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The Patent Office

http://www.patent.gov.uk/

A sober sort of site, apart from a page devoted to GB2183592 and its successors. This was Guinness's first attempt at the so-called widget - though the specs themselves refer to it only as "a device for promoting froth". Definitions of patents, copyright designs and trade marks, and guidelines on lodging an application, are available here along with a special section on intellectual property and the Internet. Not as advanced as its US equivalent, which already offers searches of the actual patent database, but a few sample bright ideas are listed just for fun, including a nuclear powered flying saucer, a solar lawn mower, and a special teapot with pivoted teabag device to allow brewing to be interrupted at intervals. For more outre inventions try Wacky Patent of the Month at http://colitz.com/site/wacky.htm.

12th of July:The tradition of Parades

http://river.tay.ac.uk/c95gb/12july/parades.htm

New Orleans has Mardi Gras, Rio has Carnival and Ulster has Orange Day parades: all of them "visual kaleidoscopes", according to this site, which offers a distinctly orange-hued perspective on the marching season. A partisan insight into why the celebrations of the Battle of Boyne are considered so important two centuries after the event - and an attack on "appeasers" who seek to ban them. Nice pictures, gymnastic term-twisting: those who call the marchers bigoted are actually themselves either "bigoted republicans" or (worse) "bigoted moderates".

Take the E-IQ Test

http://www.utne.com/lens/bms/9bmseq.html

An online questionnaire that assesses not IQ but "emotional intelligence - a different kind of smart". Ten hypothetical situations and responses are presented, and scores reveal either a cerebral nerd or a more empathetic all-rounder. The test demands honesty and self-knowledge for it to work, and the conclusions - it's all to do with intuition, optimism, knowing and handling your emotions - seem obvious. There are links, though, to the theoretical basis of "E-IQ" and the inevitable controversies - is it a tool for social conformity, and is it helpful to urge eight-year- olds to get in touch with their feelings? The site insists intelligence is not enough: "A high IQ may get you into Mensa, but it won't make you a mensch."

Trenches on the Web

http://www.worldwar1.com/

This award-winning Internet history of the Great War is updated with fresh material, including shots of Big Bertha, accounts of the labyrinthine German army command structure and a biography of Woodrow Wilson. The author modestly claims to be a "history technician" rather than a historian, but the whole vast site is executed with more precision than most First World War generals could muster. There are contemporary photographs and paintings, sound clips, a VRML section and a discussion group, with emphasis throughout on letting the facts speak for themselves.

Bill Pannifer

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