- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Developers of the star-loving (celestial, not celebrity) cyber-stop Space.com have expanded their reader base with another Web site encompassing all the latest advances and innovations in science and technology.

Live Science’s mission is to give the intellectually curious a concise look at breakthroughs, research adventures and oddities around the world in an online newsmagazine format.

Live Science

Site address: www.livescience.com

Creator: The multimedia and commerce company Imaginova Corp., from New York City, has maintained the site since its inception in late 2004.

Creator quotable: “We are not just reporting the news, we’re taking on common misconceptions that surround scientific discoveries, and [we] deliver short, sharp explanations with a certain wit and style,” says Anthony Duignan-Cabrera, editorial director of Live Science. “Our goal is to make science cool and engaging.”

Word from the Webwise: The site acts as a portal to an eclectic mix of information for the science buff, mixing stories from the Associated Press wire service (www.ap.org) with reports from Space.com, a small Live Science staff, and other Web sources, such as the Skeptical Inquirer (www.csicop.org) and Technovelgy.com.

Hyperlinked headlines abound throughout the site, which features the categories Animal World, Human Biology, Forces of Nature, Environment, Technology, Science of Fiction, History and Other News.

Visitors who can deal with multimedia advertisements — banners, boxes and those annoying pop-up messages, often selling Imaginova’s line of products — will find at least a couple of hours’ worth of news to read.

Articles include staff writer Robert Roy Britt’s look at a potential meteorological disaster for the Big Apple in “History Reveals Hurricane Threat to New York City” as well as articles on scientists trying to revive the woolly mammoth using frozen DNA and why teenagers are lousy at doing chores.

Visitors also will appreciate the Daily Spotlight, which highlights amazing images from around the world; Great Views, which offers photo galleries on 18 topics (creatures from underseas sanctuaries are especially eye-popping); assorted lists; and “Did you know?” facts peppered throughout the pages.

Ease of use: The site resembles a watered-down version of Popular Science’s online component (www.popsci.com) and requires only an up-to-date browser. However, plug-ins may be necessary, depending on where on the Web some of the external links send visitors.

Don’t miss: 101 Earth Facts allows visitors to learn about some of the planet’s most perplexing mysteries. The site offers five new facts a day in a question-and-answer format. Although the first three facts I saw on a recent visit related to Mars, the click-to-see-the-answer format includes revelations on the world’s largest volcano and deadliest earthquake and the distance to the center of the Earth.

Elements on the horizon: Developers soon will be offering the Amazing Images community for amateur photographers of animals, weather, volcanoes, scientific phenomena and natural events. Shooters will be able to download their pictures; exchange information, ideas and techniques with other members of the site; and put their photos on mugs, T-shirts and other products.

Comprehension level: According to Mara E. Gardner, vice president of marketing for Imaginova, the site is aimed at visitors 18 and older but also can be appreciated by interested high school students.

Overall grade: B

Remember: The information on the Internet is constantly changing. Please verify the advice on the sites before you act to be sure it’s accurate and updated. Health sites, for example, should be discussed with your own physician.

Have a cool site for the science or technology fan? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message ([email protected] washingtontimes.com).

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