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Issue 7 - March 1997

Issue 8 - April 1997

Issue 9 - June 1997


This month's subject is science and technology. Bar pornography, a large proportion of the web consists of output from institutions, wannabee scientists, and companies involved in research into future technologies. Some of it is genuinely interesting; no more of the old image of white coats wearing glasses, poring over funny coloured test tubes.

The Visible Human Project is a US Government funded project to explore the entire human body, by slicing thin sections of two human bodies. The results are then digitised and turned into 3D models, enabling you to travel through the body, identifying the various organs, just like in that film Fantastic Voyage.

Sorry to blow my own trumpet, but I studied geology at school, and ashamedly left it to pursue a career in multimedia (more like bumming through it rather than pursuing it). But someday I would have produced a site much like this one, The Geologists Lifetime Field List, a comprehensive guide to the places of the world that every budding petrologer should visit before they die. It sounds an unlikely place to have a good time, but you cannot help but warm to the enthusiastic presentation and writing style, which links to some superb webpages.

Onto a bit of astronomy now. The Official Comet Hale-Bopp Website is the perfect record of the wondrous sight seen in the night sky during the months of March, April and a bit of May [1997]. My brother managed to take a photograph of it, and was not bad, for a shot done without a decent tripod. Well worth seeing.

The comet has gone now for another couple of thousand years, but in case you missed it, this link contains everything you need to know about the comet, plus some wonderful pictures. The biggest place to find anything to do with space is of course NASA. They certainly do not skimp on information and images here. If you are prepared to wait a while, you will have a great time surfing around its wares.

And now we come to a fine page all about particle physics. Not a particularly interesting subject on the face of it, but this webpage, The Guide to Ultimate Reality, will give you a rather different impression of things. Go and have a look and see for yourself why over 11000 people have visited the page.

Now we cannot leave out the amateur scientists in this article. There are many, and most have put their research on the net. One example of amateur science at its best (or worst, that depends on you) is Martin's Mazes, where dedication comes in the form of the construction of rats mazes, running the rats around them, and taking down the results for all to see. Hmmm. Do you think he has friends?

Despite its recent problems, such as (hey!) radioactive leaks, British Nuclear Fuels Limited still manage to chug along [bearing in mind I wrote this three years ago, my previous comment still stands!], giving us a possible power source of the future... yeah right.

Ever been to the Natural History Museum? No? Well, then they have gone online, for the benefit of those who do not want to put up with fanatical schoolkids pestering them at their feet. All that's missing is the wonderful experience of the earthquake simulator. I went on it, but it was more like a typical day's travel on the Underground.

Here's a glimpse into the future, understanding the ins and outs of brain damage, with the aid of a parrot. Communication with Parrots is about the work of Dr Irene Pepperberg, and her pretty polly Alex, who can not only imitate human voices but even their behavior. Quite how all this is connected with brain damage is anyone's guess - maybe she has performed vivisection on Alex, and doesn't want to tell anyone. You decide for yourself when you take a look.

Want to see the new technological fashions of the next millennium? Then why not try going here to Smart Clothes where computers will one day be wearable, if these guy's theories are anything to go by. Personally, I don't want to attract thieves and pickpockets with my keyboard jacket linked to my monitor glasses. Make 'em a bit smaller, and then we may take you seriously.

To conclude this whirlwind tour of science, we return to astronomy, and a subject that could not have escaped your attention back in August 1996. Namely, the discovery of life on Mars. Today, further research has revealed that the so called specks of previously existing life present on the asteroids that landed in Antarctica, were found to be untrue. But the site, Life on Mars run by Scientific American provides a good ongoing collection of articles and news stories regarding not just the leading subject, but other items of interest, such as planned missions to the red planet, and British involvement in the rapidly dissipating Russian Space Programme. Oh dear.

© Stephen Scott March/June 1997 [tweaked April 2000]

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