July 17, 2005

Mousetrap - 11

T.P. Central
At Work and Bored
Slow day at the office? Boss not in town? Your monitor not visible to the world passing by? Sneak over to his site and sample the goodies available. The section called Goof Off Games alone can get you through the Monday Morning Blues. There are puzzles (my current fave is the Rickshaw Jam game), crosswords, jigsaws, and arcade type stuff. Then there’s a frequently refreshed jokes section, an area called The Virtual Chef, where you can copy and paste recipes to send to your mother-in-law, a horoscope, and even a cartoon section. The only caveat: since it’s a free site, be prepared to put up with garish banner ads, sometimes even an intervening “from our sponsor” page before you get to the goodies. Oh yes. Try the “Panic” button in emergencies. Enjoy.

The Power of One
One Word
Feeling a little blocked? Need that challenge to get the synapses moving? One Word might help. The site gives you sixty seconds to write whatever come to mind based on the one-word cue you are given when you hit the “Go” button. “it is not about learning new words.” the site says, “nor is it about defining words. the real purpose of this exercise is to alleviate our natural tendency to edit everything—and learn to flow.”

Bah!
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
Mouthful of a name, yes, but the site is a haven for sceptics. Its team puts the magnifying glass of science to claims of the paranormal, pseudo-scientific beliefs and fringe science. It hosts features, columns, sends its members a quarterly newsletter, lists useful links, and a hoax watch section that’s merits a bookmark of its own. Best of all, it has a sense of fun (see this for an example). A worthwhile side-trip is the Skeptiseum, also run by CSICOP, with its fascinating array of exhibits on UFOs, miracles, ghosts and spirits, and much more.

Boo!
Obiwan's UFO-Free Paranormal Page
If the previous site was not to your liking, you’ll approve of this one. “Serving you spirits since 1994,” they say, and offer you sections that include True Ghost Stories, a Ghosts and Hauntings FAQ, info on famous hauntings, and, of course, Ghostly Links. It even has a message board an other interactive features. You have a nice night now, hm?

* * *

This week’s blogs
Two blogs for the price of one this week.

Arachnophilia
spiderblog
Talk about single-minded! This blogger, to take a wild guess, is kinda partial to spiders. This is a very specialist filter blog that exclusively links to pages, news items, pictures and all kinds of trivia about our eight-legged friends. No comments section, though, so I guess he isn’t looking for an audience. And, if I had my druthers, I’d like to see a bit more of the blogger’s personality coming through in the way of comments and opinions on the pages he links to.

Your time starts now
Jaldi Quizzing
A recent find, this blog, and a refreshing one. Once a week, on the average, Jaldi quiz posts about a dozen questions, including a set of visual-related queries. And when the next set of questions go up, the previous week’s answers are posted as well. My quibble here is that the blogger puts the answers right there next to the questions, so for the first-time reader who’d like to test her/his quiz skills, the fun is gone. It would make more sense, methinks, to put the answers into the comments. He also generously links to other quiz sites and blogs.

This column explores the wilder, wackier, weirder corners of the world wide web. Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 17th July 2005.

[Note: Mousetrap has moved to a Sunday slot, in the Science and Technology section of the new Review supplement, and is now also available here.]

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