Category Archives: Cool Websites

TED Rocks

Technology.  Entertainment.  Design.

For those who didn’t already know.  I didn’t until two weeks ago (although I think I’d stumbled onto some of it a time or two prior to that).  TED is a series of conferences held every year where very interesting people gather to make 18 minute presentations about what they know.  I’ve watched a few of these presentations, and have found them interesting and thought provoking.

One of them is a presentation by Jonathan Haidt on the topic of the Moral Mind, someone I’ve linked to here before on this same topic.  It’s good stuff.  I particularly like his notion of stepping outside our paradigms (he uses the term “matrix,” invoking the movie of the same name) to try to understand the experiences of those of other tribes (he uses the word “teams”) and how those can better inform our own understanding of the truth. 

Since I’ve moved to Minefield, one of the extensions that doesn’t work is Sage, my RSS aggregator.  So I’ve been trying out the built in LiveBookmarks that Firefox has had for some time.  Thus far, I’m less than impressed — I have to add feeds multiple times to get them to work, and the default location for them seems to be the Bookmarks Toolbar Folder — not some place I want a bunch of feeds accumulating.  But it’s what works until the folks at SageToo (Sage, apparently, is orphaned) update the version numbers to allow me to install it into Minefield.

TED has a number of RSS feeds of their videos and the audio.  For now, I’m sticking with the video, which is unusual for me.  But these are visual presentations and there is value in the video that’s not there in the audio-only.  I’m annoyed thus far that it seems to be sending me five or six of these in the past hour or so I’ve been subscribed, and I might dump the feed if this continues.  We’ll see.

But I recommend this site and this talk.  With the rhetoric of inclusion and unity floating around of late, it needs to be understood that inclusion doesn’t mean that any side gives up what it believes to join the other side in their unchallenged sense of superiority.  Unity comes when all sides value and respect all opinions, even when they aren’t shared.  This is one of the fundamental challenges of the statements of the President-elect, and it can’t be faced too quickly.  It is very hard.

Arts and Letters Daily Hat Trick.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I subscribe to the Arts & Letters Daily RSS feed — It was Blog of the Week in a recent Blaincast — and that I frequently find an article there of interest, but rarely do I read and like all three articles. 

Today is one such day.  Here is the day’s entry:

Arts & Letters Daily (27 Aug 2008)                


The Cuban judge sat with his feet up on the desk reading a comic book. The sentence for opposing the Revolution: thirty years… more

Most conquerors try to convert their subjects. Hitler’s empire was built on the idea of exterminating the natives… more

We Americans can adjust our compass heading, says John Lewis Gaddis, if we can make ending tyranny once again our priority, as it was through most of our history… more

All three articles are quite interesting, and I recommend giving them at least a look over, as well as consideration of shoving the RSS feed into your aggregator. 

100 Reps

I’ve been trying to find a way to work some fitness things into my life again.  I started the 100 pushups for breakfast program a while back, but backed off it when I realized I wasn’t going to be having to take a fitness challenge for a job, and it’s been quite a long time since I’ve had running as part of my active life.  But StumbleUpon keeps pointing me at fitness sites from time to time, and that’s how I ran into Project Fit.

Project Fit has two programs I’m following, both by RSS feed.  Starting Monday, they’re going to publish workout programs that use bodyweight and resistance (meaning you don’t need a gym or a bunch of equipment to do it) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  But the other program is already going — the 100 Rep Challenge.  I started that yesterday.

The nice thing is that these challenges come with beginner, intermediate and advanced versions, so, as I go, I can find where I best fit.  The idea is to get 100 reps in, in however many sets it takes, before the day is out — no time limit.  Yesterday’s challenge was dips, and, even doing chair-dips, I could only get 50 done by the end of the day, in sets of no more than 10 (several sets of 50, and that left me with arms that were hard to lift, like when I started the push-up program.  Today’s challenge was Hip-Floor Raises/Extensions/Bridges, and I managed to get all 100 done in one set.  My legs are stronger than my arms. 

Next time I get to dips, I might be up to doing the 100 before they day’s out.  Who knows.

Sporcle is cool.

StumbleUpon has brought me to a wonderful site that’s helped me with my Jeopardy training called  It’s got a growing list of “games” that are quite useful in memorizing the things the games are about.  Thus far, I’ve solidified US Presidents, States, State Capitals, European Countries and European Capitals, and I’m coming along with the elements of the periodic table (I’m getting over 100 of them now).  Also working on NFL Teams by conference and division, and plan to start working on US Vice Presidents (much tougher than presidents).

The Rick Astley game was quite cute.

And it’s helping.  I picked up a Final Jeopardy in seconds that I wouldn’t have gotten had I not been working on State Capitals recently.

Last week I got my best score on a single show and my best weekly average since I started.  Progress is good.