Things worthy of recognition (collection)

The Internet of today is abundant with information, disinformation and everything in between. In an effort to give some credit to the websites and services out there that I think deserve it, I hope I can help other people finding the really good things of the online world. The list will never be complete, and will be subject to change. I will be happy for reader feedback on the entries in this list.

A World Without Copyright

  • Free Distribution. “The future of copyright for the creators who make a living by selling copies.”

Policy/Rights

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF, “defending your rights in the digital world.” A small but significant counter-weight to large corporations trying to bend the judicial system to suit their profit-driven interests.

Science

  • Public Library of Science (PLoS). PLoS is a non-profit science publisher. Their journals and papers are open-access, which means anyone can access them for free — just the way science should be. Papers are peer reviewed.

Learning

  • Khan Academy, a splendid education project providing free lectures and exercises. The lectures are split into easily digestible chunks of around 10 minutes. Covers a wide range of topics in math, science, economics, computer science and the humanities.
  • Anki, a Spaced Repetition System (SRS) that helps you retain knowledge in an efficient manner. If you’re learning a language, it’s indispensable. It’s free, and open-source. I rely heavily on Anki for reviewing language knowledge.
  • Hacking Chinese, a great resource on how to acquire language skills. As the title suggests, it’s about Chinese, but it often discusses learning methods that are relevant to any language (or even other kinds of learning).
  • Massive open online course (MOOC) providers:
    • Coursera (commercial), various disciplines
    • edX (non-commercial), various disciplines, founded my Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University
    • Udacity (commercial), computer science courses

News/Blogs

  • post-Gutenberg – an eloquent blog discussing the future of publishing

Books

I mainly list works that are in the public domain and can be downloaded online. E-reading is done best using an e-book reader. Approximate number of words is listed for each book, kw is short for kiloword, not kilowatt (kW). And yes, I made the unit up. Number of pages depends on the medium, number of words doesn’t.

  • The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, ~ 143 kw
    Because we should all know what life is and what drives us.
  • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, ~ 35 kw (download from Project Gutenberg)
    Creative vision of a dystopian future, and more interesting than authoritarian control scenarios (1984 etc).
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, ~ 43 kw (download from Project Gutenberg)
    Simply because it’s a story as good as any.

§ 6 Responses to Things worthy of recognition (collection)

  • Thanks, 5th! … I have bookmarked your excellent choices for things worthy of recognition, and am going to read Doctorow on copyright in my next break. … Please grow your blog fast. I was thinking of shutting mine down last night — from a lack of energy for promotion.. … In true appreciation, p-G

    • 5th says:

      Thanks! Yes, promoting blogs is tricky, especially the part about getting readers that are interested and return again and again. Please don’t close your blog though, it stands out from the crowd and probably has the potential for a much wider readership (actually I was thinking you probably have a fair number of readers already). As for my blog, well, I’ll do my best but at my rate of posting I guess it won’t grow very fast.

  • Correction: I find, on closer inspection that Doctorow’s actual subject was the dangers of turning computers into appliances. No time for anything but a fast skim so far. Wise people were issuing the same warnings over ten years ago, when an appliance was exactly what many of us wanted — and it is only because of our experiences of using real computers since that we can understand the points he’s making.

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