Friday Funfaronade

January 8, 2010 No Comments »

fanfaronade (n): grandiose trumpet blast. funfaronade (n): grand group of amusing links.  Let the blast begin!

End of year/End of decade:

  • Decade in photos – The Big Picture looks back over the last 10 years with photos that are iconic of the times we lived through.  Some are expected (Sept 11th), some I’d forgotten (Elian Gonzales), and some were underreported at the time, and are only now starting to be recognised for the events they were.
  • Christmas 2009 – The Big Picture takes a look at Christmas celebrations all over with people preparing and participating in the celebration from many countries, and even the ISS.
  • Welcoming 2010 – The Big Picture’s collection of New Year’s photos from celebrations around the world.  Some amazing traditions from across the globe.
  • Bet videos of 2009 – The staff of video sharing site Vimeo have chosen their favourite videos posted in the last year and collected them here.
  • Most anticipated – Onion A/V club staffers sorted through the upcoming year of releases and chose 32 of them as their most anticipated entertainments of the coming year.
  • Most anticipated 2 – Science Fiction site io9 lists their most anticipated genre films of 2010.
  • New knowledge – The BBC lists 100 things we learned in 2009, from the mundane to the surprising.  Some of it is not new for the well-read, but the stories the site links to are worth reading.
  • Best HDR photos – HDR, or “high dynamic range,” is a way of capturing photos with varying levels of intensity, usually by taking three photos in quick succession with differing light levels.  This collection of 19 photos looks surreal at first, but the point of HDR is to more accurately represent the scene as if the viewer were standing at the point of the camera, viewing with their own eyes.
  • Things change – The TorStar looks back 10 years to look at the way things have changed over the course of the last decade.  Arranged alphabetically, these 50 items really make you think life might have been quite different in 2000.
  • History Review – Finally, the Onion takes a tongue-firmly-in-cheek look back at the biggest stories of the last 4½ billion years.  Written in typical Onion style, so it may offend some readers.

Social:

  • World Clock – This Flash-animated clock not only lists a double handful of time zones, but also statistics on world population, diseases, food and others.  Useful for student research.  Link courtesy of Trent G.
  • Important shots – While looking for photos that changed the world, Glenn Wiebe at History Tech found a number of sites that share important photos from world news, including Life Magazine’s collection.
  • Tsunami reflection – Five years after the Boxing Day tsunami, The Big Picture takes a look at what has become of the affected areas.  Includes some interesting fading before/after shots of the same spot.
  • Cost of care – With the health care debate still raging in the US, National Geographic produced this infograph to show the money spent on health care versus the life expectancy in a number of countries.  While Canada doesn’t fare too well, we’re far better off than our southern neighbour.
  • Afghanistan – December’s entry in The Big Picture’s monthly series showcases, as usual, the expected photos of the conflict with more “ordinary” images of people getting on with their lives.  Includes a shot of “Skateistan” co-ed skateboarding park and school.
  • Tiger Woods, Person of the Year – An interesting argument that Tiger Woods bests represents the leaders of the age, whose flashy images have so blinded us to the reality of their (or our) situation that we put them in positions of trust and leadership.  Fascinating read.
  • California in trouble – A thought experiment on how and why California could default on the estimated $500 billion in debt that they carry.  Their projected $21 billion deficit and lack of congressional bipartisan solutions has some creditors nervous.  If the banks refuse to honour the state-issued vouchers (basically an IOU from the state), there could be big problems in California’s future.

Science:

  • Every Child by Two – Standing up against the anti-vaxx celebrities led by Jenny McCarthy, this vaccination advocacy site enlists such stars as Amanda Peet and Kerri Russell and Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi and Sheryl Swoopes to get out the message that every kid should be immunised.
  • Ten23 project – A British group advocating science-based medicine in lieu of homeopathy created this website to show how homeopathy is supposed to work, and how it is contrary to every known law of biology, pharmacology, math, physics and chemistry.
  • Autism prevalence – Landmark study produced by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders is about 1% in all age groups, meaning that there has been no increase in the number of kids born with (or infected with, if you’re a conspiracy theorist) autism since the introduction of the MMR vaccine.

Language Arts:

  • Word Counter – Do your students over-use certain words?  Copy/paste their essays into this tool, which counts the occurrence of words and will rank them so students can see which words they need to consider varying.

Media:

  • iPhone edugames – A collection of 50 iPhone/iPod Touch apps in various educational categories.  Mostly aimed at younger learners, but could be useful for anyone.
  • Quotable – Looking for an inspirational quote to put on your board or to challenge your students?  MakeUseOf has three sites to help you find just such lofty words.  As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, “The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies.”

Miscellaneous:

  • Snow festival – The Big Picture highlights a festival in China that celebrates snow and ice.  Take a look at the sculptures and buildings made of ice, then shiver in sympathy with the polar bear swimmers.
  • Snow scenes – We might think we’re familiar with snow and ice, but these images from around the world show that different people react to winter in different ways.
  • Logic/reflexes test – This site claims the test is used by the Air Force.  Interesting game – I’ve made it to 14 seconds.
  • Wolf & Pig – Cute stop-motion animation of a pig being chased by a wolf.  Innovative in its use of physical space to display the animated images.
  • Techno Jeep – Cool video showing a Stomp-esque recording of people “playing” a Jeep, complete with choreographed dance manoeuvres.

Sorry to get this out so late (it’s still Friday, though), and remember 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, as declared by the U.N.

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