Flags of the World is a great resource containing information on hundreds of countries, the flags they have, and background/history on the flags themselves. The Bahamian flag (or flag from the Bahamas) I'm showing in this post was sourced from the FOTW Bahamas page. Also from the site:
The golden sands of the 700 Bahamian islands are reflected in the centre of the flag, while the aquamarine stripes bring to mind the various shades of ocean waters around those islands. The black triangle indicates the unity of the Bahamian people in their determination to develop the resources of both land and sea.
I highly recommend Flags of the World for anyone interested in flags, geography, history or travel.
Time Magazine has just released a list of their top 50 coolest sites. Since I classify the majority of sites they list as reference sites, I consider the list to be a reference list. Here are my favorite top 5 out of the 50 Time lists:
FactCheck.org - Mostly unbiased news site that goes one step beyond politicians words and verifies claims by checking facts (thus the name)
Following up on prior posts about the Wikipedia (see Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia and FactBug.org searches the Wikipedia), I'd like to pass along a quick comment from Pete Blackshaw who runs of the most credible blog analysis sites on the web. In an article called Wikipedia and CGM (Consumer-Generated Media) Pete says:
Wikipedia is emerging as a source of immediate and thorough background - more reliable and timely than other encyclopedias or knowledge databases.
This comment is quite interesting because it shows that a user-supported group can produce works of high-quality. Years ago people would be more skeptical. Wikipedia and other successful sites where users generate the content now have their own label -- Web2.0.
Woophy.com is a photography search engine that shows professional grade photos through an interface that is a map of the world. In fact , WHOOPHY stands for WOrld Of PHotographY.
Pictures on Woophy are related to where you see them on the map. For example, if you click on an icon in the Yosemite area of California, you'll see some cool pictures of the Death Valley area, such as the one below (click to enlarge).
I find the majority of pictures on Woophy to be completely breathtaking. It's rare to find a site that leads you to beautiful photos over and over again. In my mind, Woophy allows you to find "nicer" photos than Yahoo's Flickr. And with more than 25,000 photos from all around the world in its repository, Whoophy gives us all a reason to come back and visit from time to time.
What makes Whoophy work is a dedicated community of more than 2700 photo enthusiasts from all around the world. This community has the say in terms of what photos show up. The Woophy website is run by a team from The Netherlands.
Usage tips: You can use the icons in the bottom left to zoom in/out and move the map around, similar to how Google Maps works.
(A special thank you goes out to ResearchBuzz for finding this very cool site!)
I previously wrote about Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. It's a nice user-edited online encyclopedia with millions of topics, but the Wikipedia's site search does not offer a great user experience. A website called FactBug.org offers an alternate means of searching the Wikipedia. The main advantage is that FactBug will present you with more search results in a more readable fashion.
On the other hand, if you know exactly what you are looking for, Wikipedia does offer the option to "Go" directly to the topic you are interested in. For example, if I want to learn about Florida, I just type in "Florida" and hit "Go".
Of course, while FactBug simply lists out all Wikipedia links that meet your query criteria and Wikipedia is good at some things and not so good at others, you can always use Google to search the Wikipedia. After your query phrase, just type in site:wikipedia.org. For example, here's what I would type into Google if I want to search for Florida results:
The advantage of Google is that they will likely show you the results that are most relevant.
PervWatch.org offers a sexual predator mapping search, powered by Google Maps. They currently only offer the search for California, Florida, New York and Texas, but more states may be on the way soon. You can search by zip code, address or county (although the county search doesn't seem to work for all counties). Simply enter in your search specs and hit "GO". The resulting map will have icons that denote where the sexual predators live. You will also see their names and addresses. Clicking on the links provided (or on the map) will take you directly to a page showing more information on the predator.
As of June 1, most of the US can now receive truly free credit reports online as a result of a law enacted by Congress to help residents fight identity theft. The easiest way to get your reports is to visit AnnualCreditReport.com, a website mandated by the law itself. The credit reports will list your lifetime credit record so that you can fix inaccuracies and spot identity theft, but will not contain your actual credit score.
The free credit reports are being rolled out to US residents one region of the country at a time. The Western and Midwest states had already been given access, and Southern states came online on June 1. Only the Northeast remains to be given access, including Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and all other US territories and possessions.
Separately, you can buy your credit score from the 3 vendors (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) for a fee of about $5. For those wanting extra "bells and whistles" on top of a credit score should consider MyFico.com, which also includes a credit score simulator (such as, if I miss a payment, what will happen to my credit score?). The fee here is about $15 each for reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.