A roundup of new and updated resources and services on the global Internet:
Recipes From the Olde Days
The era may not evoke images of fine dining, but the medieval years were awash in unique cuisines and customs in Europe. Godecookery.com specializes in the history of feasts and food from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. Find instructions for preparing authentic feasts, hundreds of recipes, image collections, a Medieval cooking discussion group, graphics, photographs and history resources. Among the many curious dishes of the time were those that combined two different animals in a theatrical-looking meat concoction, with such names as Cockentrice and Helmeted Cock.
Aurora Borealis Gallery
The aurora borealis lights up the northern skies in October with magnificent waves of color. The Aurora gallery's newest pictures, part of Spaceweather.com, are even more breathtaking thanks to an unsettled magnetic field over the earth due to solar wind disturbances. While you're here, visit the site's home page for one more thing to worry about: near-earth asteroids. There are currently 330 potentially hazardous asteroids being tracked on their path in the vicinity of earth. See www.spaceweather.com/aurora.
Wired Guide to Afghanistan
Wired has created a page of links to sites with information about Afghanistan, including those with facts, maps, news sources, history, culture and even a cookbook. Among the information Wired has posted is that there are almost 50 languages spoken in Afghanistan, and life expectancy is a "mere 46 years." And lest we forget, Afghanistan is the place where Genghis Kahn and his mounted soldiers pillaged livestock at full gallop. Click on www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,47243,00.html.
'Easter Egg' Hunt
Hours of fun here. Eeggs.com is a site that divulges the many so-called "Easter eggs" that are hidden in records, in software, in movies, in books. Easter eggs are little messages or other amusing tidbits hidden inside a piece of media. (In cyber-terrorism circles, this is known as steganography, but there is no malicious intent among these items -- unless you count the "Kill Ozzy" epithet hidden on the Black Sabbath album "Mob Rules," recorded after Ozzy Osbourne left Sabbath and went onto greater and weirder things as a solo act.) Among the other nuggets that the site has compiled: the cover of Bob Dylan's 1968 album "John Wesley Harding" has almost imperceptible images of the Beatles hidden in a tree in the background; a "Spy Hunter" styled game is hidden in the guts of the Microsoft Excel 2000 program, if you're willing to go to some lengths to dig it out; there are hidden interviews in the DVD version of "Citizen Kane," if you click on the sled. You'll be busy if you spend time here; there are 5,051 Easter eggs listed.
Australia and Refugees: Inhumanity or Border Protection?
The recent tragic news that a leaky boat carrying 421 refugees (mostly Iraqi) sank off Indonesia, leaving only 44 survivors, has led to a nasty blame game in Australian politics. The boat was heading for Australia, and that country recently shocked the world with its crackdown on desperate asylum seekers from the Middle East. What is Australia's policy on asylum seekers, how is it dealing with Indonesia's inability (it has no coast guard) to do more to stop the migrants, and how is it planning to shift them to neighboring Pacific island states for processing? This government site (www.immi.gov.au) provides one perspective on the issue.
WebArchivist Freezes 9/11 Online
WebArchivist.org has just released its Sept. 11 archives. The pages documented freeze that moment in time, creating a kind of living library of Web pages as they appeared the day of the terrorist strikes -- as distinguished from the usual Web practice of archiving only stories, not the pages on which they initially appeared. The site displays the many memorials, tribute pages and survivor registries that were created along with the sites posted by corporations and nonprofits soliciting donations for charity. There also are news sites from many nations. The WebArchivist contains thousands of such archived pages, which can be search or found listed in alphabetical order. The record was commissioned by the Library of Congress. See http://18.104.22.168/main.plx.
A Place to Vent on Paypal
While the vast majority of those doing business with Paypal are pleased with the service, a vocal minority is not, and is using the Web to strike back at the online world's most popular electronic payment system. This site (www.paypalwarning.com) attacks the service's reliability and credibility. Links include stories about frozen accounts, consumer comments, ratings of Paypal from other services and a report done by MSNBC, all of which are designed to counteract Paypal's image of convenient, friendly service. Includes the "Paypal Wall of Shame" and tips on how to protect oneself should one get into trouble with paying bills through Paypal.
Today's Space Science News
Updated on the half-hour, this list of space science news headlines is sponsored by the Artemis Project, a private effort to position a new, manned exploration mission on the Moon. The site itself is fascinating, but this list of news headlines demonstrates the surprisingly large amount of activity under way in the area of space exploration. For example, there are many links to news about the arrival of a probe at Mars, where the spacecraft is slated to gather data on mineral and water content of the Red Planet. Click on www.moonsociety.org.
www.searchbyvideo.com: For high school students selecting a college, the recent disruptions of the nation's air travel system have made visits to prospective campuses unusually difficult, if not impossible. With admission deadlines near, Fire Engine RED recently added dozens of streaming college-admissions videos to its Web site, allowing families to view the college videos of their choice on demand for free. The site, which boasts 350 videos of boarding schools and law schools, as well as colleges, ca n easily be searched via lists or a search engine. All videos are available for purchase.
Movie's Real-Life Voice
http://soundportraits.org/donofrio: The character that actress Drew Barrymore portrays in the new film "Riding in Cars with Boys" has a real-life counterpart. Over the past several years, author Beverly Donofrio, upon whose autobiography the film is based, co-produced a number of documentaries for National Public Radio which explored elements and characters featured in the film. Four of those radio pieces are being presented here for listeners. They include: "High School Moms," about teenage mothers, "Looking for Mary," a chronicle of Donofrio's spiritual search across the U.S. for sightings of the Virgin Mary, and a hilarious piece on people with big hair. Listeners can also hear Donofrio's real-life mother (portrayed in the film by Lorraine Bracco) in "Thursday Night at the Bingo," which recounts her mother's fascination with the game. Sound Portraits Productions is an independent production company created in 1994 by MacArthur Fellow David Isay, dedicated to bringing neglected American voices to a national audience.
Afghan Weather Update
www.accuweather.com.: The weather of Afghanistan is notoriously inhospitable, with temperature variations of 60 degrees along with high winds, snow and rain common in a single day. With interest in this region growing rapidly, and as military operations escalate, AccuWeather, the company that provides forecasts for many of the nation's major media outlets, recently announced it will begin offering free forecast maps for Afghanistan and central Asia on its Web site. Features include full-color graphic a nd satellite weather maps, text forecasts, and exclusive streaming video forecasts presented by AccuWeather meteorologists.
Kitchen Kitsch on the Web
Squeezing a clove of garlic or juicing a lemon isn't always a study in chic. Then again, most kitchen gadgets aren't the exquisitely styled numbers available at www.
Including such eye-poppers as the $28 Alessi egg boiler pictured here, the site also sells some wallet-busters, including a retro-looking Phillipe Starck colander that goes for $268. Even with the accompanying inner shell that converts it to a bowl, vase, or champagne bucket, that's a whole lot of linguini.
Web Site Answers Questions About Dogs
Maybe there is such thing as a stupid question - but that's no excuse for a nasty answer. One haven for gentle answers to any and all questions you may have concerning dogs is http://timbreblue.com/ petdogs-l/flyer.htm.
Subscribers to this 800-member list include rescuers, breeders, trainers, behaviorists - and plain old newbies who can learn from the collective wisdom without any attendant attitude.
A Creditable Source
At best, a credit card gets you a free 30-day loan, right? Wrong. Beyond the numerous cards that offer frequent-flier miles and other reward points, several kick back 1 or 2 percent of your total purchases in real, live U.S. dollars. Credit Card Goodies (www.creditcardgoodies.com), a side project of Web developer Peter Flur of Charlotte, is a valuable resource for details on these deals. Its "Grapevine" section collects news tips about new and revised card offers, while an interactive Java graph (under "Your Best Choice") compares the rebate savings of five popular credit cards at various spending levels. Or click on "Subjective Analysis" to get Flur's own assessment -- as well as a helpful reminder that credit card issuers make money on each transaction, even before collecting interest from cardholders, so it's only fair for some to share a bit of this wealth.
Web Sites Help With Pet Pictures
Photographing dogs isn't easy: In addition to such species-wide calamities as red eye, you also have to contend with tooth-snagged tongues and distracting collar tags.
At www.dogphoto.com/dogRead/, you'll find useful and upbeat critiques of pooch photos previously discussed on DogRead, an online book discussion group. While there, you can order a CD-ROM or digital download of 'How to Photograph Dogs," by site owners Kerrin Winter and Dale Churchill, which discusses everything from choosing the right lens to going pro. (It's also available in traditional form at www.Amazon.com.) To join the DogRead list (which is currently discussing dog showing), visit http://groups.yahoo.com/, and search for "DogRead." And horse lovers can clock in to the related www.EquinePhoto.com.
Reconciling Cats and Dogs
Noah made it look easy, but sometimes having a household of different species can be less than harmonious. Two sites, www.dogswithcats.com and www.sfgsrescue.org/cat.html, devote themselves to reconciling two supposedly mortal enemies.
Bottom line for establishing canine-feline detente: Take it slow, and never let the four-footers forget that it is you, the human, who is in charge.
Web Sites Provide Pet Shelter Help
When the weather outside is frightful, your dog should be inside.
That said, if you're thinking of indulging your inner Bob Vizsla -- er, Villa -- consult www.mikestrong.com/doghouse. Helpful and erudite at the same time, this site offers some useful tips in constructing a canine condo.
At www.doghouseplans.com, you'll have to pay for instructions on how to build what the site says is 'the most used doghouse by law enforcement officers in Ontario." (Hey, if it's good enough for the Mounties ...)
Tap Into Gangster Chat
www.wmob.com: It's enough to give Tony Soprano agita! As if those guys from the TheSmokingGun.com aren't making enough trouble, what with their publishing all those embarrassing court papers and stuff online. Now, they've got this new Web site where they play recordings of FBI wiretaps! Yup, every Wednesday you can hear a new installment of the "Frank & Fritzy Show" -- that's Frank "Frankie California" Condo and Federico "Fritzy" Giovanelli, a coupla reputed Genovese crime family members whose phone conversations were taped over a six-month period in 1985-86.
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