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Life Before Death

The Guardian recently published this series of portraits by Walter Schels and Beate Lakotta. The photographs are part of an exhibit showing at the Wellcome Collection from April 9 to May 18. The exhibit consists of a series of photographs taken by Schels and Lakotta of people before and after death. Interviews were conducted with each subject during the portrait session, and an excerpt from that interview accompanies each photograph. This is an extremely moving study on life and death that inspires thought and reflection in those who view it.

GasBuddy.com

With the price of gas going up almost daily, it is nice to know where the cheapest gas in town is. Well, GasBuddy.com is hear to help. Although the site is rather busy, there is a veritable cornucopia of information about gas prices available here. From the front page, visitors can click on their state (or Canadian Territory or Province) of choice. From there they simply need to enter in a zip code or choose a county for an instant list of prices. The search can be narrowed down by area or station as well.

Getting Local With EveryBlock

Is that new George Clooney movie being filmed in your neighborhood? When was the last time that restaurant around the corner was paid a visit from the health department? Can I find photographs of the corner of Columbus and Broadway and North Beach? EveryBlock has answers to these queries, and many, many more. The site was started in January 2008, and it pulls data from government proceedings, daily media reports, and other sources to offer a very specific profile of neighborhoods and ZIP codes across Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.

Do You Speak American?

This site offers the curious and curmudgeon alike something to enjoy. Presented by the Public Broadcasting Service, this page details American English regionalisms, the effects of technology on language, the social value of accents (or lack thereof), and much more. Be sure to check out the phenomenon that linguists refer to as the Northern Cities Shift to understand why we in the Midwest speak the way we do, and the reason for the R-less Southern dialects.

New Year, New Words

The OED's Word of the Day is always welcome in my email inbox, and now I think I'll also be taking a look at Vocab Rehab, offered up from the good folks at Mental Floss. Each word comes with a pronunciation guide and a few sentences where the word is used in context. I'm pleased to announce that I now know what a charabanc is (a sight-seeing motor coach) and that I'm quite the Tom Wolfe votary (a devoted admirer). Enjoy!

A Few Relaxation Tips

The end of the year can be a stressful time for a variety of reasons, and these helpful guided relaxation techniques from the University of Wisconsin's University Health Services are worth a look. Visitors can download these short audio files and take them along on their portable mp3 player or just listen to them at home.

A Campaign Poster from the Mailer/Breslin Ticket of 1968

Norman Mailer passed away earlier this month, but this rather neat piece of political ephemera recently appeared online. Its a rather delightful piece of Big Apple cartography (complete with a rather playful design) from the 1968 mayoral campaign ticket featuring Mailer and another icon of literary punditry, the often controversial Jimmy Breslin.

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