Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 17:19:27 -0400
From: crispen@INTERNIC.NET
Subject: TOURBUS TOP TEN -- 17 JULY 1997 -- MARS OR BUST!

This post contains inline ASCII graphics which look best in a monospace
font like Courier.  Text-to-speech readers should turn off punctuation now.

  |     "Why | Surf When / You Can | Ride The | Bus?"      /    |  \
  |__________|__________/__________|__________|___________/     |   \
 /                                                       /______|----\
|      Jump start your Web pages with a copy of          |//////|    |
|               the best-selling book                    |//////|    |
|         "Creating Cool HTML 3.2 Web Pages"             |//////|    |
|         by guru Dave Taylor.  For info and             |//////|    |
|          FREE online HTML lessons, visit               |//////|    |
|              |//////|    |
|                                                        |//////|    |
    \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s    \___/

Hi, kids!

We're interrupting your regularly scheduled TOURBUS post to bring you a
very special announcement ...

In light of all of the attention that has recently been paid to NASA's
mission to Mars, I thought it would be appropriate if our little bus of
Internet happiness made its own excursion to the red planet.  Actually, I
expect that today's TOURBUS post will be so popular that I decided to
include it in our BEST OF TOURBUS series, even though this post is brand
new.  :)

Anyway, I asked my dad -- the Rev. Bob "Bob" Crispen -- to guest-write
today's special edition of TOURBUS dedicated to the Mars Pathfinder
mission.  For those of you who are veterans of my Roadmap or Roadmap96
workshops, you will remember that my dad wrote a wildly popular (and, might
I add, wickedly funny) lesson on netiquette which can still be found on the
Web at

Well, besides being a wonderful teacher of what you should and should not
do on the Net, my father is also a systems design engineer at Boeing.  In
fact, some of my dad's software is currently in space ... literally.

As part of his job for Boeing, my dad wrote some software for the Mir space
station that handles the station's uploads of new computer software and
instructions.  Unfortunately, the module in which my dad's software resides
is currently vented to space [my dad has asked me to add that his software
had absolutely NOTHING to do with the huge hole in the Spektr module].

So, as we pass the Mir space station on the way to Mars, make sure that
everyone waves at my dad's software, which is currently floating about in
the vacuum of space.  Oh, and before we blast-off for Mars, let's pay some
bills (I have a feeling that this trip is going to require a BUNCH of gas):

/--------------[  SEARCH, FIND, SHOP, BUY IT ONLINE  ]--------------\
  Buy IT OnLine: Easy searching (you can even limit by price range).
  Buy IT OnLine: Descriptions & links to over 15,000 shopping sites.
  Buy IT OnLine: Everything from Brand Name Sites to Brand New Sites.
  Buy IT OnLine: Always start your shopping trip on the Web at:
\-----------------[    ]----------------/

/----------------------[  GIVE ME A BREAK!!  ]----------------------\
   Ever get that "I need a break" feeling??  Well, if a break DOES
   sound great, consider a FRESH AIR GETAWAY to Upstate New York's
   pristine FINGER LAKES REGION. 2-4-7 days special rates. 11 long
  slender lakes, separated by glacial formed Drumlins of forest and
 farmland.  You're invited to ASK FOR the TOURBUS 30% DISCOUNT RATE.
\---  *  ---/

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present my dad ...



Last Friday night, Dennis Miller remarked that all the nerds in the country
were now busy cruising the Mars site, so if you wanted to visit a Babylon 5
chat room, but it's always been too crowded, now's your chance.

Dennis seems to be a little bit cooler than the rest of humanity.  Over 100
million hits on one weekend is an awful lot of nerds.  And that's on the
main NASA site, which nobody in the know would go to.  What's that? You
weren't in the know and waited in the Internet equivalent of a Disney World
line?  Well thanks to TOURBUS, now you know better.

First, stop at

They've got one of those super SGI servers that can take 20 million hits a
day.  Or go to Sun at

where they've got one of those super UltraSPARC servers.  I'd mention the
URL at DEC (where they've got one of those super Alpha servers) but it got
entirely too much play on the news and is probably as crowded as the NASA
site. Oh, OK, head to

and you can see the rest of the mirror sites.

But that's only the beginning.  There's a Mars photograph that NASA doesn't
want you to see.  It appeared (in between the ads for       sites) on but disappeared from the news server
before I could think to get the author's name.  Anyway, I got the picture;
it's at

There's another site in the same vein at:

where in one of the articles, "Tyson" is used, perhaps for the first time,
as a verb.

But if you're a     -     Mars fan (as I confess I became as soon as I saw
the first pictures) you've *got* to see it in 3D.  There are two ways to do
it.  First, is

using QuickTime VR, which lets you drag the cursor across the image and see
a 360-degree panorama of the Sagan Memorial Station.

If you've got some leftover red-blue 3D glasses from renting some trashy 3D
movie (and what well-equipped 21st century home is without 3D glasses?) you
can even see the panorama in 3D-movie-style 3D.

The other way to see Mars in 3D is see it in Virtual Reality Modeling
Language (VRML) at

A warning about the site: you *can* download the panorama, but the last
time I tried it, you had to download 150 separate photographs, and all you
ended up with was a big cylinder on which the photographs were painted.
That's no bargain, especially since there's very little hope of you ever
downloading all 150 pictures in your lifetime.  Still, if you sweat it out
(I did, but I'm nuts for both VRML and Mars) the detail is much better than
the QTVR version.  But all in all, I think that's a terrible use of a
wonderful technology.  Get the strip photograph at any of the Mars sites
(click "An archive of current images") and pan around it yourself.

On the same page, though, are VRML models of the lander and rover that are
superb use of the VRML technology -- definitely worth seeing, even if you
were bummed out by the panorama.  You can even ride around on a simulation
of the rover, because VRML 2.0 has animation as well as 3D. Note: a few
days ago the simulation was broken, but try it now.  Click on the rover and
you should be taken for a ride.

If you catch at a bad time, the VRML models are also available at

-- wait for the secondary page to load, then click on "Mars in 3D on Your
Desktop".  Or go to

if you have problems with that (or if they change their lead story).

You'll need a QuickTime VR plugin to see the QTVR panorama, but there's a
link on the page to

in case you don't have the plugin.  And you'll need a VRML
2.0 plugin to see the VRML world, and again, there's a link to

that'll point you to the Cosmo Player VRML plugin for your machine. They're
both free, and definitely worth the trouble to download.

Then don't forget the news sites.  ABC News has a good site at

So does Time Magazine at

-- check out their live NASA Select TV webcast.  You don't need a plugin,
but you do need a Java-enabled browser and at least a 28.8 connection.

If Time's video feed is busy, check out the list of other video sites at

But why stop with the Mars of the present?  Take a look in VRML at the Mars
of the future at

This is the working website of the IrishSpace project, a volunteer effort
for the children of Ireland to which I made a very small contribution.  Do
Paul Hoffman (the site owner) a favor, since this is *not* a high-capacity
website, and go there during off-hours.  This is but the tiniest glimpse of
IrishSpace, which one day soon will be available to the public from SGI.
I've had a chance to see the whole thing, complete with wonderful music and
narration, and it's going to knock your socks off.  You TOURBUS riders have
been let in on a peek behind the scenes at something that isn't available
to the general public; don't all go there during prime time and crash the

If you want to find out a little more about VRML, you can check out my page

Rev. Bob "Bob" Crispen
Don't buy from spammers; buy from their competition.



SURP (noun):  What you put on pancakes or waffles.
Usage:  "Pass me the surp!"

(Special thanks to Kathi Bloomquist rider for today's word)

[By the way ... that's "you-ay-won-eye-ex"]

  For info on my new book "Atlas for the Information Superhighway"

=====================[ Tourbus Rider Information ]===================
   The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2238
      Copyright 1995-97, Rankin & Crispen - All rights reserved
            Archives on the Web at


 PROMOTE your business on the Internet Tourbus.  Reach over 80,000
    people in a Net-friendly way.  Our sponsors say "It works!"
   Make it work for you - contact for details.

 Editors: Reprint TOURBUS in your publication for free - Ask me how.
    Send this copy to 3 friends and tell them to hop on the Bus!

            .~~~.  ))
  (\__/)  .'     )  ))          Patrick Douglas Crispen
  /o o  \/     .~        Network Solutions Inc. / The InterNIC
 {o_,    \    {          Business E-mail:
   / ,  , )    \        Personal E-mail:
   `~  '-' \    } ))
  _(    (   )_.'
 '---..{____}                    Warning: squirrels.

, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
TOURBUS Site Search