This page has nothing to do with books, reading or writing. Instead it is a list of online sites that the contributors and readers of BiblioBuffet personally like. The sites are arranged alphabetically, so you’ll find food, science, clothes, YouTube videos, animals, and more mixed up in this fascinating page of recommendations. We hope you enjoy it. If you have a site, serious or silly, that you’d love to see on here, email us. We can’t promise to add it, but we will definitely consider it.
Annual Credit Report
Your good credit history is not something you should leave in others’ hands. With identity theft becoming more common, it is up to you to watch your credit reports regularly and to learn to protect yourself. Annual Credit Report allows you to receive one free report every twelve months from each of the three reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Do this, and be safe.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
A very popular site that offered by two professional astronomers, APOD posts a new picture each day along with an explanation; links are provided for those who wish to understand some aspects of the explanation in more detail. Sometimes the images come from contributors, but most are from the archives of NASA. This site has been running 365 days a year since 1995.
If the summer weather makes sleeping uncomfortable for you, this might just be the answer. The Bedfan sits at the foot of your bed. It sends waves of cool air around your body and neck all night. You can adjust it to your preferences with a handheld speed cooler.
“When Professional Cakes Go Horribly, Hilariously Wrong” is the subtitle of this hilarious blog that skewers cakes and cupcakes alike. Who knew so much could go wrong (and occasionally right)? Even if you don’t like cake, you will probably like this.
This is the mission to Saturn and Titan that has been returning incredible images for a while now. But it’s not over, and if you like space this is wonderful. The moons and Saturn itself have so much to explore that there’s always something new.
You’ve probably seen this commercial if not on television then on YouTube. Whether you have or not, it is so wonderful that it is worth viewing over and over again. Here you go.
This is an incredible site for anyone interested in the issue of climate change and the human contribution to it. Their objective is to provide "a studied neutrality, allowing each side to present its most powerful and persuasive case . . . [allowing] readers to form their own judgments based on the best available information." In addition to the numerous articles linked under one of their two main columns—Calls to Action and Dissenting Voices—they also offer links to climate news sites, official sites, pro and con view sites, neutral sites, various data sites, personalities, energy sites, and more.
We recommend this site, owned by Consumers Union—publisher of Consumer Reports—with reservations. It is a good place for consumers to share and learn about the wrongful acts that may be perpetrated upon individuals, but occasionally an unchecked claim by a consumer will get through. Nevertheless, it provides valuable information in a less formal setting than the magazine and has the benefit of give-and-take discussions.
While it is not absolutely necessary to live, credit is such an integral part of modern life that anyone without it is unlikely to participate in any large way. This site offers news, articles, blogs, and most importantly, a discussion forum where anyone can get help, ask questions, get advice, share stories, and more. This is a consumer-oriented site designed to clear away the industry’s clouds of confusion and provide straightforward information.
Crow and a Kitten
An orphaned kitten finds a new parent in a crow. This YouTube home video shows an incredible relationship between two young friends that is heartwarming, touching and amusing.
Its subtitle is “Travelling and Exhuming the Extraordinary Past,” and that is precisely what, D and M, the writers of this blog do. Their mission, as seen on their About Us page, reads thus: We, your humble explorers, are devoted to unearthing and documenting the wondrous, the macabre, and the obscure from around the globe. It is a beautiful description of a dazzling blog in which the reader visits places probably unheard of or unvisited before—the Clock tower History Museum in Transylvania, the Nev_ehir Province of Turkey, the twelfth-century Dubrovnik Cathedral in Croatia, the Pennsylvania hospital’s operating theatre in the early 1800s. It really is remarkable how much “extraordinary past” is out there. In addition, they have begun a Curious Expeditions Library where they list books they view as “indispensible to the bookshelves of the curious.”
A wonderful place for animal lovers of all kinds, Cute Overload is, well, overloaded with cute pictures of common pets and unusual animals.
This site offers a brief message incorporating positive values such as gratitude, discipline, acceptance, balance and focus Monday through Saturday. Messages are never repeated. There are also four lovely animated presentations to enjoy.
Dark Roasted Blend
Despite the excessive number of annoying ads that fill the perimeters, this site is simply marvelous. “Looking for weird and wonderful things to complement your daily coffee ritual?” it asks. It’s all about finding and linking to “cool” stuff, and they do it very well. From Airplanes to Weird, their thirty-three categories lend themselves to some of the most unusual and interesting pieces of history.
An Engineer’s Guide to Cats
Paul Klausman, an engineer in Kansas, wrote, filmed and stars in this hilarious YouTube video about the joys of owning cats. While you are here, check out his other videos, most but not all of which center around cats.
If you want to interest a child in science, this is an excellent site to show her. Here she will find “the biggest, baddest, and the best in the world of extremes and learn about the science behind what makes each the most extreme example of its kind.” It is divided into general categories of Earth Science (with a dozen sub-categories), the Animal Kingdom (with eleven sub-categories), and Resources (including maps, links, dictionary, news, etc.). It is also great for teachers needing content for science lessons.
Find Your Spot
Are you considering moving, but don’t know where you’d like to live? This site offers a quiz that will ask you questions about important lifestyle choices, then provide a list of 24 places based on your answers. Not just the names will be provided either. You also get photographs, charts, information on climate, arts & culture, recreation, education, the cost of living, health care, and the local economy neatly categorized into a report.
This is a unique site that terms itself “the leading interactive viewing experience of the smartest, most entertaining video content in the world. —The world of ideas and knowledge—all drawn from the live-event speeches, discussions, interviews and debates going on everywhere all the time at the world’s leading conferences, ideas festivals, think tanks and other major centers of thought and discourse.” Topics include Politics, Business, Tech & Science, the World, and Culture, each of which has several sub-categories.You can watch each video’s highlights or get the full play. It also offers a discussion forum and a blog.
The Freecycle Network is a grassroots movement of people who enjoy giving and getting free stuff rather than see it go into landfills and trash dumps. There are quite a few towns who have their own group, and membership is free. Sign up, and enjoy giving or getting unwanted items a second life.
Grounds for Change
Nicki Leone orders her coffee from here, ten pounds at a time. Aside from it being fresh, organic and delicious, she is helping to support the women who grow and harvest this coffee in Peru. Grounds for Change is that kind of organization. Their mission statement—“To support social equity and environmental sustainability through fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee”—is an integral part of their mission, but they also support environmental and social causes, especially in the coffee-growing countries, and various nonprofit organizations. They also work to educate consumers, utilize sustainable energy in their business, and recycle or compost all possible components. And they do all this while offering a wonderful array of coffees, teas and cocoa powder.
Librarians Internet Index
LII is an interesting site. Offering references to “sites you can trust,” this publicly-funded site and weekly e-newsletter that feature and recommend websites that have been “carefully selected, described, and organized by our team of librarians. Topics include current events and issues, holidays and seasons, helpful tools for information users, human interest, and more.” It’s astonishingly detailed with thousands of recommended links.
MacosX.com is a fabulous resource for Macintosh users and lovers. It is staffed by volunteers and entirely free. If you have problems, questions, issues or just want to share or chat, drop by. Their forums are extensive. And you can email specific questions to the tech volunteers who will help solve them in language anyone can understand (they ask about your level of knowledge before answering you). I love this place where no one shows impatience for beginning-level knowledge or questions. If you use it, consider donating at least a little cash or volunteering time.
Mercury Theatre on the Air
Orson Welles created this brilliant drama series that in the 1930s featured some of the best stories adapted for radio. The most famous is the War of the Worlds broadcast that caused panic and headlines around the world. But there are a number of productions, all of them available here for listening.
Museum of Beauty: Reproducing Venus
At heart, this is an advertisement, but in truth it is an exquisite, extraordinary tribute to one of the world’s greatest pieces of art. Spend some time with this video and music for a quiet, sensual, uplifting experience.
On January 19, 2006, NASA launched the New Horizons spacecraft, which is on an interplanetary cruise to Pluto. It won’t arrive at its destination until July 2015, but on its journey it is exploring the space it passes. This site is continually updated with information and images.
An artist, Nina took a look at book titles in a different way. Her “Sorted Books” project is a multiple one, having occurred in various places over several years. At all times, the processis the same. She culls the collection, seeking titles that can be grouped into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence from top to bottom. Her results are wonderful!
No Sweat Apparel
If, like Nicki Leone and me, you believe that every choice you make is worthy of being the best one possible you may want to look here for some of your clothing needs. This company offers fair trade footwear and casual clothing “produced by independent trade union members in the U.S., Canada, and the developing world.” Their prices are quite reasonable, and the selection good. They keep their pricing fair by not advertising and depending on word of mouth. BiblioBuffet is happy to recommend them, like everyone on this page, since they make things we buy.
On Familiar Things
This is a lovely blog that “invites its readers to a discussion with the masters of a simpler art, art that celebrates the worldly and mundane.” Two art professors, Jan Peeters and Hermann Wundrum, help their readers “rediscover classical painting” with their insightful, erudite comments. This is a unique site that is a superb way to learn about artists and their work; what it does best is to educate our eyes as well as our brains.
Molly Wizenberg, a former Ph.D. student in cultural anthropology, began this blog when it occurred to her that what she really wanted to do involved food and writing. So she started Orangette, which is named after the French word for chocolate-dipped candied orange peels. Though she has no formal training in cooking (her only training coming from growing up in a family of avid eaters and home cooks), she now has a column in Bon Appétit and a book. Plus this delightful blog (with recipes) that is as fresh as a just-picked orange.
These tart fruits are a tropical specialty, and they are delicious! Some may find them too tart, butthey make incredible fruit smoothies when mixed with frozen strawberries and yogurt. They can also be used in a number of fruit-based sauces for meats and compliment hot chilies. The seeds are soft and edible. The #2 fruits are the best buy.
Pro Publica: Journalism in the Public Interest
Pro Publica is a unique online publication, an “independent, non-profit newsroom
that will produce investigative journalism in the public interest” by focusing on stories with “moral force.” Editors include Paul Steiger, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, and Stephen Engelberg, formerly of The Oregonian and New York Times. They are committed to using“an entirely non-partisan and non-ideological manner, adhering to the strictest standards of journalistic impartiality” when investigating national stories on business and money, justice and law, energy and environment, government and politics, health and science, media and technology, and national security.
Science Daily is one of the best online publications for those interested in science, technology, and medicine. The articles come from news releases submitted by universities and research institutions, along with links to the original organizations. They also link to other major science media and science-related sites. Regardless of your interest—Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, Space & Time, Matter & Energy, Computers & Math, or Fossils & Ruins—you’ll find it here.
Seeds of Change
Are you a gardener or know someone who is? Have you considered that organic gardening begins with seeds? Seeds of Change has only one mission: to preserve biodiversity and promote sustainable, organic agriculture. In addition to offering organically-grown vegetable, flower, herb and cover crop seeds, they have live plants, tools and supplies, and various books and gifts, Their site also has an incredible array of information on urban gardening, four-season growing, gardening how-tos, and much more.
This online store, along with its able competitor Zappos, specializes in shoes. All kinds of shoes, all colors, types, styles, widths, brands, prices. And both of them do it by offering free shipping (including return shipping if you don’t like anything), incredible customer service, and a near-limitless selection. Though shoes are their specialty, you will also find accessories, apparel, and bags including backpacks, computer cases and luggage.
Simon’s Cat: Let Me In / Cat Man Do / TV Dinner
These three YouTube videos are short, cute animated videos of a man who obviously lives with and loves his cat.
Probably the best socks around, Thorlo offers a wide variety of athletic and dress socks that wick moisture away, last for a long time, and look good at all times. You can search for socks at their website by activity, padding, length, color or fiber, and prices are reasonable.
What a Wonderful World
Combine Louis Armstrong’s song with that of an unusual friendship—and the result is touching and inspiring!
Who’s on First
One of the most famous comedic routines of all time, this Abbott & Costello routine is a YouTube video enabling you to watch the comedians as they run through their routine. Very funny, and very good.
Women’s Center for Job Creation
Seeking to increase economic opportunities for low-income women in Uganda, Africa, this organization approaches its goals in several ways by purchasing resources their beneficiaries need—access to capital, markets and relevant training. They work to build on what is already being done by taking the current projects from survival mode to profit generation and ultimately, job creation.