Useful and Cool Places on the Web
North Thurston HS Links | Online Tools | Be Skeptical! | Words/Language | Books 
Biblio/Citations | Encyclopedias, etc. | Science Journals/Articles | Earth Friendly Stuff | Cool Science 
Dubious Accolades | Online News/Radio Shows/etc. | Entertaining Stuff Online 
YouTube Worth Watching | Classy Stuff | I'm Bored! | Neat Online Shops | Art Stuff 

North Thurston HS Links

North Thurston HS Home Page - The Official North Thurston HS Web Page - Home of the Rams.
Canvas - North Thurston Canvas - Online teaching platform.

Symbaloo - North Thurston Symbaloo - links to many important sites.

Family Access (Skyward) - Grades - Online source for current grades, status of fees or fines, etc. If you don't have a family access account yet, you can apply for one here.
2020-2021 District Calendar - Printable PDF format North Thurston School District Calendar for 2020-2021 school year. Shows holidays, teacher training days, early release days, etc.
School Lunch Menus - High School Lunch Menus.

NTHS Bell/Lunch Schedules - The three most common bell schedules and which lunch students have depending on their 4th period class.
Volunteer Application - If you'd like to volunteer to coach or help out in the classroom, this is the form you will need to fill out. You can return the form to your students' school or the District Office.

Online Tools

USPS Zip Code Finder - Get the zip code (or zip plus 4) for any address.

Bus Routes - Lacey/Olympia/Tumwater - map showing the bus routes around the Lacey/Olympia/Tumwater area.
Online Conversion Tool - Did you hear the temperature in Vancouver (BC) is going to be 27 degrees? Do you have a recipe with metric measurements? This site will help you convert those units to whichever units you are most comfortable with.
Interfaith Calendar - Religious Holidays - Shows the major (and some minor) religious holidays for many of the major faiths practiced around the world.
Tin Eye - If you have an image or picture, and you're wondering what it is or where it came from, or if you want the same picture in a different size, this is a super tool to use. It finds matching images on the web for you. A visual search engine.

Be Skeptical!! (The Truth is Out There)

Snopes - Do you get some of those emails that inform you of some highly important fact and then urge you to pass it on to everyone in your address book? Are you one of the folks who sends those emails? In either case, it's a really good idea to check your story at Snopes before you believe it (and especially before you send it)! Snopes specializes in providing proof for or against those emails that seem to circulate at light speed.
mouse print*.org - I've opened many a year of science class warning my students to read the fine print, read the labels, look for "the catch" when something seems to good to be true. I just recently found this site which does *exactly* those things! Check out some of the entries on the site. I guarantee you'll be surprised (and disappointed in your fellow man's corporate greed) by more than a few.
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe - Home to the New England Skeptical Society and the weekly SGU podcast.


Merriam-Webster Dictionary - Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Their ask the editor feature is delightful for word nerds and the rest of us alike.
A Word A Day - Really cool new word emailed to you every weekday.

Dictionary dot com - Another useful online dictionary.

Babel Fish - Online translation tool. Translates entire sites from one language to another or just whatever text you type in. Translations available include Spanish, German, Russian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, Korean, Greek, Italian, and Portuguese.
Free Rice - One of the neater sites I've run across in a long time. Originally just a site with a game for increasing your vocabulary skills (and feeding hungry people at the same time), the site has expanded to include games for learning geography (both countries and capitals), math, languages (Spanish, French, German, and Italian), art (famous paintings), and more. The site becomes progressively easier or harder depending on how you're doing. Give it a try! I guarantee you'll get hooked.
Online Etymology Dictionary - Where does the word "geometry" come from? "Geo-" means earth, and "meter" or "metry" means to measure. This site will help you untangle the source and meaning of many a word!
Linguistic Fun: Collective Nouns - A crash of rhinos. A murder of crows. Groups of animals have some of the coolest names. Check out this site to explore a few.
Linguistic Fun: Phobias - Be afraid! Be very afraid! But of what? An interesting list of some of the many things that send chills up some of our spines.
Shakespearean Insult Generator - If one can't say something nice about someone, then one shouldn't say anything at all -- unless, of course, one is armed with the vocabulary of the Bard himself.


Timberland Regional Library - The TRL (Timberland Regional Library) system is amazing. You can go online and request a book from any of their dozens of libraries, and it will be shipped to your local library usually within a day or two. This also is true for CDs and DVDs. You can also renew your items online. They've also got databases online for hobbies like fixing cars, doing genealogy, doing biographies and other homework... If you have any project you're working on, you might want to ask one of the reference librarians how they can help. Give 'em a try. You won't regret it.
Fantastic Fiction - I'm sure this site has a lot more uses, but I mainly use it to see either when the next book by a favorite author is coming out, what order a particular series should be read in, or whether an author I've enjoyed has other series available. My daughter is reading the Warriors series, and I recently read the Percy Jackson series. We checked 'em out from the TRL (see previous link!!), but we needed to know what order to check them out in. This site is super with that sort of info.
Powell's Books - No trip to or through Portland is complete for our family if it doesn't include a little time in Powell's. This is the Mecca of used book stores or just book stores in general. If you have something you've been looking for and haven't been able to find anywhere else, this is an excellent place to check.
Project Gutenberg - Over 60,000 free electronic books (as of Jul 2020) for your Kindle, iPad, or other portable electronic text device.


Noodle Tools - Online tool designed to produce correctly formatted citations for your bibliographies.
Citation Machine - Another online tool for making the citations in those bibliographies look better.

Encyclopedias, etc.

Encyclopedia of Life - An ambitious collaborative project to get information online for every species.
How Stuff Works - A "pop" science web page by the folks at Discovery Communications (Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, etc.) with "top ten" style lists and explanations of how many phenomena, devices, etc. work. A fun place to tool around or search with a good question.
Encyclopedia Mythica - Who was Loki? Was Mars a Roman god or a Greek god? Who was Perseus? What is a basilisk? If you have questions about mythology, monsters, and mayhem, this is a wonderful site to go bouncing around on. Did they make some hints about certain characters in the Percy Jackson series that you'd like a little more info on? This is the place to find out some more.
Wikipedia - The master site of (mis?)information. A collaborative effort by...well...anybody and everybody to put down on the! Because anybody can (and does) put content on Wikipedia, I do not recommend using it as a "definitive" source. However, it may work as a good starting point. Follow those reference links at the bottom of the article. See where those lead you!

Science Journals/Articles

Science News - An excellent magazine (and online presence) giving little tidbits of info and updates about what's happening across the science spectrum. One of the better journals I've found for trying to keep up with what's happening in science.
Science News for Students - Similar to Science News (run by the same people, in fact), Science News for Students focuses on topics that interest younger people and seems to have many tie-ins to what students might be learning about at school.
Sky and Telescope - The magazine for astronomy enthusiasts.

Science Daily - A site similar to Science News (listed above) for keeping up with the latest developments in science.

Earth Friendly Stuff

Plug Share - A directory of sites for plugging in your electric vehicle plus many other electric vehicle resources. Click here if you'd like a map/directory of just the Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater area.
Where Do I Recycle My ... - If you'd like to recycle more and more, and throw less stuff away, this site (put together by the Thurston Co. Dept. of Water and Waste Management) provides a very complete alphabetical list of stuff you might be getting rid of and where to recycle it.

Cool Science

NASA - Astronomy Pic of the Day - Some of the most amazing pictures in (and of) the universe! Bookmark this site and visit it frequently. You'll find amazing out of this world (literally) shots - many of which make incredible desktop backgrounds.
Electric Sheep - The penultimate screensaver. And it's free. And it changes every week. The only problem I've found is that people tend to get mesmerized watching it. Caution is advised!
What's That Bug? - A great place to look (or send pictures into) if you're trying to identify some of the creepy crawlies you find around your house and yard.
Bug Guide - The site for bug identification. A collection of amazingly nice folks made up of amateur and professional biology/entomology folks as well as amateur to professional photographers (and everything in between).
North Thurston HS Biopedia - A photographic catalog of organisms found on the North Thurston HS Campus in Lacey, WA.
Backyard Biology - A site I created for my Biology students. There are more critters in your backyard than you suspect!! I hope you enjoy browsing the site.
Star Chart - Seattle area - Wonder which constellations will be in the sky tonight? Wonder which planets will be visible? This sky chart tool allows you to type in a date and time and see what the sky will look like! From the folks at the Seattle Astronomical Society.
Mr. Eclipse - What causes an eclipse? What's the difference between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse? When is the next eclipse going to happen? If you want the answers to any of these questions or just want to see some gorgeous pictures of eclipses, this is the site to visit!

Dubious Accolades

The Ig-Nobel Prizes - The Ig-Nobel Prizes are given each year at Harvard's Sanders Theatre by Nobel Laureates to researchers whose published work makes us "laugh and then think" as the award's home page states. The authors go on to say "the prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative".
The Darwin Awards - From the website: "The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it in a spectacular manner!" Started in the mid-80s, the Darwin Awards became "official" with a web site in 1993. There have also been about half a dozen books compiled of Darwin stories from various sources.
The Golden Raspberry Awards - Initiated in 1981, the "Razzies" is a "parody award show honoring the worst of cinematic under-achievements." The awards were co-founded by UCLA film graduates and film industry veterans John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy".

Online News/Radio Shows/etc.

The Onion - A satirical news site done so smoothly and professionally that other news sources have even quoted their stories not realizing they were satire. If you want to read the "news" and have a good chuckle while you're at it, this is one of the best sites out there.
Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me! - A weekly NPR radio news show that pokes fun at politics on both sides of the fence (and around the world). An excellent (and entertaining!) way to keep up on what's been in the news this week without getting too depressed.
News of the Weird - I was reading Chuck Shepard's "News of the Weird" when I was in college in the early '80s. NOTW collects "unusual" stories from newspapers all over the place. My favorite category is always the "dumb criminal" stories he publishes.
RadioLab - A radio show/podcast show that touches on all sorts of subjects. To be truthful, I still have to check this out, but my daughter and others rave about it so much, I felt compelled to add it to my Links Page.
TED - TED is a site full of an amazing array of speakers talking on an amazing variety of subjects. The speakers are celebrities, politicians (from around the world), scientists, comedians, poets, CEOs, etc. and include names like Bill Clinton, Bono (of U2 fame), Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Clifford Stoll (physicist), Douglas Adams, Jane Goodall, Steve Jobs, Bobby McFerrin, Rives (poet), Richard Preston (author of The Hot Zone), and many others.
Funny Times - A news/humor paper which includes cartoons, political cartoons, and columns by the likes of Dave Barry and Garrison Keillor.
News from ME - Mark Evanier, the writer/creator of the site, has an encyclopedic knowledge of TV, movies, cartoons, and comics. It's easy to get lost in his site reading through the hundreds of interesting articles about people, shows, comics, and movies we all grew up with.

Entertaining Stuff Online

IMDb (Internet Movie Database) - If you've ever had a conversation with someone where you couldn't remember the name of a movie or the name of the actor in it, but you remember another movie or TV series that actor was in, then you will find this site invaluable. Look up the movie you remember, you'll find the actor, then click on them to see the movies they've starred in. The site lists everything and anything having to do with movies and TV series. A very useful resource.
Pandora (web radio) - I haven't experimented with a lot of web radio programs/stations, but I really like one function that Pandora is good at: introducing me to new music I haven't heard before that I really like. You let Pandora know what type of music you like, and it finds other music similar that you may or may not have heard. You can also create multiple stations. My stations include jazz, folk, acoustic guitar, hard rock, classic rock, celtic stations and others.
Radio Net - Streaming radio from around the world. Type the name of a country into the search bar and scroll through the stations available to listen to from that country.
XKCD (web comic) - A web comic my daughter introduced me to and my students seem to enjoy quite a bit. It is quite clever at times.
Hearts of Space - I'll admit it: this is probably the one link on this page that might not be for everybody (although it could be!). I just have a soft spot for it. "Hearts of Space" is a weekly radio program featuring mellow music (classical, acoustic, synthesizer, etc.). It's ten o'clock at night, you've had a really rough day. All the lights are out except the fireplace and the lights from the stereo. You're just not in the mood for Black Sabbath, Cradle of Filth, or screamo right now.
Kiss This Guy dot com: The Misheard Lyric Archive - For years I thought the lyric was "Dirty jeans and they're dungarees", but it turns out that it's actually "Dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap". Same with Mick and the Stones with "I.N.J." which turned out to just be Mick singing "Angie" using three syllables. Want to know the correct lyrics to a song you've always messed up on? Got a bet with someone as to what the actual lyrics are? Just want to browse the goofy lyrics other people thought they heard?

Some Interesting YouTube Channels

Veritasium (an element of truth) - High production values, interesting questions, a superb host, amazing photography -- this channel has it all. Biggest problem with this channel is trying to not watch ALL the videos in one sitting and waiting for the next episode to come out.
Minute Physics - No subject is too big or too small (or too complex!) for Minute Physics to tackle in their short video clips. These are a favorite for me to give my own Physics students to watch. Added bonus: a reference to additional source(s) of material for finding out even more about the info presented are given at the end of each clip.
VSauce - Vsauce is a place to find the answers for those tough questions like "What would happen if everyone on the planet all jumped at the same time?", "Why did the chicken cross the road?", and many others. Some of his clips are also just collections of very cool websites he's happened across on the web.
Sixty Symbols - British channel explaining physics and astronomy. Recommended by folks at Minute Physics channel.

Classy Stuff

Pacific Northwest Ballet (Seattle) - We're blessed in the Seattle and South Sound area to have a huge variety of entertainment. When you'd like to dress to the nines and enjoy a fancy night out, this is one of your many choices.
Seattle Symphony (Seattle) - This grammy award-winning orchestra is a world class symphony with over 150 recordings to their credit. In addition to concerts, the symphony also actively engages in local community programs and music education.
The Melting Pot (Tacoma) - A very cool, and a little bit different, place to head for dinner. Nice choice for a big dance or prom. Fondue dinners and desserts.
Harlequin Productions (Olympia) - With special student discounts, pay what you can performances, and very moderately priced season tickets, Harlequin Productions brings high quality live theatre to the residents of the Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater area.
Washington Center for the Performing Arts (Olympia) - The Washington Center, right here in Olympia, doesn't just have "high brow" entertainment like symphonies and ballets. The Center features folks from all genres including jazz, world musics, community productions, etc. Check out their schedule to see what might appeal to you!
North Thurston Arts Calendar (Lacey) - Symphonies, Band Concerts, Choir Concerts, and Plays. Music, theatre, and dance: superb entertainment offered up to you by the amazing students in our district.

I'm Bored

Local Movie Times - Shows movies and times for the Regal, Century (west side), and Shelton. This seems to be having problems currently. Probably because there are no movies currently due to the covid shutdown. I'll update this link as the theaters reopen.
Skyline Drive-In Theater - As a kid, I grew up going to drive-ins (before the theater "megaplexes" came into existence). Interesting to see the few remaining drive-ins flourishing during the covid shutdown while everybody else is stuck. If you've never gone to a drive-in movie, grab a family member or friend and go enjoy. If you've been before, you don't need me to tell you.
Laser Fun Zone - Laser tag and arcade. Small groups, large groups, birthday parties.

OlySwing - Swing Dancing - If you haven't tried swing dancing, you really don't know what you're missing. Ask your friends. Some will have done it. Go as a group. It's a blast and VERY affordable.
Skateland - Rollerskating. Check out dollar night. Lots of fun and still one of the best values around!
Exit Puzzles - Escape Room (Olympia) - While not as inexpensive as some of the other options in this section, this is a one of a kind experience that's worth every penny. Are you clever enough to solve the puzzles? Will you and your friends beat the room?! (Best in groups of 4-6 people.)
Shankz Miniature Golf (Chehalis) - Glow in the dark black light miniature golf and an escape room.
Aardvarks Miniature Golf (Yelm) - Mini-golf site right around the corner in Yelm.

Point Defiance Zoo/Aquarium (Tacoma) - Tigers, leopards, hammerhead sharks, giant pacific octopus, tapirs, and the list goes on. Nestled in Point Defiance Park, the zoo and aquarium will reintroduce you to the wonder you felt as a kid when encountering new critters for the first time.
Wolf Haven Wolf Sanctuary (Tenino) - See Red, Grey, and Mexican Wolves in their natural habitat and learn about wolves and their interactions within their ecosystems and with humans.
Northwest Trek (Eatonville) - Northwest Trek features native northwest animals for both a walking tour with exhibits at the center, and driving tours through areas where elk, bison, moose, and other animals roam freely, and you stay in your car!

Neat Online Shops

WhatDidYouBringMe?! - While Mountain t-shirts may have more of their own brand than anyone else, "WhatDidYouBringMe?!" carries shirts from other suppliers as well including some really cool science and nature shirts that I haven't seen anywhere else.
The Mountain - Originally, I could only order Mountain T-shirts through DePanda gifts and WhatDidYouBringMe?!, but then The Mountain decided to go retail and is available directly on the web now.

Art Stuff

Mark Hardern's Artchive - A number of online galleries with some wonderful art for your perusal.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art - This is the online presence for New York's world class Metropolitan Museum of Art. I never really enjoyed "art" until I visited the Met during a trip to New York City back in the '90s.
Web Museum, Paris - Site, with a lot of good art, by Nicolas Pioch designed with the sole goal of letting as many people as possible enjoy as much art as possible whenever they'd like.
Artist Trading Cards - Nice gallery of (and a site full of info about) ATCs. There is a "swap" gallery (part of the original idea of ATCs) also on this site.
Amazing Chalk Drawings - You will not believe your eyes when you see the drawings that this fellow has done. "Illusions" would probably be a better term.
Hiroshige Woodblocks - This gallery has a lot of examples of woodblock art by Ando Hiroshige, one of the finest artists in this field. A lot of these pieces would make wonderful desktop backgrounds -- or just beautiful pieces to print and hang on your wall.
Dirty Car Art - Amazing chalk drawings, then I have folks send me truly amazing spam mails full of neat watermelon and pumpkin carvings (I mean statuesque carvings, not the usual Halloween stuff), and then someone sends me some images by this guy. While we all are driven to put our mark on a dirty window, this fellow boggles the mind. I guess you truly can find amazing art anywhere (including the back window of an old beat up car)! Note: Check out the "Grime Scene" section for galleries and anywhere under the "Tell Me More" heading, scroll down and check out some of the "Archives" for even more images yet!