Ray Saitz: interesting and informative stops along the information highway


Taking a trip is a wonderful way to experience all kinds of new things. During the hottest days of summer, I took virtual trips down the internet superhighway following links and exploring websites. Here is a sample of the various places I stopped.

Since July, NASA has been releasing images from the James Webb Space Telescope and I’ve seen several of them on TV news. Wanting to see better, I went to the NASA website (https://tinyurl.com/2ynf27a2) which has spectacular high-resolution photos of the telescope, including the incredibly large Cariana Nebula, which I downloaded and set as my laptop wallpaper.

I wanted to learn more about nebulae and the origins of the universe and endured incredibly complicated explanations on YouTube and various websites before ending almost where I started, at NASA Spaceplace (https://spaceplace.nasa.gov). It has loads of information and infographics and since it is designed for young students, I was able to understand most of it. Take a look and definitely direct all curious kids to the site.

If you need information on anything that happened in history, you might end up on Google and then on Wikipedia, which is a shame. That’s because there’s a website that has everything related to ancient history, listed alphabetically, regionally, or chronologically.

It was originally called the Encyclopedia of Ancient History, later renamed the Encyclopedia of World History (https://www.worldhistory.org/index). It claims to be the most widely read history encyclopedia in the world, recommended by some of the best universities in the world. Bookmark this site in case you need to know more about a historical incident, such as the Flour War or the Second Punic War.

The internet has been around for quite a long time and before Google I had a few websites bookmarked for constant reference. Over time, I became a “Googler” and forgot about those old reference sites, but rediscovered two.

One was created in 1991 as the definitive guide to all musical recordings made since Enrico Caruso. It was called the All Music Guide and I was delighted to find it again and find it still going strong. It is now called All Music (https://www.allmusic.com) and contains reviews and news about today’s music and artists, as well as numerous advertisements.

But you can search its archives for biographies, information, and discographies of artists and bands that have long since disappeared from public view or hearing, and listen to 30-second samples from their albums. Whether it’s failed supergroup Rhinoceros, Toronto’s Kensington Market, Poco or Cuff the Duke, you should skip Wikipedia and go straight to All Music.

Everyone has a “weird” or nagging question about how something was invented or works, and how things work (https://www.howstuffworks.com) can probably answer this question, and more. You can find out how an SSD works, how to clean white shoes, and even how Christmas works. On the other hand, you can find out if you are required to tell potential buyers if your house is haunted.

All Music and How Stuff Works were included in PC Magazine’s Top 100 Classic Websites list (https://tinyurl.com/y7b9aea9) which was released in 2007. You can browse the list to see which ones still exist. What happened to MySpace?

The world can be a weird and strange place. This can be proven by browsing Buzzfeed news and articles (https://www.buzzfeed.com/ca), which popularized the listicle, an article that is essentially a list. Obviously, there are a lot more weird and weird news and topics for just one website to handle, which explains the existence of two more. Oddee (https://www.oddee.com) is divided into news, lists and weird stories and I was able to read about 21 incidents of people dying while taking selfies.

Grunge (https://www.grunge.com) is much more comprehensive with more categories and should keep you busy for a long time browsing through articles such as why Smith is such a common surname and the complicated history of how the Earth got its name.

The beauty of an internet road trip is discovering so much without leaving home.


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