Beam me up in a Skoda

11th May 2001 at 01:00
I'll defend myself against the charge of being a nerd with my last breath, unless there's a good episode of Star Trek on the television, in which case you'll have to wait. Nevertheless, it was inevitable that I would eventually get round to utilising some of my free megabytes of web space that comes as part of my ISP's package.

A website offers a showcase for my strongly held beliefs on science for all, the need to recruit more physics teachers and the necessity of cherishing our state education system. Or rather, it might well offer such a chance, but most of mine's devoted to Triumphs, Skodas and Reliants.

There is a Phil Harrass page, so do check it out on www.steele3.freeserve.co.uk and follow the appropriate link. I'm thinking of incorporating the Phil Harrass alien abduction adventure "they" wouldn't publish ("they" being the editorial staff of this paper). The reason they wouldn't publish had a lot to do with the fact that the piece was five times longer than it should have been.

One of the first bits of feedback was from a lady classic car fan who complimented me on my spelling. I've since found several typing mistakes, but she may have a point. There's lots of semi-literate stuff out there, with more misplaced apostrophes than a golden mile of grocers' shops.

Does this matter? Yes, if the Internet is goingto be used as an educational resource. More important than the way the information is presented is the validity of the site content.

I recently tried to look up some facts on asteroid impact. My search took me to a lot of quasi-spiritual conspiracy theory guff about bearded stars, as mentioned in the Book of Revelation. (Make your own jokes along the lines of "I thought the bearded star bit was a reference to Rolf Harris".) Whoever put all the mince together had an artistic eye, fair technical ability and an effective spell-checker.

How is a young child, perhaps doing research for a project or presentation on astronomy, to recognise the integrity or otherwise of anything found on the net? Imagine if printing books was free and libraries were obliged to stock the vanity-published works of cranks alongside books of genuine scholarship.

There are, of course, any number of valid sources and I would never suggest that the Internet is useless as a resource. It could be that there is even something to be gained by having to impress on children that they should evaluate the worth of all sources of information.

There are no such issues surrounding www.steele3.freeserve. co.uk. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than trivial and biased.

Drop in and leave your suggestions for 101 uses for a dead fuel cat.


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