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Thousands of new web pages appear every day. How do you find your old favorites? Check out the Internet Archive and their Wayback Machine.
While the Internet Archive seeks to thwart time, it's occasionally useful to synchronize your clocks with the rest of the world. If you are in the U.S. and have a Java-enabled browser, the official NIST Time Server will help.
It used to take months for the results of research to appear in print. Now you can keep up with the cutting edge in math, physics, nonlinear sciences, computer science, and quantitative biology in almost real time at arXiv.org.
Perplexed by the proliferation of acronyms these days? Find relief at the Acronym and abbreviation list. If you don't find it here, check out Eric Raymond's Jargon File.
Here's my favorite new geek web site, Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works. A good representative article, this one from their section, "How Stuff Will Work", about something that will be REALLY cool if it actually gets into production, is about the "printable computer" - actually, a "printable" CPU: you can produce new CPU upgrades right from your desktop! Warning - Don't hold your breath ...
If your cool new Powerbook or G5 Mac is misbehaving, MacFixit is the place to go. Too bad there are no equivalent sites for other operating systems ...
News of the Universe: Astronomy Pictures of the Day
And nearer to home: Earth Science Picture of the Day.
The web site of one of the oldest astronomy magazines around, Sky and Telescope, also brings you daily astronomy news.
Among those bringing astronomy to the masses, San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers is preeminent. Founded by two nine-year-old students of telescope maker, former monk, iconoclast John Dobson after they were rebuffed by a mainstream club for being too young, these guys have helped to counteract the elitism of astronomers.
If you want to send a probe to Saturn, JPL has a tutorial to get you started. Designed for their operations people, it requires nothing beyond high school math. With the 2001 update, their emphasis has switched to the Web, but you can download a (not quite up to date) printable PDF version of the tutorial from the Editorial page.
If you're worried about the Earth being destroyed by the impact of a comet or meteor, the Earth Impact Effects Program may reassure you. Or maybe not.
With all the hype about the new millennium & the confusion about when it actually occurred, you may want to know something about the history of calendars. The Astronomical Applications Department of the U.S. Naval Observatory is one place to start.
Relativity describes the some of the heaviest objects in the universe. At the other end of the spectrum are neutrinos, the lightest particles with nonzero mass. Ironically, these little guys may have more effect on the future of the universe than the big, bad black holes. The Ultimate Neutrino Page is the place to learn more.
If you've heard the clamor about the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem & wanted to know more, Charles Daney has a good description.
The source: Sun's Java Technology Home Page.
The official home of Linux.
Way before Linux came GNU - Gnu's Not Unix. It's originator is Richard Stallman, the evangelist of the Free Software movement (Free as in speech, not as in beer.) The Free Software Foundation is his website.
One of the most prolific proselytizers of the superiority of Open Source has been Eric Raymond. His home page has much interesting stuff, including his essay "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and "The Jargon File", the up-to-date, online version of the book, "The New Hacker's Dictionary, 3rd edition" from MIT Press (the online version has several hundred more entries than the book). His home page also contains a great description of user-friendly web site design. If you take his "Gun Nut" stuff seriously, though . . . I'll just have to claim that we've never met. As explained in "The Jargon File", geeks tend to be socially dysfunctional.
Need books - tech or otherwise - but you don't really want to give some giant chain even more money? Check out Powell's Books of Portland, Oregon. They only have six stores (beside the web site - seven, if you count the tiny store at the Portland airport), one of which is the best new & used tech book store anywhere. Great selection, great prices.
Math news from the American Mathematical Society.
For a concise introduction to almost anything you've ever been curious about in math or science, check out Eric Weisstein's Treasure Troves of Science. Note: Since late 2000, as a result of the anal possessiveness of the Chemical Rubber Company (CRC), who had published a printed version of the math portion of this site, the mathematics portion of this site has been unavailable. Please feel free to boycott any CRC products until they again allow Weisstein to publish his exceedingly informative site.
UPDATE: As of November, 2001, Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics is back! In addition to having access to this wonderful resource again, you can read about the ordeal he had to survive to return to the 'Net. It's a cautionary tale for the rest of us.
The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive is a wonderful reminder of the human side of mathematics. Beware of the biography section: Many hours can vanish while following interesting links.
The homepage of Clifford Pickover, producer of an astounding number of provocative books, including "Black Holes: A Traveller's Guide". Beware: His page takes a while to load.
Do you believe Sun's claims of Java security? Check out Mark LaDue's Hostile Applets page.
News for nerds, stuff that matters: Slashdot.
The source of much of the modern world, Xerox PARC. Personal distributed computing (networks!), the first commercial mouse, GUI's, object-oriented programming, & most of the other stuff you use every day. They're still doing cool things.
Inventor of the mouse & originator of much of the rest of modern computing: Doug Engelbart. His ideas led to Xerox PARC, which inspired Steve Jobs, which led to Windows 95/98, etc..
The birthplace of the Web, keeper of standards, & the source of new standards like XML & MathML,W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium.
The next Net? Maybe. The Internet2 Project.
Are you worried that you're becoming too much of a nerd? Or, with the ascendency of geek culture, you don't think you're nerdy enough? Take the Nerdity Test & find out how you measure up.
DeCSS is a piece of software used for playing DVDs on Linux. The music industry has
decided that it is a threat to their existence & are conducting a witch hunt, discussed
recently (early Y2K) in gory detail at Slashdot. While I
haven't been too interested in this particular issue, some important principles are
involved. An article at Pigdog has an
interesting way to muddy the waters for the bad guys. It looks like mildly subversive
fun and it also looks like a good model for ways to complicate the lives of giant corporate/political alliances that increasingly want to control your use of their goods after you've purchased them.
Why does the Web seem sluggish tonight?
Or faster than usual?
The Internet Traffic Report gives you a lot of the answer.