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Online Perennials to Be Thankful For

November 22, 2001|ROBERT BURNS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Happy T-day, surfers. Before you slip into a tryptophan-induced slumber, we'd like to offer up a few Web sites that we're thankful haven't yet been eighty-sixed by budget cuts.

For general education sites, it's hard to beat the Smithsonian Institution (http://www.si.edu).

With links to the institution's museums and lots of interactive features, the site really challenges our attention-deficit disorder. Currently featured is an exhibit focusing on Japanese Americans who were put in detention camps during WWII.

The National Air and Space Museum is featuring an Explore the Universe exhibit that looks at how people have studied the stars through the ages.

And while we're in the mood for the great beyond, another site that always has something interesting is NASA (http://www.nasa.gov). Maybe we're a little spacey, but we can't get enough of planetary pictures. Plus, after that Thanksgiving meal, its nice to remember that in space, we weigh nothing.

Closer to home is National Geographic's Web site (http://www.nationalgeographic.com). Where else can you find articles on cross-dressing snakes?

But snakes can make you sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov) have everything you want to know about the weirdest diseases. Maybe you're not into all this educational stuff. Especially if you're getting ready to stuff a bird.

How about sites that can help out with the little things in life? Plus, most have been updated in this century. Worried about traffic? Try OCNow (http://www.ocnow.com/autos/traffic/latraffic.html) for interactive maps with real-time freeway speeds.

What about that last little shaker? Was it 2.9 or 3.1? Find out about recent earthquakes at the U.S. Geological Survey (http://quake.wr .usgs.gov/recenteqs).

What is that animal digging through your garbage can for turkey bones? Enature.com (http://www .enature.com) has local wildlife guides from Audubon.

And we can't forget our favorite edited list of Web sites, the Open Directory Project (http://dmoz.org), where you can find the best sites on just about any topic.

At this point you're asking, "OK, so where's the fun?" The Internet is fine as a learning tool, great for practical information, and we understand that you can even shop on it. But it also is a place for yucks.

Start at the Onion (http://www.theonion.com) for a rather unique take on the news. Some recent headlines: "U.S. to Arab World: 'Stop Hating Us or Suffer the Consequences"' and "Luann Creator Wrestling With How to Address Terrorist Crisis." You get the picture.

What people will believe is always good for a few laughs. Check out folklore at the Urban Legends Archive (http://www.urbanlegends.com). In the holiday spirit, read Turkey Kills Man. Critical thinking is a good thing.

But if you're not up to that, there's the Astounding Bmonster.com (http://www.bmonster.com), an A-list Web site for B movies.

And finally, because you're probably regretting some of what you ate today, we'll leave you with the Gallery of Regrettable Food (http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery). Except the cold gelatin with peas is making us think of going back for seconds.

*

Robert Burns is graphics editor at The Times' Business section. He can be reached at robert.burns@latimes.com.

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