Over the last eight months I've reviewed a couple hundred sites in this column, many frivolous and many others so interesting and valuable that they've become permanent bookmarks. But the most impressive site of all is one recommended by Blade reader Ted Kurt. It is less a site than a mind-boggling library of sites, links, and references that has occupied many hours of my time - and I've only just scratched the surface.
The site is run out of the University of California at Irvine's College of Medicine by James G. Martindale, a man with a breathtaking range of intellect and curiosity. He has compiled an almost unimaginable amount of information that he builds upon continually, spending an average nine hours of day, five days a week, adding, pruning, and updating what must be hundreds of thousands of database pages and worldwide links.
Martindale's site is roughly divided into three general areas: Health Science Guide, Law Resources, and The Reference Desk. He appears to be an expert at law, medical education, calculators, engineering, and who knows what else, and he offers the information not only as a recognition of the Internet's primary place in this revolutionary age of technology, but also as a source of reference and learning for people whose interests span the whole range of human inquisitiveness, from mathematics to space travel, missile defense to the changing positions of the sun, arts to astrophysics, sports, culture, and much more.
Here is a tiny sampling of what's on Martindale's renaissance mind as represented on this compelling site, which in its own unique way reflects and beholds the limitless possibilities of the Internet:
The Medical Center: 61,400 teaching files, 129,800 medical cases, 1,150 courses and textbooks, 1,575 tutorials, 4,100 medical databases; a virtual hospital, medical school curricula, and medical image dictionaries for physicians, lawyers, and laymen.
The Law Center: Internet Law Libraries, legal resource guides, malpractice claims, law and politics guides, legal research searches, Roman law, law courses, international affairs, embassy and consulate legal information, and government services worldwide.
The Reference Center: World time and temperature, sun positions, global views of Earth from space; ship, ferry, railroad, and subway schedules from cities around the world; space weather, solar winds, aviation weather, iceberg locations worldwide; global lightning reports, oil spills; online links to 272 countries, territories, and principalities.
Also, live video ranging from wildlife preserves to real-time views of traffic in such disparate places as Paris, Athens, Singapore, and Cincinnati; live audio, TV, and video feeds; radio and shortwave transmissions, travel warnings, passport applications, dozens of search engines, worldwide phone directories, language dictionaries, interactive sign language and braille; daily world news, ski and surfing reports; global links to theater, opera, music, museums, television, 10,700 movie sites, and more than 3,000 repositories of rare books, archives, manuscripts, and ... but you get the idea.
This fellow Martindale possesses a truly intimidating capacity for knowledge-gathering, as well as a childlike passion for sharing it with his fellow voyagers on the World Wide Web. In doing so, he makes his own personal declaration about the importance and endless possibilities of the Internet, and he's not wrong. Do yourself a favor and pay him a visit.
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