Our spin on the Web

For every one treasure you find on the Internet, there are a million discards. The Current set out on a virtual stroll through the Penn community to help you avoid junkyard blues. Here are some of the little gems that shone out.

African Studies Center
www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies
Ever wonder how a traditional supper in Madagascar is served? Interested in dishing out Matata, a Moroccan clam and peanut stew, at your next dinner party? (www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Cookbook/about_cb_wh.html)

These are just some of the tasty morsels of information you’ll find at the African Studies Center Web site. Other things we liked: the country-specific page lists online resources for approximately 55 African countries, from Algeria to Zimbabwe, and the multimedia archives, which brings the look and feel of Africa right to your desktop, where you can view African sculptures, native wildlife, flags and more.

David Farber
www.cis.upenn.edu/~farber
Though it won’t win any design awards, David Farber’s Web site is rich in content. The link to “Farberisms” alone is worth the click. Here you’ll find figures of speech that are unique to the Penn computer scientist like “Beware a Trojan bearing a horse” and “Dig a hole and bury it.”

Other bonuses: The Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is famous for his Interesting People mailing list. About 25,000 subscribers turn to the cyber activist (Wired called him “the Paul Revere of cyberspace”) for updates on telecom policy and the doings in that world. You can apply for membership by emailing Farber at farber@pcpond.cis.upenn.edu or view archived messages from his site.

“Justice Talking”
www.justicetalking.org/home.asp
Get the scoop on the cases and controversies that come before our nation’s courts, without all the legal jargon, on “Justice Talking’s” Web site. A one-hour weekly National Public Radio program, “Justice Talking” is produced by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Here’s what we liked: Access to archived programs that address issues like military recruiting, smoking bans and fast food; background information on the issues; and discussion boards that let you join in on the debates.

Kelly Writers House
www.english.upenn.edu/~wh
It’s oft been said that writing is a solitary activity; Penn’s literary arts hub is bent on breaking that trend. One click lets you in on a whole community of writers who are just itching to share. Here’s what we liked: the monthly calendar, which keeps you on top of campus visits from accomplished literary figures and writing workshops; a section on Writers House collaborations that lets you dip your toes in both the Writers House community and other Penn centers; the Resources link helps you locate many other communities, both locally and nationally, that share the Writers House’s passion for words.

On a related note, check out former Director of the Writers House Al Filreis’ famous English 88: Modern and Contemporary American Poetry site at dept.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/home.html. Here you’ll find links to works by well-known poets like T.S. Eliot next to the scribbles of offbeat enthusiasts like the cowboy poets.

UPHS Health Care: Health Information
pennhealth.com/health/hi.html
Take the pulse of your health with the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s health information site. Click on the encyclopedia and you’ll find over 3,800 articles, organized into eight sections, on virtually every topic, all with illustrations to help you understand more about your body. We particularly like the full-color medical illustrations that guide you through the major steps of many common surgical procedures. Other bonuses include a comprehensive drug guide and online calculators that compute your body mass index, nutritional needs, target heart rate and more. While you’re on the site, sign up for e-newsletters on general health and wellness, heart health, and women’s health.

Originally published on April 3, 2003