CURIOSITY STREAM

CuriosityStream.com claims to have the world’s best documentaries from the BBC and other channels around the world, plus original programming. The first month is free, then it’s $3 a month if you want to continue. But you have to give them a credit card for the free trial — and we never like that.

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ECONOMICS VIDEO ENDORSED BY BILL GATES

Economicprinciples.org has a 30-minute video explaining economics. It’s recommended by Bill Gates and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

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APP HAPPY BIRDING

If you can’t tell the difference between a White-Breasted Nuthatch and a Blue jay, we’re ashamed of you. You probably could use the “Merlin Bird ID” app from the Cornell University Ornithology Lab. Non-smart phone owners can skip the app and get the information they want from AllAboutBirds.org.

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FREE SAT TEST PREPARATION

KhanAcademy.org offers free video tutorials on math, science, history and other topics. Now they’ve added free SAT test preparation. The test is changing in March of 2016 and you can practice it here.

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ONLINE COLLEGE AND TECHNICAL COURSES

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org has a ton of information about online courses at accredited universities, including graduate schools. It tells you the cost of tuition and the prospects of getting a job in a given field. It also lists the salaries for a host of jobs and has info about vocational training. Who knew a dental hygienist makes around $71,000 on average? (And they’re worth every cent.)

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5 TED TALKS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE — AND OTHER NEWS

Encylopedia.com lets you search over 100 encyclopedias and dictionaries and come up with different sources for subjects as diverse as global warming, horse racing and Vercingtorix, leader of the Gauls fighting Julius Caesar. “5 Ted Talks That Will Marginally Improve Your Life–” Search on that phrase to find some fascinating 15-minute talks. One is on body language, another on taking talking walks instead of sit-down meetings. The average person sits over nine hours a day — not good. MuchLoved.com lets you create a lovely tribute page on the web for free. Joy made one for her favorite aunt, who passed away this month at the age of 92. You can password-protect the site or leave it open. Others can send photos […]

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APP HAPPY WITH CHUCK AND ADA

“Lovelace & Babbage” is a free iPad app for a comic book about the lives of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. Ada, born in 1815, was the daughter of the “mad, bad and dangerous to know” poet, Lord Byron. After being steered toward math to tame her wild blood, she invented the first computer language for the first computer. (The computer was never finished but was fully conceived by Babbage.) A print version just came out, for $21, re-titled “The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.”

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PHOTO MATH

PhotoMath, a free app, lets you take a picture of an equation and get an answer plus the steps involved. (Does not recognize handwriting.) Assuming you already have it on a screen somewhere, this is easier than re-typing the mathematical expression at sites like WolframAlpha.com. PhotoMath already has 11 million downloads for the iPhone and Windows Phone version. That’s a lot of downloads but it didn’t work for us. You try it. An Android version is coming soon.  

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THREE PROGRAMMING BOOKS FOR KIDS

– “Lauren Ipsum” by Carlos Bueno is the story of a little girl who must find her way home by thinking like a programmer. It may do for children what Douglas Hofstadter’s “Godel, Escher, Bach” did for Joy back in the 1980s: get them excited about programming ideas. The name “Lauren Ipsum” comes from the dummy text used as filler when printers don’t have the actual text of a page yet or want to show off a font. It’s been around since the 1500s, when an unknown printer used assorted type to make a specimen book. The book’s title character tackles classic problems like “Zeno’s Paradox” and “The Traveling Salesman.” Each chapter connects to a real-life computer science lesson in […]

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AFFORDABLE COLLEGES ONLINE

AffordableCollegesOnline.org offers real degrees from universities such as Oregon State, University of Illinois and Penn State. They offer a series of guidebooks for veterans, the disabled and those for whom English is a second language. There’s also a financial aid section with forms and guides.

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