Tech

Exploration for Lazy Folk

You don’t even have to get out of your chair to go on a VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.

Astronomy Picture of the Day
Guys, outer space is so awesome. Unfortunately, I don’t live there, so I have to feed my space addiction by going to this stellar (ha, ha, get it?) NASA site and ogling the cosmos. Each day on APOD, NASA posts a picture of the universe accompanied by an explanation of what we’re looking at from an astronomer. My favorites are always the galaxies (especially M83, which served as inspiration for the French electronic group!). Also, one time in middle school my friend and I became weirdly obsessed with Jupiter’s beautiful, ice-covered moon Europa, which might support life forms. Oooh!!! With APOD you get everything from fireballs to this eerily perfect photo of a rainbow illuminated by the moon. The APOD archives go all the way back to 1995, so there are plenty of mesmerizing and cool pictures of the universe to explore. —Hazel

Robots.net
To be quite honest, I am just counting down the days until the robo-pocalypse. Yes, the dark day when the robots finally rise up against us fleshy overlords. I’ve resigned myself to this inevitability. Every day I try to make friends with the toaster, hoping it’ll put in a good word for me when the time comes. (So far it’s been unresponsive, but I haven’t burned toast in months, so I think we’re on the same page.) But to make absolutely sure I’m the first person who knows about the impending war, I check robots.net daily. The blog constantly updates itself with the latest in robotics news, so there’s no better place to get the hook-up (ROBOTS I AM VERY FUNNY I CAN TEACH YOU TO LAUGH). They showed me some cool stuff within just the last week, like a robot that runs on human excrement. Meaning poop. —Shelby

Dreams of Space
Please ignore the ugly web design and appreciate the content: images from nonfiction children’s books about space flight from 1945 to 1975, 30 years when both space exploration and kids’ education were a huge deal, meticulously scanned and arranged into categories by the science librarian John Sisson. Some of the illustrations are so detailed you could build a functional spaceship based on them. Even if vintage illustrations don’t melt your heart as they do mine, or if you’re simply not a retro-nerd type, the website is an interesting portrait of an era of childlike admiration of the universe and naïve faith in the power of technology. —Emma D.

The Prelinger Archives
This online collection holds more than 2,000 “ephemeral” (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films from 20th century America. The best thing about it is that all these films are in the public domain, and completely FREE to use. Grab some video and chop it up, project it, rearrange it if you want, they don’t care! The same goes for the related image archive, but I find the video collection to be extra special. You will get lost in a historical K-hole, but it’s better than spending a whole night on YouTube, because this is educational! My favorite things to look up are ancient anti-drug ads, nature videos, and old footage of cities I’ve lived in. One time I watched this 90-minute “documentary” of the youth gangs of San Francisco in the early ’60s. The dudes were really fly, and I got lost watching them dance at the soda fountain. You never really know what you’ll come across when you’re browsing the Prelinger, you are guaranteed to eventually find something funny or fascinating, and sometimes very beautiful. —Dylan

Teenage Granny
I love crafting. Knitting, crocheting, cooking, drawing, sculpting—making something out of nothing is the closest we get to playing God, and I LOVE IT. Unfortunately, I am miserably pathetic at crafting. The Heavenly Father would take one look at my English stitch and and shake his head. He would want me to know he loves me no matter what— but hey, maybe I’d like to try my hand at something else? But thanks to Scarlett, a 16-year-old girl in London who possesses a divine talent for all things crafty, no one will ever know I once used a crochet hook to pick my nose. Until now, I guess. My favorite things she’s done: knitted bow ties and cupcakes in a jar. —Shelby

Coast to Coast AM
Whenever I meet someone who listens to this late-night radio show, I get all soulmate tingly because that usually means their interests include UFOs, cryptozoology, the occult and other paranormal phenomena…aka all of my favorite things! On the Coast to Coast website you can listen to previous shows, where guests discuss topics such as time travel and synchronicity, or see photos of ghostly figures caught on film! It’s definitely a place for those who are curious about the strange and supernatural like myself, but be warned, you can easily fall into a C2C K-hole looking up all of these things! —Marie

Photography.NationalGeographic.com
I understand that National Geographic magazine is not a new thing. I also understand that photography and the internet are pretty old hat. But what I don’t understand is why everyone isn’t spending hours a day looking at pictures on the National Geographic website. They have SPACE! They have OCEAN! They have LIONS! It frankly boggles the mind that every person in the world doesn’t have this remarkable inter-place bookmarked. —Shelby

Earth quarterly
Those familiar with Vincent Pacheco’s works for the WAFA collective won’t be surprised that his new project is a piece of well-designed visual pleasure. But what distinguishes Earth from the mass of aesthetically pleasing art publications on the internet is its emphasis on responsible creation, and its poetic approach to the subjects of nature, science, magic, ecology, and the mysteries of the universe. Each issue is available for totally free as a PDF or a print magazine. —Emma D.

Arthur magazine
Arthur magazine (2002-2011), now sadly defunct but accessible through its online archive, often guided me through late-night, homework-procrastinating internet explorations when I was a young teenager preoccupied with astrology, psychedelia, and other mystical matters. I discovered a lot of essential music through this resource, and it served as a starting point for many of my crazy binge-research expeditions on subcultures and weird phenomena. Perhaps my favorite feature is their archive of Diggers papers. The Diggers were a street-theater group in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury during the late ’60s, and were basically the central force of good and beautiful things in the area during that time. They distributed these broadsides, which are available to read/see here, for free. My senior quote came from Diggers paper no. 10, and went: “GOOD MORNING GENTLE LOVING DEEP FRIENDS we are NOW the god module of the SUPER FREAK OUT TIME IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND IT IS RIGHT NOW AND IT IS NOW AND NOW AND NOW.” Anyway, Arthur Mag is full of weird, wonderful, and beautiful content, and I’m happy it still lives on for fellow strange-seeking teenage girls to explore. —Dylan

HubbleSite Gallery
Althought I spent most of my childhood watching Star Trek reruns and imagining what I’d be like as a Jedi (strong, cool, purple lightsaber), the Final Frontier never ceases to scare the bejesus out of me (I’m filled with tiny Jesuses). All that open space out there just…being there. All the time. So vast and empty. It has no right! You hear me, space!? But within that giant inky forever-ness is some really, really gorgeous stuff. And thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope I get to look at it for hours every day. —Shelby

Radiolab
Radiolab is a podcast unlike any other podcast out there. It’s a podcast that’s reinventing what podcasts can be, based on a radio show that’s reinventing what radio can be. It’s a show that’s out for fun—just two guys telling each other stories while the sound and music for the stories kind of floats up around them. OK, this description is not doing justice to how fast-paced, lush, and intricate it sounds. One of the guys—Jad—is a composer, and he writes the music and does the gorgeous mixes. Typical stories on Radiolab are not typical of anything you’ve ever heard, and they’re all true: two girls from different towns meet in the most random possible way (a balloon drops from the sky) and turn out to be complete duplicates of each other, a guy with terrible allergies learns that people with parasites inside them somehow rarely have allergies and so—this is no joke—he flies to Africa and walks barefoot around pits filled with human shit until he gets infected with hookworms (yes they enter through the soles of his feet) which CURE HIS ALLERGY, a girl goes into a coma and there’s nothing else I can say about this one without spoilers except it may be the very best radio story I’ve ever heard, and her boyfriend deserves a good-boyfriend medal. (Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know, it’s serious.) One of my favorite episodes is about the moment of death and what comes after, and includes these fictional storylets (mini-stories?) read by the morosely deadpan actor Jeffrey Tambor (from The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development). One story begins: “There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is the moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time. So you wait in this lobby until the third death. There are long tables with coffee, tea, and cookies; you can help yourself. There are people here from all over the world, and with a little effort you can strike up convivial small talk.” And then we go to that lobby and hang out. And it’s not corny at all, it’s actually totally amazing. Radiolab. Radiolab! Radiolab!!! —Ira Glass

Professor Blastoff
I love science and philosophy, but I am literally too stupid to understand them, and my attention span is so short that I need hard stuff to be served to me with a LOT of sugar. Comedy is my candy, and so the podcast Professor Blastoff is a perfectly balanced meal of smarts and silliness. It’s like Radiolab for restless people who like to laugh. Tig Notaro (one of the funniest human beings on the planet) and two of her also-hilarious comedian friends (Kyle Dunnigan and David Huntsberger) hang out and talk about big ideas like time travel, global sustainability, creativity, sexual attraction, and love with all sorts of special guests, but no amount of explaining is really going to get across what’s great about this show, which is, like, you know when you’re hanging around your funniest friends and you guys just riff off one another for an hour and you can’t stop laughing? This is like that, but the friends are PROFESSIONAL-GRADE funny, and also: SCIENCE. —Anaheed

31 Comments

  • aliastro March 1st, 2012 11:15 PM

    These links are awesome!
    I also dig http://www.paleofuture.com/
    Great for retro-furturistic design ideas.

  • missblack March 1st, 2012 11:38 PM

    Oh my God Dylan thank thee for showing me the Prelinger archives. I know already that I will be spending A LOT of my time on there. First hand evidence that the 70s existed!!

    And I totally agree with Shelby, I too am simultaneously terrified by and in awe of Outer Space.

    Little&Trivial

  • Kathryn March 1st, 2012 11:41 PM

    this is awesome! I just bookmarked a billion things. I will put APOD right next to my National Holidays bookmark. (http://www.louderbacks.com/home/dict/days.html) (happy pig day) (i am a dork)

  • cherrycola27 March 1st, 2012 11:51 PM

    National Geographic online! They have a picture of the day thing that I love. I have waaay too many of those rotating as my desktop background. ALSO they have the best awesome picture puzzles which I just now remembered and think I’m going to go do. Thanks for reminding me!

  • Cerise March 2nd, 2012 12:11 AM

    Also, if you really like outer space, this: http://www.stellarium.org/
    It’s this free downloadable planetarium software. I had to use it for a class, but it’s actually really cool. You can look at the sky from earth (obviously), but the settings also let you see the stars from the other planets, and their moons, etc. etc. You can also predict what the sky will look like tomorrow at say, 9:37 in Cairo. Or Cleveland. Or Daytona. Or Neptune–whatever. It’s pretty fun.

    • Hayley March 2nd, 2012 2:58 PM

      May I also suggest Universe Sandbox. It’s available on Steam however it’s not really a game. It’s a little more advance than Stellarium and isn’t really for Stargazing but it’s still space-y. You can make your own black holes and planets, collide galaxies, manipulate gravity and throw balls at planets and tons of other stuff, I picked up in their steam sale, pretty interesting.

  • Adrienne March 2nd, 2012 12:22 AM

    Very cool! Definitely going to check these sites out. Astronomy is so interesting! My dad’s obsessed with it, and he passed it on to me. By the way, robots are also amazing. I seriously love Watson, the IBM computer who competed in Jeopardy!

    http://theaverageasiangirl.blogspot.com

  • Susann March 2nd, 2012 12:49 AM

    Teen Granny sounds amazing!

    http://fashioninpepperland.blogspot.com

  • missmoustache March 2nd, 2012 1:27 AM

    OF COURSE IRA GLASS LOVES RADIOLAB.

    just had to say it.

    (also ira glass singing the smiths, best thing ever?)

  • ivoire March 2nd, 2012 2:07 AM

    im such a nerd and im proud of it. lovin all this space stuff

  • Supercircinus March 2nd, 2012 2:53 AM

    I let out an extremely loud, and extremely pleased “woah” when I saw Radiolab. (D BST THING EVUR)

    What an amazing list.

  • Maddy March 2nd, 2012 6:57 AM

    thank you! I can’t wait for Radiolab. I love raio+stories (MOTH anyone?)

  • I.ila March 2nd, 2012 8:04 AM

    NOOOOO!!! Astronomy picture of the day doesn’t work on my computer! I tried uploading it about five times!!!

  • Miarele March 2nd, 2012 9:26 AM

    My recommendation: WATCH DOCTOR WHO. haha seriously though, it’s got all of time and space. It’s the universe and so much more!

    Anyway I love astronomy, so thanks for the APOD and Hubble recommendation. Also, it requires a liiitle bit of energy and getting out of the house, but visiting the local planetarium is always a nice idea :)

  • ellaronnie March 2nd, 2012 11:28 AM

    Awesome list! But honestly, google maps should be on this list. Because, you know…. It’s a map made by google….

    http://imaginenonsense.blogspot.com/

  • callie March 2nd, 2012 11:35 AM

    but anaheed and ira glass why were you too shy to say this american life? like noone outside the usa has heard of it and its amaazing! XX

    • Anaheed March 2nd, 2012 11:49 AM

      Does’t really fit the theme! Also weird to recommend your own/your husband’s podcast!

  • Kristin March 2nd, 2012 1:00 PM

    This is such a great list! Thank you for introducing me to these websites!

  • Laia March 2nd, 2012 1:01 PM

    so much awesomeness here! now i know what i’m doing tonight.

  • borgie March 2nd, 2012 1:18 PM

    GUYS! If you like astronomy and would like to explore the wonders of the universe, you should watch Stargazing Live (it’s on youtube), it’s presented by Brian Cox (and his lovely smiling face) and teaches you a lot! Have fun (:

    P.S.: You should totally watch Doctor Who as well :p

  • spatergator March 2nd, 2012 2:45 PM

    I am so, so happy about this month’s theme. Coast to Coast is a favorite, and the Earth Quarterly reminds me of a new degree of Whole Earth Catalog (guess that explains WEC being in the recommended readings list). I’m really curious about those podcasts, and Arthur magazine looks just beautiful.

    A useful tool for me regarding exploration anytime, anywhere was my friend’s copy of Thee Psychick Bible. Here is an excerpt:
    http://genesisporridgearchive.blogspot.com/2009/12/excerpt-from-thee-psychick-bible-out.html
    “The magick of the Temple wasn’t the magick of the Golden Dawn, designed for the stately Victorian manor; it was magick designed for the blank-eyed, TV-flattened, prematurely abyss-dwelling youth of the late Twentieth Century—like the punk kids in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee, who have never ventured out of the council flats they were born in. Rather than high ceremony, drawing-room intrigue and exalted initiatory ritual, the focus more often than not became simple survival, and defense of the individual vision from a malevolently dehumanizing culture that the Victorians and Modernists, even in their most racist and reactionary moments, could never have foreseen.”

    A seed of an idea spawning holodeck spawning action. Feel the luv

  • Maisiefrances March 2nd, 2012 3:16 PM

    As an Astrophysics student this months theme makes me very happy :3

    http://tracksforlife.blogspot.com

  • Luzi March 2nd, 2012 6:36 PM

    The Prelinger Archives are AMAZING!! It’s a fabulous web page and it’s one of my favourites right now! Rookie is the best page ever :DDD

  • isadora March 2nd, 2012 9:00 PM

    I like Khan Academy a lot too. It’s really really great. If anyone is struggling with a specific subject, I highly recommend it.

  • Emilie March 3rd, 2012 1:38 AM

    God I love this, FINALLY someone shares my love of looking at pictures of outer space :)

  • Jenn March 3rd, 2012 5:32 PM

    Just opened SO MANY tabs and made so many book marks thanks to this article! Loving this month’s theme already!

  • Luisa March 4th, 2012 11:32 PM

    coast to coast radio- soulmate scraimz!!!
    the intro music alone, bliss

  • decemberbaby March 6th, 2012 10:02 AM

    This isn’t science- or technology-related, but I just found a site that definitely fits on this list. http://closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be/ It’s an incredibly detailed online reproduction of Van Eyck’s famous Ghent altarpiece, painted in the 1400′s in really incredible detail, photographed with extremely powerful cameras. I know nothing about fine art, but I’m addicted to this.

  • bibliovore March 7th, 2012 8:36 PM

    I was so surprised to see Ira Glass in the byline.

  • tove March 14th, 2012 10:55 AM

    I’ve just opened ALL the links and I feel like I will never leave my room again, thank you, thank you, thank you, it’s almost too awesome to handle!

  • NavyAndTeal March 21st, 2012 12:32 PM

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE APOD!!! More People Need To See It… I’ve Been Folowing It Since This One Day When Daphne Guinness Retweeded One Of Their Pictures!!! Two Of My Fave Things In One Tweet, Daphne And Space!!! (“,)

    Andrew
    NavyAndTeal
    http://www.navyandteal.blogspot.com