News scientist

NET GAINS
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The Independent Culture
Popular science has been a phenomenon for most of this decade. Yet, it's been left to the traditional publishing routes and media to make more accessible realms which were hitherto thought to be of interest to specialists only. The Internet, while well placed to deliver accessible and up-to-date science news, has been slow to exploit the topicality of popular science.

Science Daily epitomises this attitude (sciencedaily .com). As its name suggests, the site is a daily digest of the latest scientific developments. Though I've no idea of the veracity of the stories posted, it appears comprehensive; the news is organised by topic, or headlines with summaries.

Even the journals which have played a big part in the popularisation of science issues are guilty of a lack of on-line imagination. The New Scientist site is nothing of the kind in fact, being a teaser for potential subscribers to the magazine (newscientist.com). Only a selection of current articles is published along with an equally selective archive, and none of the design flair which characterises the mag itself has made it to the site. Though a little more generous in terms of content, the Scientific American site is just as uninspired (sciam.com).

If you can accept its perfunctory design, the best science news site currently is Sci Tech Daily (scitechdaily. com). More or less a links page, it has culled the best science features, news stories and book reviews from dozens of science magazines, journals and newspapers.

Red all over

www.redheadclub

Oh, dear. I go surfing in an attempt to reaffirm my gingerness, only to discover what a rough deal red-heads are given on the Web. Once the requisite film-star fan sites have been negotiated (Maureen O'Hara, Nicole Kidman etc), the dearth of decent auburn-themed sites becomes apparent. There is the odd red-head ring, like Redhead Lovers (geocities. com/Wellesley/9895/ redheadlovers.html), but these are private member affairs, requiring you to offer a site of your own as part of the joining deal. Only one site I came across took a stand and wore its russet colours on its sleeve: The Redheads International (redheadclub. com). Even then, the shrill tone of outrage directed at what it perceives to be anti-ginger injustice is hardly attractive. Besides the campaigning, though, there are a few mildly diverting minutes to be spent in the site's red-head encyclopaedia.

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