February 04, 2007

Mousetrap - 90

Change is cool
Ideal Bite
Just the other day, scientists concluded that it was us humans that were causing climate change that would lead to some serious global mayhem. (What took them so long?) So, right, the developed world has caused a substantial amount of damage, but we’re catching up rapidly in more than just the brands we buy. And sure, you’re worried, and sure you’d help if you knew how, but who the heck has the time, right? That’s where this site comes in useful. It’s full of straight forward, easy to follow tips and advice. And it doesn’t preach or tree-hug at you. They focus “on personal benefits and positive impact.” And you don’t even have to visit the site. You can sign up for free email tips. Go chew on it. We all need to.

(another) Nine-day wonder
The Kala Ghoda Gazette
Bombay’s favourite arts and culture festival is back. If you can’t make it to the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival for the nine days of food for hungry minds (see http://www.kalaghodaassociation.com/2007/ for the programme details, or check out page two of this newspaper), you can check out the blog. A team of Bombay bloggers will help you catch up on all the buzz, with oodles of reports, pictures, maybe even some audio and video. More than you’ll see in most newspapers, including, I’m inclined to wager, this one. [Disclosure: I’m part of the team that created the blog and so this item may be, ahem, biased.]

Degrees of (search) separation
Omnipelagos
Delightfully subtitled the “meandering search engine,” this is a fun way to search the web. Or just fun, period. In a great spin on the “six degrees of separation” concept, you can pick any two people, places, items, concepts, events, or any combination thereof. Get as weird as your like, pick pairs that you think could never have any connection whatsoever And then sit back and watch Omnipelagos do its thing. Even better, get into the options and tweak it a bit. I prefer to do the “more obscure but longer paths” version. You may prefer “shorter paths at all costs” or the default version that balances the two. The links along the chain lead to articles from the Wikipedia, so you’re guaranteed a bit of mind-expanding nonsense.

Recycled
The Wikipedia Knowledge Dump
No, this isn’t part of the Wikipedia project. Quite the contrary. You see, ever so often, the folks at Wikipedia in their infinite wisdom mark some articles for deletion. There’s usually a good reason, of course, especially since the open nature of the project makes it susceptible to abuse. This site collects those articles and preserves them for posterity. It’s an interesting study, not just from the point of view of what Wikipedia considers inappropriate, but also to see what people want to have on Wikipedia in the first place.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India / Outlook Traveller, Mumbai edition, 4th February, 2007.

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