Tune your brain on the Internet
One minute youre at the top of your class, the next youre trying to remember whats-his-face from that thing you went to that time you know the thing.
As we get older we forget things. Some believe this process is accelerated by factors like exposure to mercury and other metals, and from the liberal use of alcohol or drugs. Some believe its genetic, a natural occurrence that takes place when your brain cells dont replicate like they used to.
For others, memory loss is a serious problem, a symptom of diseases like Alzheimers that can leave people so incapacitated that they require full-time care.
But while the risk of memory problems increases with age, there is no minimum age to start experiencing memory loss, or for contracting medical conditions that impact on cognitive powers and memory. In other words it could happen to you, if it isnt happening already.
The most recent edition of Wired has an article titled Brain Workouts May Tone Memory, which compiles some of the most recent data on memory issues and the tricks that people can use to prolong the inevitable.
According to most studies, people who fully use their brain power on a regular basis lose it less as they age, even when you factor in medical conditions like Alzheimers. In addition, people who make an effort to actively exercise their brain through constant learning and testing, are generally better off down the road because they have built stronger neural connections.
There are several websites out there with advice and tools to exercise your encephalon, lube up your lobes and stretch out your cerebellums.
The first site recommended by Wired is the New England Cognitive Centre at www.cognitivecentre.org . Other good spots are the Alzheimers Associations Maintain Your Brain site at www.alz.org/maintainyourbrain/ , and the American Society on Agings Mind Alert site at www.asaging.org/mindalert/ .
While these sites are geared primarily for seniors theres lots of good stuff there for everybody.
When you exhaust what those sites have to offer, try visiting a few of these other sites.
www.jeopardy.com The official website for the famed Jeopardy game show has its own online games to play.
www.wikipedia.com The Wikipedia is an open-source encyclopedia with a little something about everything. Ever want to know what Scientology is? What Einsteins theory of relativity is all about? This is a good place to start.
www.howstuffworks.com This website has in-depth articles on just about everything, from how to jump-start a car to karate kicking your way through a board, aided by dozens of helpful pictures and diagrams.
www.h2g2.com Started by Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams, this site is a repository of arcane facts and findings, from the origin of popular songs to explanations as to why chilli peppers are so hot. Like How Stuff Works, the front page content is updated almost daily, so its worth dropping by often.
www.perplexus.info With puzzles, brain teasers, math problems and more, Perplexus will definitely challenge you.
www.education.centralvirginia.net/test_title.htm The Central Virginia Business Director has put links to several tests online, including IQ tests, SAT and PSAT study guides and test, GMAT math tests, and more. Some are pay sites, or links to bookstores, but theres a lot of free content, as well as free study guides.
Apples mouse roars
Only Apple, a company that made a name for itself by doing small things all-in-one computers like iMacs, starter computers like the MacMini, music players with miniature hard drives could make headlines for doing something as minor as introducing something as obvious as a multi-button mouse. PC users have had multi-button models for probably close to a decade now, and people have been able to purchase multi-button mice to use on Apple computers for several years that were made by third-party companies like MacAlly.
What should have been a massive shrug, the mouse story like all things Apple turned into the hottest story of the week. Why?
Because whenever Apple does something, even if its years too late or too expensive to be practical, they have a way of making it cool. Thats why iPods keep outselling the competition, and its why Mac users almost always come back to Apple. The new mouse is no exception.
Billed as Mighty Mouse, the new mouse is a multi-button mouse without buttons, which explains the cool factor. Instead its completely touch sensitive with a multidirectional "scroll ball" that allows you to scroll sideways and diagonally instead of just up and down. There are also thumb buttons which can be programmed to open applications or handle routine tasks.
Like most Mac gadgets, the Mighty Mouse is mighty expensive, weighing in at US $50, two to three times what a normal mouse costs.
Some Mac purists dont like Mighty Mouse because it detracts from Macs whole mission of streamlining the computing experience. Mac was the first company to offer a graphic-based operating system, for example. Thats why Apple has the reputation for building simple computers.
But while they do still build relatively simple systems, Macs are also becoming far more powerful. The PowerMac G5 with dual 64-bit processors is even recognized as being one of the most powerful stock computer on the market, and is heavily used by video and audio editors, graphic designers and others, people who can genuinely make use of the multi-button Mighty Mouse.