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Deserted streets beckon

They're the stuff of American lore, giving us images from the Old West and taking us back to a time when the Arizona frontier was still wide open.

Picture: a lonely collection of ramshackle buildings, with rotting wood bleached and withered by the desert sun.

Standing in the middle of an Arizona ghost town, with the fine, hot sand and burning wind blowing across your face, you can almost imagine what life was like.

Lanky cowboys in ten-gallon hats, tanned rawhide brown from the sun, lean wearily across the bar in the saloon. A piano plinks out a hit of the day, while a barkeeper with a waxed moustache chats with a disheartened rancher.

The smell of horses and the buzz of flies. And of course, the requisite tumbleweed slowly spinning across the beaten dirt street . . .

Ghost towns are a tangible reminder of that age, and here in Arizona we're lucky enough to be virtually surrounded by them.

William Morgan, an ASU student with a passion for visiting Arizona ghost towns, provides a comprehensive list of these places at his Web site. He also gives you maps, directions, and tips about how to safely explore one of these ghost towns.

The front page indexes 25 ghost towns. A clickable map of the state offers easy access to the brief reviews Morgan has written about every town. He's visited all these locales and gives you directions, a history, a photo, even the exact latitude and longitude of the town.

Morgan also respects the sites he visits, imploring you to not remove anything from these historic places.

Visit the Ghost Town of the Month site at: http://www.public.asu.edu/ (tilde)wmogan/ghost.html
- Ron Parsons
The Arizona Daily Star
Today's special

The newest major nation on Earth is growing so fast that nobody can count its population, but it is probably about as big as the United States already. It has more races, religions and languages than any other country, but this new nation is more notable for what it doesn't have. Although the place boasts hundreds of libraries and thousands of newspapers, it has no paper or ink. It has no borders. It has no government.

We're talking about cyberspace - that enormous, amorphous global village of a few hundred million computer users around the world. Whether they use the World Wide Web, local intra-nets or online services, the people who transcend time and space via computer have such a strong sense of community that they really can be considered the ``netizens'' of a new kind of country.

So it seems perfectly natural that editor Rick Smolan and the platoon of photojournalists who gave us a whole series of coffee-table books depicting a day in the life of America, Ireland, Japan, etc. should now turn their lenses toward cyberspace. They've produced a new book, ``24 HOURS IN CYBERSPACE: Paintings on the Wall Of the Digital Cave,'' which is reviewed in today's special StarNet package on Books.

Although the title is slightly altered - a different publisher owns the rights to the ``Day in the Life'' series - the basic plan is unchanged: 150 photographers were sent out to create a collective picture of a single day's happenings in the network nation.

As we've come to expect, the photos are simply marvelous. The ones I liked best include Mark Peters's big, happy shot of nine smiling students carrying the pieces of their school's new computer down a dusty road in Port Alfred, South Africa; Lynn Johnson's evocative black-and-white photo of a soil researcher entering data into her laptop amid a vast sea of Wyoming prairie; Nick Kelsh's intimate portrait of a monk in Berryville, Va., with the electric-blue glow of a laptop screen reflecting off his white robe; and Sam Ogden's weirdly apropos double-exposure of Tim Berners-Lee, the Swiss genius whose brainstorm created the World Wide Web.


News Links That wind you hear whistling through your computer is coming from the Ghost Town of the Month.


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Copyright 1995-2005 William M. Mogan All Rights Reserved
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