Sunday, 18 March 2007

Mousetrap - 94

All in a flap
The Ornithopter Zone
What’s an ornithopter? It’s a device that flies by flapping its wings, bird-style. The Ornithopter Zone is a fascinating resource about these unusual machines. Plenty of information about the history and science of this branch of aviation, with instructions and tips for those experimentally inclined. There’s even software to help you make your own machine, and, naturally, a forum for the regulars.

Only Human
As the old saw goes, to err is human. We learn by making them, or, if we’re lucky, from watching other people me them. So if you’ve made any good ones lately, here’s where you can go to tell all, and read up on other people’s sad tales. As the site says, “Mistakes make the most compelling stories, the funniest jokes, the best movies and provide the easiest advice to accept because of their ability to evoke empathy.” And of course, for good, clean laughs, helpfully sorted by category, popularity and newness. Enjoy. And if you don’t, well, hey, put it down to experience.

Hearts and Flowers. Not.
This site makes it clear right there on the masthead: “Brutally honest dating advice for the cynical, bitter and jaded.” Do not go here if you’re young, in love, or have even a smidgen of romance left in you. But then again, maybe you should. Well, not if you’re very young (keep the kids away; it’s, um, definitely not kid-safe). Articles for men, for women, a shop where you can buy books about break-ups, a forum where you can vent some angst about the ex, even songs (in various genres) for break-ups.. it’s all here. A survey too, where you can fill in a few details about your sad story and ‘“incompatibility patterns” will emerge that may help future relationships suck less.” Right. Good luck.

What on earth..?
Keep this for the days when you’ve had just about had it with everyone around you. Because this is not about messing around with your colleagues or family. This is total destruction, baby, like the whole darn planet. Much enjoyment here, with sections on why such an action could be desirable (with a set of counterviews), geocide in fiction, and, when you’re ready for it, a pretty comprehensive how-to guide with a host of options to choose from. They are, of course, a bit expensive, and, well, not easy. So, rest assured, our government won’t ban the site.

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, 18th March, 2007.

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