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Xrefer

Xrefer

This newly launched reference site has the modest ambition of "smartening up the Web". This is to be achieved with an interlinked collection of 40 or so reference books from publishers Bloomsbury, Penguin, Macmillan and OUP. There's nothing new about online encyclopedias, but an advanced cross-referencing system here claims to allow greater depth of information. An adjacent entries facility - so that a search for, say, "Stockhausen", also provides links to "Stoat" and "Stockton" - seems less useful. But one feature will be indispensable to crossword addicts: incomplete words can be entered with "?" for missing letters, and xrefer will fill in the gaps.

useitagain

This is (of course!) National Environment Week, and here is a gung-ho collection of consumer advice urging us all to do our bit. The Department of the Environment, Transport & the Regions site aims to teach all ages about the recycling process and ways of dealing with the 25 million tonnes of unrecycled waste produced every year. There's an evironmental Snakes and Ladders game, and a chance to win a Fantastic Fleece made of recycled old plastic bottles. As well as lots of unrepentantly mundane advice on using old jam jars to store odds and ends.

edfringe.com

Internet booking for 15,000 Edinburgh fringe events is promised by this newly launched site. The official programme for this August's Festival is launched on Thursday, and will make it online a week or so later. Users can search the website for events by venue, celebrity, show name or date, and there will be space for audience reviews as well as a "creative dating agency" for networking writers and comedians. The site is introduced by a character called (oh dear) Ed Fringe.

The Mad Revisionist

A wonderfully sustained satirical site, applying the strategies of Holocaust-denying revisionist historians to other events and phenomena. The site explains, for instance, why the Moon is in fact a propaganda hoax, and even makes $100,000 available for anyone who can send conclusive physical proof by e-mail (!) that it is actually up there. The webmeister himself is forced to conclude that his very own ontological status is at best unproved, and that he may in fact be a literal non-entity.

The People's Parliament

An attempt at online e-democracy, but a much less professional affair than YouGov.com. It comes complete with a tacky rippling water .gif of the Thames, and some rather hopeful subscription options (Rt Hon Membership for £24.99, anyone?). There are 14 so far underpopulated "debating chambers" on governmental-sounding topics. Users propose "motions for debate", and can vote on them. Ambition is obviously not lacking: "We hope history will reflect that The People's Parliament was the last historical step in creating the first FULLY democratic society in the world."

Periodic Table of Comic Books

A site of Periodic Tables from periodicals, in this case "classic" comic books of the Fifties and Sixties whose vivid graphics are used to illustrate each of the elements for all the O-level chemistry enthusiasts out there. A magazine by the name of Metal Men provides one obvious resource, but Superboy and even The Adventures of Tintin have their contributions to make. It's all here, from Actinium (ac) to Zirconium (Zr), and from Batman to Woody Woodpecker.

websites@dircon.co.uk

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