Websites That Will Enlighten and Entertain You - Issue 14

World Wide Web
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Browsing the World Wide Web looking for interesting sites can be quite a time drain. For one thing, everything you find is not really what you're looking for and may not be the best quality. But then when you do find an interesting site, you end up spending lots of time exploring it. That's great, but why not just skip the first part and look at all the sites I find for you each month? You can use the information you find on the sites I find for you as great starters for lesson plans if you're homeschooling.

Or use them just some fun activities for you and your child to do some research on. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page, too. You'll be informed when the list is ready and posted!

35 Scientific Concepts That Will Help You Understand The World

Most people identify themselves as liberal, conservative, libertarian, socialist, progressive, and other political labels in order to express who they are and provide a general understanding of who they are. Not me. I consider myself a human naturist and this Web site helps explain why I do that. Humans are what they are and no amount of wishing we were otherwise will change that fact. What can change, though, is how well we understand human nature and how that understanding can help us. This Web site briefly describes 35 different concepts that will help provide that understanding. Here are just a few of them: Cognitive Humility, Cognitive Load, Constraint Satisfaction, Deep Time, Focusing Illusion, and Positive-Sum Games.

The descriptions are much briefer than I would like, but if one piques your interest, you can always do some research (good task for the older kids).

Pluto's Secrets Revealed

The subtitle of this article is "New Horizons sends back incredible new high resolution images that reveal 'bewildering array' of features from ice flows and valleys to dunes." Clearly, the article contains some fascinating pictures of Pluto, but the site has much, much more.

For one thing, it has a 23-second video compiled by NASA using the photos to create a "fly-by" visual. You get a New Horizons' (the spacecraft) view of Pluto, from the approach to the close ups to the passing and view from the other side. It also shows pictures of our changing views of Pluto from its discovery in 1930 to these latest pictures from 2015. There is also a graphic of the New Horizons spacecraft with some explanations so you know what the craft is like. The article is packed with information about Pluto and New Horizons. It's great for older space lovers.

23 New Words for Emotions That We All Feel, but Can’t Explain

I love words. I've probably mentioned that before. The words I love most are words that are rarely used but should be because they express things we all think and feel - but don't have the word for. Many such words are newly coined, such as those in this list from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, created by John Koenig. Consider the word "vellichor," for example.

It means "the strange wistfulness of used bookshops." If you frequent used bookshops as much as I do, you know exactly what that feeling is. Another of my favorites is "monachopsis, " which means "the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place." How many gifted individuals don't know that feeling?

Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Chandra is NASA's x-ray telescope "specially designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes." This Web site is Chandra's Official NASA site and it's packed with information, photos, videos, and podcasts. It has a kids section where kids can learn about telescopes and light, and x-rays, download a calendar with awesome x-ray pictures of features that can be seen in space, such as the Crab Nebula, and view the solar system via Chandra. They can even ask an astrophysicist a question. There is also a special section for students and another one for educators. The site is fascinating for those who love learning about the universe.

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