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Another Net Survival Test Set in Germany

Not so very long ago the term "survival test" was principally associated with the idea of overcoming the wilderness, deprivation, isolation -- in the Internet age however, a new form of survival is developing.

Today, the men and women who call themselves "survival artists", no longer operate in the depths of rain forests or deserts, but on the Internet, where they are equally threatened by hunger, where their chance of receiving outside help is not high, and where their equipment is very limited. This can only mean that another Internet survival experiment is in the works.

Such an experiment has already been carried out last year in Great Britain. Human guinea-pigs, clad merely in a bathroom robe and equipped only with a low limit on their credit card, had to provide for themselves by means of the Web in order to test the everyday practicability of this medium. The result: apart from certain deficits in bodily hygiene and rather one-sided nutrition, the participants had spent most of their time searching for old friends or had simply surfed 'till they dropped.

As of November 29, the expirement will be conducted on Germans. Five teams of two will be dedicating a full 100 hours to this experiment. In line with the latest Web technologies, the project will be observed by several webcams and the participants can be reached during the five days at their five different locations by e-mail and by chat room.

The participants will have to procure for themselves even such minimal provisions as a toothbrush and toilet roll. And even if that may not be a big problem in towns such as Hamburg and Dresden thanks to several innovative supermarket chains, the team which has chosen the transmission mast in the middle of the Black Forrest, far from civilisation, might be a bit more pressed to find a solution.

In addition, each team has to solve three tasks a day and strictly comply with stringent rules which are bound to cause additional pressure. The participants are not, for example, permitted to cover the webcams.

The only help will come from visitors to the online community site of the TV channel Pro Sieben, called redseven. If these visitors collect and rearrange letters displayed in the various webcams, they have the chance of winning prizes with a total value of 10,000 German Marks (about $5,300).