Tag Archive: internet

Best on the Web – Political Fact Checking

Photo by Mandy Arnold

The 2012 presidential campaigns are beginning to build speed; Congress is arguing jobs and spending; and politicians at all levels are sending media messages to build support for their agendas. In the midst of all the political noise, Americans are tasked with the difficult job of sorting through an onslaught of headlines, political promises, and partisan claims. Unless you are a political expert and have several hours each day to devote to research, you may head into the next election misinformed or unsure of your decision. The fact-checkers of PolitiFact and FactCheck.org work to clear up the confusion that surrounds politics. These two organizations conduct expert political research and publish their findings at no cost to the American public. PolitiFact states that their goal is to help Americans “find the truth in politics.” Similarly, FactCheck.org calls itself a “consumer advocate” for voters and “aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.”

PolitiFact takes a light-hearted approach gauging statements by members of Congress, the president, cabinet secretaries, lobbyists, and others on a “Truth-O-Meter” – True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False and False. The most extreme falsehoods receive the lowest rating, Pants on Fire.

FactCheck.org is a highly transparent project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. This sites features articles that explore the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/10/best-on-the-web-political-fact-checking/

Best on the Web – Find Virginia Historical Markers

Photo courtesy of VDHR

If you have driven Virginia’s roadways, chances are you have seen one of the more than 2,000 historical markers that provide travelers with information about noteworthy people, places, or events in Virginia history. The marker program began in 1927 recognizing Virginia’s “great men,” colonial buildings, and events of the American Revolution and Civil War. By the late 1970s, the marker program’s focus expanded, and in recent years a concerted effort was made to shape a program that reflects the full diversity of Virginia’s rich historic legacy by developing markers that deal with significant people, places, and events in African American, Native American, and women’s history. Examples of markers include Booker T. Washington’s Birthplace; the Pamunkey Indians; Mary Randolph, author of the first regional cookbook in 1824; and the song “The Wreck of the Old 97.”

These free databases provide access to photos and information about Virginia’s markers. Use them to plot your own history themed day trip or brush up on historical facts in your area.

Virginia Department of Historic Resources – Historical Highway Markers
Search by keyword, location, marker number, or category. This site features customizable Google Maps.

Markerhistory.com
A new and convenient tool that allows users to search by topic and/or location. This site features a Virginia SOL guide and email notifications when markers are erected or replaced.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/10/best-on-the-web-find-virginia-historical-markers/

Best on the Web – Learn a New Language

Has learning a new language been on your to do list for ages? You already know the advantages of being multilingual, but the difficulties associated with learning a new language are holding you back. Perhaps you don’t have the time or money for formal classes, and online tutorials advance too quickly or don’t meet your unique needs. Fortunately, now there are online resources that reduce or eliminate these obstacles. The following free and low-cost online language instruction systems are self-paced and allow students to decide how much or how little time and effort they devote to learning.

BBC Languages provides free audio, video and print lessons in more than 40 different languages. Beginner courses contain 12 weeks worth of material and optional email tips.

Livemocha is the world’s largest online language learning community, offering free and paid online language courses in 35 languages.

Check out foreign language books at your local ARLS branch!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/10/best-on-the-web-learn-a-new-language/

Best on the Web – Do More with Your Money

MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching Americans the basics of financial education. Whether you are buying a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k), the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you maximize your financial decisions. This site features financial education help from more than 20 different Federal websites, aggregated and organized so that users can learn and start benefiting from it quickly and easily. Content is organized by where you are in life, who you are, and by specific hands-on tools. Popular topics emerging in the news and based on user feedback are also highlighted.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/09/best-on-the-web-do-more-with-your-money/

Best on the Web – Free How-To Help

Don’t let the name scare you away—The Beehive is a website worth visiting. Since 2001, when The Beehive was launched by the D.C.-based non-profit, One Economy, it has helped more than 18 million people worldwide connect to educational tools and services to inform and empower people to improve their lives. This site is buzzing with free how-to help related to money, health, jobs, school and housing. Some of the current articles include a back-to-school guide, food stamp eligibility tool, and a gestational diabetes factsheet. A brief exploration reveals in-depth financial and savings advice, health tips and assistance, employment coaching, computer training, college preparation guides, and homebuyer help. Registered users enjoy additional perks, such as printable coupons and the ability to set their location and view local services and resources. Content is updated regularly to reflect seasonal needs and current trends.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/09/best-on-the-web-free-how-to-help/

Best on the Web – Read Books Online for Free

Woodcraft, or, How a Patrol Leader Made Good by Alan Douglas. Courtesy of Project Gutenberg.

Books are made to be handled, shared, and enjoyed for many years. But constant handling wears books out, and eventually years of readers’ enjoyment begins to show. For this reason, thousands of books are being digitized and made available on the Internet. These online books include ancient texts, beloved classics, current popular titles, and a variety of fiction and non-fiction works now in the public domain.

Project Gutenberg offers more than 36,000 free ebooks to download to your PC, Kindle, Android, or other portable device. Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats.

The British Library’s Turning the Pages features a true-to-life reading experience of some of history’s greatest written works, including the first Atlas of Europe, William Blake’s notebook, Jane Austen’s manuscripts, and sketches by Leonardo da Vinci.

Google Books is a searchable index of millions of contemporary titles you can preview or read for free. This is a great resource for students writing school papers!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/09/best-on-the-web-read-books-online-for-free/

Best on the Web – Aprender Inglés Hoy

U.S.A. Learns es un recurso gratuito en línea para hablantes nativos de español que buscan mejorar sus habilidades básicas de lectura Inglés, escritura, expresión oral y habilidades para la vida. Los visitantes de este sitio web pueden registrarse y comenzar los cursos en línea en cuestión de minutos. La instrucción es a su propio ritmo y está disponible en Inglés y Español. U.S.A. Learns es un programa del U.S. Departamento de Educación y pretende dotar a los adultos estadounidenses con las habilidades básicas que necesitan para ser trabajadores productivos, miembros de la familia, y los ciudadanos.

U.S.A. Learns is a free online resource for native Spanish speakers seeking to improve their basic English reading, writing, speaking and life skills. Visitors to this site can register and start online courses in minutes. Instruction is at your own pace and is available in English and Spanish. U.S.A. Learns is a program of the U.S. Department of Education and aims to provide U.S. adults with basic skills they need to be productive workers, family members, and citizens.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/09/best-on-the-web-aprender-ingles-hoy/

Best on the Web – Find Family-Friendly TV, Movies & Books

Parents have a lot to worry about: finding time to drive to little league practice, getting dinner on the table, buying new school clothes, and monitoring the content their children see and hear in the media. There is no magic solution to help make parenting easier, but there are resources to help parents make better, more informed decisions. Common Sense Media is a national, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, reviews, and education necessary to thrive in a world of ubiquitous media and technology. Common Sense Media provides reviews and ratings of all major forms of media: movies, television, websites, video games, music, apps, and books. The website also houses an expansive library of tips and advice for parents and educators. Through their media reviews and ratings, education programs, and policy efforts, Common Sense Media helps parents and educators guide kids to become safe, smart, and responsible digital citizens.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/08/best-on-the-web-find-family-friendly-tv-movies-books/

Best on the Web – A Bit of Everything Local

From scuba gear to sleeper sofas. Find local deals on Craigslist.

Would you believe there is a website where you can search job openings, find an apartment, buy a sofa, discuss crafts and beauty, join a rock band, sell your old bike, and make romantic connections all in one place? Craigslist is a free online marketplace where users can search and post classified advertisements related to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums. The website was started by its namesake, Craig Newmark, in 1995 in San Francisco. Since then, Craigslist has grown into one of the top 10 sites on the Internet with 20 billion views and 50 million new classified ads each month. Now there are Craigslist sites in more than 500 cities worldwide, including our local Greater Richmond site.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/08/best-on-the-web-a-bit-of-everything-local/

Best on the Web – Affordable Internet for Families

The world has gone digital. Today, the Internet is no longer just a convenience. It has become essential for success. That’s why Comcast created Internet Essentials to bring affordable home Internet to students and their families. With Internet Essentials, families can do all the things they want to do online, like email, homework, sharing photos, job searches, paying bills, watching videos, downloading music and much more.

Qualifying customers receive:
• Fast home Internet for just $9.95 a month + tax
• No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees
• A low-cost computer available at initial enrollment for just $149.99 + tax
• Access to free Internet training – online, in print and in classroom

A household is eligible to participate if it meets all of the following criteria:
• It is located where Comcast offers Internet service
• It has at least one child receiving free school lunches under the National School Lunch Program
• It has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
• It does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

Starting in the 2011-12 school year, families may sign up by calling 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376). For more information visit: InternetEssentials.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.arls.org/2011/08/best-on-the-web-affordable-internet-for-families/

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