The Internet '96 Expo ran for the entire year of 1996, and like other Expos, shut down. Instead of leaving a recyclable graveyard of architectural oddities, what is left is frighteningly static, despite over 100 million US dollars from diverse governments and corporations funnelled into it.

A fanciful collection of graphics lead the way to various pavilions showcasing the, oh, dozens of submissions attempting a virtual World Expo, ranging from tourism boards of flyspeck island nations to people showing off their poetry to a virtual pet cemetary. Clicking through to view the exhibits lead to either shell sites, diversions to vast telecom conglomerate promotions sites, or the familiar old 404 not found tombstones. It's like seeing the posters for an exciting circus and arriving to realize the date was last week. It's like going to the wake of an old relative and not being able to check out the cool wierd stuff in the bookcase. It's like that bit in Tron when all the coloured bits go out. It's what could happen to Everything2 if the gods aren't well fed.

Even more frightening is a long speech by Al Gore, commemorating the establishment of an Internet Railroad, which points to a possible source for him claiming to invent the internet.

There are accessible sites in the Global regions categories, where I did find excellent recipes in the Kazakhstan pavilion for horseflesh delicacies, stamp collections from Sierra Leone, and a cartoon guide to Slovenia. There's some form of entertainment, but getting there, you must pass An Embarrassing Frozen Grin of Hype.

Some of the abovementioned funds established Media Centers around the world... for the year the Expo was opened.

The Internet 1996 Expo can be viewed at

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