Summer Surfing Online: Fun and (Mostly) Educational Websites

While mindless web surfing can be very enjoyable, the internet isn’t just for funny pictures of cats or streaming episodes of your favorite television shows. If you are looking for a way to have fun and learn a little during your time online this summer, we have a new roundup of entertaining and informative websites for you to visit. Cool Infographics: Infographics are all the rage right now, and for good reason. They provide a way of explaining complicated information (ranging from sushi etiquette to social media usage) in a pithy and visually striking manner. Cool Infographics collects some of the best infographics available online, and new content is added daily. Reading Speed Test: Curious to know how fast you can read and comprehend text (and how your speed compares to other people’s)? This test from Staples times you as you read and then asks some simple comprehension questions. Name That Element: This quiz from NOVA features 30 quizzes where you have to guess the element based on clues. YouTube Documentaries: By stitching together all the YouTube videos of a single documentary, this site makes it easy to find and watch documentaries on subjects ranging from art to history to science. Oracle of Wikipedia: Forget about Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. This site lets you find out how many clicks it takes to go from one subject to another on Wikipedia. Type in any two subjects (the more disparate the better) into the boxes and prepare to be amazed at how seemingly different things can be so closely related. Visualizing How a Population Grows to 7 Billion: Ever wonder how the world’s population became so big so fast? This informative video and article from NPR offer insight and a way to visualize the population boom. 2012’s Most Memorable Commencement Speeches: The Obamas, Aaron Sorkin, Jane Lynch, and others provide the class of 2012 with wisdom and advice. 27 Bits of Wisdom from 2012 Commencement Speeches: All of these are great sound bites and are very quotable. However, my favorite is from Elie Wiesel: “Remember that despair is never the solution. Remember, hatred is never an option. Remember that hope is not a gift given to us, hope is a gift that we give to others.” Slate’s Compilation of the Best Graduation Speeches of the Past 25 Years: Any “Best Of” list is subjective, but it would be hard to top any of the speeches on this list (including ones by Jon Stewart and David Foster Wallace).

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