Websites: How Daleks climbed the stairs

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Dr Who

WHOLE SITES are devoted to working out the Doctor's obscure chronology, but the BBC's official 35th-anniversary page is a straightforward, paradox- free overview. All eight incarnations, from Hartnell to McGann, are profiled, along with an alien fact file for those who don't know their Quarks from their Krotons, an online quiz with mystery prizes and teasing details of how the Daleks finally learnt to climb stairs (in a 1988 episode). Special effects, surprisingly, are thin on the ground - though the Tardis does flicker mysteriously in and out of view. Key links lead to Whovians worldwide, and include the struggles of the technically painstaking Restoration Team.

Online Surgery

VIEWERS MAY emerge from this site grateful for the current limitations of video streaming techniques. The nervous should certainly start with a relatively opaque 28.8K liposuction, before graduating to the full ISDN- speed tummy tuck. Entire cosmetic operations are online here. Controversially, would-be participants are invited to e-mail explaining just how that nose-job would improve their lives, and the most convincing responses qualify for free treatment - with the world looking on. Though highly informative for the unsqueamish, this is of course a commercial undertaking, run by a Seattle-based provider of adult and gambling sites.


THIS DIGITALLY empowered birdwatcher spends hours on a ladder with minidisc recorder and directional microphone, capturing the sounds of the natural world. The resulting huge archive is here: finches, flycatchers, blackbirds, orioles, wrens, woodpeckers and more, along with unfeathered friends such as toads, bullfrogs, howling coyotes and various creepycrawlies. His own speculations take flight. "Bird brain," he says, should not be a term of abuse, referring as it does to a complex structure designed for rapid in-flight calculations. And bird song could be a means of direct communication with the subconscious. This last concept, he admits, is Still To Be Explored.

Mac OS8 - Netscape

SOME PC buyers wish that they had spent their money on an Apple instead. This site will generate the appearance of an Apple-style desktop within a Windows browser. A jolly jape from a German webhead, this Java creation won't really do much: it starts up convincingly but the file menu merely enables mail to be sent to its creator, and the desktop offers only three applications, including a non-working "memory game". There are, however, links to available programs for running real Apple software on PCs.

The Postmodernism Generator

THIS OLDIE-but-goodie may be a cousin of the Surrealist Compliment Generator, but will also appeal to fans of Alan Sokal's send-up of the alleged misuse of science by poststructuralist penseurs. Clicking on the above link will lead to a dense academic treatise, in which the usual suspects - Baudrillard, Derrida, Lyotard and all the others - circulate with impeccable authority. But readers will subsequently discover that "the essay just seen is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator". Seemingly it is all the work of a Dada Engine which, fed with the requisite verbiage, produces nonsense with a disconcerting surface panache: a similar effect may well be obtainable using computer jargon.