Friday link roundup

friday link roundupHave you ever wondered how far one point is from another – as the crow flies? There’s a calculator for that here at This is just plain fun (and interesting) but also very handy when one or both of your endpoints is on an island not serviced by a state ferry.

My local library tweeted a link to this great article from the New York Times: Is There Anything One Should Feel Ashamed of Reading? Short answer: no. Slightly longer answer: Well, maybe 50 Shades of Grey. But read it anyway, because it is amusing and uplifting, and we all need to be reminded that it is AOK to read what we like to read.

Also on Twitter, I tweeted a link to an article that explains how anthropologically unsound the Paleo diet is (from Scientific American, here). Hilariously, it was almost immediately liked by a pro-Paleo twitter account manned either by a bot or someone simply not paying attention. In response, a real-life friend I follow sent me a link to this New York Times article: The New Age Cavemen and the City. To paraphrase my own Twitter response, this article is beautifully written. The snark is powerful yet subtle, like the best of Onion articles. The author lets his subjects condemn themselves with their own words and actions.

I am obsessed with learning other languages. I have been learning German on and off for years and I have recently put my nose back to the grindstone. Although with Duolingo and Memrise, it hardly feels like work. I am also learning Spanish and French on both sites, which offer an array of languages. Both are colorful, free, and very fun. Both let you set reminders and goals, talk to other language learners, review, and brag. I have also added Quizlet to my arsenal. I am reading children’s books in my target languages and when I come across a new word I add it to my flashcards on Quizlet. I can then virtually flip them (as they are magically read to me in the correct language), test myself by typing the words (graded on accuracy), and play games with them.

— Amanda


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