Sunday, 9 September 2007

Mousetrap - 118

For ever and ever
Immortality Institute
Aging’s a bitch, no? That steady loss of muscle tone, that degeneration of the senses, and then death. This site, like all of us, thinks that’s not a nice thing. And, unlike all of us, is working towards eliminating it. That is, the whole aging bit. Science, after all, has already extended life expectancy far beyond what it was even a few generations ago. And those boundaries are being moved further every day. Soon, they think, to should be possible to extend life indefinitely. (Of course nothing can stop death by disaster, accident or simple human idiocy.) The site seeks to advance awareness with an online forum, books, films and conferences.

World Monuments Watch
If all the recent brouhaha about the new seven wonders of the world did anything aside from fill entrepreneurial pockets, it was this: it raised awareness of the host of wondrous structures that are our heritage. Many of these, alas, are in states of disrepair, with neglect, active destruction or the environment slowly destroying them. This site, an offshoot of the World Monuments Fund (which is definitely worth a visit as well), lists the 100 most endangered sites in the world, and takes you on a small virtual tour.. You get to see and experience just a little of the grandeur, and to educate yourself on what could soon mean that a virtual tour is all that we and our descendants can take.

Sights for sore eyes.
Grand Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena & Grand Illusions
You know all those email forwards that insist that the attachments are amazing, will blow your mind, that you won’t believe your eyes? Well, compadre, here’s the motherlode. The first site claims it has 72 of the little suckers, everything from the seemingly diverging lines that are actually parallel, to the shapes that seem to shift as your eyes run over them, to, well, everything. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s many pages of them on the second site too, some duplicates, yes, but a slightly better layout. And it’s a site that also sells you stuff—toys and things—that you can display proudly in your home. Instead of sending me the damn things.

Scott Wade's Dirty Car Art Gallery
Have you ever seen a dirty car window and quickly wrote “Clean Me!” in the grime with your finger? No? You mean it’s just me? Well never mind. This artist takes those impulses much, much further. Helped along by the fact that he lives on a dusty road, which helps prep his “canvas” regularly, he does entire masterpieces on his and his wife’s car rear window. With brushes, I hasten to add. He has it down to a fine um, art, using the rain to help sometimes, or doing a piece in several stages (letting more dust build up between stints, filling up areas already cleaned by his brush). Then he photographs them and puts the pictures up here. And then the rain wipes the, er, slate clean. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go outside. The kids in my neighbourhood are budding artists, and I must go stifle their careers.

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Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 9th September, 2007.

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