Websites: greenchoices.org, internetshopping.com, Island-Living.co.uk and others

10 best sites of the week
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The Independent Online

Making the world a better place could be as simple as visiting this eco-friendly site, endorsed by David Bellamy and Bill Oddie

www.greenchoices.org

Making the world a better place could be as simple as visiting this eco-friendly site, endorsed by David Bellamy and Bill Oddie. Oddie says: "GreenChoices is brilliant: sensible, practical, advice on how to do your bit to make the world a bit greener, brighter and better." That just about sums it up. The two- minute questionnaire is an eye-opener, as you might find that you're as green as you think you are; but persevere ­ it's not that hard to make a difference.

http://blackhawkdown.philly.com/

Ridley Scott's film version of Mark Bowden's book Black Hawk Down, which is in cinemas now, is attracting a lot of publicity. If you want to find out what really happened in Somalia in 1993 from the comfort of your own home, read the gripping story on this comprehensive website. Serialised entries are backed up with photographs, sound bites and videos of the bloody events as they unfolded, told by US servicemen who were there.

www.internetshopping.com

Some people maintain that the internet is useful for just three things: pornography, gathering information and shopping. As if to prove the latter point, this collection of niche retailers makes for enjoyable stress-free shopping. Divided up into a handy selection of categories such as outdoors, art supplies, games, kitchen, bedroom and grocery, it offers an easy-to-navigate alternative to your crowded local high street.

www.Island-Living.co.uk

This site is designed to support the growing trend among urban dwellers to relocate, thus escaping from city crime and rising pollution levels. Its target audience comprise two main groups: "hard-core" island-hoppers, wishing to buy a retirement or holiday home; and young families, influenced perhaps by such TV programmes as Castaway 2000 and Two Thousand Acres of Sky, looking for a better environment. The perfect internet estate agent for budding Robinson Crusoes.

www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/

Education on the Internet is a free weekly email journal for anyone interested in using the web for education. The journal includes articles, online news, and reviews of websites. Subscribers are invited to submit information for inclusion in the newsletter. In this way, the site-providers hope to bring people together who are involved in using the internet for education. Past editions can also be viewed by those who have arrived late for the lesson.

http://shamedagain.blogspot.com

Never mind all that state-of-the-art Flash malarkey (which rarely works well on home systems with a 56k modem anyway), take a look at this hard-hitting assessment of all things British. Assiduously chronicling the ways in which the UK lags behind the rest of the world, the litany of woes highlighted here provide a real corrective to any tendency you may have to jingoism.

www.whistleblower.sh

If you've seen the film The Insider, you'll know that informing the authorities about wrongdoing in the workplace can be a costly business. However, people who suspect a colleague or friend is involved in illegal activity can now blow the whistle without fear of reprisal. The company behind the web site has many years' experience of dealing with sensitive situations, having worked with law enforcement agencies around the world.

www.commissionaportrait.com

This is the definitive agency for commissioning British and international portrait painters and sculptors. Anyone wanting to commission a specific artistic image will find the solution here. A portrait may not be something you'd ordinarily think of as a gift for yourself or a loved one, but a quick look at the quality of work on offer may convince you otherwise ­ even if it is pricey.

www.phaidon.com

This is a well-designed and informative forum for the publications of Phaidon, one of the UK's two major art publishers (the other being Thames & Hudson). It covers topics from film and photography to art and fashion, and books can be perused for pictures, subject matter and author biographies. There's also news of limited editions and pre-publication offers.

www.upmystreet.com/

Visit this site to find out about your local services and stores, examine property prices, look at nearby schools and your council's record, search classified ads and entertainment listings, and much more. Just type in your post code and gain access to statistics, ratings, league tables and maps. This is the real-life guide to your neighbourhood.

netgains@independent.co.uk

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