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Web Monitor

16:23 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Web Monitor asks what celebrities do when high on drugs and what prolific theology theorist Dan Brown's own religious views are. Share your favourite bits of the web by sending your links via the letter box to the right of this page.

Whitney Houston and Oprah Winfrey• In what talk show host Oprah Winfrey's website calls "history making", pop star Whitney Houston appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in a revealing interview. Oprah asked in detail about Houston's notoriously tempestuous marriage to her ex-husband and R'n'B artist Bobby Brown:

"He [Bobby Brown] started to paint in my bedroom eyes. Just eyes. Evil Eyes that were looking at every point of the room ...The rugs. The walls. The closet doors. If I opened the door, there would be one picture. And eyes and faces. It was really strange..."

And Houston, who is widely reported to have had a drug addiction, admitted to a surprising past-time whilst high:

"I would still read my bible amazingly enough."

Dan Brown• The unveiling of Dan Brown's book The Lost Symbol has been closely followed by a release of his opinions on religion and science. In his interview with James Kaplan, for Parade magazine, he reveals he is sceptical about both:

"I was raised Episcopalian, and I was very religious as a kid. Then, in eighth or ninth grade, I studied astronomy, cosmology, and the origins of the universe. I remember saying to a minister, 'I don't get it. I read a book that said there was an explosion known as the Big Bang, but here it says God created heaven and Earth and the animals in seven days. Which is right?' Unfortunately, the response I got was, "Nice boys don't ask that question.' A light went off, and I said, 'The Bible doesn't make sense. Science makes much more sense to me.' And I just gravitated away from religion ...The irony is that I've really come full circle. The more science I studied, the more I saw that physics becomes metaphysics and numbers become imaginary numbers. The farther you go into science, the mushier the ground gets. You start to say, 'Oh, there is an order and a spiritual aspect to science.'"

free newspaper distributorWeb Monitor has been tracking the on-going online debate about whether, in future, we will discard money, trading instead in time and recommendations.

According to the theory's arch protagonist, Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine and author of the book Free, everything will become free. Standing four-square against Anderson is the Zeitgeist author Malcolm Gladwell, who says it's all impossible. As reported in the Magazine, it might seem the movement has been thrust into reverse of late, with the Murdoch media empire planning to charge for its online news websites like thesun.co.uk and timesonline.co.uk.

Now, CBS News blog writers Frédéric Filloux and Jean-Louis Gassée, have waded in, claiming that the main problem with the idea of a money-free economy is it depends on imaginary advertising revenues to cover costs:

"The fact is that advertising doesn't work as expected for news web sites. Everywhere in the world, volumes dropped (that's the recession part). But more worrisome, prices dropped as well with a 'ratchet effect' that will make it difficult for prices to return to the pre-crisis level."

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