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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 12:30 GMT
Kate Russell
By Kate Russell
BBC Click Online Webscape-r

Kate Russell gives us her latest selection of the best sites on the World Wide Web.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

One of the things I love about doing Webscape is that sometimes I just sit down at my computer and think: "what do I want to try to learn about today?"

You would be surprised at what you can uncover using a skillful combination of search engines and random words.

Talking of which, anyone who is into ancient history - in particular folklore and mythology - is going to love this site, which is packed full of useful information and links.

Pantheon takes its name from the ancient Roman temple, but calls itself the Encyclopaedia Mythica.

It houses what has to be the best collection of images, information and links around the subject of ancient mythology and religion on the web.

It has won awards for it in fact, and it is not hard to see why.

With a refreshingly appealing interface for a website about history, the navigation is a breeze.

Panels left and right link through to various sections, and all the pages of writing are seamlessly interweaved by key word links, so you will never find yourself wondering who Prometheus was.

You can just follow the path until your thirst for knowledge is sated.

Admittedly, it is a bit text-heavy, but the text reads really well if you are interested, and there are illustrations of a sort on most pages.

For a change, the external links have proved to be attached to some pretty good websites too so far.

(Don't you just hate it when a whole page of recommended links are either hooked up to dead space, or to some out-of-date drivel that really should not be recommended to anyone? Web page owners, clean up your favourites folder occasionally! OK, rant over, moving on...)

Strange Science

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I have been reading Bill Bryson's book about science recently, and this got me wondering about all the mistakes that science has made in the past.

And wouldn't you know it, there is a place on the web you can find out more if you want to.

Strange Science is a site I came across that catalogues the lighter side of science through the ages.

But while it is quite amusing to see how some panicked scientists imagined the first dinosaurs all those years ago, there is a deeper undercurrent of learning here as you absorb the facts as they are known today, and marvel at the way humanity has changed in the relatively brief time that scientists have been asking awkward questions.

There are pictures and illustrations along the way and you will learn some fascinating facts, like that the Cyclops myth derived from early discoveries of an elephant skull because the ancient Greeks assumed the nasal cavity was an eye socket in a giant's head.

I have to admit, a side navigation panel would have made surfing a little smoother but that in no way detracts from the excellent content, which is generally quite a long read, so make sure you're comfortable.

I found it an easy read though, and am still going back for more.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Computers are often blamed for taking children's attention away from the natural world, but you only have to dip your toe in the ocean of great educational sites out there to know that, handled right, time spent online can in fact spark a new interest in the world around you.

SciToys is a perfect example of this. I cannot wait to try this collection of experiments and scientific games on my young nieces and nephews.

It is basically a directory of scientific toys you can make from ordinary household objects like candles and batteries and empty containers.

Admittedly, you would be surprised to find some of the ingredients in your average kitchen cupboard - like ceramic magnets - but they are certainly available in hardware stores and such like.

The experiments range in complexity, and this site is definitely for the adult to learn how to set up and assist these experiments rather than a place to send your young ones to learn how to do it for themselves.

All the activities are nicely explained in plain terms, often with step-by-step photographs as you go.

I love the page on how to make a permanent rainbow, and will probably not wait for a child to be about before I have a go myself.

There is even a full scientific explanation so you can answer all those awkward questions like "Why?"

Squares 2

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

We finish with a game sent in to us by Adrian Wells as a little light relief. It is at Fetch Fido, under the games menu as Squares 2.

We have featured something similar in the past, where you have to move your black square about whilst avoiding all the zig-zagging red squares.

Well, this one has a twist. You will notice there are rather more than just your one black square on the screen.

The object here is to collect as many black squares as you can, while still avoiding the red ones. Of course, the more you grab, the faster it goes and the bigger your block becomes - making it harder and harder.

The game is a lot more strategic than the original. It starts out slower and you have to choose which blocks you go for carefully in case you get trapped in a corner.

Occasionally a circle comes along too, and these are power-ups that make the game slow down or reduce the size of your square, so are worth grabbing.

Red circles will have a negative effect on you if you swallow them up, but will not end the game like red squares.

So far I managed to score 3,263 with 54 squares - but I only just started playing.

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Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. A short version is also shown on BBC Two: Saturday at 0645 and BBC One: Sunday at 0730 . Also BBC World.


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