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Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife descend the steps of the City Hall, Sarajevo to their motor car, a few moments before their assassination, June 28th, 1914 (Imperial War Museums)

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife descend the steps of the City Hall, Sarajevo, to their motor car a few moments before their assassination, June 28th, 1914 (Imperial War Museums)

While searching for an image of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria whose assassination 100 years ago June 28th touched off a series of events leading to WWI, I came upon a captivating website. So captivating, I spent hours paging through the fascinating images displayed on “Lost Splendor.” Hosted by a self-described “archives student and new Bostonian,” the site features a compilation of vintage and photographic media representing antiquities and historic moments.

For example, this elaborate 18th century European piece of mechanical furniture designed by the father and son team of Abraham (1711-1793) and David Roentgen (1743 – 1807), described tongue in cheek as “…pretty much a baroque transformer.”

But be warned! Once you’ve landed on Lost Splendor, you might be … well, lost for hours!

How many more days?

“270 To Win” is a site that features this 2016 Election Countdown Clock. Grab the code for your website or blog to count down the days until the 2016 presidential election.

While you’re there, take the Electoral College Quiz. Did you know that every state has electoral votes equal to the number of senators plus the number of representatives? True. Since every state has two senators, and at least one representative, the minimum number of electoral votes any state can have is three.

Sample question: “What state has the longest winning streak for voting for the candidate that ends up being elected president?” Go ahead, have fun with it. And don’t worry if you get most of them wrong. I did too. But in doing so, I got an education!

“270toWin combines an interactive Electoral College map for the then-current presidential election cycle with historical maps and information for all prior elections. It educates its audience on the Electoral College system and the integral role it plays in electing the president. The site’s engaging content has led to significant recognition. The site is linked to from the National Archives website, and a touch-screen version of the 270toWin interactive map was a component of the Vote4Me exhibit at the McCormick Freedom Museum in Chicago during 2008,” according to the site.

Stand Against Spying

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A coalition of unlikely organizations from across the political spectrum have joined forces “to fight mass surveillance by the National Security Agency” and stand for civil liberties and government transparency.

StandAgainstSpying maintains that mass surveillance is contrary to freedom and democracy and must be stopped.

The site’s coalition has rated each member of Congress on his or her actions to end or promote mass surveillance. Among 241 scorers earning an “A” are Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Rep. Tim Griffin R-Ark. Among the 115 earning an “F”? You’ll have to visit the website to find out!

Chirping along!

An interactive poster created by the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine features a variety of birds, that when clicked, emit their own particular chirping sound. It’s a great page for bird lovers and kids (not that they’re mutually exclusive!)

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Speaking of birds …

If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably wished Twitter would allow you to retweet someone else’s message AND add your comment to it too. Looks like Twitter has heard you. Engadget recently reported that though Twitter already made the move to allow tweets inside tweets … it appears the 140-character social stream is looking to revamp the way we all retweet, too.

According to TechCrunch, a new feature being labeled as “retweet with comment,” which enables users to better participate in the ongoing convo by adding proper context, could be on the way: “Currently, in the company’s own app there are options for a straight retweet and quoting the musing to be recast. Rumor has it that the new method could replace that latter choice, and in the process allow for a proper comment where the ol’ RT text count doesn’t eat into your precious character allotment. That original tweet will likely appear in card form – much like the embedded option – but hopefully via a single button press rather than the current copy/paste method.”

We’re happy as a lark at the news!

And for all you newbies? Here’s some advice from a gal who teaches entrepreneurs the proper use of social media:

“If you use these three basic principles, you’ll be well on your way towards Twitter success:

  • Follow key influencers. Who are the biggest players in your industry? Use tools on FollowerWonk and other platforms to identify with them and see what they talk about.
  • Be an active member of the community. Once you have established yourself among the significant names in your particular field, word will spread.
  • Contribute rich and unique content. Stand out from the crowd and engage with your audience with images, videos and text-based tweets.”

The Peacekeeper

A “Peacekeeper” app might save your life or your property when first responders aren’t immediately available. It connects you and members of your community directly to each other, empowering you to protect each other.

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“Imagine, instead of making a call to a law enforcement agency that is most likely overworked and far away and certainly trained to respond violently, you press the button on your phone and your previously chosen neighbors will be alerted that you are in danger. They will be able to respond immediately given their proximity to the situation.”

You can find out more about The Peacekeeper” app here.

Heavenly Display

St. Matthews Chapel in Sugar Hill is a pretty little church in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This photo was taken around midnight on Thursday evening.

Photographer Michael Blanchette explained the challenge involved in getting this gorgeous night image: “The church itself was lit by a nearby floodlight that made for a difficult exposure.”

Heavenly Display, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, by MichaelBlanchette.com

Heavenly Display, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, by MichaelBlanchette.com

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