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(010403) 2001 Mars Odyssey
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/2001/orbiter/index.html

NASA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California, USA

The 2001 Mars Odyssey Orbiter is scheduled for launch on April 7 and is expected to be in an orbit of Mars in October. Changes from the original mission plan include a rebuild of the Gamma Ray Spectrometer lost with the with the Mars Observer mission. Intended to map the composition of the surface of Mars and to measure hydrogen below the surface, the Gamma Ray Spectrometer is just one of three major instruments on the 2001 Mars Odyssey Orbiter. These pages give the progress of the pre-launch and post-launch stages, tests, and inspections of the craft. The live pictures of the final preparations from Launch Pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/2001/orbiter/webcam.html) add a nice touch to this site.  (Back to top of page)


(010404) Sign Up for Mars!
Mars Exploration Rover - 2003
http://spacekids.hq.nasa.gov/2003/

a part of

SpaceKids - Space Science for Kids
http://spacekids.hq.nasa.gov/

Office of Space Science
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

With preparations underway for the launch of the 2001 Mars Odyssey (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/2001/orbiter/index.html) (SdJotD 010403), NASA is also working on the second and third parts of a combined mission. Scheduled for launch in late May and early June of 2003, the two Mars Rovers are expected to land on the Martian surface during January 2004. Each will be self-contained allowing them travel up to 100 meters a day across the Martian surface. In addition to their scientific purpose, one of the Mars Rovers will carry a Compact Disc with the names of children and adults who have signed up for the mission. NASA has opened up the possibility for us to travel to Mars, at least in name, several times in the past. Once visitors have signed up they will be able to view and/or print a commemorative certificate that includes the mission name and states that they are participating in this project. This is a variation on the first call for boarding on this mission, Sign Up for Mars! (http://spacekids.hq.nasa.gov/2001/) (SdJotD 990510). If you think that you have already signed up please search for your name as you would have entered it (http://spacekids.hq.nasa.gov/2003/namequery.htm) if for no other reason than to eliminate a redundancy which could result in your name being completely removed when the database is filtered for duplicates.  (Back to top of page)


(010405) Consumer Action
Marketplace education and advocacy for the Consumer
http://www.consumer-action.org/

Consumer Action
San Francisco, California, USA

Since 1971, the non-profit Consumer Action organization has been providing useful information to individuals in such areas as banking, credit, HMOs, insurance, and utilities. Consumer advocacy is another strong suit for Consumer Action. The material here will be of most use to US residents, especially those in California but the content is available in a number of languages in addition to English. Pointers to well over 100 other sites of interest to consumers along with original content makes this a very handy site for anyone who buys stuff.  (Back to top of page)


(010406) Seed Savers Exchange
http://www.seedsavers.org/index.htm

Seed Savers Exchange
Decorah, Iowa, USA

Founded in 1975 by Kent and Diane Whealy, the Seed Savers Exchange dedicated to the promotion of heirloom seeds. Operating 12 organic Preservation Gardens and an Historic Orchard at Heritage Farms in Decorah, Iowa and the Seed Savers Garden Store at Madison, Wisconsin, the 8,000 members of Seed Savers grow and distribute a living catalog of over 18,000 varieties of heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Commercial seed growers have steadily reduced the number of varieties offered during the past 60 years. In effect limiting the choices home gardeners have and in some cases, eliminating the lines from which the seed companies developed their fancy hybrids. For example, "In 1900 there were 7,000 named varieties of apples in the U. S., but 5,000 are now extinct and the rest are steadily dying out."

In an ongoing attempt to preserve an agricultural heritage, "Seed Savers has attempted to obtain cuttings of every 19th century apple variety that still exists in government and private collections. Today the Historic Orchard at Heritage Farm contains 700 19th century varieties that are on display to the public, by far the largest display of apples in the U.S." Apples are just the beginning, many of the plants being grown and saved originally came to North America with migration — some date back thousands of years and only exist in a small number of locations today. With the growing season fast approaching in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, giving an heirloom variety a chance might be worth a try. The Seed Savers Exchange site has information about membership opportunities, their operations, and more.

"Imagine a seed catalogue with thousands of varieties of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and beans. As a member of SSE you'll have access to over 11,000 unique varieties of heirloom vegetables, fruits, grains, flowers and herbs through the Seed Savers annual yearbook. Every year you'll receive the yearbook listing available varieties, their characteristics and histories, and information on how to access them through other members."  (Back to top of page)


(010407) Seeds of Change Garden
http://www.mnh.si.edu/garden/welcome.html

Smithsonian Institution
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Seeds of Change was originally developed as a 1992 exhibit for the National Museum of Natural History to help visitors to the museum understand the impact the voyage of Christopher Columbus had on the world. Exploring the exchanges and consequences made by two worlds, both positive and negative. Along side the exhibit, a project took shape at the nearby Abingdon Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. The Seeds of Change Garden gave children and adults the opportunity to exchange elements of different cultures through food, from the ground up. The Smithsonian Women's Committee and the U. S. Department of Agriculture have developed the Seeds of Change Garden site to continue the educational experiences created by these two programs through its elementary level curriculum guide which combines language arts, social studies, math, science, and other skills. The original garden at Abingdon was made up of three plots. Two Old World Gardens the first with plants indigenous to Europe, Asia, and Africa and the New World Garden had plants indigenous to the Americas prior to Columbus's voyages. The Exchange Garden let students grow seeds from traditional fruits and vegetables they may have enjoyed at home. The Seeds of Change Garden site is perfect for parents and educators who are interested in teaching students about the global impact Columbus had over 500 years ago. (Back to top of page)


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(010408) The End of the Internet
http://www.shibumi.org/eoti.htm

Dan Hughes
Richfield, Ohio, USA

_________________________________

Shutdown the Internet
http://www.turnofftheinternet.com/

Justin Frankel
Sedona, Arizona, USA

Suggested by Phil Konstantin, The End of the Internet is as it sounds. Phil's advice of "Use it wisely" is fairly sound but probably more appropriate for the unrelated Shutdown the Internet. My advice — unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing, performing an Internet shutdown can be tricky. Proceed at your own risk. (Back to top of page)


(010409) Wilson's Almanac at Yahoo! Groups
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WilsonsAlmanac

Wilson's Almanac and Planetary Links Directory
http://www.wilsonsalmanac.f2s.com/

Pip Wilson
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Wilson's Almanac is made up of three parts — a daily e-mail message, messages from days past at Yahoo! Groups, and a set of pointers to related sites. Similar to any number of On This Day sites and messages in the respect that Pip Wilson lists historical events and birthdays. Wilson's Almanac goes further with the inclusion of images, sounds, and a daily site review. The overall difference is in the fact that Wilson's Almanac has a leaning toward spirituality, mythology, and religion. This is not to say that Wilson's Almanac is a religious publication. The material in Wilson's Almanac, although intended for a general audience does occasionally contain elements that some may find offensive. The daily Wilson's Almanac message is formatted using HTML and is sent with file attachments which can become cumbersome. Interested parties will most certainly want to explore Wilson's Almanac at Yahoo! Groups before signing up. There is a lot going on at the various Wilson's Almanac pages and as time goes on the focus may become tighter. A relatively new project started on the first of the year, Wilson's Almanac has a nice mix of light material that many Site du Jour of the Day readers may enjoy. (Back to top of page)


(010410) No Junk Free Stuff
http://www.nojunkfree.com

Jason Kusner
Westerville, Ohio, USA

There are a lot of sites out there that have listings and links to free stuff — manufacturers product samples, propaganda bombs, magazine subscriptions, etc. Few of these sites display any discrimination in the area of quality and wading through the offers can be a chore. No Junk Free Stuff, as the name implies, lists some of the most valuable free things available without all of the static. Taking the qualification idea to a wonderful extreme, samples are listed as The Best Samples, The Okay Samples, The Regular Samples, and even in the follow-up area called The Received Samples. There's not only samples here, free Internet items listed include e-mail and dial-up access offers, freeware and shareware, games, and newsletters. A third section has a host of listings for folks who maintain a site or would like to — all for the rock bottom price of free. Pointers to other free stuff sites around the world makes No Junk Free Stuff interesting to visitors in places other than North America. Quality is the rule here and most listings are well annotated. As always, a Post Office Box and a secondary e-mail address both come in quite handy when ordering free stuff and don't be surprised if you are asked for personal information at the sites offering the free stuff. (Back to top of page)


(010411) Yossie's Handcuff Collection
http://www.blacksteel.com/hcs.html (frames)
http://www.blacksteel.com/hcs-noframes.html (free of frames)

Yossie Silverman
San Francisco, California, USA

Unless you have been involved in the military, either end of law enforcement, the field of mental health, or have… um, unusual hobbies like say magic, you may be unaware of the types of devices used for human restraint. Yossie's Handcuff Collection provides a look at a large number of such things. Actually seven collections on display as one, this combination of images and text offers an overview of modern and historical restraints. Listed by type, manufacturer, and trade names, the collection increases on a regular basis. Not the sort of site you see every day, Yossie's Handcuff Collection had me amazed by the variety and detail provided. (Back to top of page)


(010412) Ask Jeeves: Peek Through the Keyhole
http://www.askjeeves.com/docs/peek/

Ask Jeeves, Inc.
Emeryville, California, USA

Lots of people ask our old buddy Jeeves questions about finding resources on the Internet. Some of these questions are worth asking and Jeeves could possibly be an individual's best source, questions like Where can I participate in a virtual pig dissection? or How much water should I drink each day? or Where can I learn how to apply eyebrow pencil and tweeze my eyebrows? and maybe even How can I learn to set an allowance? Other inquiries, the likes of How can I find out if that special someone likes me? or How do I make dried flowers? or Where can I buy albums from HearMusic.com? or What do I need to know about termites? are all closing in on the obvious but it's possible that Jeeves could help. Some searches though are puzzlers, what exactly did the searcher have in mind and was Jeeves able to help? — Where can I see pictures of adults? How can I make the science project bubble bomb at home? Where can I find a directory of information related to organizations? Will my high speed internet connection really be faster?

These were all requests submitted at Ask Jeeves (http://www.askjeeves.com/), requests appearing during the 30 automatic reloads a single visit to Ask Jeeves: Peek Through the Keyhole provided. Ideal for those times when you're not sure what it is you're looking for. There seems to be a degree of language filtration going on but on occasion a questionable term makes it through. There's no way to find out who is searching for what, but I'd feel comfortable betting that the same person asked the following questions: Where can I buy beds for my home? and Where can I buy furniture for my bathroom online? One is left to wonder if this person has worked out that whole mortgage thingy. (Back to top of page)


(010413) United States Department of Agriculture's Home Page
http://www.usda.gov

United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Founded in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture not only helps the farmers in this country, they also administer the Food Stamp, School Lunch, School Breakfast, and WIC Programs. The United States Department of Agriculture minds over 190 million acres of National Forests and rangelands. Conservation and assistance in the areas of telecommunications and drinking water for rural America as well as inspection of meat, poultry, and egg products are additional concerns. This site for The United States Department of Agriculture contains information about The People's Department and the work they do. Countering the threat of Foot and Mouth Disease entering the United States has been a big push for The United States Department of Agriculture and visitors will find news updates, tips for travelers about avoiding contamination on the return trip, and general background information on the subject including pointers to sites containing information about the spread of this disease in other parts of the world. An important and impressive government site well worth making a bookmark for. (Back to top of page)


(010414) Die singende Säge
http://www.datacomm.ch/fesch/

The Musical Saw
http://www.datacomm.ch/fesch/musicalsaw.html

Alfons Eschle
Laufen, Switzerland

A little on the technical side, these two versions of the same site introduce as new method of playing the musical saw. Available in German and English language versions with photographs, audio files, and instructions galore. Die singende Säge - The Musical Saw could change the way people think about an instrument normally associated in the United States with rural gentlemen tanked up on home brewed liquor sitting around on the front porch blowing into empty jugs. (Back to top of page)


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(010415) Kite Musical Instruments and Aeolian Instruments
Drachen-Musik-Instrumente und andere Aeolsinstrumente

http://members.aol.com/woinem1/index/

Uli Wahl
Weinheim, Germany

This site explores the concept of taking an Aeolian Harp, an instrument played by natural air currents, one step further. Mastered in ancient China, the practice of tuning natural materials such as bamboo to vibrate in the wind is seeing a new popularity as a result of the introduction of synthetic materials. Detailed instructions for building and using traditional aeolian technologies can be found here along with a number of audio files that give a decent idea of how things should work. In addition to be substituted for traditional materials, synthetics play a key role in a section titled The Sound of the Kite-Line (http://members.aol.com/woinem1/index/leinen.htm#Music). With spring winds picking up here in the Northern Hemisphere, the projects included at Kite Musical Instruments and Aeolian Instruments could be the perfect diversion for children and adults enjoying vacations during the coming week. Available in both German and English language versions, Kite Musical Instruments and Aeolian Instruments has something for every skill and/or interest level. Be sure to look at the section on the Wolfsziegel or Wolf-Tile (http://members.aol.com/woinem1/index/wolftile.htm) — it's is one of the most clever examples of weather forecasting technology ever seen. (Back to top of page)


(010416) Great Plains Kite Aerial Photography
http://www.emporia.edu/kite/kaphome.htm

James S. and Susan W. Aber
Emporia State University
Emporia, Kansas, USA

_________________________________

Ichikawa's Kite Aerial Photography Home Page
http://plaza7.mbn.or.jp/~JKPA/

Yasunori Ichikawa
Tokyo, Japan

_________________________________

Kite Aerial Photography
http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/index.html      (SdJotD 970404)

Charles C. Benton
Berkeley, California, USA

_________________________________

Kite Aerial Photography - Anshori Djausal
http://www.unila.ac.id/~djausal/kap/

Anshori Djausal
Bandar Lampung, Indonesia

_________________________________

Kite Aerial Photography - Simon Harbord
http://www.harb85.freeserve.co.uk/

Simon Harbord
Kemnay, Scotland

If the subject of making music with a kite isn't your pie in the sky (Kite Musical Instruments and Aeolian Instruments (http://members.aol.com/woinem1/index/) (SdJotD 010415)), then maybe sending a camera aloft is a better challenge. These sites all explore Kite Aerial Photography, an art form invented very nearly at the birth of photography in the mid-1800s. Any one of these sites could stand alone as Site du Jour of the Day but with all of the great things to see around the world it seemed better to feature them all. Each contain descriptions of the various techniques used to make pictures from a birds-eye view, and the galleries are all outstanding.

The Great Plains Kite Aerial Photography is in place for the Geospatial Analysis Program at Emporia State University. Kite Aerial Photography is being used to study the forest canopy as part of Earth science research at Emporia State University under the Kansas NASA EPSCoR Program.

Ichikawa's Kite Aerial Photography Home Page is a Japanese and English language site that has a fine collection of images. The pointers to a couple of kite exhibitions and festivals as well photographs made by Yasunori Ichikawa

Charles C. Benton's Kite Aerial Photography site was originally featured as Site du Jour of the Day back on April 4, 1997 and bears another look for the stunning images of the San Francisco area. A gem of a site.

Kite Aerial Photography is relatively new in Indonesia and Anshori Djausal has been busy at it. An English language site with technical information and a pleasant gallery.

Simon Harbord's site shares a fine batch of photographs and details about a number of trips through the UK taking pictures. Castles are plenty and so are the oddities — the 3D KAP stuff is wonderful and the Circus page has images that usually only show up in dreams. (Back to top of page)


(010417) Dover Publications
http://www.doverpublications.com

Dover Publications, Inc.
Mineola, New York, USA

a division of
Courier Corporation
North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, USA

It's taken a while, but Dover Publications finally has a site! Founded in 1946 and recently acquired by the Courier Corporation (http://www.courier.com/), Dover has published Public Domain clip-art and low-cost paperbacks of special interest material in over 40 categories. While direct mail order and traditional retail sales through bookstores will remain in place for the company, consumers can now order from the entire line and have the material in as little as 3 days.

Said Clarence Strowbridge, President of Dover, "We are thrilled to bring our wide-ranging list of books to the consumer via the Internet for the first time. It's a new way for the more than half a million customers who buy directly from Dover to keep informed about and purchase our books. It's also a marvelous way to promote sales through bookstores and other retail outlets across the country. Through our website, customers will be able to discover more quickly and efficiently than ever books on the diverse topics sought after by today's readers. The Internet is the perfect vehicle for making available the wealth of titles Dover offers, and we're pleased to be using it to give customers fast and easy access to the books they love.''

If you have never experienced the fine products published by Dover, this site will be a bonanza. For those already familiar with Dover, this site was well worth the wait. Launched on March 8th, 2001 the site will continue to grow as Dover adds approximately 40 new books per month to the catalog of over 7,500 current titles. At present, shipping is limited to addresses in the United States but that will soon change. Wow, Dover Publications finally has a site! (Back to top of page)


(010418) Census 2000 Home Page
http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/2khome.htm

Bureau of the Census
United States Department of Commerce
Suitland, Maryland, USA

The U.S. Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/) (SdJotD 000314) has started releasing data from the most recent Decennial Census of the United States and from other parts of Census 2000. The Census 2000 Home Page contains all sorts of information about the Census and how it was performed but the most useful aspect of the site is probably the American FactFinder (http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet). Visitors can access thematic maps, reports, and tables through the handy interface used at the site. Based on the data collected, the April 1, 2000 Resident Population of the US was 281,421,906 with the Mean Center of Population for the United States (http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/cntpop2k.html) moving further west again. One element of the Decennial Census data which is always exciting is Metropolitan Areas Ranked by Percent Population Change: 1990 to 2000 (http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/phc-t3/tab05.txt). In the number two position this time around is Naples, Florida, growing in ten years by 65.3% to 251,377 residents. This comes as no surprise to those of us living in Southwest Florida — landing at number 20 was Fort Myers/Cape Coral, growing by 31.6% to 440,888 residents. Much of the prepared information is available to download as ASCII, Excel, or PDF files. For those who wonder who we are as a country this is the site to see. (Back to top of page)


(010419) The Cornfield MAiZE
http://www.cornfieldmaze.com/

Brett Herbst
Orem, Utah, USA

Working a well-crafted maze provides pleasure for many. When a maze is large enough to walk through it turns into an entirely different puzzle. Popular with nobility for centuries, the process of planting hedges to create a maze has found a new twist. In 1996 Brett Herbst turned an ordinary corn field at American Fork, Utah into "Good Farmin' Fun" by crafting his first MAiZE. This hobby has since grown to become the largest corn maze company in the world — The MAiZE. With over one hundred such plantings, Cornfield MAiZEs have attracted nearly three quarters of a million people and has companies and civic organizations rethinking their traditional haunted houses and autumn fund-raisers. The MAiZE can now be found in 32 states and 3 provinces. The Cornfield MAiZE site has pictures, a listing of this coming season's locations, and more. Because they love to see a return on their investment it bears mentioning that The MAiZE is sponsored by the world’s largest seed supplier, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. (http://www.pioneer.com/). Thanks to Linda Madon for the fine suggestion. (Back to top of page)


(010420) The CueJack FAQ
http://rtmark.com/cuejack/

Cue P. Doll
®TMark
San Francisco, California, USA

Billed as Parodyware, CueJack is a Windows program that utilizes the :CueCat reader (SdJotD 000919), the small consumer-end LED code scanner introduced by Convergence Technologies, Inc. (http://www.digitalconvergence.com/) and RadioShack (http://radioshack.com/). Instead of using the hardware to provide propaganda in the form of advertising as the :CueCat system was intended, CueJack takes the information entered from the scanned Uniform Product Code* and through a somewhat elaborate chain of events, takes users to a site "with 'alternative information' about the product's company". The information provided is not always flattering for the company and is readily available using most search engines — provided the user knows what to filter out. As Cue P. Doll states, "This could be information about corporate abuse, boycotts against the company - even how much money the company is making, their corporate image as presented to shareholders, etc.". Available as a free download CueJack currently only operates on machines running a member of the Windows family, the original :CueCat reader software does not need to be installed. A version for Linux is coming soon. As a reminder, with any new hardware or software installation, it is always a good idea to perform a complete system backup just in case things don't go the way the instructions say they should.

*The UPC was invented in 1973 by George J. Laurer (http://members.aol.com/productupc/) at IBM for The Uniform Grocery Product Code Council, now the Uniform Product Code Council. (Back to top of page)


(010421) Lettuce Ladies.com
http://www.lettuceladies.com/

and almost as an afterthought on PETA's part

Lettuce Ladies.com :: Meet the Broccoli Boys
http://www.lettuceladies.com/broc.html

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Using Cheesecake and Beefcake isn't the way most people would opt to promote the benefits of vegetarianism and being kind to animals. Not so for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (http://www.peta-online.org/), "Wearing nothing but strategically placed lettuce leaves, PETA’s Lettuce Ladies raise eyebrows and open minds as they travel the country, educating people about vegetarianism and serving up delicious veggie food". It brings to mind a novelty spy-scope I saw once as a kid — you'd look through and see what was either a tiny donkey upon a piece of garden fruit or a regular sized donkey upon a giant garden fruit. The caption inside read "Did you see the ass on that tomato?" I still don't exactly know what it was supposed to mean. (Back to top of page)


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(010422) Australian Sustainable Energy
http://ee.unsw.edu.au/~p2139851/alten-au.html

Stephen Pritchard
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

_________________________________

British Wind Energy Association
http://www.britishwindenergy.co.uk/

British Wind Energy Association
London, England

Both part of the Renewable Energy Webring (http://nav.webring.yahoo.com/hub?ring=renewable&list), these two sites explore alternatives to traditional sources of energy. Australian Sustainable Energy has pointers to sites in Australia, topics include Biomass, Geothermal, Solar Thermal, and Tidal and Wave energy. The site for the British Wind Energy Association provides news and information from the trade group. Offshore wind farms are in place or under development throughout the United Kingdom and the energy source could prove to be a viable solution for many coastal areas. For more on this technology see Wind Energy: The Danish Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (http://www.windpower.dk/) (SdJotD 990129). (Back to top of page)


(010423) Q. - USB Hard Drives
Agaté Technologies - Hot Technologies, Cool Solutions!
http://www.agatetech.com/products_q.html

Agaté Technologies
Cerritos, California, USA

Agaté Technologies (http://www.agatetech.com/) has a clever new product with their Q. - USB Hard Drives. Small enough to fit in a pocket, Q. - USB Hard Drives come in three flavors, the Silver 16 megabyte model, the Purple 32 megabyte model, and the Graphite 64 megabyte model. Any one of these solid-state devices would be ideal for situations where space is at a premium. The non-volatile flash memory module plugs right into an available USB port, requires no external power source and in a word, is handy. Q. - USB Hard Drives may not gain in popularity as quickly without a Macintosh driver set and that could spell obscurity for the product.

Something similar occurred with another Q storage device, the SparQ 1.0 Gigabyte drive (http://syquest.com/products/m_sparq.html) from SyQuest Technology Inc. A cost-effective and reliable portable drive with removable media that never quite took off. That a Macintosh version was never introduced may not have had as much to do with the poor reception the drive received — it could have been that one-time industry leader SyQuest Technology Inc. was already going out of business when the SparQ 1.0 Gigabyte drive was being introduced to the market. The company now known as SYQT (http://syquest.com/) continues to sell what wasn't sold off to Iomega Corporation (http://iomega.com/) but the prices on hardware and media have increased and unfortunately the SparQ 1.0 Gigabyte drive is more of a curiosity than a standard these days. With any luck, Agaté Technologies will be able to establish the Q. - USB Hard Drives as an industry standard, Hot Technologies, Cool Solutions! indeed. (Back to top of page)


(010424) NewZoid
Headlines From Parallel Worlds
http://www.newzoid.com/

Daniel Young
New York, New York, USA

"It is often best to introduce a great truth in the form of an amusement."

- Professor Daniel D. Young

Sucking headlines right out of the ether, NewZoid harnesses the newly discovered overlap of parallel worlds. Many of the headlines listed at NewZoid may seem familiar because of the whole parallel thing, yet they are different somehow. The technologies used are not fully explained at the site but it would stand to logic that this project is similar to SETI@home (http://www.setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/) (SdJotD 990427) and YETI@Home (http://www.phobe.com/yeti/) (SdJotD 000109) in that visitors are encouraged to monitor the transmissions and filter out the garbage. Sometimes it would seem that the headlines coming from parallel worlds are making fun of us here: Unknown Scot To Honor Jackie at Cannes - Strong China Reaction Greeting Shuttle Visitors - Israel, Palestinians Delay South Pole Evacuation of Doctor - Colombian Refugees Urge Caution During Bike Week - and my favorite so far - R.E.M. To Celebrate Kennedy's Style. Visitors can flag the headlines which make the most sense and the best of the day are archived. If nothing else, a visit to NewZoid will make you think harder than if you were looking at the TV or most newspapers — headlines updated every time you reload! (Back to top of page)


(010425) [SafeClimate]
http://www.safeclimate.net/

World Resources Institute
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

[SafeClimate] looks at climate change and the impact businesses and individuals can make in reversing the damage being done. Carbon dioxide emissions and energy use are two of the areas where the largest impact can be seen, and a set of calculators allow visitors to determine their contribution. Sponsored by the Shell Foundation's Sustainable Energy Programme (http://www.shellfoundation.org/), The New York Community Trust, and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (http://www.macfound.org/), [SafeClimate] contains news articles, a library of documents and tips for lowering energy consumption and pollution rates. The World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org/) "provides information, ideas, and solutions to global environmental problems". Their full site is also worth a visit. Thanks to Johnny Dixon for the suggestion. (Back to top of page)


(010426) 20Q.net
Twenty Questions - The neural-net on the Internet
http://20q.net/

Robin Burgener
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

This is such an entertaining game. As children, my siblings and I would beg our parents to play this game at the dinner table. When Site du Jour of the Day reader Vesa Lehtinen suggested it in a message containing the URLs for a half a dozen sites there was no question about featuring it. In a few rounds played back and forth while writing this episode, I was able to stump 20Q.net with a 45 RPM record and a bank check. Nothing to be too proud of, new items in the database add to the complexity of the game or rather the artificial intelligence displayed by 20Q.net. While playing bear in mind that the way questions are answered also helps in shaping the way future questions are asked. The version of Twenty Questions as I know it only allows for yes or no answers — 20Q.net utilizes Yes, No, Irrelevant, Unknown, Sometimes, Maybe, Probably, Doubtful, Usually, Depends, Rarely, and Partly as options. The confusion caused by these choices will ultimately toughen up the machine but until then results of the game suffer. In one game, I was thinking of a key and after beating 20Q.net a list of contradictions came up. The following statements were included in that list, "You do need a key to go bowling," "You cannot bend a key without breaking it," "You cannot read a key," and "A key is not a scientific instrument". As for a key not being a scientific instrument, technically 20Q.net was correct but try flying a kite in a thunderstorm using silk thread with a key attached to the line. Keep a finger or two on the key for a while, and when you wake up tell us what you have discovered about electricity in the atmosphere. With that all in mind, either play with 20Q.net as if it were a child instead of a machine or be as brutal as possible — either way it will "learn". 20Q.net is a lot of fun and it doesn't refuse to play another round of the game when it cannot figure out that Clint Howard was the answer. (Back to top of page)


(010427) Nicolas Clauss
http://www.flyingpuppet.com

Nicolas Clauss
Paris, France

Artist Nicolas Clauss has combined elements of music, dance, photography, and painting into amazingly subtle works presented as Shockwave files. This site could take a little bit of time to navigate and thoroughly enjoy, but it will be time well spent. These files load quickly and are often more than they seem at first. In particular, the piece called Cellos (http://www.flyingpuppet.com/shock/cellos.htm) — easily one of the most stunning Shockwave files I've ever experienced. (Back to top of page)


(010428) The Internet Cello Society
http://www.cello.org/index.htm

The Internet Cello Society
Ellensburg, Washington, USA

The Internet Cello Society is made up of over 4,700 registered members around the world, all with a common goal — to share their knowledge and joy of the violoncello. This extensive site contains news and information for members, a Featured Artist section, recording reviews, music downloads, pointers to related sites including those of amateur and professional cellists, and a lot more. Geared more toward the player than the listener, the site for The Internet Cello Society still provides enough information to be interesting to most anyone curious about the violoncello. In particular the section titled Cello Introduction. (Back to top of page)


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For a wide selection of Music, Movies, and More


(010429) Everything 2
http://everything2.com/

The Everything Development Company
Blockstackers Inc.
Holland, Michigan, USA

Suggested by Site du Jour of the Day reader Charlie Lester, Everything 2 is in essence a Message Board gone berserk. Unlike Message Boards, Everything 2 currently covers hundreds of thousands of subjects or in this case, nodes — a conservative estimate of no value in the grand scheme of things. Over time the goal is to cover everything, to become the encyclopedia of human knowledge. Started approximately two years ago, there are almost half a million edited writeups and the database increases by hundreds every day. Best observed before participating, it could take a while to understand the mechanics of Everything 2. The Everything FAQ (http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Everything%20FAQ) and Everything University (http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Everything%20University) should be read before starting out. One of the things that makes Everything 2 so interesting is in the fact that pointers to other nodes are embedded in each writeup and a list of related nodes can be found at the bottom of most every page. As Charlie wrote about Everything 2, "Beware… it can become very habit forming!!". (Back to top of page)


(010430) Thai Elephant Conservation Center
http://www.thaielephant.com/

Thai Elephant Conservation Center
Lampang, Thailand

_________________________________

Mulatta Records: Thai Elephant Orchestra
http://www.mulatta.org/Thaielephantorch.html

Ayo Osinibi and Dave Soldier
Mulatta Records
New York, New York, USA

Once a government logging camp, the Thai Elephant Conservation Center is now home to rescued or retired elephants who are not only the subject of public awareness, but are also participants. Elephants have been working and performing for humans for thousands of years, painting and music are two recent tricks. Many of the residents of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center support the programs by entertaining tourists and six such elephants have released a Compact Disc on Mulatta Records (http://www.mulatta.org/index.html). Co-founded by Richard Lair of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center and label co-owner/performer/composer/neurologist Dave Soldier, The Thai Elephant Orchestra play Jumbofied versions of traditional Thai instruments. Original plans called for editing of the noises into something else, but after a couple of sessions things changed. The six members of the band worked together to produce actual music with distinct meters and melody. In an attempt to determine if the elephants were just getting lucky or if harmony factored into their behavior they played a trick on the xylophonist. Prathida, "the Fritz Kreisler of elephants," according to Dave Soldier not only surprised the crew but probably herself, "I put one bad note in the middle of her xylophone. She avoided playing that note - until one day she started playing it and wouldn't stop. Had she discovered dissonance, and discovered that she liked it? She outsmarted the researchers".

Most of the profits from the sale of the Thai Elephant Orchestra Compact Disc will go to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center and the album can be ordered at the Mulatta Records site. There are two sample tracks from the album and news articles from a number of sources there as well. Additional information about the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, including photographs can be found at the site for the center. With captive and wild populations of Asian Elephants in Thailand in serious danger, projects like the Thai Elephant Orchestra may seem cruel to some but if the species is helped in even the smallest way maybe it isn't all that bad. (Back to top of page)


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Copyright 2001, Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
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Updated April 30, 2001

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