From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      TOURBUS - 11 Oct 2005 - The Top 22 - Part 3


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, the former capital of the short-lived "Rhythm Nation."

In his September 27th post, Bob Rankin stated that the worst problem on the internet is "stupid users." This is inaccurate. As most Tourbus readers know by now, the worst problem on the internet is Patrick Crispen. We regret the error. :P

On with the show...

Each year or so I create a list--well, it's actually a handout-- titled "The Internet Tourbus Guide to the Most Useful Sites in the World." It's been a while since I've updated my Tourbus Guide, so over five posts we're going to stop at 22 of my favorite internet sites and tools.

Today is the third post in my five post series. You can find my previous post in the Tourbus archives at

9. BoingBoing

Written with a wry sense of humor and created by five contributing writers for Wired magazine, BoingBoing is a frequently-updated blog that focuses on technology, futurism, science fiction, Disney, intellectual property, and politics. For example, here are some of the stories currently available on BoingBoing's homepage:

  • Guatemala devastated by Stan, online coverage and relief efforts
  • [With the recent hurricanes in the American south and the earthquake in Pakistan, it is easy to forget the recovery effort underway in Central America. BoingBoing offers a link to a site with up-to-date dispatches from the region. See ]

  • HOWTO make your own Disneyland-style fireflies [You know those
  • blinking, bobbing fireflies in Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride? Now you can make your own at home. See ]

    Think of BoingBoing as an aggregator of links to cool stuff. Because the site is updated so often, it is not uncommon for me to visit BoingBoing several times a day.

    10. Digg

    Created in November 2004, Digg is a combination technology news and social bookmarks site. Users submit links to stories or neat sites and other users vote on the importance or coolness of those links. The most popular links--the ones that get about 25 or more votes [or "diggs"] within a set period--are promoted to the top of Digg's homepage.

    Like Slashdot, Digg gives you short summaries of stories on other websites and it also gives you a forum in which to comment on those stories. Unlike Slashdot, however, Digg has no editors. Digg's users choose which stories appear on Digg's homepage. Think of Digg as an "Am I Hot or Not?" for tech news.

    Digg's homepage displays the 15 most recent "hot" links. For more in- depth, topic-related stories and links, click on one of the 16 categories on the right side of the page. The big thing to remember, though, is that the stories on Digg's homepage and in Digg's categories have already been vetted by other Digg users. The links may be cool and informative, but you may not going to find a lot of breaking news.

    11. MERLOT

    Let's say you are college professor (or even a home school parent) and you want to explain the Ideal Gas Law (PV=nRT) in such a way that your kids will not only remember it but UNDERSTAND it! You'd probably create some sort of hands-on simulation. And, if you were techno savvy, you might even create a virtual simulation and post it online in Blackboard, WebCT, or your course Web site.

    But what if you didn't have the time or know-how to create your own online learning tool or simulation? Well, that's where MERLOT comes in. MERLOT -- the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching -- is a free, peer-reviewed collection of over 13,000 different online learning tools and simulations developed (mostly) by college professors around the world. MERLOT is designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education, but I've discovered that a BUNCH of the stuff in MERLOT's archives will appeal to early teenage students as well. So don't let all the "higher ed" stuff scare you away from what is a WONDERFUL educational resource.

    You can browse MERLOT's collection by subject area -- Arts, Business, Education, Humanities, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Social Sciences -- but a better place to start might be the 2005 MERLOT awards page at

    [Full disclosure: I help administer the MERLOT discipline communities at ]

    12. Rubistar

    Rubistar is a free, online, rubric-creating tool designed to help educators who want to use rubrics in the classroom but don't have the time to develop them from scratch. The site doesn't look like much, but it is actually quite helpful.

    The site offers pre-slugged rubrics for a variety of activities, and you can use pull-down lists to order the categories you wish to assess. If all this sounds like gibberish to you, you probably should take a look at Rubistar's free tutorial first. You can find it at

    Please note: If you tried to visit this sponsor by clicking on their old address in previous issues, this is the correct address above!

    That's it for today. Next time we'll look at sites 13 through 16. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.

    .~~~. )) (\__/) .' ) )) Patrick Douglas Crispen /o o \/ .~ {o_, \ { / , , ) \ `~ -' \ } )) AOL Instant Messenger: Squirrel2K _( ( )_.' ---..{____} Warning: squirrels.

    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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