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If: A Mind-Bending New Way of 
Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
David J. Smith
A Mind-Bending New Way
Of Looking at Big
Ideas and Numbers

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This Child, Every Child: A 
Book for Children About the Rights of Children
This Child Every Child
David J. Smith
A Picture Book About
The Rights of Children
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If the World Were a Village SECOND EDITION
If the World Were a Village

David J. Smith

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If America Were a Village
If America Were a Village
David J. Smith
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Click here to see all the hotlinks from Previous Years:

2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998 - 1997 - 1996

Note: links (over 500) are not maintained and may not work.

Hotlinks For 2005 By Date

25 December, 2005 to 1 January, 2006

Growth of a Nation

This brilliant 10-minute presentation illustrates the growth of the United States from the original 13 colonies to the 50 states of today. Make sure sound is on; you can play, pause, rewind. If you roll your mouse over states you can see their names, or click on individual states for more details. Click Rivers for their names. You can also play with the timeline by dragging the pointer to look at different periods more closely, or to expand the timeline decade by decade. An expanded version is for sale for classroom use.

18 to 25 December

American Ethnic Geography

This is the web site for a second-year geography course at Valparaiso University. It has a remarkable collection of map galleries. The maps -- mostly GIFs, some PDFs -- provide a wealth of interesting information on North American demographics: ethnicity, culture, religion, voting patterns, and more.

11 to 18 December

Time-Travel Map of the London Underground

Oskar Karlin created this amazing map for a design-school project. He decided to re-design the traditional London Underground Map based not on cost or distance or simplicity, but on the time a journey takes. Read the entire story, see maps he had to create along the way, and finally download the final projects in pdf format.

4 to 11 December

Map of the Star Wars Galaxy

Not official, but an interesting attempt to map the Galaxy Far Far Away, by somebody who is obviously a huge fan. Go back one level to see the many different Star Wars data, fan links, interviews, and more.

27 November to 4 December

CommonCensus Sports Map Project

The CommonCensus Sports Map Project is attempting to calculate and map the areas within which fans of particular sports teams live; maps are available for NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA Football, and are based on votes cast by users of the website. While a certain bias might be expected because the voters are self-selected, the folks at Common Census say that they have developed an algorithm that adjusts for that bias.

20 to 27 November

Google Globe Trotting

One of the most informative of the mushrooming number of sites using features of google maps and google Earth to do something interesting and useful. Here, users submit labeled images which they have been able to identify among the highest-resolution google Earth imagery.

13 to 20 November

Transparency International

Transparency International is an NGO devoted to combating corruption. They recently posted a world map based on their Corruption Perceptions Index, a survey of business people and country analysts. Worth a visit.

6 to 13 November

Country Reports

"Country information from around the world on over 260 countries", this site provides country information from around the world. It is an excellent resource for business, tourists, students and teachers. It includes both basic data -- such as maps, flags, and national anthem sound files -- and more detailed information and links for all the countries of the world.

30 October to 6 November

Lonely Planet World Guide Pages

From the producers of the Lonely Planet guides. Select a region, then a country, and you can read about -- and see pictures of -- the country. More "tourist-oriented" than many "World Guide" sites, but all the facts a traveler could want plus basic history and other related information.

23 to 30 October

The BBC Country Profiles Site

The BBC maintains country profiles for every country in the world; each section includes a timeline of major events and links to BBC stories about the country.

16 to 23 October

The N-E-X-U-S Geography Site

News, books, and about 30 sub-categories of geographic topics, from cartography to travel. A very handy geo-portal.

9 to 16 October

Ogle Earth

A fascinating and very comprehensive blog about the things people are doing with Google Earth. Spend some time following the different posts; Google Earth is very powerful, and Ogle Earth will tell you some of the ways to make it work for you.

2 to 9 October

Blaeu's Atlas Maior

Taschen, a publisher in Cologne, has just released Blaeu's remarkable atlas of the 1600's. It is a huge volume (compiled from the original 11-volume set), weighs 7.2 kg, and has nearly 800 pages. In case you're interested in buying it from Amazon, here's a link.

25 September to 2 October

The Interactive Nolli Map

Giambattista Nolli's 1748 map of Rome was a masterpiece: it was detailed, accurate and eschewed the prevailing "bird's-eye" perspective for an overhead view. Researchers at the University of Oregon have put together a major web site on Nolli's map, complete with background and research papers. Most notable, though, is its map engine, a Flash-based application that allows you to superimpose layers on Nolli's map, with adjustable transparency. But the best part is the satellite layer: make it semitransparent and see just how well Nolli's map holds up, 257 years later.

18 to 25 September

Flash Earth

A very elegant interface for using Google Maps or Virtual Earth maps through a flash application. You can zoom in and out without the display having to recrerate itself, and you can rotate the map. It makes Google Maps' amazing powers even more accessible and useful.

11 to 18 September

Currency Exchange Map

Ever wonder how your country's currency is doing, compared to others? Probably you hear on a regular basis how it does compared to the U. S. dollar. But what about against the Ghanaian cedi or the Nicaraguan cordoba? carries all that information, updated daily. More interesting from a cartographic point of view is that all that can be mapped. Using a java applet, the change of a currency against all other currencies can be mapped so you can see how your currency is doing relative to the entire world, not just the USD. Opens with US/Germany, but select any two countries and select "1 day" and it redraws the map for you.

4 to 11 September

HKUST Antique Maps Database

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has posted their collection of Antique Maps. Mostly China, but also contains some world maps and maps of other regions. Best thing to do is to "browse by region". Select a region and you'll get thumbnails and descriptions of the available maps, then click and the map opens as a pdf file in incredible detail. These are big files, 3 mb and larger, but worth the wait.

28 August to 4 September

BBC News Country Profiles

BBC News Country Profiles are powerful, thoroughly researched, and very informative snapshots of all the countries of the world, and most of the territories. Each full profile provides a guide to the history, politics, and economics of a country, broken down into the main categories of "Overview", "Facts", "Leaders", and "Media". You can also listen to the country's national anthem, see maps, and cick to read BBC News reports about the country and region. One of the best "country summary" sites on the web.

21 to 28 August

Country Studies at the Library of Congress

This website contains the on-line versions of books previously published in hard copy by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress under the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Army. Because the original intent of the Series' sponsor was to focus primarily on lesser known areas of the world or regions in which U.S. forces might be deployed, the series is not all-inclusive. At present, 101 countries and regions are covered. Notable omissions include Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and other Western nations, as well as a number of African nations. The date of information for each country appears on the title page of each country and at the end of each section of text.

14 to 21 August

The 50 States

This site on the fifty states (and the U.S. commonwealths and territories) has information such as: location (latitude and longitude), birds, colleges and universities, constitutions, flowers, genealogical resources, geological formations, geographical features, mottos, national forests and parks, newspapers, nicknames, nonprofit organizations, populations, state and federal representatives, songs, and the date of entry into the union. All facts are linked to over 1529 governmental or authoritative webpages.

7 to 14 August

The Columbia Gazetteer of North America (at

With 50,000 entries, this most comprehensive encyclopedia of geographical places and features will prove invaluable to anyone for whom places hold fascination and who require accurate data about them. It covers every incorporated place and county in the United States, along with several thousand unincorporated places, special-purpose sites, and physical features, as well as Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The backlink here, is the great storehouse of books online and worth browsing in depth.

31 July to 7 August

The Arctic and Antarctic Research Center

The Arctic and Antarctic Research Center (AARC) maintains an archive of more than 175,000 satellite passes of the Earth's polar regions. At present, this database is over 16 Terabytes in size. The AARC also provides data processing services to a wide variety of polar researchers. The AARC supplies data to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in collaboration with the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs. A very interesting and informative site for browsing.

24 to 31 July

Geography Pages at is a resource that hires "guides" to create and maintain websites on hundreds of topics. Matt Roseberg's Geography site at is one of the best. There are amazing resources and links -- maps (filled in and blank), a "geography basics" course by email, quizzes and links to other sites with quizzes, a weekly newsletter, plus cultural issues, geographic history, and lots of late news, including things like this year's "leap second". An important site to bookmark. Matt and his wife Jennifer have also authored readable and helpful books: The Geography Bee Complete Preparation Handbook; and The Handy Geography Answer Book.

17 to 24 July

The Internet Public Library

In a widely-distributed, digital world, what is the role of a library or a librarian? The Internet Public Library at the University of Michigan seeks to explore answers to that question, by providing a true on-line library, a deep and broad resource of content and links. There are several sectons -- Subject collections lead you to resources on everything from gender to computer platforms, the Ready Reference collection leads to on-line almanacs, calendars, etc., and there is plenty of good reading in digitized books. Check out the KidSpace and TeenSpace as well, and the Special Collections. Worth a bookmark!

10 to 17 July

Google Sightseeing Blog

A wonderful little site for both exploring Google and exploring the world. The people who run this blog, and others who submit items, are digging deeply into Google Maps and reporting on the different places around the Earth that it's possible to see close-up in Google's amazing imagery.

3 to 10 July

McREL Lesson Plan Page

Based in Aurora, Colorado, McREL was incorporated in 1966 as one of ten Regional Educational Laboratories, nonprofit organizations created to help educators bridge the gap between research and practice. Today, McREL draws upon the best of more than 30 years of education research to create practical, user-friendly products that help educators create classrooms that provide all students with opportunities for success. This is just their lesson-plans page: select a topic, and within that topic, examine an archive of lesson plans, and an archive of web links.

26 June to 3 July

The Anti-California Page at Whither-Whatever

Among the resources at etherfarm, there is a blog called whither-whatever; here, and elsewhere on the site, there are many interesting geography bits and pieces and threads. This is one. Note that there are some rather "impolite" posts here; don't read this page if you're likely to find strong language offensive.

19 to 26 June

World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute is an independent nonprofit organization with a staff of more than 100 scientists, economists, policy experts, business analysts, statistical analysts, mapmakers, and communicators working to protect the Earth and improve people's lives. Their website is rich with data, tools, and all kinds of information about the Earth.

12 to 19 June

TravLang Language Resources and Services

Traveling somewhere new this year, and worried about the language barrier? One good place to begin is TravLang. Select the language you speak, and the language you wish to learn, and the site returns a collection of word lists -- basic words, numbers, shopping/dining, travel, directions, places, and time and dates. After you've reviewed the list, you can take a little test on the words and phrases.

5 to 12 June

Compute Sunrise, Sunset, and Twilight

A powerful and fascinating little web tool. First, tell the computer what kind of location you are giving it -- an airport code or name, a city name, or a latitude and longitude -- and then, enter the code, name, or lat/long in the little box at the bottom of the table, and hit "compute". It returns the latitude and longitude of the desired location, plus local time, length of day, and times of sunrise, sunset, and both morning and evening twilight. You can also specify a particular date, view or change the time zone of the returned result, and control results in a variety of ways, such as requesting a table of data for a period of time up to 1 year.

29 May to 5 June

The GeoNet Game

A very nice little interactive game on the Houghton Mifflin Eduplace website. Select a region, and a sub-region, and then select from several categories of questions, based around the Standards and the Five Themes. You can also select a level of difficulty for the questions your are asked. The game works well, and there are little rewards along the way.

22 to 29 May

The Nine Planets

The Nine Planets is an overview of the history, mythology and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar system. Each page has text and images, some have sounds and movies, and links to related information.

15 to 22 May

Views of the Solar System

The Hawai'ian Astronomical Society has created an amazing astronomical Web site called "Views of the Solar System". The site tells you just about everything you could ever want to know about most of the astronomical objects in our solar system, gives information about the history of astronomy and space travel, and offers stunning pictures and movies from around the Solar System.

8 to 15 May

Astronomy Picture of the Day

One of my very favorite websites, the "Astronomy Picture of the Day" site features a new high quality image daily, with a description of its significance written by a professional astronomer in clear, easy to understand terms. Recent images (as of this writing) were "Water on Mars" and "NGC 1316: After Galaxies Collide". If you miss one, don't worry, there's an extensive archive going back several years.

1 to 8 May

Rulers of the World

An amazingly detailed and useful site. From their own description: "This site contains lists of heads of state and heads of government (and, in certain cases, de facto leaders not occupying either of those formal positions) of all countries and territories, going back to about 1700 in most cases. Also included are the subdivisions of various countries (the links are at the bottom of the respective country entries), as well as a selection of international organizations. Recent foreign ministers of all countries are listed separately." To see how incredibly complete this list is, check out the page Se-So, and read about Somalia; you get information not just about Italian and British Somaliland, and occupation of each by the other, with all their administrators, plus Independent Somalia since 1960 with Presidents and Prime Ministers, but you also get the Somali Counter-Government at Baidoa, and the breakaway Republic of Somaliland, plus other autonomous or would-be autonomous states, such as Puntland, Jubaland, and Southwestern Somalia.

24 April to 1 May


RefDesk is what the WWW ought to be about. If you need a fact, of any kind, you can find a link here to a resource that will answer your question and find your fact. Maps, music, weather, post codes, newspapers, US and Global telephone codes, quotations, movies, sports, tv, etc., etc., etc. They also have a "site of the day" (review the archive), a "thought for the day", and a "word for the day", as well as all kinds of other "daily diversions" and pictures. An absoultely stupendous resource.

17 to 24 April

Lonely Planet's Destination Guide

Select a continent, select a country -- and you are transferred to the Lonely Planet guide for that Country. Amazing detail, including everything you need to know about getting there, getting around, etc. Most revealing is the section called "postcards", which include comments from individual travelers about their experiences, both good and bad, what to watch out for, what not to miss, etc. Anyone planning a trip needs to visit this site.

10 to 17 April

Earth Lights at Night

These images of Earth's city lights are downloadable in a variety of sizes; as the site explains, the map "was created with data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS). Originally designed to view clouds by moonlight, the OLS is also used to map the locations of permanent lights on the Earth's surface." Be sure to see the other "Blue Marble" imagery.

3 to 10 April

Michelin's European Route Planner

From Michelin, a very comprehensive and highly accurate route-planning website. You can give a specific address, a station or airport, or just "central" for your departure site and destination, and before it draws your route, the program gives you several choices to improve the accuracy of your map. You can also bring up maps by postcode, city, region, or country, as well as all kinds of information. (Note: by default, this page assumes you're in the UK, but that has no effect on driving directions between any two countries.)

27 March to 3 April

Java Globe

A compact political world globe applet online, this dandy little site is brilliantly simple and elegant. You can roll the globe yourself, or go directly to a country of your choice by selecting it from a list, and then either zoom in or out. Especially nice is the way that it zooms out to move to a new country, and then zooms back in, so that you get a sense of direction and location. Bookmark this!

20 to 27 March

MapCrow Distance Calculator

A small and easy-to-use site that processes any two cities of your choice and gives back the Latitude and Longitude of each, plus the distance and bearing between them. A nice feature is that the program also returns a map showing the two cities.

13 to 20 March

Radio Tunis
Radio Australia
Radio Nederland
Voice of America

Just a tiny sampling of the streaming broadcast radio from around the world that you can hear from your computer. You'll need the RealAudio or WindowsMedia player, but most sites offer you the latest players and make it easy to play their audio streams. The best way to find what you want is to search -- here's a google search for streaming+radio+guides that will direct you to the many guides that may help you find what you want.

6 to 13 March

Si Spain

The Embassy of Spain in Canada sponsors this site, which offers extensive, handy, and up-to-date reference information on everyday Spain, and on Spanish life, history, language, and culture. Very extensive and interesting site for people traveling to Spain, or interested in Spain, or studying Spanish.

27 February to 6 March

National Atlas of Canada

A model of what an online national atlas can be; an archive of maps and related information about Canada's physical and political geography, and about Canada's people. Map sections include "environment", "people and society", "economy", "history", "climate change", "freshwater", and "health", and there are reference maps, lesson plans, curriculum planning information, and a section of "facts about canada". An amazingly extensive archive.

20 to 27 February

NASA Spacelink

From the site: "NASA Spacelink is one of NASA's electronic resources specifically developed for use by the educational community. Spacelink is a comprehensive electronic library that contains current information related to NASA's aeronautics and space research. Teachers, faculty, and students will find that Spacelink offers not only information about NASA programs and projects, but also teacher guides and pictures that can enhance classroom instruction. While NASA understands that people from a wide variety of backgrounds will use NASA Spacelink, the system is specifically designed for educators and students."

13 to 20 February

America's Roof

Presented in a blog format -- High Points of all the states, a "world's highest" section, a news blog and forum, trip reports, and all kinds of other interesting information on the US's and the world's high points. For now, you can also visit their old "web page" format by going to

6 to 13 February

The Virtual Tourist

A member-driven website with over 500,000 members from over 200 countries and territories sharing their experiences and tips and evaluations of places to visit, places to stay, places to eat. If you're planning a trip anywhere, it's worth checking here to read some of the latest tips. The "who we are" for the site says the members contributions are "unbiased"; clearly this is not so. There are all kinds of biases presented here; example: you'll see the same hotel panned for being "too small" or "too distant" and also being praised for being "lovely and small" and "an easy bus ride from town". So read with an open mind. Lots of valuable insights here.

30 January to 6 February

UIUC Current Weather Page

Developed by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), WW2010 (the weather world 2010 project) is a WWW framework for integrating current and archived weather data with multimedia instructional resources using new and innovative technologies. This particular page is their "current weather" page; use it to view sophisticated and comprehensive maps and images for both surface observations, satellite imagery, and radar weather. But explore the whole WW2010 site; there is a lot of information archived here.

23 to 30 January

US State Department Travel Page

The U.S. State Department's Travel Information Pages. Read public announcements about immediate warnings and dangers, read consular information sheets about every country in the world, read their "tips for travelers", and also read all kinds of visa and passport information. Page also includes links to US embassies and consulates worldwide, and to other government sites.

16 to 23 January

Project Visa

A site that tries to give all the visa information for every country in the world. Open the page, select a region, select a country, and there's a list of who needs a visa and who doesn't and what it might cost and how to get it and all kinds of other information. There are also links to worldwide embassies of that country and also to foreign embassies IN that country. The best reading on the site is the FAQ; especially, read and enjoy the last 3 questions

9 to 16 January

Great Circle Route Calculator

A very interesting site. Be sure to read the explanations and FAQ's. You can use lat/long or airport codes to get back the great circle route and distance between any two points on the Earth. Fascinating to look at the routes in detail. Look at SIN-LAX (Singapore to Los Angeles, presently the longest non-stop route flown by any carrier), or the other super-long routes, such as HKG to ORD (Hong Kong to Chicago). There are plans for a Sydney-to-Rio schedule sometime this year; take a look at that route -- directly over Antarctica.

2 to 9 January

Baglady Productions

Shirley Lewis, also known as The Bag Lady, is a woman on a mission; the mission is, briefly, "Do You need that bag?" -- reducing the use of plastic bags and other non-recyclables, and clearing the world of litter. She has helped businesses figure out how to benefit themselves and their clients by asking "Need a bag" in just the right way; she addresses schools and other organizations, and works with governmental entities and NGO's. Based in Northern Ireland, she travels extensively. Her website is full of information about what she does, who her colleagues are, and how she can help your school, church, or organization.


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