From the wild to the somewhat woolly

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Wild Places!

The laws protecting wildlife in the UK look good on paper but are lacking in tooth and claw, according to this latest Friends of the Earth page. Conservation areas designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are identified here with a Java-powered map, and users can zoom in from on high to a local level, picking out the ones closest to them. Next step is the inevitable template MP letter, pressing the government to honour its commitment to act more effectively against the predations of landowners and industry. Good news for the the wildcat, Red Kite, Black Poplar, Adonis Blue butterfly and other rare species listed here, and perhaps even for the common or garden ladybird, twitching its antennae rather fetchingly on the title page.

Zany Zeitgeist

This site is less about surfing the zeitgeist than trawling its murkier depths, in search of captive Great Thinkers who should have known better. Famous philosophers are profiled with the aim of showing how far the most independent and progressive of them were embedded in the prejudices of their time. We are given Schopenhauer on women as the "unaesthetic" sex; David Hume on the insensitivity of "Laplanders and Negroes" to fine wine; and Neitszche: "everything about woman has one solution: it is called pregnancy." Our own assumptions will seem just as dodgy in a century or two, warns the webmeister, a 19-year-old, first-year philosophy student at Bristol. Shows promise: needs more philosophers.

Ulysses for Dummies

The title says it all: if Windows 95 can be made scrutable, so can a modern classic or two. With Joyce scholarship reduced to an endless squabble over the positioning of hyphens, many readers are turning instead to this streamlined cartoon version, which aspires to the clarity of a software manual. Eighteen tableaux depict key moments from the novel, though the stream of consciousness has slowed to a trickle. The characters don't even have faces. Reductive, perhaps, but it's so hard to find time for reading these days.

Shamanism: Working with Animal Spirits


The first Web site to be created by the spirits of animals, its human webmistress a mere conduit for leonine HTML and jaguar JPEGS. Rather like Van Morrison, the beasts insist they have "no dogma, no rituals, no human teachers" - they just peer out at us from lustrous, 3D-effect wildlife shots which really do impart a magical quality to their stare. The shamanic associations are part-Mayan, part-Eskimo, the attributes rather cruelly in tune with the non-mystical order of things: Each animal has an e-mail address: questioned as to his (or her) literary tastes, Crow promptly replied: "I see the poetry of chaos in the void

The Butlers Guild

What to do with the toothpick, afterwards? Just how much cheese may one appropriately select from the cheeseboard? Answers to these and other etiquette questions are supplied here by the UK-based professional organisation for butlers and those in domestic management. There's a step-by-step guide to configuring a bow tie, and some interesting-sounding job opportunities: personal chef to a Saudi sheikh, anyone?

Bill Pannifer