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Scooter Mania Sweeps The Country!
Euro Cash Launch
Years in preparation, the launch of the euro on Jan. 1 was a huge deal
and a mind-boggling feat of logistics. To satisfy initial demand in the
12 countries that have adopted the new currency, mints printed 14.5
billion euro banknotes and struck 56 billion coins. Distribution of
only the Netherlands' cache of new cash, a tiny fraction of the
Europe-wide total, required 8,000 truck deliveries. Despite the
organizational challenge, the launch appears to have gone smoothly with
only minor snafus such as brief shortages of small denomination notes
in some countries. By this weekend, just about all cash transactions in
the 12 relevant countries will be conducted with the new money. The
BBC's coverage of the story is mind-boggling, too, with coverage of
items like one smart teenager taking advantage of exchange rate gaffes
and the Netherlands' offer of early euro starter packs. The splendid
content includes a bank vault full of articles, news, views, funny
tales, and trivia - did you know Montenegro's official currency used to
be the deutschmark?. Old national moneys can be used until Feb. 28, so
if you've got any hidden away in your mattress, better get them out and
The Bush administration has with its newly announced Freedom Car program
decided to push fuel cell technology instead of development of a
high-mileage sedan. It's difficult to decide whether this is to reduce
American dependence on foreign oil or to suck up to the oil companies by
removing incentives to make more fuel-efficient cars. Whatever the reason,
it's hard to argue with the decision to pursue a cleaner and potentially
cheaper energy source. So, what exactly are fuel cells? Start at the Fuel
Cells Information Center (FCIC) for a rudimentary explanation of the
technology and a large number of related links. Fuel Cell Today is a portal
for people and organizations interested in the technology. Finally, the
Department of Defense (DoD) Fuel Cell program site has many government and
defense related fuel cell links. The Washington Post has details on the
Freedom Car announcement.
Fuel Cell Today:
DoD Fuel Cell:
Decode a Noisy Message to Aliens
Scientists working on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence have
released an intentionally degraded copy of a message which they plan to
beam to the stars later this year. They released the message to the public
to test whether such a message can be easily decoded after traveling
through the interstellar medium. The message signal is expected to pick
up noise as it travels by laser beam through the interstellar medium.
You can take a crack at decoding the message at the project home page.
New Scientist has the story.
No Hidden Messages in Usenet Images
The researchers who last year scanned two million eBay images for hidden
messages using steganography have now completed an analysis of one million
Usenet images. They did not find any hidden messages, but it could be
argued that they missed the blindingly obvious forest for the trees, which
is that porn is really, really popular. This Web page has some good
statistics from their effort.
More Than 600 Losing Entries
The winners and runners up in SatireWire's Second Annual Poetry Spam more
than make up for the more than 600 losers. The contest had two categories.
The Strictly Spam category required poetry entries which were constructed
entirely out of phrases from spam e-mail. The winner was the hilarious
"Enlarge Your Boss" by Anna Lee Hastings. Poets submitted works about spam
to the Freestyle category, which was won by Alex Silbajoris with "I
Answered All My Spam".
And the World Technology Award Winner Is...
The envelope has been opened, and the current crop of winners of the World
Technology Awards (WTAs) has been named. WTAs are intended to honor people
whose work seems to have great long-term impact. This year's winners
include Linus Torvalds, who produced the Linux kernel and released it as
open-source material, and Robert Metcalfe, who invented Ethernet and
founded 3Com. Shawn Fanning, founder of Napster, won in two categories:
entertainment and entrepreneurship (apparently, being ground to a pulp by
the legal system doesn't disqualify one). Funnily enough, the WTAs are
sponsored in part by Enron, which has suffered some legal misfortunes of
its own. The list of winners is supplemented with occasional brief
The Privatization of Public Research
Universities have long been hotbeds of coding innovation. UC-Berkeley, for
example, developed BSDC and BSD Unix - the latter particularly important in
the development of the Internet. Although proprietary software dominates
home and office computing, the underpinnings of the networked world are
found in freely disseminated open-source code. Today, publicly funded
universities are permitted to nurse revenue streams by licensing technology
developed through public funds. Universities have established offices of
technology licensing that exist to secure revenue from technologies that
their employees develop, effectively privatizing the developments. On one
hand, there's nothing like cash to encourage research. On the other hand,
would the Internet exist today if these policies had been in place a couple
of decades ago? Critics have raised the valid question of whether
technologies such as TCP/IP would be freely released in today's corporate
university environment. Salon has a brief article with more food for
The Year That Was in Internet Rights and Laws
In times of war, the law is silent. Not so its critics. Barry Steinhardt,
associate director of the ACLU, paints in a Wired piece a rather dismal
portrait of the year 2001 with respect to our rights in cyberspace.
Steinhardt frets over the USA PATRIOT Act, which provides the US government
with unprecedented ability to eavesdrop on the Internet. The government
also endorsed the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention, which may
force it to investigate Internet usage that's legal in the US but illegal
in European nations. Steinhardt found one ironic silver lining in 2001: a
US District Court ruling that Yahoo could not be held liable for breaking
French law concerning the display of Nazi memorabilia because of First
Amendment protection. A New York Times article (free registration required)
elicits opinions from intellectual property attorneys and others concerning
the year in Internet law.
Keystroke Evidence OK, Judge Declares
When the FBI snuck into the office of Nicodemo Scarfo and planted a
computer keystroke sniffer so they could read his encrypted business
messages (see NSD 6.42), they probably knew they'd eventually be challenged
in court. With evidence so gathered, the US government charged Scarfo with
bookmaking and loan sharking. Scarfo's legal team challenged the
constitutionality of the method used to gather the evidence. Now US
District Judge Nicholas Politan has quashed that notion, ruling the use of
the implanted sniffer software perfectly acceptable and the evidence gained
from it admissible. Scarfo's not the only one upset with the decision. The
Electronic Privacy Information Center fears the judge's approval will
encourage law enforcement officials to snoop excessively, particularly in
view of the FBI's desire to use remote infection techniques, obviating the
need for breaking and entering to plant the keystroke sniffer (see NSD
7.40). This probably isn't the final word on the issue, however. If Scarfo
is convicted, the whole thing is bound to be appealed. Wired has the story
and Rutgers University's School of Law provides the complete ruling.
Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan
Professor Marc Herold, at the University of New Hampshire, has written a
detailed but inflammatory article about civilian deaths in Afghanistan. The
author has supposedly carefully sifted news reports and eyewitness accounts
to document the cruel carnage wreaked by US bombs. Still, this thing is
more diatribe than scholarly literature and the author tiringly makes
incessant use of incendiary language and overstatement. The report is
important because of the dearth of official casualty figures but it's a
pity the author carpet-bombs our sensibilities with his endless cheap
shots. Herold accuses the US of the same kind of savage exultation in
deliberate murder as Osama and his boys, and his style, his invocation of
the race factor, and other preposterous claims sully the paper. Fact is,
wars are messy and you don't win 'em with nice. We also think you can
distinguish morally between those who start and those who respond.
The Foulest Media Performances of 2001
The P.U.-Litzer Prizes spotlight the worst excesses of journalism in the
past year. While there is much to amuse here, note the Protecting
Viewers/Readers from the News Prizes. It seems that there is more than a
bit of truth to the allegation that certain large media organizations opted
to tone down their coverage of civilian casualties in the Afghan war. Truth
is indeed the first casualty of war, in this case at the expense of not
offending the public sensitivity with tragedies of people generally as
innocent as anyone who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorism. It always pays
to be an informed news consumer and ask what is not reported and why. In
any event, we can confidently say that the awards will make you happy by
making you laugh through your tears of despair.
CNET's 2001 Interview Transcripts
Every new year, the media throw up salvos of obligatory retrospectives.
This year is no different. Weighing in from the tech angle, CNET presents
transcripts of interviews with the likes of Bill Gates, Fujio Nishida, Sir
Arthur C. Clarke, and more. Arthur C. Clarke? He wrote science fiction, and
maybe he invented the concept of geosynchronous satellites 60-odd years
ago. Why is he in among this modern list? One word: tantalum. It's an ore
used in the manufacture of semiconductors and capacitors - mighty important
things these days. Prospectors for this ore are busily wiping out habitat
for the lowland gorilla, presenting a paradox for those who use tech to try
to save the habitat and about which Clarke, unsurprisingly, has opinions.
Other topics include Microsoft, the proposed HP-Compaq merger, terror (of
course), and online privacy. There's excellent reading to be had here, but
you'll need to set aside a little time for digging.
Salon Interviews Creator of Creatures
Steve Grand is the designer of a line of computer artificial life games
called Creatures. He's also just published a book, "Creation: Life and How
to Make It", which we recommended in NSD 7.42. Salon has an interview with
Grand in which he discusses how Creatures has come about, emotions in
machines, what artificial life means, and his current and future projects.
Worth reading, though the book is (as usual) better.
DoubleClick Drops Online Ad Profiling
In a sign of the dismal state of the online advertising market, the largest
online ad company, DoubleClick, has decided to end its ad profiling
service. The service tapped a database of some 100 million user profiles to
target ads. DoubleClick generated the anonymous profiles from users' click
patterns and used the data to present users with ads chosen based on their
presumed netsurfing interests. DoubleClick's abandonment of this service,
once the big jewel in its technology crown, testifies to the utter collapse
of the online advertising market. Apparently, in the eyes of advertisers,
the benefits of such targeting do not justify paying a premium for it. CNET
has the story.
ICANN Strips Volunteer of .au Domain
In the beginning, the Net was run by individuals. Domain name registration
was the province of volunteers. Robert Elz, an Australian programmer in
Melbourne, ran his country's domain name service. An isolated and quirky
individual, Elz readily relinquished the .com.au country code top-level
domain (ccTLD) sub-domain to auDA, Australia's national non-profit domain
name service. Elz, however, has fought to keep control of the .au ccTLD out
of auDA's hands, claiming that auDA is not yet capable of administering the
nation's .au cyber estate. Elz offered to surrender .au to his government
but ICANN stepped in and stripped Elz of his rights to the ccTLD.
Gradually, the bureaucrats are replacing the short-sleeved engineers who
built and designed the system.
Vim, Open Source, and Ugandan Orphans
Vim, a text editor, is distributed with most versions of Linux. It's the
brainchild of Bram Moolenaar, who continues to maintain the code. In this
thoughtful piece, Moolenaar describes the origins and internals of Vim,
plus the concept of charityware. He encourages users of Vim to make
donations to orphans in Uganda. The article will interest those who want to
understand the open source movement in the context of a specific piece of
Netcraft Web Server Survey
Netcraft's latest monthly diagnostic of the Internet reveals some
interesting results. Among the findings, the Web server survey reports a
drop in numbers of Web sites for only the second time. The first drop,
which Netcraft calls a "blip", occurred in August 2001 as the result of
"failures and business model changes at several mass hosting companies, and
the aftermath of the Code Red virus." The current decline is attributed to
an overall drop in registered domain names as unrenewed domains now exceed
new registrations: "Domains bought during the rampant domain-name
speculation of late 1999 are now coming up for two-year renewal, and many
are being abandoned." The report notes, however, that as squatters desert
domains, the proportion of active sites should increase.
More Microsoft Trickery
In December and January, ZDNet UK hosted a poll on which technology Web
developers planned to use in future. On Dec. 21, most planned to use Java
and a mere fifth cited Microsoft's .NET. By Jan. 5, results had flipflopped
and more than three-quarters of respondents said they would use .NET. ZDNet
UK did a little basic digging and found that the change in attitude was
primarily due to a campaign by voters from Microsoft.com, some voting after
reading an e-mail with the subject of "PLEASE STOP AND VOTE FOR .NET!".
ZDNet UK wrote up the results of its investigation and added a separate
commentary for good measure.
eBay Auction for America Short of Goal
eBay's auction aimed to raise $100 million in 100 days to be donated to the
victims of Sept. 11. Apparently the project got nowhere near that goal,
reportedly raising only $10 million to date. That's not peanuts, but still,
it probably reflects a certain amount of charity fatigue among the public.
CNET has details.
Move over, Melrose Place - It's the Geek Sexchart!
The Geek Sexchart, est. 1997, is an ever-growing ASCII "family tree"
diagramming interweaving physical intimacies among 1,400 hackers, crackers,
geeks, and cyberfreaks. Lish Daelnar, the person at ground zero of the
Sexchart and keeper of the flame, talked to Wired about the history of this
strange project and its implications. "The chart was started specifically
to make fun of me - to show how many guys I dated," she says, but notes
that since the minimum requirement for chart inclusion is "wet kissing",
"somebody with 20 links might mean they've kissed 20 people in their whole
life." Nevertheless, some haven't taken kindly to having their personal
meatspace links documented, and Daelnar has even received related e-mail
threats. Her advice to the disgruntled? "If you're gonna have privacy, have
privacy - you can't tell six people and expect it to stay a secret." Dare
we label this another milestone for the open-source movement?
How Google Saved Usenet
As we reported in NSD 7.42, Google has assembled an archive of 700 million
Usenet messages that date back to 1981. Now, Salon tells us how this was
done. The real heroes of this effort were the numerous pack rats who
squirreled away old Usenet postings on magnetic tape and, later, CD-ROMs.
Despite their efforts, not all postings from those days have been
recovered. Usenet pack rats tend to have collected more of the shiny
technical subjects than matte social ones, and messages about Unix bugs
survived more often than abortion flame wars. A discussion on Slashdot
reveals that not everyone is happy to see their old posts come back to
haunt them. Google has said it will remove any posts from the archive at
the request of the author.
Year-End Google Zeitgeist
Nostradamus stepped on Pokemon, Harry Potter body-slammed X-Men and
"Loft Story" elbowed "Big Brother" on Google in 2001. The top
misspelled queries of January 2001 were "inauguration" and
"presidential", and until September, the Code Red virus seemed like the
most dangerous threat lurking on the horizon. The Year-End Google
Zeitgeist reveals search patterns and trends for 2001 that stand as
significant digital anthropological artifacts, and make for fascinating
browsing. The page lists Google's top 20 gaining and declining search
terms for the last year, plus 12 "Top 10" lists and a link to a
timeline of monthly highlights. According to Zeitgeist, "All Your Base"
hit Google only about a year ago. My, how time flies.
Retribution Breeds Cooperation
A basic tenet of the study of behavior is that the threat of
retribution will bring a certain amount of compliance in most social
situations. Now, there's mathematical proof for that assertion, thanks
to some game theory researchers who played an investment game in which
players punish those who do not contribute to the group. Why is this of
interest to the Net? One of the perennial online problems is the
tragedy of the commons, where freeloaders (e.g. spammers) use up
resources (e.g. Usenet), thus ruining the resource for everybody. As a
Slashdot discussion notes, this research can be potentially applicable
to online shared resource technologies such as peer-to-peer.
Items our staff likes and you might too. Click on the image or title to order
at a hefty discount from our affiliate Amazon.com, and send
a few pennies our way as well.
True Names: And the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier
Vernor Vinge, James Frenkel (Editor), Marvin L. Minsky (Afterword)
Tor Books; ISBN: 0312862075
Vernor Vinge's novella "True Names" was published in 1981 and immediately
became one of those seminal works which presage major cultural shifts.
Vinge may not have been the first writer to anticipate the Net and all that
it implies, but he was certainly one of the most original, and arguably the
one with most impact on early online pioneers. "True Names" has been out of
print for many years, but its legendary status remains undiminished. In
this edition, the novella is accompanied by articles by other SF authors,
computer scientists, and others it has inspired over the years. This is a
must read for anyone interested in the roots of online culture. If you
crave more Vinge we highly recommend
The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge".
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension
Earl Mac Rauch
Pocket Books; ISBN: 0743442482
You already know the movie. You may not understand it, but surely you've
heard of Buckaroo Banzai - physicist, rock star, linguist, philosopher,
brain surgeon, and inventor of the Jet Car. You know, the guy who saved
Penny Priddy's overthruster from the evil Lectroids of Planet 10 and their
goriously mad leader Dr. Lizardo. Yeah, that one. Well, now his story is
told in a book that finally explains the background behind his band and
sidekicks, the Hong Kong Cavaliers. Snap this up before it goes out of
print and becomes an impossible to get cult item. Oh yeah, don't forget to see
Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics
James D. Tisdall
O'Reilly & Associates; ISBN: 0596000804
Perhaps the best way to introduce this book is to say that while the
computer economy is in the toilet, the biotech economy is doing quite well.
If you're a tech type and thinking of switching careers, this may not be a
bad book to become acquainted with. The book covers the basics of
biocomputation and then plunges right into a Perl-centric look at solving
typical biological computing issues. The book is accessible to
non-programmers and thus a good fit for biotech professionals who are
familiar with the bio concepts and need to brush up on the practical
computer science aspects of their field.
Mac OS X: The Missing Manaul
O'Reilly & Associates; ISBN: 0596000820
For Mac users, the OS X operating system is in many ways a radical
departure from everything that came before. While Apple has tried to keep
some amount of continuity within its user interface, the entire
underpinnings of the operating system have radically changed. The consensus
opinion is that the change is much for the better - it's Unix after all.
However with revolution comes the need for re-education, which is where
this book comes in. The book's strength is in not only covering new
features but clearly explaining what happened to all the old Mac OS 9
features. A must have resource for all migrating or new Mac OS X users.
For more selections, check out the Netsurfer Library at
When Pong Goes Bad
For many of us, our first twinge of techno-envy was experienced playing
Pong at a friend's house. That's the same friend who had the Play-Doh
Barber Shop and Sea Monkeys; you couldn't figure out how this kid managed
to get all this stuff. But you did know you had to have this green glowing
game to join the ranks of the worthy. Looking back on Pong with today's
technology, we wonder what we were thinking. It was a green block, bouncing
across a black field. Secretly, we all knew it was more than that, and so
did the person who created this Flash movie, set in the world of Pong,
which rhymes with strong, which is what the language is.
Acts of Gord, Patron Saint of Retail Clerks
This site has an ancient look to it, which the fonts and manner of writing
amplify. This is illustrated biblical stuff, and hugely amusing, if you
don't take religion all that seriously. This is, after all, the Word of
Gord, and it deals more with retail issues than with theological debate. If
you've ever worked in retail-land, you'll find gems here that will awaken
long and deeply-buried memories. Obviously, not buried deeply enough.
Forget the shovel - bring in the back-hoe.
Dan's Look at Nifty Electronic, Computer, and Other Gadgets
Dan's Data is not just for PC enthusiasts in search of hardware reviews,
although this eclectic site has about 300 of them. Cameras, remote control
vehicles, and magnets - oh, yes, magnets - also feature. Dan, of Australia,
has obviously spent a lot of time and effort on his technical guideposts.
He offers articles and tutorials such as "How to build a PC" and "Do it
yourself! Or don't ...". His most popular page is "How To Destroy Your
Computer" and his personal collection of gadgets includes a
radio-controlled Sherman tank, the subject of one of his two Tank Review
pages. His review of PORNsweeper reveals that the blocking software flagged
conventional photos of Mona Lisa, the front of a truck, President Bush with
the First Lady, and Bill Gates. Go figure. Don't miss the cool magnets
page, by the way.
SpudChunker Potato Guns
A few months ago, NSD covered the heavy weapons of food artillery, pumpkin
throwers. Let us now turn to a weapon of lighter caliber: the potato gun,
particularly the commercial models produced by SpudChunker.com, which sells
the guns and accessories via the site. The ammo comes from your local
grocery store. The standard guns - Right Guard deodorant is the fuel of
choice - have a range of about 150 yards, while propane-fueled guns can
fire smaller potato plugs up to 300 yards. Think how useful that can be.
The site has instructions and all the information the average spudgunner
will ever need, as well as order forms. The only part of the site that's
not worth visiting is the video page. The videos just don't do potato guns
The Food Museum
The Food Museum has both a virtual and a real existence. Online, it's a
one-stop source for food exhibits, news/issues, resources, food history,
book reviews and just plain fun. In the non-virtual (real) world, it's a
series of exhibits at museums and other educational projects. The museum is
an ambitious ongoing project with some pieces still incomplete. There's
enough here now to fill the time between lunch and supper. Be sure to visit
the news and issues pages. For a lighter view, the kids' page is excellent.
The Food Museum's strength is its general coverage. The site isn't a place
for trendy foodies, it's for ordinary folks.
No car images! None, nada, nil. Not a single picture of any car. This site
is primarily a list of automotive museums worldwide. Come to think of it,
if you really delve deeply there are a few tiny auto images. The listings
are extremely complete and intelligently organized so that travelers can
easily put together a list of museums wherever their travels lead them.
Many of the listed museums and open collections have Web sites of their
own. Links are provided, and at these sites you'll find scads of great
automotive images. The number of museums is astounding. Any museum that
regularly displays cars qualifies for the list, so it includes municipal
transport museums, fire service museums, and others that are not solely
devoted to autos. Vehicles on cinderblocks in the front yard don't count.
Pop Culture Nostalgia
Ah, glory days! If you're over 40, you know the agonies of nostalgia:
embarrassment; guilt; anxiety; a sense of loss; backache; and other
blessings of time. Ancients who nevertheless crave temporal punishment in
an indulgence in toys, entertainment, food, and fashion of yore might get a
kick out of Yesterdayland, a pop-culture retrospective subtitled "Your
Childhood Is Here". You'll get a kick even if, say, you're over 30 (egad!)
and you grooved on the Beatles, disco, Madonna, Love Boat, the Incredible
Hulk, bellbottoms, lunchboxes, video arcade games, and the like. Yes, a lot
gets thrown together through the wonders of age, technology, obsolescence,
and this site's intent to build community through feedback and message
boards. Jonathan Livingston Seagull ring a bell? How about Donny and Marie
Osmond? Dan Rowan and Dick Martin? Alvin and the Chipmunks? Charlie's
Angels? Wonder Woman? Are we getting warm? Tributes, interviews, articles,
links to Amazon.com, and other related materials may revive memories and
thin your wallet. The easy-to-search fashion database is excellent. Bikini,
Body Glove, Brylcreem, cutoffs, hip huggers, miniskirts, Nair ("stinky
cream with the miracle results"), love beads - indeed, we could go on and
Humorous Screenshots, True and Otherwise
Once in a while, while surfing the Web, you come across a potentially
embarrassing error, evidence of poor judgment, or something so weird you
have to wonder about the people who posted it. Chapter 18: Government Humor
has a small but noteworthy collection of screenshots that documents
political error or faux pas in the category of ludicrous. An FBI press
release warning of impending and unspecified doom is called skyfall.htm, a
scatological spelling error from Reuters, a grandma for sale on eBay, and a
404 error message on a cellular phone are believable. There's some obvious
tampering (for humor, of course) in a photo of Bill Clinton showing
centerfolds to schoolkids, a "Got Milk?" pseudo-ad, and a "photo" of a tank
crushing a car beneath the word "Hi." The webmaster claims to accept
submissions, but the site was last updated months ago.
Ode to a Turntable
Technics, the audio offshoot of Panasonic, has now been around for 30
years. Its SL1200 series of turntables has been pretty well unchanged for
much of that time, and vinyl fans love them for that. This is a pretty cool
Shocked site, all crassly commercial, of course. The idea was to show how
the 1200 series platter players have changed the world of music, but the
site doesn't really accomplish that. It's got some nice audio, but the main
thing to remember here is that if you want to do classic DJ scratching, you
need a set of 1200 decks on board. And why not? If you don't change the
design in any substantial way, you have no further costs incurred. Good
business all around, then.
Search Systems claims to be the "largest collection of free public records
on the Internet." It's really a search site rather than a collection - the
public records are stored in many locations - but it certainly seems
comprehensive. Choose a state, province, territory, or country, and jump to
a variety of public records on the Web, with documents like contracts,
licenses for professionals, veterans' records, and much, much more.
Navigation is a breeze. On our last visit, resources listed on the New
Sites page included police accident reports in Philadelphia, a list of
credit unions in the United States, and directory information about many
banks around the world. This is a good place to bookmark for research.
The Condensed History of China
We appreciate the frankness in the introduction to Condensed China: "I
deliberately skipped over and left out a lot of information," writes New
York-based historian Paul Frankenstein. "This is more like 'Chinese
History: the Cliff Notes version' or 'Chinese History's Greatest Hits' than
a full-fledged history." His small, articulate site covers Chinese
civilization from 2200 BCE to the late 1990s. We understand his approach
and like his prose. Who, after all, has time to absorb so much history
(geography, war, politics, religion, art) in detail, especially on the Web?
There are four sections, each but a page to scroll: the origins of Chinese
civilization, the early empire, the second empire, and the birth of modern
China. Some historians might argue that all the richness of Chinese history
has been reduced to generalities and thumbnail descriptions. Blame the
decadent Web. Still, this site might prove a good resource for students,
journalists, and others who are not historians and who plan a trip to China.
A Photographic Homage to New York
Here Is New York is a somber, elegant, ambitious photographic tribute to
those who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center last
September. The About Us page states, "The exhibition is subtitled 'A
Democracy of Photographs' because anyone and everyone who has taken
pictures relating to the tragedy is invited to bring or ftp their images to
the gallery, where they will be digitally scanned, archivally printed and
displayed on the walls alongside the work of top photojournalists and other
professional photographers. All of the prints which HERE IS NEW YORK
displays will be sold to the public for $25, regardless of their
provenance." The elegiac tone is set by an initial dropdown list of search
categories such as WTC - Immediate Damage, WTC - Collapse, Ground Zero,
Firemen, Policemen, Victims, and Missing. There seem to be at least several
hundred photos in the online gallery. Here is New York is both a media
resource (although none of the online photos we viewed is attributed to
anyone) and an unofficial virtual national monument. Many with a personal
involvement in the tragedy are likely to spend hours viewing these photos
online. In early January, when this review was written, the shopping bag
had yet to be activated. Proceeds will go to the Children's Aid Society WTC
FLOTSAM & JETSAM
Andy Kaufman was nuts, but he did it so well. Before his life was cut
short, he'd left his mark like an over-watered dog on the hydrant of
American comedy. The site's still under construction, but there are some
nice tidbits to be found. If you never got to see Andy in action, visit,
bookmark, and learn.
Harry Chapin and Little Jason's Other Goodies
If you like games, this place is OK. If you like Harry Chapin, this is your
spot. Little Jason has links to lyrics, MIDIs (remember them?), and more.
Or try playing the lemonade shack game or take a little click-trip to the
LaughShack. Some's old, some's new. Most of it's borrowed, but still worth
Download the Net
There's a bit of comic catharsis in W3Schools's graphical answer to the far
too common tech support question, "I want to download the Internet. Do I
need a bigger hard disk?" While you're at the site, check out its free
tutorials, including such subjects as shape tweening in Flash and playing
with the global.asa file in ASP.
Dial 404 for Love
Web 404 errors can lead to dull, static error pages informing you of that
fact. Or they can lead to lusty mechanical intelligences who reach out and
grab a handful of life as it passes by. Like here.
Heard the One about the FBI Ordering a Pizza from the Asylum?
Guess what? It's true. In 1993, FBI agents investigating health care fraud
tried to order pizzas. The pizza shop wouldn't deliver pizzas to callers
who claimed to be feds at a psychiatric hospital. It's so nice when urban
legends prove true.
UK Gun Market
Need a gun in the UK? High-quality shotguns make up the bulk of these
listings, followed distantly by rifles. Most of the sellers are licensed
gun dealers with really nice double-barreled shotguns on offer. Most guns
have both stock and receiver photos. There are some truly beautiful,
not-cheap guns shown.