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ModalBox is a JavaScript technique for creating modern (Web 2.0-style) modal dialogues or even wizards (sequences of dialogues) without using conventional popups and page reloads. It's inspired by Mac OS X modal dialogues. And yes, it may also be useful for showing bigger versions of images.
Basically, ModalBox is based on GrayBox technique by Amir Salihefendic. But you can find a lot of similar techniques around the web: Lightbox JS, Lightbox gone wild, ThickBox etc.
There also a clone of ModalBox, the MOOdalBox, written on great and lightweight Mootools Framework.