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Eclipse 1999


Choose the BBC over a Cornish B&B as your host for observing next month's eclipse. This collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) has the advantage of weatherproof coverage courtesy of the Solar and Heliocentric Observatory satellite, as well as webcam views from Plymouth of the events of 11 August. Viewers will also be able to track the progress of the eclipse across Europe while enjoying commentary by both Patrick Moore and Mystic Meg.

If you believe they put a man on the moon, you will enjoy this comprehensive new space site put together by a former CNN financial news anchor. Pitched at a newly defined group called the "international space community", content includes updates on the latest shuttle action but also less well-publicised rocketry from India, China and elsewhere. The overall mood is businesslike, as interested in Star Wars receipts and satellite-based Internet as in earthrises or astronomy. But there is still room for a sci-fi page with the latest in the Dune saga, and as if to disclaim anorakhood, a section on The Emotions of Space. For light relief, a page called Tab Wrap summarises the latest tabloid speculations: "One in five dogs and cats are descended from space aliens", according to the Weekly World News.

Interspecies Telepathic Communication


One way to assess a favourite pet's ET potential might be to inquire directly, using these resources for psychic Dr Dolittles. It's all a matter of imagination and imaging, according to this holistic pet-food distributor promoting courses in animal telepathy. The California-based page offers testimonies about (and indirectly from) Dancer the Hot Dog Eating Llama, Kisa the Healer Cat, Chuckie the Chicken Who was Hatched by a Duck, and others of various species who have established more than conventional rapports with their owners.

Kodak Picture Playground play/

You Animal You! is one of the image modifications on offer here, a chance to get in touch with your photogenic inner chimp (or whatever). Basically an online graphics program, this site from Kodak enables users to upload their digital snaps or scans, or borrow an image from elsewhere on the web, and modify them in a variety of ways. The result may then be downloaded and printed, e-mailed to a friend, or turned into a souvenir mug or T- shirt. "Please do not submit material containing nudity, sexual content, or dangerous situations," warns Kodak. The current morph special is a tie-in with Woodstock 99, and will convincingly pychedelicise both you and your cat.


Hackers group The Cult of the Dead Cow launched the latest version of its notorious Back Orifice program, allowing remote monitoring and control of other peoples' computers, at the Def Con convention earlier this month. But for some time now a similar, "legitimate" facility has been on offer from this digital detective site. The real dirt on DIRT (that's Data Interception by Remote Transmission) is, however, only available to authorised users. It works by surreptitiously, virus-style, installing itself on the host computer by means of an exe. file or attachment and then captures and transmits the record of the user's keystrokes to a remote location. Data retrieved can include encryption keys and in some cases the contents of one's hard drive. Further details are restricted to "military, government and law-enforcement agencies" and people with an "agency letterhead". So that's all right then.

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