News & Politics

NetNomad 24

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: Derek's Big Website of Walmart Purchase Receipts ... Survivor II ... Open Letters ... Radioactive Pollution Live on the Web ... Rear View Mirror
Derek's Big Website of Walmart Purchase Receipts (lightning.prohosting.com/~receipts)

Yes, you read the title of this site correctly. Some people are born to shop; others are born to shop and then tell everyone what they bought. Which is not to say that Derek is a big spender. But for the past three years or so he has been saving his shopping receipts. He's kept them in an old toaster box in no particular order. And now he has scanned his receipts so that he might share his collection with the Internet community. On May 2, 2000, for example, Derek purchased a Butterfinger for 44 cents and a battery for $1.96. Just the tip of the iceberg.

Survivor II (www.cbs.com/network/tvshows/mini/survivor/aussie/index.shtml)

If you watch "Survivor" and think you have what it takes to win the million, here's a chance to put your body where your mouth is. CBS TV has put out a call for the cast of the Survivor 2001. "Imagine that in October of 2000, you and fifteen other strangers are stranded in the Australian Outback." Yes, just imagine. To apply for Survivor II: The Australian Outback, you must complete the application located at this site and it must be received by July 28, 2000. It is worth a visit just to read the eight-page application, which is almost as difficult to complete as the actual trek to the outback. Applicants must be willing to travel to one of various interview locations at their own expense, be willing to travel to a remote location in Australia for seven (7) weeks in October, November and the beginning of December 2000 (economy class), complete a medical history, supply a video tape of yourself and much more.

Open Letters (www.openletters.net)

The host of Open Letters is Paul Tough, former senior editor of Harper's Magazine. His new ezine has a very simple premise: Publish one personal letter each day. These are not "typical" letters, as you might expect, but insightful, endearing and often very funny observations on life. The aim is to provide a forum "for a complex story, for a subtle argument, for an unusual voice." The contents may be read online and there are also two email options; the first is a daily reminder, telling you the subject of that day's letter; the second option is The Weekly Magazine, a six-to-ten page PDF magazine containing all of the content published that week.

Radioactive Pollution Live on the Web (www.greenpeace.org/~nuclear/ospar2000/livecamconf.html)

The people in the Greenpeace organization have made a career of utilizing innovative techniques in order to bring attention to their issues. Installing a Webcam at the end of the discharge pipe of France's nuclear reprocessing facility at La Hague must qualify as one of their most inspired. The Webcam sits at a depth of 30 meters and is 1.7 km from the shore. It is here that "over one million litres of liquid radioactive waste per day is dumped into the ocean." Although dumping nuclear waste from ships is banned, the nuclear industry has adopted an "out of sight out of mind" approach as far as discharging the waste via land-based pipes.

Rear View Mirror (www.cmp.ucr.edu/photography/mirror)

There is little doubt about the role the automobile plays in our society. Recently we saw an ad for auto accessories that stated that "our cars make our first impression." Perhaps that is true. Looking at the photos collected here, all part of UCR - California Museum of Photography's Rear View Mirror exhibition, one is left with a sense that, although we may well look at our cars everyday, we seldom see them in an artistic sort of way. There is no doubt that Margaret Bourke-White, Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott and others have done so. The photos are extraordinary, of course. The site also includes a series of essays, including Susan E. King's Women and Cars.
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