There are so many places one might wish to visit for their scenery and physical geography, yet only limited resources and, of course, time.  The availability of high-resolution satellite images, together with free data that show variations in topographic elevation newly released from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, enables realistic simulations of just about anywhere.  William Bowen of the California State University has exploited this opportunity to give all-comers a view of most parts of the land surface, as if they were looking obliquely downwards from a high-altitude aircraft –

Mineral wealth

Although there are many glossy books about museum quality mineral specimens, as well as being expensive they often only cover a selection of those minerals known to science.  One of the beauties of the web is that a site can cram in as many pictures and ancillary data as its server permits, and anyone can browse what is on offer.  One such site has been set up by consulting geologist David Barthelmy, which not only illustrates more than 2000 different minerals (half the site’s content of 4300) but allows users to examine their molecular structure interactively –

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