Web Sites

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The Independent Culture
Friends of the Earth


The FoE site is informative and well thought out. Online petitions are available to make it easier to clog up your MP's post, there are links to other environmental pages (and to other useful sites, albeit of differing ethos - such as Department of Transport press releases), and information on FoE campaigns. Had enough of ecological seriousness? Click on the Virtual Car, which allows you to choose different motor parts to link to related environmental images. Radio and car horn sounds provide unwitting noise pollution (which is not exactly the right idea). The Fuming Mad page is littered with fun images of cars choking and globes smoking (though the kids it is aimed at may notice the lack of interactive play).

The Black Swan Review


A cultural review e-zine devoted to esoteric subjects. Serious thinking is tangible in the effort put into its visual impact, provided by a silver and black homepage with morphing chrome shapes and paintings for clicking on. Its debut issue tackles the history and culture of prostitution through articles and essays. If discovering the prostitute in "The Medieval Boathouse" or spending 45 minutes in Amsterdam's red light district doesn't send the blood racing, there are plenty of interviews, reviews and clever bits and pieces. Contributions are being sought for the next issue, themed "differences".

Earth Watch


Tour storms and hurricanes as you zoom in from the viewpoint of a weather satellite. To soar virtually is like riding a simulated roller-coaster and the informative bit isn't nearly as much fun. But with a 3D view of the weather (updated automatically) international forecasts and satellite and radar images, there is plenty to understand and learn. The satellite and radar images are mostly of North America, but they do offer a preview of what's heading Britain's way. You will need some knowledge of meteorological lingo. Or you could just enjoy the ride.

Discovery Zone


"Keep it to yourself" is slashed across the home page of this Sony Music venture, pushing tongue firmly into the cheek of a site dedicated to new bands. Visitors are informed of a "Security Breach In Progress". Futuristic graphics look like a blueprint to an alien ship and give visitors the (false) idea that they have stumbled upon a secret-laden site. Audio clips and background information showcase artists who are not exactly underground, but who have just sealed Sony's all-important record contract and now need to justify the A&R man's wining and dining. The Netnoize section gives an online presentation of Sony releases, interviews and information, and is updated weekly. The artist browser will not divulge star secrets but is linked to more detailed individual artists' sites.

Green Travel


This site, "created by travellers for travellers", has the kind of design favoured by holiday brochures - comic, busy and fun. The home page gives a more detailed guide than a travel agent could provide, with sections and sub-sections offering tips, plans and anecdotes by people who make claims such as "the first person to lead a trek around the Torres del Paine". Your story about a wrong turn on the motorway could take a bashing if you submit it to the report pages, but the ideas found in this site will more than make up for it. Whether it is sea kayaking, whale watching or just navigating round the spaghetti junctions, the site is full of possibilities.

Jennifer Rodger