Network: Websites

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The Independent Culture
The Soundry

http://hyperion.advanced.org/19537/

This fantastic voyage along the auditory canal - created by 16-year-olds and overall winner of the ThinkQuest Web design contest - explores sound and human hearing, with clearly structured explanations of the physics of waveforms and the history of recording techniques. Things get really creative in the Java-powered Sound Lab section, with its Doppler Effect Applet and harmonics demos. Visitors can customise their own versions of Ode to Joy or create 3D soundscapes. Samples include "Tarzan Having an Accident", an elated jungle yelp that concludes with an alarming crash. The full list of winning sites is at http://www.thinkquest.org/

La Fee Verte: Absinthe Gallery

http://www.sepulchritude. com/chapelperilous/ absinthe/

The most comprehensive of many sites devoted to the green muse, invoking Wilde, Dowson,Verlaine and other absinthe-heads. The hallucinatory tipple is described as tasting like cough medicine or shampoo but seems to have become a bathtub brewing cult in the US, where it is banned (note that the proprietor of these pages also runs an online magazine called "Suffering Is Hip". Would-be UK decadents with pounds 40 to spare may treat themselves to the imported Czech variety for Christmas at http://www.absinth.co.uk.

30 Days in Active Worlds

http://www.casa.ucl.ac.uk/30days.htm

Volunteers are still needed for this experimental free-for-all, hosted by a researcher at University College London's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Until the end of the month, free access is available to the commercial virtual website, Active Worlds, on condition that visitors' online activities may be observed and logged towards a PhD study. Those taking part choose a location and begin building from the materials supplied. The research concerns the growth patterns of such unregulated online communities, and the creator of the structure that is deemed most interesting will win a full year's "citizenship" of Active Worlds.

Popcorn

http://www.popcorn.co.uk/

Carlton's new movie site is aimed at film fans rather than cinephiles, but coverage ranges widely enough, from Terrence Malick's comeback to online pin-ups of Hunks and Babes of the Week. More usefully, current films can be searched by title, actor and cinema location.

Jester

http://shadow.ieor. Berkeley.edu/humor/

Sick of the same e-mail "funnies"? Customise your humour preferences with the help of this site. Those trying it out will need a sense of humour as they sit for 10 minutes or so rating their responses to 25 test jokes. The site will then adapt its output to users' personal funnybones when they come back for more.

The Euphoria Project

http://www.euphoria. subtopia.org/

A photographic tour of the centre of Birmingham with a commentary that sends up the art scene and the urban landscape -"How prescient that the facade which overlooks the Midlands' most significant party area should be adorned with a giant mural depicting vomit." Also includes incitements to mild-mannered anarchy (placing Safeway baked beans on the equivalent stacks in Sainsbury's). "Euphoria" seems to refer to an alternative city glimpsed beneath the soullessness.

Send quirky or, at a pinch, cool site recommendations to websites@dircon.co.uk

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