Sunday, 27 April 2008

Mousetrap - 146

One World
Pangea Day
Pangaea (to use the spelling everyone not American uses) is the name scientists give to a supercontinent, one of many in the earth’s history of drifting continental plates, a single landmass that existed some 200 to 300 million years ago, from which the continents we know today broke apart and drifted away. Pangea Day is on May 10th, and will be celebrated with a 4-hour programme (starting 11:30pm, IST) of live music, short films and talks. It will be broadcast live from six locations (Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro) to a worldwide audience via TV, the web and cellphones. (For readers in Bombay, you can apply for a free invitation via the site.) It doesn’t stop after the show, though. The site promises to help people participate in community-building activities around the world, aside from making many of the performances available.

Did the Earth Move for You?
Paleomap Project
While we were researching the first few lines in the previous item, we found this fascinating site. It is a history site with a difference. It’s not about which branch of humanity slaughtered more people than others and hence got to write the books. Nope, this webmaster’s goal is, to put it mildly, huge: ‘to illustrate the plate tectonic development of the ocean basins and continents, as well as the changing distribution of land and sea during the past 1100 million years.’ So you get fascinating full-colour maps, animations showing the continents drifting around like flotsam in a Bombay monsoon flood, and, taking it many millions of years in the future, showing what the world could look like then.

Split Ends
Darn Divorce
Despite the best efforts of the guardians of our Glorious Culture, many in this country are realising that in some circumstances, a divorce, tough as it is on all concerned, is really the best path to choose. Well, as this blog says, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It is a ‘collection of random thoughts and news on the Dreaded D-Word. Some content may appear silly or cynical, but in no way am I undermining the distressing effects of divorce…’ There’s a lot here that could be useful; links to advice and articles, and some fun stuff too. Worth a look if you’re coming out of a split, or are affected by one.

Off Line
Shutdown Day
Another internet meme landed in your columnist’s inbox this week. The question being asked on this site is whether you can survive a full 24 hours without your computer. The idea is to use the time you normally spend in front of the keyboard for other things, like getting outdoors and communing with nature, playing sports, or just doing things with people you can touch and feel. As the site says, just ‘remind yourself that there still exists a world outside your monitor screen.’ Kind of ironic, that the message is being passed around online, no? When is this happening? It’s on the 3rd May, just around the corner. The day I have to file the next edition of this column. You think the editor will buy it and we’ll get paid leave? Watch this space.

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, 27th April, 2008.

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