The world is a mess: Agree or Disagree?

Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2008 by

Toy List – It’s the Happy Holidays time of the year again…. Have you ever tried to decipher the origins of the present-giving custom in this time of year? I’m afraid there is no clear answer to this, neither for Christmas nor for Chanuka celebrators. However, I did manage to find a 4-year old answer that could help clear things up: “We give each other Christmas presents to say thank you for all the hugs and kisses people give us.” When it comes to buying presents for kids, we’re more likely to find ourselves in the toys aisle rather than the apparel’s. Amazon has compiled a visual list of potential gifts in order to ease your holiday present choices. The list is very easy to use and can be sorted by age or price parameters. Don’t underestimate the importance of the toys you buy; according to Wikipedia, playing in general and, playing with toys in particular, generate important stimuli that help in children’s growth and learning of their environment. Young kids use toys and playtime to discover their identity, maintain corporal health, learn the concepts of cause and effect, explore relationships and practice skills they will need as adults. So don’t sigh when you’re standing in line at the cashier with a big box of a train set or Twister. Remember that in addition to having fun, these have the added value of contributing to children’s healthy development!

Shopflick – Tired of the all-too-familiar online shopping ritual? Experience shopping in a way that is far beyond still images. Shopflick brings you a new way to discover and experience fascinating sellers and cool new products by watching entertaining videos directly from the people who create the products. If you are a designer or an artist you will find this platform as having great potential for your own work. With Shopflick, you can boost your marketing performance by advertising your products via video and creating a customized online store. I particularly enjoyed Raquel Allegra’s story and David Flores’ art. It’s always more fun and interesting to buy products from the ones who actually manufacture them rather than from a wholesaler whose products are most probably made in a large Asian country… Plus, the video gets you in a much more motivated shopping mood. Don’t believe me? Try it out for your self.

FRED – Two weeks ago, YouTube Live was featured on our Weekly Faves. What I neglected to mention though, is my discovery of Fred in the Live Channel feature. We’re talking about love at first sight here. Fred is YouTube’s newest star. He is a lonely, fast talking 6-year-old with anger management issues and an alcoholic mom. Fred is played by 15-year-old Lucas Cruikshank, a high school freshman from Nebraska whose YouTube’s Channel recently earned the YouTube’s Most Subscribed Channel of all time distinction, with around 700,000 signed up viewers. Fred will  provoke either your admiration or hatred but you can’t argue with the hard evidence of viewer numbers. Plus, you must admit, Fred is definitely an unusual character. I have shown videos of Fred to many of my (adult) friends and their unanimous response was: “What is this nonsense? This kid is annoying!” As most of my readers are adults, I suggest you give Fred a shot. FRED is the creation of a genius, and there is always something to be learned from geniuses. Enjoy!

The Girl Effect – Before I sit down to write my Weekly Faves review each week, I first try to guess each site’s intentions by its title. When I came across The Girl Effect for the first time, I wasn’t even close to inferring its profound ambition. The site starts by presenting a powerful question: “The world is a mess: Agree or Disagree?” It doesn’t matter if you agree or not, the bottom line is that around 600 million adolescent girls live in poverty in the developing world. By giving just one of these girls a chance, you start the girl effect. When girls have safe places to meet, education, legal protection, health care and access to training and job skills, they can thrive. And if they thrive, everyone around them thrives, too. Why do girls receive the focus here instead of boys? Because, as the sites’ factsheet claims, when girls and women earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man. Not only does this site deal with a notable cause, its presentation and execution are absolutely remarkable. This site is a must!

JamsBio – Music has the power to unite people of all stripes because no matter their age or background, everyone loves music and we all have stories to share about the music that has defined and continues to define our lives. JamsBio is a music social community, a destination for people to meet, reconnect, or simply stay in touch by sharing the story of their life through music. Sounds and music, as you know, are ever-loyal partners that has been following us from our cradle days. Music is a vast colorful spectrum where each and every one of us can find a specific niche, and even in that particular niche one is bound to find like-minded people and create groups. My personal faves in this site include: Best Question Songs and Albums that changed my life for the better. I definitely see how people can communicate by using this platform.

Frengly – Frengly is a free language translator. Although translation sites usually don’t receive the ‘most amazing site on the web’ award, Frengly is one translation site that comes close to this title. It has significant advantages over other translation sites I’ve used in the past; I browse the web quite a lot and sometimes I come across texts I don’t recognize. I usually don’t have a clue as to whether the words I’m looking at are in Korean, Japanese or Chinese. In this case, I need to try out all three in order to find the right source. With Frengly this problem is completely eliminated as it automatically detects the language of the requested text. This is a feature even Google Translate doesn’t offer yet. In addition, Frengly’s extremely simple, intuitive and fast interface makes you wonder how come other translators are so complicated. Currently, they support translation between any pair of the following languages: English, French, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Swedish, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Czech or Slovakian.

WebEcoist – WebEcoist is a collectively produced weblog about sustainable living, green design and environmental oddities of the world. WebEcoist is A.K.A ‘the sister blog’ of the WebUrbanist. It doesn’t take much to realize that a commendable amount of work and love has been dedicated to both. The end result is interesting and inspiring articles that are always accompanied by great photos. The 10 Breathtaking Natural Cloud and Color Formations definitely caught my attention. What about you?

Brick Testament – WOW !!! Someone went into a lot of trouble to Legolize the Bible. What do I mean by ‘Legolize?’ It’s a word I just made up: it’s the combination of Lego and Organize. The result is brilliant – stories of the Bible, illustrated by Lego scenes. Writers comment: The site contains some content that might seem controversial and/or offensive to some people. You are advised to pay attention to the codes (N=Nudity S=Sexual Content V=Violence C=Cursing) on the homepage before entering each Bible story. And if you want to rely on my personal fave Bible story, you should check this one out: Two women, one baby, solved by King Solomon.

Auditorium – Auditorium is about the process of discovery and play. It is a combination of light and sound and the aim of this puzzle is to fill up all audio levels with a streaming flow of light. Please note that there are no right or wrong answers to this, as there is more than one way to solve each puzzle. This is most enjoyable and most unique. I believe that as technology evolves we will see more and more combinations of light movement and music. Bring it on!

Damn Birds – Your aim is to take down the birds and wisely invest your earned cash into weapons and defenses. This game reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds movie. For all you online gamers, please note that we have concluded a Weekly Games page especially for you. Play away!

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