Friday, March 18, 2011

Freebie Friday 3.18.11

Worthy Things to Do, Listen To, or View that Won’t Cost You a Dime 

TGIF. Welcome to another edition of Freebie Friday. Once again it’s a three tip post. The first is a tool I discovered in thinking about the most effective ways to donate to disaster relief in Japan. The second is an easy-to-use calculator for maintaining your health and well-being. The third is a diversion with the possible benefits of mental and digital dexterity building.
  • The events unfolding in Japan are on everyone’s mind. Many people want to do something, anything, to help the victims of the triple tragedy. For most of us the only option is to make a charitable donation. But how to make the most beneficial gift? I googled “charity rater” and struck gold. Charity Navigator: evaluates the financial health of over 5,500 of America’s largest charities. Enter the charity name, hit return, and if it is in the databank you will receive a rating of from 1-4 stars. Then click on the charity to receive details including a rating for its “organizational efficiency” (how efficiently and responsibly a charity functions in its day to day operations), its “organizational capacity” (how well a charity can sustain its efforts over time), and its CEO’s annual compensation. If an organization is being investigated for some reason, a red donor advisory comes up with an explanation, as in the case of the CT Humane Society. Charity Navigator was named an outstanding site by Forbes, Time, PC Magazine and countless other publications and users. There are other useful tools on the site including top ten lists and the ability to compare charities. Most features on the site are free, but I will warn you that there will be pop-ups asking you to make a donation to help keep the site running. You can easily decline the opportunity (ies if you stay there long enough).
  • Here’s a tool (in two variations) to help you navigate the meaning of “daily calorie needs” — a BMI and calorie counter. The first link is the more basic and easier of the two to use, most useful if you engage in roughly the same amount of physical activity each day: The second is more appropriate for someone who engages in a variety of activities over the course of a week: Your BMI (body mass index) is one indicator of whether or not it might be a good idea for you to take off a pound or two (or three). The information on calorie requirements and calories burned during exercise will help you in planning menus, making sense of all the menu pdfs I’ve been posting, or selecting some new pastimes to help you achieve your goals.
  • Finally, the diversion:  Google PacMan is a mini version of the original PacMan game, introduced as an animated logo by Google on the game’s 30th anniversary—May 22, 2010. Have fun! 
Finally, if you have the time, please check out “Prelude to a Post,” which I published just prior to this one. I had a few things on my mind, difficult problems for which I have posted links to some of what I've been reading about them. Be forewarned of its serious nature. No humor to be found there. Please come back again soon.

FYI Why a piñata? Just like a blog link, until you open it, you won’t know what’s inside.

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