Websites that rule – Part 9

It seems like just yesterday that I wrote one of these posts, a roundup of various websites that I’ve found myself drawn to or otherwise visiting/bookmarking lately, which could either be fairly well-known or virtually-unknown sites.  (But, in fact, it wasn’t just yesterday that I wrote Part 8 of this unintended series; it’s actually been almost a year.)

It also seems to be shaping up to be A Thing (i.e., a theme) on this blog.  I’ve been writing these since 2009 (which reminds me–Note To Self: go back and double-check the links in previous installments to ensure that they’re current/unbroken, and fix those that aren’t).

What can I say?  I like to share.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

So…in the interest of more sharing…

Site: Reverse Google Image Search
Why the site rules: Remember the early reverse phone number lookup sites, back when they were a novelty, back when they were actually useful, before the next-generation started popping up like carbon-copied weeds, mooching from the same flimsy database, and offering useless results, shoving what used to be free and accurate behind a paywall?  Well, even though I can’t do anything about that, I can share with you a website that does the same thing for image/picture files that those early/cool phone number lookup sites did for finding that unknown number.  Want to see who else might be using one of your Facebook photos or photography work and perhaps impersonating you, creating a new identity, or passing your work off as their own?  This site gives you The Power.

Site: NPR.org (National Public Radio)
Why the site rules: I probably don’t need to say much, and I probably won’t say much that y’all don’t already know.  Although they’re not exempt from the pervasive left-handed bias so prevalent in the mainstream media, they’re not entirely delusional most of the time, either.  They’re one of the few media organizations left that lives up to its stated focus (which is, “In a time of media fragmentation and sound bites, NPR has succeeded by focusing on its core: in-depth, quality news”, per their About > Overview and History page).  As self-serving as it sounds, is not lip-service.

Site: The Art of Autism (non-profit)
Why the site rules: When I discovered that I almost assuredly had Asperger Syndrome (later confirmed via formal diagnosis in a very open-and-shut process), I was elated and liberated.  These feelings are common among people diagnosed as Asperger’s or autism in adulthood (as opposed to getting diagnosed as kids).  Often, however, there’s talk among adult-diagnosed Aspies of a letdown or the dissipation of that “honeymoon period” they had first experienced.  I’m not sure when it sets in; it’s probably different for different people, but I’m guessing maybe a few months or so after discovery?

I think that one of the main reasons that I have not (yet?) experienced this is that I found this site first.  Not only artistic, trendy, and hip, but also positive, progressive, and impressive, this site has a variety of content written by and about people “with” Asperger’s/autism that shines with shiny vibes.  It does not put a trendy face on being Aspergian/autistic, or induce non-spectrum people to want to identify as people on the spectrum when they’re not, but it gives people on the spectrum a positive, intelligent, fun, and sometimes funny resource that serves almost as a clearinghouse for All Things Autistic/Asperger’s And Cool.  If you’re on the spectrum, think you may be on the spectrum, or know someone who is, then I would definitely bookmark this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

(In the interest of transparency and a slight (what I hope to be mild/healthy) pride, I should disclose that they’ve published one of my Silent Wave posts, linked to another Silent Wave post, and also featured that blog on a list of winners of the Best Autism Blogs 2017, Female category.  So, I’m probably slightly biased, although they are genuinely deserving of every single “gushy” word of praise I’ve ever said about them.) ๐Ÿ™‚

Site: The DANA Foundation (Dana.org)
Why the site rules: It’s tough to do any research into Asperger Syndrome or the autism spectrum without practically tripping over our celebrity darling (a term I use affectionately), Temple Grandin (who, in my opinion, totally deserves such status, a standpoint that I know will probably irk some people, which is OK, because I’m writing this over here and not in a more public place ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).  What Temple Grandin and the DANA Foundation have in common are the transcripts to a few speeches she has given, one of which I found early on in my own discovery process and found that it rocked my world (and still does): “The World Needs People With Asperger’s Syndrome” (I ask your forgiveness in advance, as I’m considering writing a round-up post of links to several individual articles that I found particularly interesting–as in, bookmark material–and if I do write such a post, this speech will probably be included, so I’m pre-apologizing for the probable redundancy.)  ๐Ÿ˜‰

In addition, DANA.org hosts lots of other fascinating material, such as “How Dishonesty Can Snowball“, a Neuroethics section of their site that collects relevant articles from around respected sources; a sampling of the most current stories includes “Why Using AI To Sentence Criminals is a Dangerous Idea” and  “Are You Creeped Out By the Idea of a ‘Moral Enhancement’ Pill?“, and so on.  DANA also has a separate blog of its own, even aside from all of the other information on their site.  They also list upcoming relevant events, a calendar that is updated regularly (!).  Awesome resource. ๐Ÿ™‚

Site: Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Why the site rules: Much like NPR.org, this group lives up to its self-description: “The leading nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation.”  Unlike NPR, there’s a nearly-complete absence of partisan bias, an almost stoic and silent stance.  You’re not going to find Trump-slinging or Obama-blaming, or even Bush-blaming, for that matter…unless these folks really did have a hand in stripping ordinary citizens of privacy, free speech, or anything under that umbrella.

This organization sleeps (or will eventually sleep) better at night knowing the average American/world citizen isn’t being tracked, cyber-stalked, profiled, data-mined, target-marketed, targeted in any other way, stifled, gagged, or suppressed.  If you want to find out how to opt out of Twitter’s new privacy settings, you can.  If you want to educate yourself on Net Neutrality, how the FCC decimated it, and what that might mean for you (and maybe what we might could do about it) (and I do recommend educating yourself on this issue yesterday, if you’re not up to speed already), they’ve covered that, too.  Awesome.

Site: The Economist
Why the site rules: In the very first “installment” of this de facto “websites that rule” series, I listed Consumerist, a now-Wordpress-driven blog-based site that delivers probably some of the most relevant news I’ve come across: what are businesses doing, as reported (and sometimes whistleblown) by consumers (or sometimes employees or other insiders incognito).  That was then, and this is now. 

Consumerist is still way cool.

But eight years later (sorry it took that long), I have since learned about The Economist, thanks to my sister, who’s always up on these things.  Despite the fact that she’s significantly younger than I am, I actually look up to her.  How twisted, ironic, and backwards is that, and how lucky am I?

So anyway, about The Economist.  Since the recommendation came from Little Sis, you can’t go wrong.  It’s essentially the professional journalistic version of The Consumerist.  Think of it as The Wall Street Journal With a Conscience (or slight philosophically-neutral moral compass), with a slightly wider worldview.  It’s not politically slanted; in fact, if it were to align itself with any “party” at all, I’m guessing it would probably be the “Coffee Party“.

Site: Into The Void (Magazine)
Why the site rules: This site is the cyber-home of a nonprofit print and digital literary magazine that features quality fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual artistic talent from all over the globe.  It clearly states that it is also asexual-positive and genderqueer-positive.  There is also a Press wing, which looks very good.  The magazine wing is accepting submissions, but the press/publishing arm is not doing so at this time.

Site: MindBodyGreen (MBG)
Why the site rules: Although I consider this to be equivalent to a yuppie-granola click-bait site in a way, its sins are not quite as egregious as the stereotypical click-bait site.  Their articles are actually pretty good, even if a little brief/scanty at times.  They don’t exercise over-the-top, pound-the-pavement, stick-your-neck-out, go-the-extra-mile holistic health journalism, but there is a sort of “getting back to basics” vibe that is refreshing in its simplicity, even if it is slightly underwhelming at times.  It’s a nifty, contemporary site to look at, with clean lines and dang-near-Garanimal color coordination, and the articles themselves feel like zenlike clouds that you can reach out and touch.

Site: CrunchBase
Why the site rules: This site came in extremely handy when I was doing research on the people behind a few online machines, such as The Mighty and Autism Speaks (ugh, and fat raspberries to both), order to write my version of a mini-expose post (on another blog) about the former.  Using this site makes all kinds of research involving corporations, non-profits, other organizations, and the sometimes-shrouded/faceless beings that marionette them from behind sometimes-thick, wool curtains, infinitely easier and faster than it might otherwise be.

The site provides a one-stop-shop for almost all; simply enter a person’s name or the name of an organization, and it’ll tell you who or what is behind it.  This also applies to entities that have not gone public in terms of share-trading.  The site will show venture capital infusions, mission statements, company size/revenue ranges, major players (such as CEO/President/founder, etc), and any peoples’ names listed will also be linked to entire profiles of their own that show a lot of their history, usually dating back to 1999 or so (and sometimes earlier).

Site: I Look Both Ways (blog)
Why the site rules: Self-described as “the human factor in online privacy”, this lady (Linda) writes about technological privacy as it applies to everyday people.  I believe I found her blog through a post that reviewed a book that explained why we can’t trust Google, Inc.  Yep, I was hooked.  The post itself was awesome, and when I started poking around the blog itself, I found it to be meaty, in-depth, specific, and accurate.  The only drawback is that it hasn’t been updated in four years.  I know, silly me for posting a link to a blog this old, especially when it covers technological topics, which can undergo a complete turnover in a four-year timeframe.  However, dated as it may be, there are likely parts that are still relevant and regardless, it’s enjoyable.  And hell, the dated parts may be nostalgic. ๐Ÿ™‚

Site: An Autism Observer
Why the site rules: This is a blog with a handful of posts that focus on providing a large and awesome collection of blogs written by people “with” Asperger’s or autism.  For a while, the blogs on her list were categorized according to gender, childed/childfree status, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc, until a few people squawked about that (which I think it’s ridiculous, because how would the author of this blog know that information about other blog authors unless they spilled their own beans on their own blogs??  But I digress, as usual ๐Ÿ˜‰  ).  The author of this blog has gone to great lengths to show support, encourage a sense of community, facilitate bonding whenever possible, offer up her own efforts without receiving compensation in return, and exercise extreme fairness and impartiality, while maintaining high ethical standards.  The list of blogs on this list is the single largest list of blogs written by people on the autism spectrum that I’ve ever seen.  Another one to be sure to bookmark if you’re on the spectrum, suspect you might be, or know someone who is (or might be).

Site: The Diaspora* Project (Diaspora* Foundation)
Why the site rules: Think of this site as a Facebook Without Bullshit, or Facebook Decentralized.  No data mining issues, no privacy concerns, no mandate to use your real name, no Mother May I or Big Brother aspects, no censorship or other freedom issues, no nada.  Some of the vocabulary is a little intimidating (wait–I have to choose a “pod”?  What the hell is a pod?  I can start one if I have sysadmin skills?  Ummm, I really don’t think sysadmin and my name are words that are ever really combined…except maybe bridged by the word “not” in between them…), but somehow, a few years back, I was able to find my way onto–and around–the site, after a few years of waiting for the project to develop to a sufficient point at which I could join.  It’s worth it, too.  It’s small and it’s not Facebook, but that’s the sheer beauty of it: it’s not Facebook.  No web beacons and trackers, no fusion center appeal, no–wait, I’m getting caught up in that gushy relief of “no ‘this'” and “none of ‘that'”.  I’ll quit now, while I’m ahead (behind?).  Just promise me you’ll check it out.  It might be the future of my social media presence (besides/in addition to WordPress, of course!).

Site: Shoot The Messenger (blog)
Why the site rules: This is actually one of the first blogs I actually hit the “follow” button to sign up for.  Yes, even if it meant that in those days, the posts were automatically going to come to my email inbox.  I didn’t care.  The writing was that good (and still is!  It’s a long-standing blog that is indeed relatively regularly updated, the most recent post at this time being in March 2017).

It’s a personal, random blog, much like this one, except that Shoot The Messenger’s quality over quantity ratio is much superior to mine.  I don’t remember if I found it while Googling or surfing (yep, there’s a difference) but I remember contralto-squealing with glee to have found someone (specifically, a fellow logical female blogger, across the pond in the UK) who felt the same way about having children of her own that I do (here’s a direct link to that post).  She unknowingly helped me (immensely) again last week with this post.  I also cheered inside when I read her thoughts on how animals are sentient beings (among other points), bad drivers (oh yeah!), gender equality and perception, and why being a female can get tiring (if you dutifully jump through all the hoops expected of you because you came with certain anatomy, that is–which I’m not sure she does–which is awesome).

Site: Why Evolution Is True (blog)
Why the site rules: If the previous list item was one of the first blogs I’ve ever followed, then this one is my newest addition to my stable of followed blogs would be this one.  A level-headed classical liberal (which is a far cry from the neoliberal or “new left” that’s been in place since the 1960s) (although I think the author might have blurred the two terms just a little at times?  Not sure) who works at a university in Chicago provides editorial commentary and a sort of news of sorts.  The political bias is not strong, in my opinion; the commentary is pretty even-keeled and refreshingly balanced.  And not the Faux News so-called “fair and balanced”, either.  We’re talking actually balanced.

And talk about informative!  It is through this website that I learned about a fascinating little hypocrisy known as “regressive leftism” (I’ve linked to the search results of “regressive left” on their blog for the sake of convenience, if you’re curious), an insidious, toxic, and contagious little ideal that ultimately involves throwing white straight males on the chopping block.  It’s a form of illogical radicalism and it needs to die from the same chokehold it’s trying to wrap the rest of the world into, but that will get its own post.  That’s just one of the reasons this blog is amazing; there are many others.  My favorite categories so far are “Authoritarian and Regressive Left” (of course) and “College Students Behaving Badly” – even if you’re not in college/university (I no longer am, and some of my best friends never went, but will still find this awesome), I highly recommend it for some amusing, quality reading.  I’ve followed and bookmarked this one, too.   ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Other Websites That Rule Posts…

๐Ÿ™‚

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