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Something for the Weekend

This isn’t going to be a regular ‘feature’, but last week I did enjoy linking to some of my favourites sites from the previous 7 days, so have three more…

Open Culture’s Foreign Language Learning Podcasts

Last week, Lifehacker directed its readers to Open Culture – a website dedicated to (quoting the FAQ) exploring “cultural and educational media… that’s freely available on the web, and that makes learning dynamic, productive, and fun”.

On this website are audio and video ‘podcasts’ consisting of a wide range of topics including art and culture, technology, and even law and business school lectures. The section that got me reaching for the bookmark was the ‘Foreign Language Lessons Collection’. Here you can find a wide selection of podcasts to help you learn a new language – consisting of everything from Arabic and Chinese to Tagalog and Spanish!

Mind Hacks on Quinn Norton’s ‘Sixth Sense’ (and the loss thereof)
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Mind Hacks is a website dedicated to finding out how our brains – and consequently, we – ‘work’ through psychology and neuroscience. In this article however they discuss something different: the story of Quinn Norton and the loss of her ‘Sixth Sense’.

No, she couldn’t see dead people, but she could feel electromagnetic fields. How? She had a magnet implanted into her fingertip resulting in her being able to “know what a spinning drive and a ringing telephone wire feel like“.

Her Wired article on how body modification can extend the human senses is very insightful and her final journal post regarding the experiment is almost existential. Well worth the read.

Nature Photography and The Orton Effect

Orton Effect - Courtesy of 'n8ive' on flickr.comThe ‘Orton Effect’ is the name given to a technique where – usually nature – photographs are given an almost ethereal glow through a method sometimes known as ‘soft focus’. You can see an example image here (courtesy of n8ive). It’s essentially the same as taking two photos and layering them together, one on top of the other – with one in focus and the other out of focus.

Not a new technique, this type of photography is also relatively well-known but nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to have an online how-to document to hand for reference.

Oh, and it’s named after Michael Orton who pioneered – or at least popularised – the technique.