News & Politics

NetNomad 29

Five offbeat, timely reviews of Web sites on the arts, politics and news -- with a dash of the absurd thrown in for good measure. This week: . . . Graffiti Art by Mear . . . Snowballs in Summer . . . The Whirled Bank . . . Million Solar Roofs . . . Bach Digital Project
Graffiti Art by Mear www.mearone.com

A graffiti artist with a home page? And a store, selling prints and "Mear gear?" Somewhat unusual, perhaps, but Mear is described elsewhere as one of the premier graffiti artists. His biography is in the form of an interview (and the small white print is difficult to read) but it does contain an interesting overview in which Mear discusses his initiation into the world of graffiti, as well as his opinion on the art form's future. He says "graffiti just seemed like a better alternative to get into more trouble, but more creative and more fun." The gallery contains some quite remarkable examples of his work and the aforementioned Mear Gear store includes signed posters with "clothing and other Mear media on the way."



Snowballs in Summer www.eyestorm.com/events/goldsworthy

On June 21 -- Midsummer's Day -- 13 giant snowballs were placed at strategic locations throughout London. They were left to melt in the heat of the day, and as they did so, they left behind the materials that Andy Goldsworthy had placed inside the snow sculptures, from sheep's wool, feathers, barbed wire, pebbles and more. The site features archived photos of the giant meltdown, along with an interview with artist Goldsworthy. He is described as one of the UK's best-known artists, whose sculptures harness natural materials with the minimum of technological intervention. "If a work can be made by hand, then it will be."

The Whirled Bank www.whirledbank.org

Their aim is simple and true: A world full of poverty. After all, if some countries are being crushed under the weight of unyielding debt, why not all of them! The problem of world debt, of course, stems from the loans to otherwise impoverished countries via The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), loans they refuse to cancel, claiming that their bylaws prohibit them from doing so. You'll find no such excuses at The Whirled Bank, however, a site clearly designed to entertain and educate, all without missing a beat. The Online Banking allows users the option of "paying" the debt for Ghana or Mexico or others. Along the way, you'll learn all the facts and figures. And of course what good is a money mantra without a few confessions from The Church of the Almighty Dollar!



Million Solar Roofs www.eren.doe.gov/millionroofs

In June 1997 it was first proposed that the US adopt an initiative to place one million solar energy systems on the roofs of buildings and homes across the US by the year 2010. Secretary of Energy Federico F. Pena's plan would be accomplished by using existing federal grants and other programs, while working with local authorities. The Million Solar Roofs site can be used to find out details on the goals of the initiative (including reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions and -- of course -- creating high technology jobs), find out where you fit in along with a list of additional resources.



Bach Digital Project www.bachdigital.org

It has been 250 years since the death of Johann Sebastian Bach and in that time many people have come to consider him to be the greatest composer of all time. To mark the sesquicentennial anniversary of Bach's death, IBM, the State Library in Berlin and eight other institutions have joined forces to present this extraordinary digital database of Bach's original handwritten manuscripts and selected musical scores. It is thought that the collection contains most of Bach's existing hand-written scores. The State Library in Berlin now holds some 80 percent of the originals, valued at $300 million and -- aside from the display at this site -- the 8,000 sheets of hand-written scores usually rest behind heavily guarded steel doors.