Sunday, 8 January 2006

Mousetrap - 35

Frequently Asked Questions
The Straight Dope
The online version of a popular newspaper column, the site has, I’ll wager, a far bigger following on the web than it does in print. Written by Cecil Adams (who may or may not exist; at least he hasn’t been photographed), the column has been “fighting ignorance since 1973.” It takes reader questions, and answers them comprehensively, but laced with huge dollops of scathing wit. Not the agony aunt kind of questions, I hasten to add. Like “What is the origin of the tooth fairy?” Or “Is it possible to be dyslexic in Chinese?” Or “How does Kirk Douglas shave his chin dimple?”

GReat Images in Nasa (GRIN)
Treasure trove for the space enthusiast. An archive of free-to-use pictures that include, besides photographs taken from space vehicles, aircraft structures and designs, astronaut training, and important historical images. It also includes a section on the Soviet space programme. Neatly sorted by category, and searchable, images are available in a variety of sizes, from thumnbnail to you-better-have broadband.

Formula Stories
Michael Swanwick's Periodic Table of Science Fiction
Remember the Poetic Table of the Elements from last week? Here’s another site that finds the Table inspirational. This one isn’t open for entries, though, or collaborative either. It’s a bunch of short Science Fiction tales, one to each element, all by the same author. I would imagine this took a while to write, and there were points where he wished he hadn’t started – heck, I haven’t finished reading the lot yet – but it’s a great effort. The standard varies, but I personally like his toungue-in-cheek style, even when he’s vamping his way through. I particularly liked Germanium, Argon and Xenon.


This week's blog

Praise be!
Indian Sports minus Men's Cricket Sania and Narain
A blog after my own heart. If, like me, you’ve had it up to here with cricket, and think certain other sports people need to actually deliver some results and not just endorsements, you’ll wish this blog much success. It’s still kinda early days, and the blogger behind it only lists events and links to coverage, but perhaps a little attention will spur her/him on to more, perhaps with some collaboration? There must be a few more people who would like to write about other sports... Hello, someone, anyone?

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, 8th January, 2006.

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