Freedom isn’t free. Take a moment before or between today’s
barbecues, picnics and softball games to pause and think of the reason
for the holiday. The American
Legion’s Memorial Day Page
does just that. David Merchant’s Salute to Memorial Day
covers not just the history, speeches and poetry you might expect, but
has a list of MIAs/POWs and links to other Memorial Day
and related sites. Before you resume your merrymaking, listen to
Taps and think how grateful
we are for those who gave their lives for our country. (Did you know that
Taps doesn’t have any official words? Learn more, thanks to West Point,
about that and how the haunting bugle melody was
Click here for information. The knowledgeable librarians at the
Toronto Public Library have created a wonderful resource in the Virtual Reference Library. It takes
a few minutes to learn your way around the site, but once you discover
the research guides and recommended Web pages, you’ll be ready to find
whatever facts you need. A bonus is the “Bob’s Your Uncle, eh” genealogy
section devoted to helping you locate your Canadian ancestors.
Potato-powered computer. My introduction to the next site began
with an e-mail: “Judy, I just know you’re gonna like this one.”
It’s remarkable, not because of its content, but for the very nature of
the server which operates it. You may have learned in high school science
class that if you insert a copper nail and a zinc nail into a common
potato, the water and salt in the potato will produce a very small
electrical current. A couple of guys in Southampton, England, connected a
dozen potatoes in series to a 386 motherboard running a stripped-down
Linux operating system off a ROM. There’s not a lot of power (either
electrical or computing), but it’s enough. They have to change the
potatoes every couple of days.
It has 2 megs of memory and seems to run about as fast as I recall my
last 386 doing just before I got rid of it. The Spud Server explains that as far as
these guys know, theirs is the first vegetable-powered Web server. A
reasonable assumption, but then maybe not — there are lots of slightly
wacko people out there experimenting and putting the results on the Web.
(Remember the fellows at Rice University who were microwaving and blowing
up Twinkies in the name of
science when they should have been studying for exams?)
If you’re in an area where the electricity frequently goes out, now
you know what you have to do — forget back-up power systems and stock up
on 20-pound bags of spuds. And 10-year-olds can refuse to eat potatoes
for dinner on the grounds they need them for their computers. Ain’t
Underwater treasure. Explore the treasure and artifacts that
have been rescued from sunken ships and are now in the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Florida.
You learn all about the four ships sank between 1560 and 1700, including
what they were doing on the high seas and what cargo they carried.
Dive in. The online ezine OnScuba offers articles for beginning and
advanced divers, discussions of equipment and how to improve your skills.
The ocean in motion. Students and teachers who want to learn
more about the ocean and what’s in it will find all the facts at Oceonography: An Office of
Naval Research Science and Technology site. It explains waves, tides and
currents; introduces sea mammals; and looks at why the sand on some
beaches is sugar-white; on others, black; and on still others, pebbly.
Good eating. It’s mudbug season in Louisiana, time to head to
Great Cajun Cooking to find out
what to serve with your crawfish.
Good music. You might think the House of Blues website would be self-serving,
but it’s really a great place for lovers of the blues because it offers
live concerts almost every day, radio around the clock, and artist
interviews and bios.
Building bulk. Memorial Day traditionally kicks off beach
season — are you in shape? A former Mr. World and Mr. Universe (do you
suppose they had Martians competing in that one?), body-builder Dave Draper, wants to help make sure you
are. He discusses weight training and nutrition, answers body-building
questions and includes “muscle links.”
The price of fame. No, I’m not recommending that you Smash Regis by dropping bags of money
on his head, but if you have Shockwave and a fast connection — and
aren’t a big fan of the TV host — you may want to check it out.