Much like you, we’ve started to run out of ideas of what to do at home while practicing social distancing. Exercise, cooking and housework are quick to lose their charm unless you’ve got an iron will. For those with children (or juvenile roommates) to pick up after, things can get frustrating.
Thankfully, Internet services haven’t been affected, so you can divert some of your free time onto these unique and resourceful websites. Covering food, geography and culture, they explore the background perspectives of travel that are often overlooked. Make it an activity with the kids, and enjoy some much-needed silence:
The Scale of the Universe 2
From quantum foam to the edge of the observable universe, put your existence into perspective with this interactive science website. The opening screen starts with a human figure, and everything close in size—giant earthworms, rafflesia plants, the dodo bird. Use the scrollbar at the bottom to go bigger (right) or smaller (left) in size, and click on every item for a fun tidbit. It’s a quick crash course in astronomy, biology, geography, theoretical physics and pop culture.
Ideas of India
This one’s for all the research, policy and history nerds. Ideas of India by Prof Rahul Sagar (NYU Abu Dhabi) is a database of 255 English-language periodicals from pre-Independence India. A non-colonial resourcepool to draw and study from, its contents are indexed by theme and era for easy navigation. According to the website, these journals underwent mass extinction after 1947. Their revival hopes to remind India of the critical thinking and pluralistic arguments that once inhabited her public sphere. Bombay Quarterly Magazine and Review, Amruta Sandesh, Bengal Magazine, Asiatic Review and Aligarh Monthly are some notable names.
The Internet’s most successful citizen science project could do with all your extra hours! Zooniverse lets volunteers contribute to cutting-edge research that lead to actual discoveries. Help fight antibiotic resistance, count penguins in remote regions, or help LIGO spot ripples in spacetime—the categories (‘social science’, ‘languages’, ‘space’, ‘arts’, etc.) are diverse and detail-heavy, meaning you could cosily settle into a niche for months.
Travel with Drone
The definition of armchair travel, this website collects user-generated drone videos to take viewers around the world. Now that travel’s all but flattened, it’s an easy geotagged portal to find breathtaking landscapes that you can enjoy, share and take inspiration from. A lot of these places don’t have Google Street View or much pictorial representation online, except for footage uploaded by TWD’s community. A carousel at the bottom notifies of the newest uploads.
Whether you’re cooking for the first time, or have a weird mix of pantry essentials, Foodpairing helps discover unexpected and exciting flavour combinations. Using the science of flavour molecules, it tells you degrees of compatibility between unsuspecting ingredients—useful for leftovers, recipe substitutes, or a little kitchen creativity.
An iconic video game, GeoGuessr tests your mapping skills by presenting randomised street locations from around the world. The maps include broader themes like cities, mountains, stadiums and UNESCO Heritage Sites, to more specific ones like ‘Where’s that McDonalds?’. Place your pointer onto their map, and see (by kilometres) how close or far you were to the answer.
Note that all these websites are best viewed on a laptop, iPad or desktop computer.