Favorite Links

There is so much information available to us, and daily we are bombarded with distractions and wasteful entertainment.  How many hours do we watch repeating commercials?  Even the network news is reported more as Info-tainment rather than a representation of facts that includes useful information we can apply to our own lives.  Here are some resources  I enjoy to for stimulating thought and positive enlightenment about the world around us.

Philanthropy programs and children’s education

Review a charity before donating:

  • The Better Business Bureau has a section  for charities, but I’m not sure how proactive the charities are about providing information to this group.
  • Charity Navigator is free to review available reports, although not all the groups I support are listed here.
  • GuideStar requires registration to view relevant information and further detail can be obtained by subscribing to the website.
  • Consumer Reports gives some suggestions including those listed above.
  • (6 May 2011) Three Cups of Tea reveals need to verifiy the organization before donating.
  • American Institute of Philanthropy at CharityWatch.org

Sustainable Products and Practices:

  • Freecycle is a community based swaping program
  • Earth 911 has suggestions for recycling old items and you can search your location for where to recycle things like TV, appliances, electronics etc.
  • Ethical and Fair Trade Clothing options
  • Good Guide reviews the health, environmental, and social impacts of various products

TV Programs:

  • Frontline by PBS, mini documentaries on current events.
  • Frontline World by PBS
  • Independent Lens by PBS are documentaries focusing on equal rights for people around the globe.
  • Global Voices on PBS, also documentaries.
  • Faces of America miniseries by PBS, A review of historical immigration to the United States of America by the ancestors of celebrities.
  • Undercover Boss on CBS has been helpful to allow bosses (usually for companies in the service industry) see the real workings of their company.  The lessons learned from the experience typically include identifying ways they can improve the life and working conditions for the employees, identifying staff who are not performing at the level required for their position, and recognition of talents individuals who can contribute to the workings of the company.
  • Whale Wars on Animal Planet documents the work of a group called the Sea Shepards as they try to thwart the efforts of the Japanese whaling fleet.
  • Holmes on Homes is a contractor who helps homeowners fix the bad construction of others.
  • Who doesn’t know about Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel.  Testing scientific theories, urban legends, and theatrical scenarios.
  • The Discovery Channel has a great video on the Science of Attraction, unfortunately you cannot watch the whole video online, but you can see the main clips.
  • Fight Science on National Geographic explores the science behind extreme human abilities.
  • The Alaska Experience by Discovery Channel took people with little experience surviving in the wild, and had them live in Alaska without getting extra supplies for several months.
  • This Emotional Life by PBS is an insightful 3 part series.

Podcasts/Radio Programs:

  • E-Town Featuring Musical Guests, Discussion about improving the environment and society, and the E-chievement Award to recognize people who are contributing to world improvement
  • This American Life on NPR featuring true and sometimes hard to believe stories on a theme each week
  • RadioLab on NPR for the science geek in all of us
  • Freakanomics interesting and unusual economic findings
  • State of the Re:Union explores cities and towns in the US to find out what is happening in that location

Movies

  • War Dance is a documentary of a Sudanese group of school children competing in a national competition, and the life struggles they endure.

Other:

  • Political Fact Checking don’t believe everything you see on TV.
  • Enough Campaign is working to improve the conditions around the world.  Here, you can find out which tech companies are contributing to the procurement of conflict free materials for the products they produce.
  • Etsy is a website where you can buy or sell handmade items.  You can even make a special request for an artist for a specific item.
  • Better Books buys and sells used books donating the proceeds to improving global literacy.
  • Did you know that Killer Whales teach their young how to get seals off an iceburg?

Books

  • I love the two books I read by Malcolm Gladwell, Tipping Point and Outliers about sociology-psycology topics
  • 29 Gifts is not just a book but a movement
  • The Last Town on Earth may be fictional but causes serious reflection of ourselves
  • I just read the first two books of the Ender series by Orson Scott Card, great sci-fy stories
  • Alexandra Fuller writes a few books about her family and upbringing in central Africa.

Comedy

  • Improve Everywhere creates comical stunts in public (mostly NYC), they have some great videos of past stunts
  • Getting through Automated Phone Services Dial a Human

Free Stuff

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