Look up and be amazed; sites
Michelangelo's masterpieces and Tupperware burps - Bill Pannifer finds the truly wonderful and the seriously weird on his tour of the Web
Monday 07 October 1996
Airhead site: Anyone feeling a bit nauseous wandering round Russell Square recently may have been breathing too much. Now the Department of the Environment has an air monitoring station in Bloomsbury, and the newly launched National Air Quality Information Archive (http://www.open. gov.uk/doe/aq/aqinfo.htm) will supply a breakdown of locally circulating poisons in mind-numbing detail, going back several years and as recently as last night. Claiming to be the only archive in the world exclusively dedicated to the air around us, the site provides hourly data from 100 such checkpoints around the country. Ozone, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and something called "particulate matter" are detailed, along with a forecast for the next 24 hours. One page offers a chemistry lesson, but overall it's an uncompromisingly statistical area, accreting long-term data with immense thoroughness but without much in the way of interpretation to tell people where and when to put on their respirators.
Polyethylene site: Hardware, software ... Tupperware. This vital third force in cyberspace gets its own Web site (http://www.tupperware.com), with inspirational product history, glowing accounts of current containers and an implacable sense of mission. Thanks to the ModularMates range, a disordered, bulging kitchen cupboard is transformed into an austere study in rectangles. Make a snide comparison with Mondrian and politely be reminded that the V&A and the Smithsonian have both acquired Tupperware pieces. Smirk at the references to "consultants" (salespeople) and then ponder the 97 million people who, according to the site, attended Tupperware parties worldwide last year. Resent the blandly seductive tastefulness of the page design and then press a raspberry icon to hear a sound sample of the famous Tupperware Burp (caused by closing the air seal on the lid). This stuff is invincible.
Literary site: More Web pages are dedicated to favourite authors than are actually authored by them. But the Adventures in Capitalism site (http://www. webcom.com/reeduk/litt/index.html), promoting Toby Litt's first book, offers three exclusive short stories. Marketed as a sort of Martin Amis Jnr for the E-generation, Litt - his real name, apparently - has the distinction of being the only writer whose work is on sale at Wagamama (he name-drops the hip London noodle bar in his book). During his creative writing course at the University of East Anglia, Litt spent a lot of time sending emails, and one story, about voyeurism, discipleship and Jeremy Beadle, is told entirely in that form, while another offers a hyperlinked punchline if you can't work it out yourself. Sample first-person narrative: "He was a funnylooking guy: Lennonspecs (1966), Maccalips (1968), Ringonose (1970), Georgehair (1972)." A serious sell-by-date looms over Litt's own enterprise, but his notes include oddly naive little caveats - "its a bit nasty" - "don't post this to newsgroups. It's highly inflammatory" - suggesting he might just be uncool enough to survive it.
Contrite site: Last week the URL monster took a bite from Biscuit of the Week (http://www.symetrica. com/biscuit) and from Texts and Contexts (http://paul. spu.edu/hawk/ t&c.html). Genius displays itself at Inventors Corner for a mere pounds 150, and not as stated.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
From rainforests and reefs to beaches and boat trips
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Life & Style blogs
The 50 Best Christmas Gifts for Women
Foodini: the £835 machine that 'prints' food in your kitchen
Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
In pictures: Christmas in London through the ages
Pirate Bay sets sail for Ascension Island after SX domain name seized by authorities
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 3 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 4 Woman who miscarried in private prison 'made to clean up after herself,' court told
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
£50000 - £70000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET D...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Teacher of Business St...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This is a full-time te...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Teacher of English - S...