Online breath testing, Darwin online, Google Earth for charities and new features

Something Worthy
>> Google Earth Outreach
This new initiative aims to give charities and non-profit organisations the tools to showcase their fundraising activities to a mass audience via Google Maps and Google Earth.

Something New
>> The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online
Until now Darwin’s original handwritten manuscripts were only available to scholars at Cambruidge University – Now his work has been put online from Voyage of the Beagle to the Theory of Evolution. Choose to view the scanned manuscripts or put the mp3 versions on your iPod!

>> Google Earth Updated
“New! in Google Earth 4.3

  • Photo-realistic buildings from cities around the world
  • Dawn to dusk views with the Sunlight feature
  • Swoop navigation from outer space to street-level"

Something funny
>> Test Your Breath
Laugh-out-loud funny: Breath into your computer’s microphone (or type in details of your last meal) to get an assessment of how fresh (or otherwise)your breath is.

New BBC Homepage / James Cracknell

>> The new BBC homepage
When you go to the general appearance of the homepage hasn’t changed for the last few years. It’s done its job well, but has always been a bit of a compromise because the page had to offer something to everyone in the UK. One of the aims for a new-look homepage was to make the page flexible and allow people to customise both the content and appearance. A test version of the new homepage has been running alongside the old version for a few months, but this week it’s all-change with your personalised homepage replacing the old, static version.

It’s well worth having a play with the new page. Click below for links to a video tour of the new features and a more detailed guide to what has changed.

Highlights include an animated version of the old BBC 2 on-screen clock that appeared during continuity announcements, a choice of many colour schemes and up to 12 different promotional panels for your favourite content (including blogs, iPlayer, weather for your postcode, and much more).
>> Tour the new-look homepage
>> New BBC homepage: Full feature guide

Also today:

>> James Cracknell’s Sport Relief Challenge
Here’s something I had hoped to mention on air but we ran out of time. Last week we talked about the main Sport Relief site. This week I’ve been looking at the site for James Cracknell’s Cross-Continent Challenge in aid of Sport Relief. James is currently on the third day of the challenge, during which he aims to travel to Africa from the UK in less than a week – rowing the channel, cycling down through France and Spain then swimming to North Africa (accompanied by David Walliams.

James has already completed 412 miles out of his target of 1,434 miles. It’s a really impressive site, which uses sophisticated technology to track James’ exact location, and also features regular blog and video updates, a list of the music he’s listening to en route and the chance to sponsor James’s challenge.

Sport Relief, Magazine Covers and Long Things

Something worthy:
>> Sign up for the Sports Relief Mile
The big focus for this year’s fundraising effort is the Sports Relief mile on Sunday March 16th – in which anyone (regardless of fitness level) can participate in one of hundreds of different events at athletic tracks all over the country. Find your nearest track or register online at the official Sport Relief site.
Something fun:
>> Mag My Pic
Upload a photo of your choice and mock up a cover of one of 12 glossy magazines including Vogue, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, Maxim and Rolling Stone. When you have created your magazine cover you can choose to post it straight to a blog, MySpace or Facebook – or to allow other people to rate it in an online gallery.

Something largely pointless but still oddly compulsive:
>> The longest list of the longest stuff at the longest domain name at long last
This site is a long alphabetical list of fairly random categories. (dog tongue, fjord, poker game, pizza etc etc). Simply click on a category name to learn about the longest thing in that category.

Free Rice

Freerice >> Freerice
I’ve always been keen on sites which offer innovative ways to support charities; One of my first ever selections on Website of The Day was The Hunger Site, which asks visitors to click a button on the site in order to generate a donation of a cup of food to feed a starving person. Many similar sites have sprung up since the launch of the Huger Site in 1999, but is just 3 months old and has already had more impact than most click-to-donate sites.
Rather than just a click-to-donate model, Freerice offers a simple game to improve your vocabulary. For each multiple choice question you get right, site sponsors donate 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. In 3 months the site has already generated 13,388,082,990 grains of rice. The game automatically adjusts to your own vocabulary knowledge making it addictive as well as highly worthwhile.

Give Or Take

>> Give Or Take
I’ve talked about charity shopping portals and cashback sites before on the programme. Give or Take lets you do most of your Christmas shopping online but gives you the flexibility to choose whether you’ll get cashback for the privilege or donate to charity at no extra cost to yourself.
The site is well laid-out and easy to use with simple instructions. Say you usually buy books or cds online from WH Smiths, Woolworths or Amazon … You can still buy from them, but instead of going straight to their site, you start by going to GiveOrTake, which generates a comission fee from your chosen retailer. You then have the choice of getting that commision as a cashback, or donating it (in full) to the charity of your choice.

Friday Quick links

>> Hands Up Now
Contribute a virtual handprint to an online gallery to show your support for Anti-Bullying Week
(see also Anti-Bullying Alliance)

>> Doodle
Online game in which your doodled stick-man has to jump from squiggle to squiggle on the page of a notebook, avoiding enemy erasers and other malevolent doodles

>> YouTube clip of the week: Mamma Mia performed on empty bottles
Straight from Good Morning Denmark, here is Scandanavia’s leading bottle orchestra recreating Abba’s classic using only their mouths and a row of about 30 bottles.

Friday Quick Links

The official site for Remembrance Day lets you donate online to the Poppy Appeal, download poppy wallpaper for your mobile, and add a virtual poppy to your Facebook page.

>> Real World Racer
An online racing game which uses the satelite view from Google Maps as your bespoke racetrack. Difficult to master, but worth persevering!

Greener Offers

>> Greener Offers
We’ve talked about charity shopping portals before on the programme, but Greener Offers is one of a new breed of shopping sites which lets you offset your carbon emissions while you’re doing your online shopping.
Think of a shopping portal as an online equivalent to Bluewater or an Arndale Centre. You find a large range of familiar retailers under one virtual roof, and if you’re not sure which site to visit to buy a particular item, you can shop by category.
If you already shop online from sites like Amazon, Toys R Us, Next, Wickes, Dixons, Expedia or Eurostar, you can still make your purchase from your chosen site (and at no extra cost to you). But if you access that site by following a link from Greener Offers, you’ll ensure that your chosen retailer pays a commission which gets passed on to an organisation called Climate Care to spend on CO2 reduction.
On average, every £75 you spend offsets 1 tonne of carbon dioxide emissions.

Friday Quick Links

YouTube Clip of the Week
>> The Worst Police Dog in the world

>> Tour De France: Official
Available in 5 different languages, with video, news, history, games, reviews and more.
>> Tour De Fromages
This site follows the same route as the cyclists but focuses on the different cheese of the regions the race passes through. Includes a good cheese-catching, cow-avoiding Tour De Fromages game

>> Live Earth Webcasts
>> Live Earth Official
>> Live Earth on the BBC
>> Live Earth on Radio 2
>> Climate Change on the BBC
All 7 of this weekend’s global concerts are being webcast, offering 24 hours of online video starting with the Australian leg at 2.30 tomorrow morning.
BBC coverage starts with Jonathan Ross on Radio 2 live from Wembley at 10am, BBC Two coverage starts at 1030 and Russell Brand will be backstage on Radio 2 from 2000.

>> T in the Park
Promising video of 40 acts from 4 stages, and the chance to create and share your own custom video channel . Headliners include Lily Allen, Snow Patrol, Arcade Fire, Razorlight, Avril Lavigne and Scissor Sisters

Friday Quick Links

>> National Flea week
Improve your flea awareness with extensive flea factoids, or sign up for free email or SMS reminders to de-flea your pets

>> Change Your World
Pledge to make one less car journey next week … If all UK drivers do the same car traffic will be reduced by 10%. The aim is to show that even small changes in behaviour can make a big difference

>> Shrek the Third: Shrek Sudoko
Why play with numbers when you can play with ogres, donkeys and pusses-in-bootses?

>> YouTube Clip of the Week: Fainting Goats
According to Wikipedia, a fainting goat is a breed of domestic goat whose external muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat is startled. See them in action here.