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Scarlet's Web - #7

(Published Jan. 2005, The Spirit newspaper, Philadelphia)

Experiencing cabin fever? Nothing like freezing temperatures, snow and wind chills in the minus to keep you cooped up at home. After a while it is enough to make anyone go nuts!

How does a safari in Africa sound or a trip to the French Alps? Experience this in real time right from your desktop! Introducing webcams, your passport to online adventures! A webcam is a web camera and there are thousands trained on everything from exotic destinations to roadways, landmarks, zoos, museums - and every conceivable scene. All the cameras bring live shots of all these places to your desktop, with most cameras reloading every ten seconds so that the picture is seldom static.

My favorite webcam is Africam (www.africam.com) which features awesome live footage from various game parks around Africa. It is like being on a safari as you click on the different webcams in the hope of capturing an image of a lion, elephant, giraffe etc. If Africa is not for you, how about Rome? On www.capitolium.org, two special motorized cameras allow you to "be" on the terrace of the Palazzo Senatorio, and in the piazza of the Campidoglio. The view of the Roman Forum, the Imperial Forums, Saint Peter and a great part of Rome itself (including the Coliseum) is breathtaking.

Another webcam well worth visiting is the Pandacam (http://www.sandiegozoo.com/pandas/pandacam/index.html) which features live shots from the giant panda research station in the San Diego zoo. Watch the cuddly bears frolic and play! Other San Diego zoo cams include Absolutely Apes, Polar Bear Plunge and Elephant cam - all can be reached from the Pandacam homepage.

Fancy a virtual cruise? All Princess cruise ships are now equipped with webcams so you can check in on your favorite ship as their bridge cams beam you live images via satellite (http://www.princess.com/bridgecams/). Images are updated every 60 seconds, 24 hours a day.

Closer to home, there are many webcams operating in the Pennsylvania area. How about visiting a Lancaster cow farm? The Lancaster Farming Cow Cam (http://www.lancasterfarming.com/cowcam.html) is focused on the cows eating in the spacious comfort barn at Kreider's Dairy Farm, Manheim, Pennsylvania. Yes, I know, fascinating! Still on a farming theme, you can also view the Maize Quest at Maple Lawn Farms (http://cornmaze.com/pa/webcam.htm) - America's Only Maze Theme Park. If you enjoying seeing people getting lost in a maze, this is for you! If you want to find more webcams (there are thousands), be sure to visit webcam central (www.webcamcentral.com) where you can search for webcams by category or location.

Comments/Questions: email scarletweb1@hotmail.com