Condensed knowledge for 2007-08-21

  • Knight News Challenge: Round 2 Launches. The Knight News Challenge, in which winners get grants ranging from tiny to huge, is in its second year. It awards big money for innovative ideas using digital experiments to transform community news. The contest is run by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Last year’s winners won awards ranging from $15K to $5 million. If you’ve got a worthwhile idea that’s news-related, by all means, submit it!
  • has a great post that points out five WP plugins that can help with managing your comments and responding to readers.
  • Brian Auer of the Epic Edits Weblog has a post on the differences between exposing for highlights, shadows or midtones.
  • A couple of Russians put together a wry video where they demonstrate a new product, the Americanizer. Their English accent is a bit thick, so pay close attention.
  • On the same blog, English Russia, you’ll find another post with HDR photos of the Moscow sewers. These are pretty well done, and I do believe I spotted a crocodile in two of them…
  • The top tech blogs are revolting against Wikipedia’s “no follow” link policy by using the same rel=”no follow” tag in their outgoing links to Wikipedia. Alright! Wikipedia’s been getting a lot of link love for years, and I think they’ve been entirely ungrateful by not responding in kind.
  • Sal Marinello, writing for BlogCritics, has a few words to say about the famed “300 Workout”, the physical regime that prepared the actors for their roles in that movie. A lot of people got it wrong. Also very worth checking out is the site of the physical trainers that put together that workout and trained the actors, Gym Jones. Have a look at the Video section. Very different stuff from what you see in gyms today, but you can’t argue with the results.
  • Mental_Floss has a GREAT post on life before air conditioning. Why is it great? Because it points out why today’s construction is so horribly shoddy — our overreliance on air conditioning lets builders get away with using cardboard and plywood for what passes for homes in the DC area. The homes of old were built with thick insulation, out of stone or brick, and they could do just fine without A/C. If we’d be without A/C nowadays, we couldn’t live in our homes. Kind of makes me sad for all these people buying McMansions on River Road and Georgetown Pike and the like. I see the way they’re built, and it’s an insult to millenia of good building practices…
  • The Daily Mail has an article on spotting illness by looking at our faces.
  • On a similar note, Deputy Dog has a post on the 5 scariest medical mistakes. Don’t read it during lunch…
  • Have you ever wondered about the 100 Inuit words for snow? Here they are.
  • Hans Rosling gave a speech at TED this year, and they’ve posted it to their website. It’s really, really good stuff. You will not regret the 19 minutes spent watching it, I guarantee it. It’s about poverty and developing countries, but he’s got a very different take on things.