OUR MONTHLY ROUND-UP OF THE WEB’S MOST ILLUMINATING, USEFUL, OR JUST-PLAIN-COOL WEBSITES.
Meteor Showers VISUALISE COSMIC CHAOS AND ORDER meteorshowers.org
Whether or not you’re interested in tracking a particular meteor shower event, this certainly is a pretty way to experience a sense of universal scale. This website is an animated 3D model of the known meteor shower events in our solar system, allowing you to view them from a fixed or moving point, zoom in and out, and rotate at will. You can select which shower to view, what speed to view the movements at, the date of the projected data, or go all-in with the stunning “everything at once” option. For a cosmic trip, we recommend setting the speed to 0.1, un-ticking the “show orbits” option, selecting “watch from earth”, and turning on all the meteors. You can hide many of the control panels as well, for a more immersive display. The project has been developed by Ian Webster, former Google employee, and his site www.ianww.com features some truly amazing simulations and oddities.
Flixable [STRAP] A REFINED SEARCH FOR NETFLIX [web] au.flixable.com
If you’ve found yourself struggling to pick out what to watch on Netflix next, or you find its user interface to be a little unhelpful, then Flixable is a great solution. It sounds like the word “flexible” spoken with a strong New Zealand accent, and that’s exactly what it is (except for the NZ part — some countries aren’t supported yet). While you can easily browse everything that’s currently available to stream on Australia’s Netflix, it’s the sorting options that are the real blessing. You can choose to only view movies or series, arrange them by most recently released or critical rating, thin them out by genre or even the years in which they were first released. Once you’ve picked your show, you’ll be met with a splash page with a synopsis, ratings from IMDB and TMDB, as well as links out to pages for its lead stars (so you can see what else they’ve appeared in) and a link to the actual show on Netflix as well, so you can jump right into your show of choice.
Little Alchemy 2 [STRAP] ELEMENTARY EDUCATION [web] littlealchemy2.com
Little Alchemy 2 is a sequel to the much-loved click-and-drag game that had players combine different elements in order to discover new ones. The goal here is the same, but the polish applied to it is worth mentioning. Beginning with earth, fire, wind, and water, you’re tasked with combining them into new objects, technologies, and elements in order to expand and discover all 700 items. For instance, combining water and earth results in mud, while fire and water make steam (and a lot of sense). As you progress, you’ll find your items added to the encyclopaedia, as well as a log of the items which make them and which they can make. There are hints if you get stuck, which is a bit of a lifesaver because once you start this addictive game, you won’t want to stop.