Surfing the Web can be at times a frustrating experience—waiting for a slow-loading site to open, only to discover that the content is either poorly presented, or of such a salacious nature as to make even Caligula blush. Therefore, we wish to offer up several suggestions for your Webventuring that we hope will both entertain and educate. These sites have caught our attention as having been carefully thought out and well designed, or at least their content makes them worth the visit. And as this is a regional magazine, we’ll start with a regional Web site.
This site celebrates the small town of Raymond, Mississippi, established in 1829 as the county seat of Hinds County. Be sure to click on Area History in the list on the left side of the home page for a fascinating glimpse into the history of Raymond.
How many of you were aware that the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope could be found on the island of Puerto Rico? The Arecibo Observatory is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, operated by Cornell University under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. For a less technical view, click the button labeled General Public for a photo tour of the observatory and facilities, plus a little background information on the telescope.
As the Internet companion Web site for The Discovery Channel, this site not only offers more information on some of the broadcast programs, but additional information on a wide variety of subjects. You’ll also find a TV viewing guide for The Discovery Channel as well as The Learning Channel, The Travel Channel, and Animal Planet. And where else can one play the ancient Egyptian game of Senet? Follow this path to the Games page: Home Page>Interactives>Games>Senet, and challenge a Pharaoh!
and for the big picture . . . http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights_dmsp_big.jpg
Admittedly, this address is a long one if you choose to type it in but a visual treat will reward your effort — a cloudless, night-time view of the entire earth. And if you search carefully, you might be able to find your hometown.This is NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day site and in the lower right corner of the photo is the site’s main address. Type this one in for other images as well as a calendar of stunning photos.
As we've all heard before, getting there is half the fun, but that fun could possibly be lessened if you start off for “there” without a clear-cut plan for the “getting” part. While wandering can be rewarding in its own way, knowing what you wish to see and where to travel to see it can guarantee a more satisfying trek. Therefore, we offer to our readers three Web sites with an abundance of travel information about our state. So get started, there really is a lot to see and do in Mississippi!
For the sights and events in the Jackson area, visit the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Web site. They provide a full complement of information on attractions, shopping, dining, activities, and accommodations in the Capitol City that can’t be equaled. Their calendar of events will keep you posted on things worth doing and seeing (be sure to use the Navigation drop-down menu to move from month to month). There are a variety of brochures that you can download in PDF format or have mailed to you. And in addition to their Web site, they also offer helpful advice over the phone at 800/354-7695 or 601/960-1891.
The Mississippi Division of Tourism can point you in the right direction whether you’re in the state for pleasure or business. Their calendar of events is a search engine that asks you what, where, and/or when in order to get you started. There’s even a map that divides the state into five regions you can search. As you decide where you wish to go, add it to your Trip Planner with the click of a button. Then print it out for a custom itinerary! What could be easier? You can also order an assortment of tour guides and maps that will be mailed to you if you wish. And be sure to check out their list of Important Links. We are there.
And finally, here’s where you can plan your trip to the National Parks that are located in Mississippi. Simply click our state on the map. This will take you to an interactive map of Mississippi where you can get more information about the National Parks that are found here. From the home page, you can also learn about the history and natural science behind the Parks. Oh yeah, there are parks in some other states you can visit, too.
Ever wonder what the big picture looks like? Everybody needs to know where they stand in the grand scheme of things. These three sites are good places to start in order to learn what’s around you and where you fit in.
The Web site for the Mississippi Department of Transportation has a wide variety of maps of the state, ranging from state maps to county maps, city maps, and even a map showing hurricane evacuation routes.
The Internet’s first interactive topographical map of the entire United States makes seamless United States Geologic Survey topographic maps available by name place, decimal degrees, degrees/minutes/seconds, or by UTM coordinates. For starters, the intersection of Capitol and State Streets in Jackson, Mississippi is approximately 32° 17’ 56"N, 90° 10’ 49"W.
Want to see what your neighborhood looks like to the birds? Containing 3.3 tera-bytes of high resolution USGS aerial imagery and USGS topographic maps, this site lets you explore the United States (and the world) in aerial photographs. Remove “-usa” from the address for the world-view. And for an “out of this world” extra, try the Area 51 button in the upper right hand corner.
Last issue we took a look at our own blue globe. In this issue, we turn our view out through the Solar System, following three planetary probe missions, two of which will be reaching their goals in 2004 and a third that has already surpassed its designers’ greatest expectations.
Our first stop is at the Red Planet where the two Mars Exploration Rovers will be touching down in January 2004. With loads of information, photographs, and QuickTime animations following the mission progress, this site offers something for all age groups.
The 6th planet from the Sun offers its best telescopic view at the end of this year, but for a really close look, we’ll need to wait until the Cassini-Huygens probe arrives in July 2004. Still, you can explore the ringed planet ahead of time at this site.
This intrepid explorer, having exceeded the expectations of NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory by continuing to operate for 26 years after its launch in 1977, is now approaching the boundaries of our Solar System. It is now the furthest man-made object from the Sun (and from the Earth).
Here’s a mixed bag of sites that I found recently; finds like these underscore the enjoyment I get out of a good web-surfari.
WebExhibits is a surprising web site that I found because I was curious about the origin of that paper item that most everyone has hanging on a wall—the calendar. WebExhibits covers this as well as the history of Daylight Saving Time, the causes of color, plus everything you’d ever want to know about pigments, and, oddly enough, the history of butter; it’s as old as King Tut!
To quote from this site’s self-description, “The purpose of NASA’s Earth Observatory is to provide a freely-accessible publication on the Internet where the public can obtain new satellite imagery and scientific information about our home planet. The focus is on Earth’s climate and environmental change.” Hey, it’s free!
Hey, Summer’s here! Let’s go cybertravelin’. We’ll start off close to home and then range further afield. Explore these sites fully as there’s a lot to see on each one. And don’t forget, send us a postcard!
As we touch on the stained glass talents of Louis Comfort Tiffany in our Interiors & Exteriors section this issue, I wish to direct you to the web site of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where you can learn more about this multi-disciplined artist and see examples of his work.
Sometimes I get tired of researching stories, chasing down information, and locating photographs that I don’t have. I want a chuckle, a chortle, or just a good reason to think “Would ya’ look at THAT!” Allow me to share a couple of sites that may offer you the same enjoyment that I get.
Weird and wonderful patents that will make everyone’s life easier. Yeah, right!
Philip Plait is an “astronomer, teacher, lecturer, and all-around science junkie.” As a lot of misinformation is spread about astronomy that makes just enough sense for people to believe it, Philip feels obliged to right these wrongs when he can. The Bad Astronomy web pages are devoted to airing out myths and misconceptions in astronomy and related topics. Bad Astronomy is interesting, astounding, and sometimes just plain hilarious.
Questions we’ve got! Sometimes it’s the answers that are hard to come by. Hopefully this issue’s offerings will help some.
Do you try to read the historical markers by the roadside as you speed past or do you stop when it’s convenient and see what they have to say? Here’s your chance to read some you might have missed, courtesy of Eddie Richardson, a man who has taken on a truly Herculean task—photographing all of the historical markers in Mississippi.
Do you know where licorice comes from? Did you know that the city of Chicago was named for “the place where the wild garlic grows?” How about the fact that some medieval landlords were paid not in cash but in peppercorns? Learn about the history of spices and their uses from the University of California at Los Angeles’s Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.
Do flags interest you? Are you curious about their design, history, and symbolism? Do you wonder why these bits of cloth have such a profound effect on people and nations? Here’s where most of the answers lie. Then click here to see the Flags of our Visitors page.
Three websites from north of the Mason-Dixon Line: two with definite connections and a third just for looking at.
As a follow-up to our article on page 3 about the telescope that never made it to Ole Miss, here is the website for the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. This is where the telescope, sans lens, wound up on display, at the Western Hemisphere’s first planetarium.
NOTE: I'll be adding that article at a later date. Subscribe to our RSS feed for new articles.
Here’s another North-South connection. Coming to our Museum of Natural Science this summer is “a breathtaking, life-sized articulated cast skeleton of Sue,” the largest and most complete T-Rex ever unearthed. Sue’s proxy will be the centerpiece of this exhibit designed to give the visitor a more thorough understanding of the Cretaceous world.
From modern ruins to street fossils to unusual views of the New York City skyline, Phillip Buehler takes a view of the world that is quite different from that of the rest of us.
It’s easy to see from this column where my interests lie. When I was going through my “what I want to be when I grow up” phase of life, astronomer had a high position on my list. I still find the science enjoyable. So come on—join me on a virtual visit to three of the world’s great observatories.
The Griffith Observatory, a major Los Angeles landmark since 1935, sits on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood where it commands a stunning view of the city. Closed from 2002 until 2006 for major renovations, the facility is still “open” through this site.
Kitt Peak National Observatory, located 56 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona, is the world’s largest collection of telescopes.
High atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the highest point in the Pacific basin, stands the Mauna Kea Observatory, with optical and radio telescopes operated by astronomers from eleven countries.
While fine-tuning the layout of this issue, I had the TV on in my office. The History Channel was running History’s Mysteries: Japan’s Mysterious Pyramids, a program about the underwater Yonaguni structure located 80 to 100 feet below the surface of the East China Sea. Below are three sites exploring this mystery and other ancient phenomena.
While searching for hammerhead sharks off the coast of the Japanese island of Yonaguni in 1985, Kihachiro Aratake came upon a 300 foot long underwater “structure” that appeared to be man-made—or is it merely the result of natural forces?
The Morien Institute, a non-profit research and education organization, explores this and other “underwater cities” around the world, plus other ancient mysteries.
This site bills itself as “A scientific selection of web information on ancient underwater ruins and other remarkable finds.” It includes many photos of the Yonaguni structure. There is also a link to an interesting “Crackpot Index” test at the end of the Editorial page.
The Boeing 727 was first introduced into commercial service over forty years ago. In 1991, the first 727 built was donated to the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Visit their site at www.museumofflight.org.
A fellow in Oregon has followed in the footsteps of those he refers to as “trailblazers, and [the] many others who explore and test alternative home options.” In short, our own Joanne Ussery in Benoit! See the Interiors & Exteriors spread this issue, pages ten and eleven for her Boeing 727 home.
Here’s the story of America’s only unsolved hijacking that began with a parachute jump from the back stairs of a Boeing 727 high above the Pacific Northwest and ended with the “death bed confession” of a Florida antique dealer 24 years later. Or did it end there? Did D.B. Cooper really plummet to his death that November night or did he successfully land and eventually make his way to the Sunshine State to live out his final days surrounded by antiques and oranges?
As Ed McMahon would say, “Everything you’d EVER want to know about the Boeing 727” can be found on this web site. Well, ALMOST everything, hydraulic fluid breath. From the history of the craft, through the design. trivia, and specifications — brought to you by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Humanity has gravitated to water since the beginning, so it’s no wonder that there is now such a wide assortment of watercraft plying the world’s lakes, rivers, and oceans. From the great to the small to the unusual, here are three offerings that will float your imagination.
Longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall, and so immense that it can’t enter certain waterways or most ports, the Ultra Large Crude Carrier Knock Nevis easily holds the record as the largest man-made object afloat.
Here’s a site that, although roughly translated into English from its original Italian, is an interesting foray into the world of the gondola, that sleek black craft so readily associated with the waterways of Venice.
The Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley gained wide renown during the American Civil War as being the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, the USS Housatonic, although the Hunley, and all in her, were lost as a result. The Hunley’s recovery from the waters off the coast of Sullivan’s Island, just outside the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina in August 2000, made international news. Yet, the fact that the first United States Navy submarine, the USS Alligator, was launched in 1862, the year before the Hunley, came as a complete surprise to me. Explore all the aspects of the development of and the search for the USS Alligator.
In my sophomore year of high school, I claimed the school’s unofficial paper airplane distance championship by sailing a three-foot long, dart-style paper airplane out of a second floor window. The wind caught it just right and it flew approximately 150 feet across the school yard. I had witnesses. It was a beautiful sight.
This website offers up twenty-five different styles of paper airplane designs with folding diagrams and, for some, folding instructions via video! There’s also a design not unlike the paper helicopter that was a favorite of mine when I was a boy.
This site is dedicated solely to the assembly and flying instructions of what’s called the Douglas DC-3 of paper airplanes. The author states that this paper airplane’s flight characteristics are “similar to a balsa wood plane rather than a paper airplane.”
Colorful and unusual designs set this paper airplane site apart from others. Choosing to fold his planes to look (sort of) like actual aircraft, the author also includes photos of and information about the airplane in question plus, in several cases, brief specifications and additional links. Adding a LINK page to sites about paper airplanes, other flight related resources, and the Japanese art of origami makes this website one of the most wide-reaching sites about paper airplanes I’ve yet to come across. Topping all of this off—the author offers a Fold-A-Day Calendar with more than 300 paper airplane projects. Look for it under the Publications link.
I recently watched a show called Naked Science on the National Geographic channel. This particular episode was called Death of the Sun — it explored the origin and future of the star at the center of our solar system. Some of the imagery was astonishing, so I’d like to share three websites with you that show our Sun in a light that some of you may not have seen before.
I like the name of this site! It ignores the fact that a few misguided individuals have chosen to demote Pluto to the status of a dwarf planet. But that’s not why we’re here. This website offers basic information about our star.
The science is beyond me, but this site claims that there is a ”rocky, calcium ferrite transitional layer” 3,000 miles or 4,800 km below the visible photosphere of our sun! Our sun has a surface? Then, there’s “solar moss,” two million degrees Fahrenheit gas seen above the sun’s photosphere.
During the 1980s, I experienced a partial solar eclipse here in Jackson. It was amazing— on a hot sunny day, when the moon’s shadow swept over us, it was like walking into an air-conditioned room! This is a NASA website that catalogues and maps eclipses around the world. By the way, the next total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States is about ten years off—on August 21, 2017. And for those of you with the longevity, Mississippi will experience a total solar eclipse on August 12, 2045. I’ll be there— at the Rainwater Observatory in French Camp for this one!
Here are some offerings I've added over the last few days — sites that caught my eye while redesigning our website during the month of December 2008. Some pertain to our articles, others are just interesting — well, to me anyway. More to come!
I came across this site while looking up Bethlehem Steel Company for the article on the Sprague. Wikipedia describes it as "Short history and present-day photo galleries exploring the decayed plant." Urban archaeology is indeed fascinating.
Wired News, the Website of Wired Magazine, offers "some of the best videos from our most recent decade of space travel."
You've seen them on the road, usually when you're trying to negotiate a crowded intersection, avoiding that oncoming bus while trying to get around the slow driver who is always in front of you — U-Haul trucks with the colorful graphics on the side. This U-Haul site lets you get a close look at them without risking your neck.
Here is a site about an unusual house in Wales that wouldn't be out of place in "The Hobbit." Described as a "Low Impact Woodland Home," it was built by the site's author with the help of his wife, father-in-law, and friends. Take a look-see — this is the sort of site that starts one dreaming!
. . . and more to come!
Have you ever seen a halo around the sun and wondered how it's formed? Do you know what a sun dog is? This site tells you about these and other meteorological phenomena relating to light and its interaction with our atmosphere.
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