Net Gains: Prime sites for the image-conscious

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The Independent Culture
Though the digerati hold that "text is best" when building websites, there are plenty of cutting-edge, and blunted-edge, visuals out there to keep even the most hard-to-please retinas on the road to burnout.

At the lo-fi end, check out the ASCII art (pictures made from characters available on a standard word-processor keyboard) at Wigwam (http://wigwam.askoyv.no/Ascii). Evoking those carefree times when ZX81s were more than amusing ornaments for the mantelpiece, this is an exhaustive gallery holding hundreds of creations ranging from the zoological (rabbits seem to be the most popular) to the illogical (why would people want to construct pictures of sewing machines - see "electric stuff" - from equals signs?).

At the other end of the scale, art webzine Day-dream (www.day-dream.com) has been churning out unfathomable, but very inventive, spaces since it began in 1996. The creators obviously find it an affront to their credibility if you press "back" on your browser, so be prepared to enter a baffling though beautiful world, into which you just can't help but fall deeper and deeper.

Finally, if you need some real-world spaces to admire, but can't afford airfares to deprived inner cities around the world, ArtCrimes (www.graffiti.org) houses a comprehensive album of snapshots of global spraycan art. This fast site takes you on a grand tour from the street statements of Sao Paolo to the polis poetry of Peterborough.

Safety catch

www.extremesports.com

Fed up with safe sites, on-line or off? Then Fielding Travels' Danger Finder (www.fieldingtravel.com/df/index.htm) could be for you. A digital version of Robert Young Pelton's World's Most Dangerous Places book, it has all you need to know about the world's hottest spots. If you want to find out where the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka are coming from, or to e-mail the Taliban in Afghanistan, this is your best bet. Each dangerous place is extensively, and wittily, catalogued, and there is an answer to the vexing problem of exactly what constitutes "dangerous".

For another dose of adrenalin, try the just-up Extreme Sports (www.extremesports.com), for reports, features and interviews. There's a boards and bikes bias, but we're promised message forums and on-line shopping for those hard- to-get bits of quality gear soon.

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