ASSOCIATES (vol. 9, no. 1, July 2002) - associates.ucr.edu

*So Thatís How That Works*

by

Michael D. Brooks
St. Josephís University
Philadelphia, PA
brooks@sju.edu

The next time you want to know how something works, direct your browser to How Stuff Works (www.howstuffworks.com). The site has topics of interest ranging from A to Z.

First time visitors are presented with an option to visit a special page that explains what the How Stuff Works site is and how to use it. The page provides several suggestions and tips. Choosing to skip this page will not interfere with oneís browsing. Much of the siteís information is accessible from a list of alphabetically listed links in a "Supercategories!" list off to the left of each page.

The various articles, which are often accompanied by photos and diagrams, are concisely written. And you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand much of what is discussed and explained.

In light of the present state of world affairs, I chose the Weapons link first. (Donít ask why. I just did. Itís a guy thing.) Anyway, I was presented with a list of options from Airport Security to Tanks. Although many of the articles discuss the mechanical and scientific reasons how some weapons work, my only complaint was that many of the weapons were American. I searched for information on weapons from other countries like Russia, Israel, and England and came up blank. Knowing about an F-15 is nice, knowing about a Russian MiG or a British Harrier Jump Jet would also be nice. Maybe Iíll drop them a note on the "Suggestions" page about my concerns.

If you are not interested in how various weapons work, but want to know how that electronic box on your desk that is attached to your keyboard and monitor works (or even the keyboard and monitor, for that matter), then check out the Computers link. Virtually everything there is to know about a computer, from peripherals to software, is explained and listed. There are articles about how memory works, how to defrag a hard drive, and how a CD-R works. If you are curious about what is inside your computer, but are afraid to open it up and take a look, you do not have to. Just click the Inside a PC link, then check out the selections. Take your pick and learn about hard drives, microprocessors, floppy drives, or PCI slots.

If your PC is physically fit and you want to stay in shape, just click on "Fitness" from the home page and read an article or two on how to maintain a physical fitness program, how exercise works (its affects and effects on the body), and how food works. For the more adventurous, a discussion forum for members is available. If you are not a member, you can still read the posts. Discussion forums are available for all the areas of interest on the site, not just fitness.

If you have no particular area of interest and just want to see what is available, try the Daily Stuff link. This page is updated daily so the information is fresh. The Big List is another interesting page. It is an alphabetical list of "all articles." There is a lot of information packed into this site. If you search for something and it is not on the site, a list of links out on the Web is compiled. There is a Question of the Day page, a newsletter for those interested in keeping up with the latest information on how stuff works. The newsletter is available as a daily or weekly subscription. You will have to become a registered user, but registration is free.

There is one other site convenience I should mention, and that is the Marshall Brainís How Stuff Works logo. No matter where you are on the site, the logo is always there. Clicking on it at any time will take you back to the home page. So if you drill too far down into the site, or become so absorbed that you get sidetracked, remember the logo and youíll always make it back to the home page so you can do it all over again.



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