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Brain candy and more


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 1998

The usual suspects: a random roundup of all that's fit to link.


Sandlot Science is visual brain candy for inquiring minds. If you know and care who M.C. Escher was, this site will be old hat to you. But for less pretentious, younger minds, it's a groovy discovery trip. All the visual effects of the '60s without the hallucinogens, baby. Some bits are Java driven, so you'll need a system that supports the caffeinated language to gain the full effect. Looks as if it's partly sponsored by Amazon.com; but now it's free, and there are no strong arm tactics to get you to buy books.


While not sponsored by Amazon.com, Cool Science for Kids is just as entertaining as Sandlot Science. This one's quite graphical, so patience with slow modems might be required. Of course kids have the patience of gnats and if you're driving at ISDN speed or below, you might want to pass.


The Internet works by an ingenious method of splitting what you send across it into packets; fragments of the original message that are sliced, diced, sent and then made whole again at their destination. If a packet is dropped (if it doesn't make it to you), it's re-requested and sent again. Resending this information is a necessary evil but bad for everybody because it chews up more bandwidth. If you're experiencing a particularly slow day on the Net, this page might be of interest to you. Of course, if you're sitting in your den and you're not the chief executive of a large Internet company with a bank of engineers you can shout at, there's nothing you can do. This version is for humans. A version for geeks is available at http://www.nternetTrafficReport.com/I.


This might be the most gorgeous personal art site I've seen. It's navigation is excellent, the contents are well presented and the artist's material is brilliant. Another bandwidth intensive site but well worth the wait.


They're back. Those AOL (www.aol.com/) disks that once plagued physical mailboxes have returned, after AOL sorted out its dial-up blues. They used to be floppy disks that, in a pinch, could be recycled as temporary storage for tiny files. Now they come in the shape of CDs, which are useless for storage since you can't rewrite them. As the holiday season approaches and as I'll no doubt forget somebody, I draw inspiration from this page as I'll likely use it to make a last-minute gift for somebody.

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