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NetNomad 68

Five offbeat, timely reviews of Web sites on the arts, politics and news -- with a dash of the absurd thrown in for good measure.
 
 
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Nike iD www.shey.net/niked.html

When Jonah Peretti ran across a Nike site that allowed him to create personalized runners, he had one of those moments of pure inspiration: Why not "create" a pair of shoes emblazoned with the word "sweatshop." The folks at Nike were not amused. They refused Jonah's request, prompting him to write and ask for an explanation. One was proffered, of course, and in time many such letters had been accumulated. What else could Jonah do, then, but send copies of the missives to his friends. Who sent them to their friends who sent them ...

Beans Around the World www.geocities.com/beansaroundtheworld

Here's a modern-day take on the message in a bottle. The bottle this time is a can of beans that has traveled around the world. It began as a simple joke, with two mates passing the can back and forth but it soon evolved into a world wide game, with friends and strangers snapping pics of the beans in China, Washington and elsewhere. Everyone is welcome to join in; simply take a picture of the beloved beans with the historical site of interest in the background and send it on in.

Amazing Embarrassonic Human Karaoke Machine www.embarrassonic.com

The Amazing Embarrassonic Human Karaoke Machine calls themselves an "interactive rockstar fantasy experience" that allows would-be singers to actually front a three-piece rock band. Choose from over 350 songs (by AC/DC, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Elvis and others) and the human karaoke machine will do the rest. The band is touring California at the moment and there is a full list of songs online, as well as a mailing list so you can plan your gigs ahead of time.

Hubble: A View to the Edge of Space www.exploratorium.edu/origins/hubble

It is almost beyond comprehension in our day-to-day lives, but while we sit and moan and groan about the weather and the price of gas, the Hubble Space Telescope continues to chart the very fringes of space. The further it sees, the further back in time we can see, back to the origins of our world and the rest of the world. This site brings together all the latest news reports, pictures and special live events.

Guided By Voices www.gbv.com

GbV would seem to have many strikes against them. For starts the de facto leader of the band, Bob Pollard, was until 1994 an elementary school teacher. Add this to the fact that some 40 musicians have wandered through the Dayton, Ohio band and you might think it a recipe for disaster. GbV is in fact a killer rock band and their latest, Isolation Drills, will surely be tagged as one of the best CDs of the year. A bonus for eager fans: early pressings of the CD allow downloading of bootleg songs from the official GbV site, which also contains a full bio on past and present band members, an entertaining FAQ and information on Suitcase, a sort of best-of CD of 100 unreleased GbV songs.