Directories vs. databases: Since I’ve become an editor for the Open Directory Project, I’ve been perusing a lot of lists of links. Obviously, it’s a major chore to keep link lists up-to-date (there are 563 links on the Square and Round Dance Web Ring; presumably most of those would belong in a comprehensive directory of square dance links). One solution is to put the burden on the site owners by establishing a database of links. USDA is doing this. A disadvantage is that there’s no human doing any categorizing, evaluating, and organizing. This makes it hard to browse. Another disadvantage is that not every site owner will take the time and effort to enter their site into the database. So far, there are eight listings in the USDA db, three of which are USDA related. I wonder if site owners know that on March 15, USDA plans to eliminate its links page and rely totally on the database (at least, that’s what it says on the link page…we’ll see if it really happens).
Sleeping and square dancing: if you’re learning to square dance, it looks like a good night’s sleep is a good thing: For Better Learning, Researchers Endorse “Sleep on It” Adage. Hmmm…I’d better think about this when I go off for my killer learn C3A in one weekend next month! (You have to register with the NYT site to read the article; the bottom line of the article is that people who get at least six hours of sleep that includes both slow wave and REM sleep after learning a new skill will do better on later tests of the skill than people who don’t. The theory is that you need the sleep to consolidate the neural connections that are formed while learning.)