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Web Monitor

15:39 UK time, Thursday, 11 June 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Web Monitor doesn't so much surf the web as do doggie paddle through it - passing as it goes countless cat videos and desperately clinging to the occasional enlightening article to lay down on the shore that is this blog. Remember to pass on your good links and fraught metaphors by commenting on the box to the right of this page.

Jamie Oliver
• Here's a little bit of Schadenfreude for Web Monitees tucking into afternoon sugary snacks, the Now That's Nifty blog collects pictures of hospital food from around the world. Just don't tell Jamie Oliver that there is also a blog, izismile, of pictures of school food from around the world - according to Oliver's blog, his revolution continues so if he gets wind of it we could be in for another campaigning documentary.

• Nearing the end of its first week, Big Brother 2009 has introduced telly addicts to the new generation of people aiming to be famous just for being famous. But Sam Leith in Prospect Magazine may have a shock for the housemates - as he predicts the death of celebrities who do nothing. He cites the rise in the 1970s style talent shows such as Britain's Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing which ask more of the celebrities than to sit around, get drunk and have arguments:

"Some kind of a flight towards authority--towards excellence, even--is taking place...
Still, a culture that celebrates people who can actually do stuff, and invites professionals to judge them, is surely a move in the right direction."

Anybody know whether Prospect magazine is on the Big Brother contestant's reading list this year?

Van Morrison• Meanwhile, one man who gained his fame for talent, Van Morrison, has told Reuters that he hated the fame game so much that had his first album been more of a success, he would have cashed in and quit:

"I am not one who has ever taken well to fame and what that attracts. It's a drag. I just wanted to be a songwriter and a singer. I did not bargain for all the rest of it."

Good to see that Van the Man is consciously shrugging his "miserable old codger" of music media stereotype.

• The Uniform Project is following one girl wearing one dress for one year. is an exercise in sustainable fashion. However, judging from the pictures so far it is more an exercise in accessorising. Just in case you're worried about her hygiene, rest assured that there are actually seven identical dresses. Caution should be expressed, re Alex Martin attempted the same experiment in 2005. At her coming out of the brown dress party, Martin's dress was stolen, its own e-mail address was set up and people were urged to take pictures of it on its new journey.

Web Monitor noted a few weeks ago an article about more and more homeless people having virtual addresses, be it e-mail addresses, Facebook accounts or even laptops. Now games designer Robin Burkinshaw has created homeless people in the virtual world of The Sims. After kicking his characters Kev and daughter Alice out of their house and giving them no means of income, his blog charts their existence, making friends in order to watch their televisions and using old ladies' baths.

Seed Magazine looks at how Charles Darwin not only identified the idea of evolution but also influenced Victorian art from naturalist art about the struggle of existence, to a raft of 19th Century political cartoons depicting Darwin as a chimp:

"Just as Darwin introduced Victorian sculptors and French impressionists to scientific order, artists helped the young naturalist draw a connection between details in nature and his bubbling ideas on evolution."

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