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Links of the Week: Which county is that in?

Once in a while, you need to know which county a city is in (for example, because you need to call the county sheriff on a crime story), or conversely, which cities are in a particular county. One sometimes-handy tool for this is a Google maps mashup at maps.huge.info/county.htm. (Maps.huge.info also has a host of other useful data mapping tools: telephone area code boundaries, zip code boundaries, city boundaries, geocoders and reverse-geocoders) The only shortcoming to maps.huge.info’s county boundaries is that you must either already know the zip code of the county you’re looking for, or click in precisely the right location on a map...

More on using proper nouns for searching

Reviewing my last entry, I see that literal-minded readers may think that I’m saying that using a city name and last name are usually the best query terms. Not at all. Sometimes, if a last name is very unusual, that’s all you need. Often a first and last name together in quotes (or with a dash between them) is enough. (Although watch out for criminals, who for legal reasons are often identified with their middle name or initial.) If the first and last name are common (as in the case of ‘Larry King’), then throwing in a city name will help narrow it down. Other...

Searching online to supplement what you know

One task I often need to accomplish is supplementing a little bit of information I have in hand (a news tip, a blog entry, an offhand reference, a quote, a news brief) with much more detailed information (a full newspaper write-up, an earlier news clipping, a script from our own archives). This can be hard to do if you don’t know how to formulate the right query for an online search… or it can take mere seconds if you do. If you’re looking for a recent news story, then Google News is the right place to start. If you’re looking for general information or an...

Link of the Week: U.S. Military Ranks

I was never in the military (duh), so I find military ranks and insignia somewhat confusing — and they come up in OutQ News stories pretty often, because of gays in the military. Fortunately, there’s a handy website that not only shows all the ranks in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, in order, with their insignia, with officer ranks color-coded… it also provides their pay grade and puts it all in a tabular format so you can compare the ranks across services. It’s all on one convenient page of a website aimed at fans of Tom Clancy novels, movies, etc.: The Tom...

RIP: Tony Malliaris (1961-1995)

One of my first big schoolboy crushes was Tony Malliaris, back in middle school in Berkeley, California. I was a closeted gay nerd, he was the hot little Italian Greek stud on the M.L. King Junior Junior High campus. But he was always nice to me, which I appreciated a lot. After 9th grade, my family moved to nearby Oakland. I changed schools and pretty much lost track of Tony. But about ten years ago, I was watching a TV documentary on HIV, and imagine my shock at seeing that my old crush was now a proud, loud, gay activist with ACTUP. I tried finding...

Link of the Week: glbtq, the encyclopedia of gay culture

My job occasionally calls for research into a gay cultural topic. My first go-to source is always glbtq.com. This site bills itself as “the largest Web site devoted to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (glbtq) education and culture, (housing) the largest, most comprehensive encyclopedia of glbtq culture in the world.” Headquarted in Chicago, glbtq.com is most definitely not a wiki, but rather a genuine, edited encyclopedia, with more than 2,000 signed entries, and a editorial board of eminent gay academics.

Link of the Week: Economist Country Briefings

Whenever I need a quick, authoritative summary of a country’s political, economic and social system, I turn to the Country Briefings at Economist.com. In addition to a listing of recent The Economist articles on the country, these briefings include a factsheet, economic data on the country, a short history of the nation, and summary descriptions of the country’s political and economic system. Not every country in the world is covered, but the 80 or so largest are.