AN INTERACTIVE PERIODIC TABLE

Ptable.com is an interactive periodic table. We clicked on “rhenium” and learned it’s used in jet engines. Who knew?

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FREE SPEED READING TOOL ON THE WEB

Spreeder.com is a free speed reading tool. Paste the text you want to read in the window on the page and the words will flash by at any speed you choose. (This reminds Bob of an old Woody Allen joke: He learned speed reading and went through Tolstoy’s massive “War and Peace” novel in six minutes. He said it seemed to be about Russia.) Because you don’t have to keep a finger on your place, you’ll find your reading speed increasing by 50 percent the first time you try it. We did. The site gives you sample text to practice with, but we went beyond that: We pasted in a bunch of text from “Tarzan of the Apes,” free at […]

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SAY IT IN FARSI

Livemocha.com is a language learning community that covers more tongues that you ever thought you might want to know. Say it in Farsi (Iranian), or Zulu (South African tribal language).

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TINKERBOX: FREE GAME FOR TEACHING ENGINEERING

“Tinkerbox HD” by AutoDesk is a free puzzle game for iPhone/iPad/iPod, for teaching basic engineering concepts. Build outrageous machines or download popular inventions

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WEIRD BUT TRUE!

“Weird but True!” from the National Geographic. It’s a free kids app for iPhone/iPad/iPod that lets you in on some of Nature’s strangest secrets. Like: Cheetahs can change direction in mid air while chasing prey. Or so they say.

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LEARNING ANOTHER LANGUAGE

Memrise.com has foreign language instruction as well as lessons in science and literature. The repetitive nature of its quizzes makes learning easier.

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THE PROGRAMMERS WAY

CourseReport.com programmers headclaims that schools and camps teaching programming, often called “coding,” will bring in $60 million in tuition for the year and graduate 5,987 coders, a 175 percent increase over last year. Tuition can cost up to $20,000, with the average around $10,000 for courses ranging from nine to 12 weeks. All in all, this seems expensive to us.

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STUFF YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT COLLEGES

Back in the dark days before Google, our favorite search engine was Vivisimo. The founder sold it to IBM and now has a new site, OnlyBoth.com

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BRAIN TRAINING

Joy and a couple of her lady friends are hooked on the Lumosity brain training games; she plays them on her computer every day for 15-30 minutes. Bob prefers playing bridge and trying to figure out why politicians never answer a question directly.

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GEOGRAPHY QUIZZES

LizardPoint.com has free geography quizzes. For example it was easy to find continents on the map and we did well at state capitols, but finding the regions of the Ukraine was much tougher.

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