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A universal encyclopedia? You bet. But beware of the bullshit, propoganda and outright lies that abound out there under the banner of "truth". It is truly a mirror of the best, and the worst, of the world.

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As some of you may know, I do a weekly web column for the local newspaper. Among the sites reviewed are really a couple of very good ones.

I'd like to share a few with you.

Check if you're vulnerable to hackers and trojan programs at Gibson Research's ShieldsUp site

HomeNetHelp is all about getting your own home network of two or more computers up and running smoothly.

If you have ever been flumoxed by an inscrutable file extension (what comes after the dot), try one or both of these sites.,289933,sid9,00.html

Online conversion offers "more than 8100 conversions and calculators" - from the common everyday ones of weight, temperature, length etc. to angles, astronomical units and more.

Here is a site that will provide many children with hours of joy. The Mechanical Toys Page provides detailed instructions to build a number of mechanically or kinetically powered toys from household items.

Enter The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes by Thomas Bulfinch (1796-1867)

Ancient skulls found by researcher Robert Connollyin Ica, Peru and Merida, Mexico suggests they belonged to beings with brains very much larger than our own.

Encyclopaedia Astronautica, edited by Mark Wade, attempts an exhaustive treatment of all matters regarding rocketry, including South Africa’s 70's era "ballistic missile and space programs".

Winefiles offers "authoritative information on wine, wine making and grape growing, including the business, technology and history associated with wine".

Artcyclopedia’s mission is to be "the definitive and most effective guide to museum-quality fine art on the Internet". It only provide references to sites on the World Wide Web where artists’ works can be viewed online.

This is another excellent quotation site. For good measure it also has a small section on proverbs from around the world (It is better to have a hundred enemies outside your house than one inside - Arabian proverb).

Vetcentric claims to offer "everything you need to be better informed and better prepared to provide for the well-being of your animals".

Copyright on music expires 70 years after a composer dies, but music publishers retain copyright on their typeset editions. The only way to legally copy this music is to write it out or typeset it yourself and allow other people to make copies, as Mutopia does.

Enter the world of retro art and learn how to make your very own Albumen photographs. This site brings together 19th Century technical instruction and contemporary research to help preserve the tradition of albumen photography.

Well this is the right place to be. AAAmath offers hundreds of pages of basic maths skills with interactive practice examples and games.

The search for a clean, renewable energy resource is on at these three sites. Read all warnings. Use at your own risk.

When you want to sell, convince, praise, insult, jest or impress, a carefully selected aphorism, or witty saying, can be a great help.

The World Resources Institute's report on "People and EcoSystems: The Fraying Web of Life", suggests overwhelmingly that the fabric of the relationship is seriously rent and that "if the decline continues it could have devastating implications for human development and the welfare of all species".

Science and research continues to dominate in 2000 and a number of revolutionary technologies are being prepared for Beyond 2000, the companion site to well-known Australian television series.

This collection of classic Norwegian and other folk tales is confusing to navigate, but persistence will be rewarded.
Hidden under the heading Archive Base ( is a directory of sorts of stories by the Brothers Grimm, Aesop's Fables, proverbs and other gems. There is also a humour section.

The art of Origami, or paper-folding, an ancient Asian tradition, continues to evolve in the modern day.

This site contains more than 44000 statistics on more than 4000 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements and so on, and can be used by researchers to answer questions like "What are the major religions in Uganda?" or "What percentage of the world is Buddhist?"

Stumped crossword aficionados can turn to One Across, an online clue solver which not only does a dictionary search but also tries to analyse the clue.

It probably comes as no surprise that, like you or I, microchip designers sometimes distract themselves by doodling. But the Florida State University's High Magnetic Field Lab optical microscope group were surprised to discover they do it on microchips — in minute and splendid detail.

The Internet Detective - the University of Bristol site which shows you how to get the best out of the 'Net - recently announced its "second edition". The tutorial is also available as a download to use from your hard drive.