by Karen An
Digesting the fact that there exists an immense information superhighway that can connect you to places you may never set foot on can be overwhelming. The internet is probably too good to be true that the majority fail to use it to its greater potential; settling content to the substandard – either by ignorance or disinterest, undermining the real power of the technology to one’s own limits. So if you’re sitting the day out to facebook-google-youtube for the tragic reason that you believe they’re all there are to the internet, then my friend, you are obviously picking stones on a mountain of diamonds.
Or, to a safer level, on a mountain of carbon. The internet is probably more of a squabble of dirt than a pile of gems (personal opinion from a skeptic). Like a loyal servant, it gives one what one seeks which makes it a fair game. The quality of the find is relative to the amount of critical judgment and curiosity thrown. And, it pays to have a lot patience, too.
On a personal note, I’ve been limiting my wanderlusting to the virtual world – shame, thanks to being young and broke – as far as surfing time could stretch whether at home or in the office (shush don’t tell my boss). I have wandered here and there to find a comfortable nook in this colorful parade of URLs. And luckily, I’ve found home in some. Most of them were suggested by friends, some serendipitously uncovered from the haunt. So JMP, here are my top 11 websites. I know you know some of them already, harrowing back painful memories, but for the sake of the list, tadaa!
A Magazine of Arts & Politics. I visit this site for the fiction which are awfully good but it’s a rich repository of art, poetry and nonfiction. It features a brew of culturally-diverse literary artists with superb works such as Eula Biss, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Rivka Galchen, and Deb Olin Unferth among many others.
You can learn anything. Yes that’s right. Thanks to this website’s comprehensive resource of academic information, helpful for academic practitioners, parents and learners. From Biotechnology to Algebra and Economics, you can find an ‘extensive library of content, including interactive challenges, assessments, and videos from any computer with access to the web.’ I found out about this site when I was fishing some good apps for windows, turns out it’s free. Holla!
I’m obsessed with this website. Especially when greeted with subheadlines that read: Harry lost his eyeballs first. Such easy things to lose, we understood. Hospitable right? Like with Guernica, I come here for the fiction. That is, queer, offset, novel and the odd kind of fiction until I am stripped of everything (figurative) but raw awe for these writers’ weird genius. They also sport interviews, reviews, and oh – a shop! I wonder what’s in there.
This one I found through facebook from some literary friends and from geeky sir Gibson. Brain Pickings was established by writer Maria Popova in 2006, originally starting out as a weekly email she sent to seven friends. Thank goodness it was brought online or else I wouldn’t have known this funny book of how to be a nonconformist or this epic resignation letter from Sherwood Anderson. The website offers well-researched and organized motivational and informative articles on creativity, literature, social issues and a kaleidoscopic spectacle of brain pickings for hungry minds.
Sa mga nag-antos sa ilang research, Science Direct is gon’ be yo’ saviah! This is one of the major sites that helped me get through my thesis in college, remember Ja? haha. Pearl, I think you remember this. Science Direct is an extensive database of publications by subject (e.g. Materials Science, Toxicology, Arts and Humanities, etc.). Just punch in the right keywords and it wouldn’t be long before your analysis problem switches from ‘what to’ to ‘how to.’: an improvement on the procedural level; hell of a problem on the brain level. The website shows the whole or a part of the paper’s abstract and if of interest, the whole material is available for purchase. But of course, there are plenty of other resources in the web. Again, dig in – be up all night and (hopefully) get lucky.
Paper Darts is an online literary magazine. But I come here for the art. Apart from artistic contributions, Paper Darts is a host to contemporary fiction, nonfiction and modern poetry. The site makes it very clear for their readers: Online Content Published Whenever They Want. I love sites with the attitude. Good colors too. And some lady octopus for a logo – overWIN!
I discovered WorldHum from Jona Bering. Do you remember her? I think she’s the Ang Suga Editor-In-Chief when we were freshmen or the year before, I’m not sure. Now, she’s a successful writer, columnist and travel photographer (ahh, what a life). She also teaches in University of the Philippines. I found her awesome blog earlier this year and I was fascinated by her spirit. Anyway, so WorldHum is a site for travel stories. Sorry teachers, I don’t intend to get you smitten by wanderlust but now I think you should. Damay damay damay na ‘to.
Of course, my beloved Science Daily, which gained my patronage for its timely revelation of the Higgs Boson success. The biggest find of 21st century science was a good bait for me to regularly visit its crannies. And it never disappoints. Everyday, I find new awesome content including the hidden archeology of Stonehenge and the newsworthy rejection of JBS Haldane’s 80-year-old theory of primordial soup.
Oh, I included TC on my list. I wonder why. Well, partly because I still believe in humanity and partly because I believe humanity is in Brianna Weist and so long as she keeps sprouting those tagos-pusong pieces, I will patiently scurry through the feminist-overridden listicles and the occasional barrage of angry chauvinists.
This is my favorite ‘Oh Really!’ site. It poses random facts and trivia about all sorts of things from sports to history, both geeky and creepy. You can also post questions to the admin about something that’s been itching your brain lately, though I doubt they can answer Nietzschey what-is-the-true-meaning-of-life types of questions. Still, you can learn about the true origin of potato chips or the bloody ‘murder of crows and the exploding toad epidemic‘ – now that is one hell of a start.
And whoever doesn’t tune in to their playlist while scrolling down facebook? Jango is a personal preference. There are other good music sites you can find on the web like TuneIn Radio and Spotify. But I fell in love with Jango first. It’s an online radio wherein you can search by your favorite artist’s/band’s name and the site automatically cascades the rest of your ‘for listening’ list with similar artists of the identified genre. The result is a continuous flow of indie/rock/pop mood or whatsoever suits your temperament throughout. It’s perfect for those who are too lazy to create their random playlist for the day. AND, a cleverly wonderful way to discover new music.
In case you’re wondering, it’s The Rolling Stones in the background.
Check these sites out some time, or return the favor by letting me know your favorite sites as well.