Websites - Website 2012

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Websites

Just a few of my favourite websites - check them out!

www.openculture.com is far and away the best site for free stuff. Examples are: free movies (Tarkovsky, Ken Loach,  film noir, Orson Welles, Hitchcock), university courses, language courses, science videos, audio books, 400 free online courses from US universities, ebooks. Plus really amazing weird and unusual stuff: Salvador Dali and Alfred Hitchcock appearing on 'What's My Line', a brief video glimpse of Anne Frank,  James Joyce reading from Finnegan's Wake, Tchaikovsky's voice and film of Helen Keller and so on.

http://phrontistery.info/  This is the all-time best site for lovers of words. Some basic things like lists of Scrabble words, rare three-letter words, lists of phobias and so forth. But there is so much more here: unusual animals, rarely-used words, glossaries of an incredible variety of word classes (fabric and cloth, divination and fortune-telling, forms of government, isms, adjectives of relation) and so on. Here I found some of my favourite words that I thought no-one else knew about: boustrophedon, growlery, ultracrepidate and - best of all - haecceity.

www.wordreference.com  This is the absolute best online dictionary resource of all. Translation between English and French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Czech, Italian, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic. Enormous detail on phrases unusual usages, colloquial and slanf terms.

www.irishdictionary.ie   There are not a lot of resources out there in Irish and this is probably the best all-purpose online dictionary. It only does individual words and is annoyingly imprecise at times but it is fine for most queries.

www.realclearpolitics.com   If you have the same (or even a lesser) burning interest in the minutiae of American electoral politics, especially now that the primary season is upon us, this is the site for you. Also has good links to financial, religious and other stories but its up-to-date polls and limks to all the major American media outlets makes it indispensable.

www.focal.ie    When I was in Rwanda, I wrote a monthly article for the Irish-language magazine COMHAR and this website was a life-saver. It is intended for looking up technical terms and specialist words in Irish but then, that is what you usually get stuck on. Fantastic site, interesting to just fire in random words and see what happens!

www.gog.com   I don't  have much time to play compter games these days but if I do, I like to play the games I played way back when the first really good games came out: Civilization, Baldur's Gate and so on. This site has re-programmed the games to run on Windows 7 and they cost about $5 each! So, if you had a favourite game that you haven't been able to play ever since you upgraded to Windows Vista, this is the site for you!

http://stuffexpataidworkerslike.com/   If you have ever worked in a developing country, whether as a volunteer, for an NGO or for one of the big aid corporations, this is the site for a healthy dose of cynicism. Though be warned - it can be a little uncomfortable at times when the humour gets a little close to the bone!

www.brainbashers.com   This is just for fun. All kinds of puzzles, word games, logic games, maths problems and so on.

www.realchange.com   OK, this is a little more dodgy. If you want all the dirt (but properly-referenced and footnoted dirt) on all the current US politicians running for nominations or, indeed, all politicians running back to 2000, this is the site for you. A lot of it is well-known (Gingrich, Clinton) but some of the stuff on Ralph Nader certainly raised my eyebrows. They didn't bother doing Herman Cain - website wasn't big enough, I suspect.

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