Sunday, 12 August 2007

Mousetrap - 114

The first time I glanced at this site, I read ‘sick food’ and thought it was about stuff like arrowroot porridge and hot soups. Further investigation corrected my mis-read. The ‘sig’ in the name is short for ‘Special Interest Group,’ and that is a pretty apt description. sigFood is a community of foodies, which, from the look of it has most of its membership in Bombay and Bangalore (there are a handful of other Indian and world cities covered too). It’s a very simple site: restaurant reviews by its members, all neatly tagged and categorised. The reviews are to the point and of a reasonably decent standard, though as with all group ventures, some are better—or worse—than others. The good part, to me, is that unlike the reviews one sees in the press, these aren’t necessarily about new, happening places; plenty of old favourites find space too. Bon appetite.

Au courant
This Is The New That
The world moving too fast for you? You haven’t kept track after pink became the new black? This is the blog for you, amigo. May you never be short of party small talk.

Ghost rider
KIDofSPEED & Elena Filatova
If you’re anything over 30 years old, the word “Chernobyl” will probably raise hairs at the back of your head. It’s when the world realised what could happen if nuclear power generation went out of control. The Chernobyl accident happened just over twenty-one years ago. Most of the surrounding areas of Ukraine and Belarus have been deserted all this time; entire cities now ghost towns, with nature taking over and nary a human being for miles and miles. Except Elena Filatova. Who has made trips through this spooky land all by herself, on her motorbike. Her English isn’t perfect, but has a sort of understated expressiveness all its own. And her photographs—lots of them—of the area more than make up for any slight gaps in the text. And if you, like me, wind up with a slight crush on the girl after you’re done here, go see her main site,, where you’ll find links to her other projects. [Courtesy Devangshu Datta.]

All roads lead to..
How would you like to take a walk through ancient Rome? Not the city of magnificent ruin that tourists flock through today; I’m talking of the city that the Caesars strode through. Well, you can’t. Yet. But you can get a preview, and bookmark this site for later. Right now, you see a lot of stuff about how this digital representation was made (scans from a scale model combined with data from ancient maps) and details that there are several thousand virtual buildings, a few of which even have the interiors rendered. Its designers are, they say, figuring out ways to make it possible for anyone to take a virtual reality walk through those streets via the net. Until then you can check out the picture gallery and a few (rather unimaginative) videos.

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, 12th August, 2007.

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