor.
There's so much information out there now that I've started to collect links to anything in list form, or that attempts to reduce complexities to their simplest components. They have titles like "Most Important Scientific Concepts to Know" and "75 Skills Every Man Should Master." I refer to the last one, an article at www.esquire.com, every now and then. The skills that men used to know and were once valued for are in short supply these days, and could soon be back in fashion.
Last, but not least, I urge any tech geek to check out www.laptoplogic.com and an article titled "64 Things Every Geek Should Know." I didn't know too many of them, which may or may not be a good thing depending if geeks are popular this week or not, but this is a great resource for all the do-it-yourselfers out there.
If you have any links of interest to share please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.