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October 29, 2002
The Big Cartoon DataBase
If screenshotnot for IMDb's skimpy cartoon offerings, this unparalleled database of cartoon filmography might not exist. Four years ago, founder Dave Koch sought episode guides for cartoons but came up short. So he rounded up his creative posse and started scouring the Web for toon-related information. They've compiled a massive searchable list of all toons great and small, complete with episode guides, crew lists, and synopses sprinkled with anecdotal flavor. Studio heavyweights Hanna-Barbera, Warner Brothers, and Disney are all represented, as is the seasonally inclined Rankin-Bass, creators of Frosty the Snowman. Check out the episode that saw Homer Simpson attending college, or reach further back to the '40s when Popeye the Sailor reflected wartime sentiments. For some Halloween nostalgia, visit universally loved Casper the Friendly Ghost and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Fans of the esoteric and rare are encouraged to write reviews and keep the animation alive. (in Comics & Animation)
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October 28, 2002
Lost in Translation
When screenshotused as intended, an online translator converts one language into another. But when creative people get hold of the technology and tinker around, a translator can create a whole new type of surrealistic joy. The uniqueness of this particular translator is due to the number of translations it performs. By converting text into five different languages and back to English, the site creates a wild pinball-like effect as the text ricochets from one meaning to the next. For example try translating, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." You'll end up with "Vixen that the brown express jumped in the inactive dog." The larger the passage, the greater the likelihood you'll end up with text that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the original. Cut and paste to your heart's content, and have a blast with this updated linguistic version of the telephone game. (in Linguistics & Languages)
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October 27, 2002
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Between screenshot1870 and 1915, over 10,000 people -- mostly urban immigrants -- lived in one of the 20 apartments at 97 Orchard Street. Visit this site to explore the tenement, which typically housed seven or more people crowded into 325 square feet of living space. Visit a few of the families in the Urban Log Cabin section, which uses dollhouse dioramas to depict the homes of Russian Jews, Polish immigrants, New Yorkers of German descent, Greek Sephardic Jews, and naturalized Yiddish families. Dig under the floorboards to find old milk bottle tops, a Ouija board, cigarettes, and shoes, or peel through 13 layers of wallpaper that date from the 1870s to the 1930s. The QuickTime panoramas of two apartments reveal expressive details about people living under one roof. Look at the decorations a Sicilian family used to make the best of their tiny rooms. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum weaves a colorful tapestry from the backgrounds of these working-class Americans. (in Regional)
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October 26, 2002
NASA's Origins Program
NASA screenshotfocuses its biggest telescopes on galaxies, stars, planets, and life itself. The Origins Program addresses two defining scientific questions: "Where do we come from? and "Are we alone?" Using both ground-based observatories and space-based missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA scans the skies. Scientists want to find out how galaxies and planets evolved and created the right chemical conditions to support life on Earth. Knowing how our own planet developed helps scientists pinpoint other planets capable of sustaining life. For a look at planned spacecraft, check out the Origins video. Learn about ultra-lightweight telescopes and other new technology being developed for the project. The timeline of the universe gives a refresher course on the Big Bang and what came after. If an extraterrestrial is out there, the Origins Program may be the first to find it. (in Science > Astronomy)
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October 25, 2002
New Wave Photos
Music screenshotaficionados consider the late '70s and early '80s to be the black hole of music history. Disco and corporate rock ruled the charts, but something interesting was happening under the pop-music radar. New wave and punk bands offered the original alternative to music fans tired of Top-40 drivel. Phillipe Carly was one of the disillusioned who flocked to this new breed of music, and the photos he snapped of the era make for an entirely entertaining retrospective of this subculture. Carly never considered himself a photographer. Rather, he prefers to say, "I was merely taking pictures." Well-known bands such as Siouxsie & the Banshees and New Order are represented, but the real treat is clicking through black-and-white photos of obscurities. From ;GRUMH... to XTC, the new wave movement is traced in this continually growing collection. If you long for your own piece of "livin' in the '80s," you're in luck -- all the photos are available for purchase (droning synths not included). (in Music)
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October 24, 2002
Invention at Play
Remember screenshotthe halcyon days of finding shapes in clouds, doodling on paper, creating cities from building blocks, and just letting your imagination run free? That same childlike wonderment and imaginative play is what inspired many past and present-day inventors. This Smithsonian exhibition invites you to tinker around an invention playhouse and see if you can spur any creative juices. In the case of Alexander Graham Bell, a few paper doodles were the first imaginings of the indispensable telephone. Drug pioneer Gertrude Elion likened her important experiments to playing with a jigsaw puzzle. Through the inventors' stories, you may notice a running theme of recognizing the unusual, borrowing from nature, and asking countless questions. You'll discover that necessity is not always the mother of invention. Sometimes, you just have to think like a kid. (in Science)
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October 23, 2002
TIME Asia: Asian Journey
While screenshotAmerica's trains chug along riderless and Europe's trains are packed with backpacking college students, Asia's trains serve as lifelines for local people in both remote areas and big cities. This Time magazine site explores the Asian continent by rail, from Pakistan to the Pacific with many stops in between. Start with the table of contents or simply poke around through the evocative essays and lush photographs. Travel the old silk roads from western China to Kazakhstan or take the trans-Siberian route from Beijing to Moscow. Discover how the legacy of the British Raj lives on in the iron horses that traverse the Indian subcontinent, almost connecting the warring states of India and Pakistan. From Burma to Vietnam, through South Korea and Japan, and across the expanses of China, Asia is defined by the wonders and the horrors that trains have brought into people's daily lives. This site is a first-class ticket to view a continent on the move. (in Recreation & Sports)
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