My Current Interests
RUSSELL L. SCHWEICKART
Some Favorite Links
News & Views
Nancy and I have always been news junkies, and we regularly check the online headlines as well as the New York Times, the Washington Post , etc. A friend recommended that we try refdesk.com for our home page and we've now been using that as our default browser screen for well over a year. Give it a look... it's got just about every reference source on it you can imagine, and lots of helpful information. Recently I've taken to scanning the blogs and in particular Arriana Huffington's The Huffington Post, and Truthout. Both sources match my political leanings and aren't shy about it. They're fun to read and generally pretty well researched, but definitely advocacy journalism.
Given our past and current level of travel, one of the challenges we've had is locating things, mapwise. Here in the States I often use Yahoo Maps, but for European travel I've found it's pretty limited. A better solution for the continent seems to be MapQuest, although you can't rely on them totally either. Another source, European in origin, but in an english version, is Mappy. This site has amazing maps! It pinpointed our location when we lived in The Hague "spot on" as the Brits say. One of the most fun sites is a time site, World Time Server. This site can tell you the time anywhere and you can definitely set your clock, computer and life on it! Time-wise anyway.
Now this is a crowded category! My favorite prime information site is good ole Space.com although I frankly don't care for the current format. A far more detailed site for internal NASA news is NASA Watch. Keith Cowing is an excellent and well informed space reporter. Even more detailed is SpaceRef.com which is very comprehensive and offers advanced RSS news feed technology. Of course, there are lots of good pictures whenever you talk about space stuff.. and for me the #1 deal is the Astronomy Picture of the Day or APOD. This is one of my regular morning after-boot-up clicks. Next I check to see if any new and interesting near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) have been discovered (see Sentry site below). Then it's coffee, and on with the day. Another site worth mentioning is Heavens Above, a wonderful interactive astronomical site where you can find all kinds of interesting sky maps, satellite pass details, and the occassional Iridium "flash". Give that a try... it's fun.
For astrobiology things (a subject of continuing interest to me) there's the main site at NASA's Ames Research Center, or you can go directly to the latest stuff at Astrobiology: Latest News. And, at NASA HQ you find the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) which is the source of funding for much of the research in the origins of life going on today. One of the most interesting sites dealing with astrobiology is run by Cosmic Ancestry. This group are serious and do an excellent job, despite being out on the scientific fringe. They are the champions of the panspermia concept which is seems to be slowly being absorbed (at least at the margins) by the mainline crowd. Check the "What's New" link for their latest.
For asteroids, comets, NEOs, etc., there are a bunch of sites to see, but most are pretty technical. For those interested I'd recommend, as primary resources the main JPL site NEO Program, (they're the NASA program managers) and, for good archiving and Dave Morrison's NEO News, the NASA/ARC Asteroid and Comet Impact Hazards site. One I tend to look at every other day or so to see what's potentially coming our way is the Risks page at the JPL Sentry site. This gives current tables of those NEOs most threatening... though none so far really are. If you see an asteroid that looks interesting, or just want to know more about it, just click on the Object designation and the site will take you to further very detailed, but fairly understandable information. The technical site which serves as the world's clearing house is the Minor Planet Center at Harvard, but it's pretty dull. And probably the best reference list for links on the subject is JPL's links page.
There'll be more coming. Send me yours and I'll check them out.