Tornadoes! Do you know what to do before, during and after a tornado strikes? FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has some excellent tornado tips. And it general tornado information lists the 15 states where tornadoes are most likely to hit. NOAA’s tornado pagesalso provide excellent information, such as the fact that some tornadoes are almost invisible. Included is the fascinating story of the first tornado forecast (fittingly in Oklahoma). The Tornado Project clears up misconceptions about tornadoes (should you open or close windows when a tornado is imminent?) and offers in-depth details of historic tornadoes as well as a wealth of current info.
Since severe weather can pop up quickly, a great spot to bookmark is Texas A&M’s interactive national map of Current Severe Weather Watches and Warnings. See at a glance which states have warnings or watches in effect, then click on any of them to learn more.
What’s The Law? When you need to know your legal rights in any of 100 different areas — from boat accidents to broker disputes and guarantees to Social Security law — Free Advice.com has you covered. In easy-to-understand language, its legal advice ranges from what laws newlyweds need to know to the legalities of starting a business. It’s divided into sections: accident law, bankruptcy, business, family law (adoptions to pre-nups), insurance law, estate planning, civil rights and Social Security law, real estate and much more. It’s hard to image what might be missing. While this site has always had an excellent reputation on the Net as an outstanding source of useful information, its credibility has just been enhanced by an endorsement by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. The ATLA also endorses the site’s Attorney Pages, a directory of lawyers listed in the same categories as the legal guidance.
Straight Talk. Is Earth getting lighter or heavier? Did Neal Armstrong muff his “one small step … one giant leap” line? Why does the U.S. surgeon general appear in a military uniform? What difference does it make in a recipe if flour is sifted or not? Cecil Adams consults experts to get answers and explanations to these and thousands of other similar questions at Straight Dope. Its motto: “Fighting ignorance since 1973 (It’s taking longer than we thought.)” The searchable archive, which goes back to 1994, has answers to hundreds of questions. (How much is a gazillion? Why do we have those car mirrors that show objects that appear to be farther away than they really are?) You can also ask Cecil, who modestly calls himself the world’s smartest human being, a question via e-mail through the site. Reading this stuff is like munching on peanuts: You start with one and pretty soon, you’ve read a dozen.
Chat With Pete Rose. On Wednesday, May 12, at 6 p.m. PDT and 9 p.m. EDT, you can chat live with baseball legend Pete Rose on CBS Sportsline.
More “Star Wars.” The hype and excitement continue to build for “Star Wars Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace.” Tonight at 6 p.m. PDT and 9 p.m. EDT, you can chat with Terry Brooks, author of Episode 1’s novelization. If you’re a “Star Wars” junkie, be sure to check with Talk City regularly to see who else connected with the film will be chatting in coming days and weeks. They promise 10 more chats as the official online chat provider for Lucasfilm, but haven’t yet announced a schedule or all the participants.
It Happened Today. While “this day in history” sites aren’t anything new, The History Channel’s is one of the best. But the cable network’s site offers something even better — if you’re interested in the War Between the States, old cars or Wall Street. Each day you can find out what happened on this day in Civil War history, Wall Street history or automotive history.
Moooving to the Music. It’s the ultimate in Web silliness, but you’ll still get a kick out of a herd of animated cows dancing to moosic that you choose. If cows aren’t your thing, try fish dancing to either underwater music, the “Gilligan’s Island” theme, Surfin’ U.S.A. music, Fish Head music or Valkyrie. Or perhaps you’d prefer the hamster dance or boogie blocks. The music won’t start until the pages have loaded and that takes a minute or two (depending on the speed of your modem) because they’re graphic-intensive.
Round Ball. If the labor troubles and season shortening didn’t turn you away from the NBA, you’ll want to check out the latest on the playoffs from the official site.