Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Useful Meme

Now for something completely different...

1. Copy these instructions.
2. Link to the original 'useful meme' post.
3. Share 5+ things that may be of benefit to your readers -- useful facts, advice, product recommendations, etc.

(If others follow these instructions, it should be easy to track responses simply by searching for links to this post.)

I've a bunch of recommendations, so I'll split them into five categories instead.

(1) Amazon food. I hate shopping (and spending time cooking), but I'm also not a huge fan of starving, so this seems like a decent compromise.
- Clif Bars are my favourite snack, especially the 'cool mint chocolate'. I don't know how they manage to make something so nutritious taste so good. Seriously. (The variety pack flavours are also good. But avoid apricot and blueberry crisp.) Has anyone tried the Peanut Toffee Buzz or Iced Gingerbread? I'd be curious to hear what they're like.
- Clif Nectar bars are also good, especially the dark choc raspberry flavour.
- Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup is the best canned soup I've tried. (Much better than their 'Chicken Noodle' one.)

(2) Favourite Fiction (philosophy books are discussed here.)
- The Truth Machine, for fun and thought-provoking tech utopianism.
- The Sparrow explores liberal religion, cultural misunderstandings, and much more.
- Best fantasy world: Stephen Donaldson's Mordant's Need (2-book series). This is also runner-up in the 'best plot twists' category, second only to Donaldson's Gap saga.

(3) Classic (freeware) Video Games
- Liquid War is the greatest multiplayer game ever invented. (Yes, even better than Liero.)
- Dungeon Crawl is the ultimate classic RPG. (I've linked to a graphics version, because gameplay trumps all only once you've attained a minimal level of aesthetic acceptability, and ascii characters violate this minimal requirement!)
- The broader category of 'greatest games' is discussed here.

(4) Facebook philanthropy
- I'm a fan of the Hunger Site app. It's much easier to remember to click each day when there's a counter right there in your Facebook profile. For no trouble at all, you get to transfer money from sponsoring advertisers to the third world, to the worth of 1.1 cups of food each day.
- It's also fun and easy to participate in Peter Unger's UNICEF facebook chain (just join the group here, donate $10 or more, and invite your friends to do likewise). Note that the downstream effects of your participation may be exponentially greater than your personal donation considered in isolation. So it's a great opportunity.

(5) Music on the web
- Again, I must say Don Skoog's 'Attendance to Ritual' is the greatest Marimba piece ever. (That linked performance by my little brother ain't half bad either, though I may be biased here!)
- Incidentally, this YouTube to mp3 converter is handy.
- is a neat way to discover new music.
- Project Playlist lets you share playable lists of music, as I've mentioned before. I'm really surprised that bloggers haven't made greater use of this yet (e.g. so that readers can actually listen to their 'Friday random ten' song lists).

Okay, that's it from me. Feel free to write up your own "useful" post. Or -- if you lack a blog of your own -- share your recommendations, etc., in the comments section below.

P.S. I'm tempted to get a Kindle e-book reader, to read online papers (PDFs etc.) more comfortably. Have any philosophers tried it? There was some encouraging discussion at Crooked Timber recently...

Update: I should tag a few people to help get this thing started. How about: Brandon, Chris, SteveG, Hallq, and you, whoever you are.


  1. No Kindle but I do have a Nokia E90 (and pretty much every predecessor to it) which I use both for E-books as well as pdfs that I download onto it, it does mean you can snatch a moment on the bus to read which is very pleasant indeed.

  2. Tricky one; I'll have a version up in a day or two.


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