Prospect has arrived on the internet, the first mainstream British political magazine to pitch its tent on the superhighway. And it’s pretty, too. From now on you will be able to interrogate our database of articles from past editions, read some of the articles in the current issue, order back copies, order a free copy of the magazine as a taster for the as yet unconvinced, place advertising, take out a subscription for yourself or a friend, or send us a message, for example saying how wonderful you think we are. Check us out on http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk
if like me you have Irish ancestry, I have potentially embarrassing news. Someone has kindly put on the internet, for the whole world to inspect, all the records relating to the transportation of convicts from Ireland to Australia between 1791 and 1853. Thoughtfully (not) the nosey-parker archivists have included a little search engine to enable you to specify a particular part of Ireland and link it to the family name you are interested in. On my mother’s side we are Cassidys and Murrays, respectively from Counties Leitrim and Cavan. And oh dear, oh dear! There we are. Two Cassidys and four Murrays. Of course they may not be kin of mine, but equally they might be. Mercifully the means by which my lineage could be definitively traced, the parish records, are not yet on the net-it can only be a matter of time.
Check out www.kst.dit.ie/nat-arch/search01.html and see if any of your folks are there. Perhaps we could form a mutual support group to help us cope with the trauma?
the internet is ensuring that modern urban myths become global myths in minutes. Here is an extract from the Vancouver Sun which was recently posted on the internet.
“In retrospect, I admit it was unwise to try to gain access to my house via the cat flap,” G?nther Burpus admitted to reporters in Bremen, Germany. “I suppose that the reason they’re called cat flaps, rather than human flaps, is because they’re too small for people, and perhaps I should have realised that.”
Burpus, a 41-year-old gardener, was relating how he had become trapped in his own front door for two days, after losing his house keys. “I got my head and shoulders through the flap, but became trapped fast around the waist. At first, it all seemed rather amusing. I sang songs and told myself jokes. But then I wanted to go to the lavatory. I began shouting for help, but my head was in the hallway so my screams were muffled.
“After a few hours, a group of students approached me but, instead of helping, they removed my trousers, painted my buttocks bright blue, and stuck a daffodil between my cheeks. Then they placed a sign next to me which said ‘Germany resurgent, an essay in street art. Please give generously’ and left me there. People were passing by and, when I asked for help, they just said ‘very good! very clever!’ and threw coins. No one tried to free me. In fact, I only got free after two days because a dog started licking my private parts and an old woman complained to the police. They came and cut me out, but arrested me as soon as I was freed. Luckily they have now dropped the charges, and I collected over DM3,000 in my underpants, so the time wasn’t entirely wasted.”
the us presidential race may not be generating much by way of uncertainty as to its outcome, but it is definitely generating some stupendous web sites. I counted ten and then gave up. Www.politicsnow.com has been put together by ABC News, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Newsweek and the National Journal. It covers both presidential and congressional contests from just about every angle. One angle it misses is Hillary’s hair but this can be found on http://hillaryshair.com/-a compendium of the first lady’s many hair styles which also offers a chance to vote for your favourite. There are no less than 43 styles to choose from. (Tens of thousands have already cast their votes, including Prospect’s editorial team.)
If you are unsure of how to vote on this or other issues, CNN and Time may be able to help you. Try http://pathfinder.com/@@eovnvwvaxcov4xek/allpolitics/rate-o-matic/index.html. There you can answer 20 or so questions then click on “Find my president” and it will tell you which of the main candidates is closer to your views. I was for Clinton, by the way, although I was surprised to discover how far off a perfect Clinton score I was. I tried it a second time, only on this occasion I lurched significantly to the right. I got a lot closer.
On a recent visit to Washington DC, I met a high level techie working in politics who told me he believed that the day was not far off when every wired citizen would be sent a manifesto which was uniquely constructed for them. I thought he was nuts. Now I am not so sure.
yahoo is my favourite web searcher and now it is available in a UK version. Your search engine probably will not take you to it straight away but if you just type in www.yahoo.co.uk you can be re-routed to only get local references. n