Sunday, 6 November 2005

Mousetrap - 26

Outer Cyber Space
Blog in Space
Of course you know that television signals and radio broadcasts don’t just come to our receivers; they also stream out to space... So, somewhere, some time, some poor alien will shrug its antennae and give up trying to figure out saas-bahu soaps. Never mind. Now, citizens of cyber space, you too can inflict your thoughts on the universe at large. Simply feed in your URL and RSS feed, and on to Andromeda. If you don’t have a blog, you can send an email message instead. And either way, there are snazzy badges you can display on your site. Go for it. In space, no one knows you’re a Sirius.

Knot your ordinary website
How to Tie a Tie
So, running dog of western values and slave to imperialism, a piece of coloured cloth knotted around your neck makes you feel well-dressed? And round-and-round-and-back-and-through (more formally known, I’m told, as a Four in Hand, or as we used to say in school, the samosa) getting to be a bit tedious? This site will show you variations such as the Windsor, half-Windsor, and Pratt, and for good measure, how to tie a bow tie. The rest of the site looks promising, but merely serves up search engine results for the various headings, some of them hilariously off-topic. For light amusement, see Animal Ties > Cairn Terrier (as a random example). You’ll find instructions on how not to choke your German Shepherd pretty high on the list.

Life under the microscope
Stalking the mysterious microbe
This one’s for the kiddies. Sam Sleuth has fun ways to teach them about the smaller inhabitants of our planet, with simple – albeit Americanised – analogies and colourful illustrations. Plus there’s news, experiments to do (no, Mummyji, they won’t get pond scum on the sofa), advice on what to study to become a microbiologist, and yes (this Mummyji will like), plenty of reasons why the progeny should wash their hands regularly.


Blog of the week

Ignored lives
Lives in Focus
A writer and a photographer bring attention to people who rarely get visibility in mainstream media. Their current focus is the impact of India’s new patent law (passed earlier this year, as a step towards our acceptance into the WTO) on HIV-infected people who depend on Indian versions of patented Anti-retro Viral (ARV) drugs to survive. They are using the site to release over 2,000 photographs and 13 hours of video interviews they collected from AIDS shelters and hospices in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. In their words, they want to “harness the Internet to showcase an issue with global ramifications—not just as information but as a way to involve viewers.”

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 6th November, 2005.

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