Friends, Romans, Countrymen; lend me your browsers…
Never before in the history of the world has access to information been as great as it is right now, at this very moment. The rise of the internet has inundated the literate world with a host of information-rich resources from which humanity can nourish our collective consciousness. No longer is quality education a pursuit affordable only to society’s upper classes; now denizens of every caste- the plebes, the huddled masses, the proletariat, the untouchables and riff-raff of every odor- may pan for golden knowledge in the wide stream which pours forth from every desktop PC, iPhone and wireless tablet.
But with such a deluge of media, the discerning mind must selectively masticate on only the choicest branches. What ought one intake? As the body runs best on quality food, so the mind too requires clean fuel to be set best ablaze. So I’ve gathered together here, for you dear reader, a bouquet of some of my more trusted internet resources on selected topics which I myself find to be most delicious. Not only will you find this small sampling to be the subjects which are most interesting to me, but I will make the case that most of these subjects are also compelling and critically important for a citizen of any nation to have a deeper understanding as we all struggle to live with our neighbors in the 21st century. Everyone needs to know about the world: what it’s made of, who is in it, why it is the way it is, and how we can all thrive in this unique place. All of these sites will vary in scope from general to specific, but each will have nuggets of gold for those who mine. Please check back to this page from time to time, as this page will expand as more quality information sources grow online. Feel free to comment below if you think you’ve struck gold elsewhere on the net; I’ll post it if it passes the bite-test.
Christian History & Theology: Why do I begin with this subject? Because we live in the Western world; a world which is presently dry-heaving to the maximum in order to rid itself of its once total Christian identity. While Christianity still remains the most dominant religion on the planet (and is still worthy of study for that reason alone), the modern West is unique in its unsurpassed efforts to destroy its own historic culture in a rabid attempt to cut ties with its own past. To understand why this is, and to make sense of the dizzying plethora of competing religions within our pluralistic society, one must first understand the history of Christianity, because it shapes the worldview of every socio-political agenda. I find that the most uninformed people lack an accurate knowledge of religious history most of all. And these people vote and post memes. Dive in, noobs.
- Christian Classics Ethereal Library (http://www.ccel.org/) is your one-stop shop for many English language translations of ancient Christian texts throughout the centuries.
- Arena podcast (http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena) and weblog by Fr. Josiah Trenham on Ancient Faith Radio is a series of homilies which hit hard against the secularized, anti-Christian culture predominant in America and the world today. Fr. Josiah’s thunder addresses a multitude of various topics, gushing forth with the ambrosial patristic nectar of the Church Fathers.
- Orthodox and Heterodoxy podcast by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick on Ancient Faith Radio (http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy) walks the listener through a preliminary overview of each major Christian denomination, and how each is theologically distinct from Orthodox Christianity. Non-Christian religions are also summarized. (Fr. Andrew recently began a second series, which goes more in-depth, and a book which can be found here.)
- Search the Scriptures podcast by Presvytera Dr. Jeannie Constantinou on Ancient Faith Radio (http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptures) is a collection of readings from the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, with theological insights from the Early Church Fathers and historical commentary from the shining intellectual mountain-top which is Dr. Constantinou.
- Paradise and Utopia podcast by the articulate Fr. John Strickland (http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/paradiseutopia) is a fascinating march from the rise of a shared vision of Christendom towards its hideous secular transformation into the unending quest for Utopia. Check back for new episodes as the podcast continues.
Irish History: Another facet of history worthy of universal consumption is that of the nation of Ireland. Why? Simply because of the beauty of island’s rich history, its outstanding records and cultural uniqueness, and because here’s where all of the expectations of your boyhood medieval daydreams are exceeded by reality. Yes, I might be culturally biased. Ok, here’s a better reason: Do you like Game of Thrones? Well, where do you think George R. R. Martin drew much of his inspiration?
- CELT (http://www.ucc.ie/celt/publishd.html) stands for the Corpus of ELectronic Texts from University College Cork and is an invaluable resource for reading Irish source documents in either their original written languages of Early or Middle Irish and Latin, or in modern English translations. A must see.
- CIRCLE (https://chancery.tcd.ie/) in yet another clever acronym by witty Irish academics, CIRCLE stands for a Calendar of IRish Chancery LEtters, and are vital documents ranging from c. 1244 – 1509, which are also translated, with some available imagery.
- History Hub (http://historyhub.ie/) from the School of History & Archives, University College Dublin, has a range of articles, videos and podcasts from authoritative academics. It’s worth perusing.
- Irish History Podcast (http://irishhistorypodcast.ie/) by Finbar Dwyer is an amalgam of assorted podcasts, maps, photos and other abbreviated historical synopses. It’s a good starting point for the uninitiated listener, looking for a broad overview of events.
Physical Sciences: Here are some great resources for all my geeks.
- Animal Diversity Web (http://animaldiversity.org/) from the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, contains reliable, academically sourced information on basically every creature ever studied; with images.
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1478) is self-explanatory, as is this illustrated guide in inland fish species of New York.
- Discovery Education (http://www.discoveryeducation.com/) is an excellent STEM resource for educators, students and parents; complete with curricula and a wide array of science and math pages.
- Science Music Videos (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGJqRYuHwar5W6fzQO4VxxQ) will have you memorizing your biochem functions and cell structures faster than than a rap battle between Crick and Watson. (Enjoy this tasty tidbit on DNA.)
Arts, Music & Culture: Learn why classical standards of art have fallen, and why they ought to be raised again.
- Art Renewal Center (http://www.artrenewal.org/) is an outstanding online museum containing great works of art, podcasts, videos and more.
- Listen to vocalist Stef Conner sing ancient Sumerian music, resurrected from clay texts, with accompanying cat-gut harp. The result is hauntingly beautiful ancient Near Eastern jazz perfection.
- Speaking of harps, enjoy this fantastic BBC documentary on the evolution of the harp.
- The New York State Museum (http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/) in Albany, NY has a variety of online exhibits and educational resources available, both on their website and their YouTube channel.
Other Informative Channels: These are other random websites which contain hidden gems of every luster.
- Academia.edu is quintessentially the Facebook for academic research. Subscribers may post and read a host of papers, (whether published or not; bewares) on every subject imaginable. Up-to-date research is quickly uploaded, and the site is much more user friendly (and free) than JStor.
- Russia Today (https://www.rt.com/) offers compelling counter-points to some of the tiresome narratives repeated ad nauseam by Western mainstream media.
- BBC (http://www.bbc.com/) is the best place to hear your international news and nature documentaries, delivered in an accent you think is more sophisticated.
- PBS (http://www.pbs.org/) is everyone’s favorite public broadcasting station.
- CGP Grey (https://www.youtube.com/user/CGPGrey) is an international man of mystery with much to say on a host of topics, but I assume he’s a product of the New York State public education system living abroad somewhere in the UK. I salute you, good sir.
- Vsauce (https://www.youtube.com/user/Vsauce) will blow your mind, and you will beg them for more.