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The Independent Culture
The Fabulous Ruins

of Detroit

Athens, Rome, Ephesus ... and now Detroit, runs the logic of this photographic tour of 20th-century urban decay. The artist Lowell Boileau becomes a post-industrial Piranesi, guiding us through the remains of Henry Ford's Model T plant, the old Michigan Railroad Station, and bleak, weed-infested former Holiday Inns. The site is huge and it would be easy to spend an hour or so quietly mesmerised. Sometimes the photos become paintings, naively styled and precise. There are also sharp criticisms of the way the replacement architecture of the Sixties and Seventies is itself falling apart. Not straightforwardly conservationist - it would be hard to mourn some of the hulks on display here - but a sort of bittersweet Grand Tour of the "second industrial revolution".

The Big Jump

Bungee or bungy? Mr AJ Hackett may not be concerned with spelling as he leaps today from Auckland's Sky Tower in pursuit of the world record for the highest jump from a fixed structure. Over 180 metres of "adrenalin- pumping free fall" is promised for those viewing the attempt, which will be shown at this site shortly after its live transmission on New Zealand television, early this morning UK time. Viewers can whet their appetite by looking at footage of a previous attempt from the Eiffel Tower, which ended with AJ's arrest. Our hero's motives are coy in the extreme, but do not seem to be those of disinterested sportsmanship - revelations of a "major corporate initiative" are promised after completion of the stunt.

Driver Reaction Time Simulator

This online driving test offers the modest thrill factor of an early video game, but also the chance to feel smug about having contributed to an online scientific research programme. Vauxhall, in association with Aston University, is testing driver reaction times under different lighting conditions, and trying to find out whether reflective armbands worn by pedestrians help to prevent road accidents. As daytime and night driving situations unfold, participants follow the car in front, braking with the cursor and tapping the space bar to show awareness of jaywalkers wandering out from both sides, while traffic lights, bridges and other distractions challenge visual attentiveness. The results are fed back to the site, with some confidential personal details, and are collated.

Modern Masterworks


Seventeen-year-olds David and Michael take on 100 years of "modern" art, from Impressionism to Minimalism. This ambitious entry in the ThinkQuest student web design contest explains each -ism in turn, with the high-schoolers' own game attempts at art history reinforced by RealVideo clips of real academics discussing particular movements. Inspired by a European vacation spent largely in the great museums, the whole site is done from scratch, and takes an anti-elitist stance that includes quizzes and even a sort of league table: "Vote for Fauvism as your favorite movement".

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