All Human Knowledge

People are continually asking writers: "Where do you get your ideas?" This is kind of like asking: "Where do you get your oxygen?" Ideas are everywhere. Most people step over them without noticing. Writers go around picking them up, discarding the bad ones (we hope), retaining the most interesting ones we're equipped to handle (we hope), and turn them into stories.

On the one hand, when you're writing a story, the only thing that matters is the story. I don't "believe" things, I just decide which version of a story is the most interesting. As far as I'm concerned, the Cottingley fairy photographs were fakes, but the fairies were real. Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, but he was aiming at John Connally.

On the other hand, any story that varies too far or in the wrong way from the facts of the world as it is, is flawed. You have to know as many facts as possible in order to create believable fictions. And though I am never at a loss for ideas, I sometimes need guidance on what to do with a particular idea. In such a situation, there's only one thing to do -- research till your ears bleed! I still prefer libraries, especially university libraries, but there's lots of good leads on the Web, and these are some of the ones we have found useful or intriguing. (Others may be found on other pages. Check out Dana Scully's Bookmarks, for example.) Damon, who is a lot better disciplined at tracking links systematically, found most of these, but the categories reflect both our needs and interests.

Please remember that human knowledge increases arithmetically, and human ignorance geometrically. Some of these references are more reliable than others; none are the last word on any subject. Research requires judgement. We have divided these roughly into Fringe Science, Research & Reference, Myths & Religion, News & Information Services, and Science, to make them easier to sort through. If you think we've put something in one place that belongs in another -- we don't want to hear it. All these realms overlap somewhere, and sometimes you just have to decide on here rather than there.

Fringe Science, Forteana, and Arcana

If it makes a scientist with a conventional grant uncomfortable or angry, it's probably got a story in it.

Anomaly Sourcebook Project
Koestler Parapsychology Unit
StrangeMag
Fortean Times
Fate Magazine - the grandaddy of Fortean publications and a great bastion of free speech in America!

Cryptozoology

Nessie on the Net in Scotland!
Loren Coleman's Cryptomundo
Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization

Magic(k) and Occult

Damon's Baptist, Peni's agnostic. Neither of us thinks magic works. But we both believe in freedom of religion and y'know, sometimes you need to understand magical ideas for verisimilitude in fiction. If your belief system is too fragile to withstand learning about other belief systems - it's not really your belief system.

Occult Advances
The Alchemy Web Site
Library of the Esoteric

UFOs and Extraterrestrials

Peni is of the opinion that UFOs are fairy phenomena. Actually, Peni thinks most things are fairies. She just doesn't know what fairies are.

UFO Evidence
National UFO Reporting Center
UFO Casebook
Space.com's UFO Page
The Magonia Database - Jacques Vallee came up with the connection between fairies and UFOs long before Peni did!

Research & Reference

HISTORY - GENERAL -- I've been dealing with pre-history, and haven't had a chance to sort through these

Library of Congress Homepage
Hyperhistory
History Net

Government and Other Organizations

CIA
IRS
NASA Homepage
Naval Research Laboratory
FBI
Congress - Know who your representatives are and communicate with them regularly! They can't represent you if you don't tell them what you want.

It's Not Just a Good Idea...

Legal Information Institute
United States Patent and Trademark Office
U.S. Copyright Office
U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights - Know it. Live it. Value it. Or lose it.

Medicine

American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Center for Disease Controlr
HIV InSite
HIV.com
The Mayo Clinic
Men's Health Network
National Cancer Institute
National Library of Medicene
OB/GYN.net
Planned Parenthood
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
World Health Organization

Psychology, Menthal Health, and Self-Help

We all need a little help sometimes. Some of this stuff might belong better under "Fringe Science," but it's not my job to sort that out. And we're all fascinated by what makes ourselves tick. Just because our understanding of our mind is in the alchemical stage doesn't mean we should ignore it. Quite the opposite, I think. In fact, a lot of the most intriguing experiments conducted in the 20th century were conducted by psychologists.

Professional therapy has helped a lot of people, but it's hurt people, too. If you get the wrong kind of therapy, if you fall into the hands of a crank who imposes his own ideas on you instead of understanding your problem, who has a "silver bullet" he's sure will fix every problem, everywhere - that can get very, very bad and very, very expensive, very, very fast. You are the final arbiter of what you need, the only one able to understand yourself down to the bottom. Be honest with yourself and don't relinquish control to anyone else; but don't use fear of getting mixed up in the wrong sort of help keep you from getting any help at all. Why shouldn't you be happy?

ABCs of Self-Help
American Psychological Association
Encyclopedia of Psychology
Siegmund Freud
C.G. Jung Page
Mental Helth America
National Institute of Mental Health
Pendulum - Bipolar Disorder
Psychological Self-Help

Myths & Religion

My experience has been that, morally, what you believe doesn't matter nearly as much as who you are. Sure, the world would be a better place if everyone who professed a religion followed its precepts - if Christians loved their neighbors as themselves, Jews lived by the ten commandments, Muslims conscientiously gave alms and forgave debts, Wiccans did as they would, harming none, etc.; but look around you. For some people, religion is a life-saver; for others, it confirms them in their wicked ways.

Whatever, we're going to keep having religions, and understanding a character's religious position is an important part of writing him well. Also - religions, cults, and mythic traditions bristle with story hooks and are intrinsically interesting. This is the barest sample of subjects and sources I might have to reference depending on who my characters are and what problems they deal with.

Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic - Agnosticism is the only religious stance I can honestly profess. This is not a choice, this is not a belief, and this is not a disadvantage.
American Athiests - Atheism is as unfalsifiable as theism and therefore belongs here with the rest.
Dead Sea Scrolls - An archeological story of considerable interest as well as a religious event
The Blue Letter Bible - That looks kind of Protestant. Let's have a
Catholic Bible Site, too
The Essentials of Buddhism
Church of the Flying Spaghettin Monster - Ever notice how much truth there is in humor?
Judaism 101
The Searchable Online Koran
The United Methodist Church. Excuse me for playing favorites. My Reverend Mom is a retired Methodist minister. If I'm only going to have one link to a Protestant denomination, this'll be it.
Pagan.com
Pagan News
Principia Discordia
Past Life Forum I kind of wish I believed in reincarnation. Someday I'm going to write a reincarnation book to go with my ghost book, you see if I don't!

News & Information Services

Census Bureau Home Page
CNN Interactive
Disaster-Related Sites
Entertainment Weekly --their reviewers aren't astute, but they are consistent.
Frequently Occurring Names in America
IntelliCast: USA Weather
Internet Public Library
USA Today - Hey, sometimes all you need is a news McNugget
Weather Channel ® Home Page
Weather Channel - Five Day Forecast for San Antonio, TX
WebWeather

Science

The Armchair Scientist
Discovery Channel Online
Science and Technology Series
Welcome To Fisher Scientific

Astronomy and Space Science

European Space Information System
Countdown to Jupiter
International Space Station Page
Mark Maimone's Home Page - Links to Space Science
McDonald Observatory, Houston TX
Nine Planets
Space Calendar (JPL)
Ultimate Links Page:- Astronomy and Space Links
Views Of The Solar System

Biology and Genetics

Centrifugal DNA Extractor Project
Genetics Databases
Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM)
The Tree of Life Home Page
World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Biosciences
World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Biotechnology

Botany and Zoology

ALGY'S HERB PAGE
Faunmap
Megafauna and Attenuated Gravity
Poisonous Plant Database (PLANTOX)
Texas Natural History Collections
Time Life Complete Gardener Encyclopedia Search Page
UCMP Web Lift to Any Taxon

Brain

Brain Poke for the World Wide Web
General Information -- Human Brain Project
Human Brain Project
Jane's Brain Page
Neurosciences Internet Resource Guide
Split-Brain
Whole Brain Atlas

Chemistry and Physics

About Temperature
Fisher Scientific - General Analytical Reagents
How to Build An Atomic Bomb
MAGE Installation
Molecules R Us (PDB query form)
Periodic Table of the Elements (graphic)
WebElements

Cultural Sciences and Resources

Social Sciences Links

Archaeology / Anthropology / Paleontology

ANASAZI
The Ancient World Web: Main Index
A R C R A - Sites of interest in archaeology
ArchNet: Subject Areas
Archaeological Fieldwork Server
Archaeology Page
Discovery of a Palaeolithic painted cave at Vallon - Pont-d'Arc ( Ardèche )
Dinosaur Volcano-Greenhouse Extinction
Earthnet Info Server: Dinosaurs!
FAQs for sci.anthropology
Gigantopithecus blacki
Knappers Anonymous -- For those of us who want to make our own stone tools
Origins of Mankind Web Links
The PaleoNet Pages
Peccaries
Texas Dinosaur/"Man Track" controversy-- Not a glitzy site, but a good solid one, with hard-to-find real information on exactly what is in that stream bed in Glen Rose by someone who went and looked. You've got to take seriously a man who can get published in creationist and anti-creationist venues without contradicting himself.
UV Uppsala, Archeology
U of South Dakota Anthropology

History

World-Wide Web Virtual Library: History
Current Middle Ages Web Server
Historic Documents -- A gopher site
Insomniac's Lounge --content as well as links! Unusual stuff, too -- Eastern Europe.
The Knights Templar Preceptory Portcullis
Labyrinth Home Page - Medieval Studies

Language / Ethnic Culture

American Indian Science and Engineering Society
Human Languages Page
Gaelic Language page
Native Book Centre
Ojibwe Language and Culture, by Nancy Vogt
Rainbow Family of Living Light Home Page

Earth Sciences

Bureau of Economic Geology
Earth Sciences Resources
Environmental Links
Geology Library
Internet Resources (Geology)

Engineering and Technology

Electronic Visualization Laboratory Home Page
Engineering and Technology Links
MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Home Page
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Nanotechnology Links: Small is Beautiful
Neural Networks at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Robotics Internet Resources Page
World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Engineering

Probability and Statistics

Probability Web

Please let us know if you try one of these links and it fails or has moved. We keep most of them against future need, never knowing when we might have to suddenly know how to build an atomic bomb or whatever, but don't visit them regularly. If you have useful links of your own that you want to hook up to ours, tell us and we'll check them out. Thanks!

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