Some excellent places online to learn some excellent stuff.

Three websites I keep going back to because of their unique takes and great resources.

Some excellent places online to learn some excellent stuff.
I am a cat, an alien cat overlord. Just like you earth cat overlords.

It must be difficult to decide how to dress when you’re one of the richest people in the world. You could literally buy anything you want and wear it and nobody would say anything bad to your face.

Journalists would say bad things. But you would probably get people to dress like you if you toughed it out. Then you’d make even more money selling the weird outfits you created in a novel and exciting way online which recreated buying things in a shop.

You could buy a hundred Hermès Berkin bags and fashion an enormous bag out of them, then you could put that bag in a rocket and send it into space. You could leave it somewhere in space, then the rocket would come back to earth and land on a platform made out of mashed classic camper vans. Then you could send a cowboy hat the size of Hampden football stadium - or maybe even the entire Glasgow subway system (you’d have to fold it), into space to join the massive bag.

Then you could go up into space yourself and play ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ at full volume, and pretend you were the person that created the Monolith in 2001. But it wasn’t you. It was Stanley Kubrick. And you will never be as good at making films as Stanley Kubrick. This makes you just a little angry inside.

And so you look in the mirror, and you think of Kubrick and you think, I’m going to space today, and I’m going to wear a cowboy hat. So you can do one, Stanley.

It just, must be difficult.

As I watch Musk’s satellites circle around, and the twinkle of space debris in the dark watches of the night, I think, how have we arrived here - so that visiting most websites now triggers a hellscape of cookie decisions, people tracking your every move, pop up ambushes - and where one typo means you spend the next fortnight getting adverts for clown schools.

But there are some sites that are still worth visiting and here are (indeterminate number - it depends when the coffee is finished) places that are worth checking out online.

They are places to learn things. It is, frankly, amazing that they exist. They are online and they are free.

I’m not including affiliate links, mainly because I am just too lazy to do it even though I know how to. I've added links you can click on, or you can DuckDuckGo it? Too long. You can Duck it? Sounds too rude. You can DDG it? That's not... you can Google them and they'll probably come up.

Anyway, check these out.

Wait but Why is a website featuring long form essays on all sorts of subjects, done in a really mind-bendingly pleasant way which makes you think in a different way about the universe and your place in it.

Here is one of the author's posts on Horizontal History which maps different famous historical figures by their birth decade, so you can see who was kicking about at the same time.

Did you know that Confucius, Buddha and Pythagoras were all rocking about at the same time? (This is maybe 60% fact as people argue about it), but it’s cool to think…wow… Sigmund Freud, Vincent van Gogh and Billy the Kid were all born in the same decade. That's a much higher percentage of fact. In fact, I think it's true - it all hinges on the veracity of Billy the Kid's birth certificate.

He also has one on age - which points out that if you are sixty, you were born closer to 1899 than to today. Don't read it.

I’ll stop at three, in case this gets too long.

Kurzgesagt YouTube Channel likes to create short films on science, philosophical questions and so on, designed to blow your mind. There are English, German and Spanish versions of the channel and sometimes the existential crises ones are really satisfying to listen to in German, they're just really vibey.

Don't watch the one on the Fermi Paradox at night if you want to sleep. In fact, Wait but Why also covered the Fermi Paradox and... well... don't look at both in the same day. In fact, it's best not to... not to really... just forget I ever told you about it.

Here’s an example video where the actual dimensions of an atom are explained Kurzgesagt - How Small is an Atom.

If you want some straight up learning, like, I want to learn some calculus, I want to learn about shorting stocks, I want to learn Art History - check out Khan Academy.

A very cool guy called Sal Khan started it off. He started making short videos to teach his cousins maths for their school tests and posted them to YouTube for them. More people started watching them - and then shortly after, he found himself in a room with Bill Gates.

He is a brilliant teacher (Sal Khan) and he does a lot of the videos himself. (An aside - Bill Gates also has a cool website (I know!) called 'a guide to monopolies and competition law in...' only joking... it's called Gates Notes.

Let’s consider that your bonus.

Anyway. Back to Khan Academy. There’s a great podcast episode with him on ‘How I built this’ with Guy Roz, which you can get on Apple Podcasts etc. I haven't included the web link for this because NPR will cookie you into oblivion if you go on it... which brings us back to the Fermi paradox... which...

That’s enough, eh?

Yes, that's quite enough.

Over and out.