Mindlessly amusing myself with curiosity
July 9, 2013 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I want to go about finding entertaining, engaging, intelligent things I can read about subjects I know nothing about. Ideally, I want a source of these things which will reliably send me off in directions I'm completely unfamiliar with, rather than just new sources which cover individual specific subjects. But it has to be enjoyable, even somewhat mindless reading – think Cracked or Buzzfeed. Does anything like this exist? Are there good places online for me to stimulate myself when I'm in that mindless time-killing mood?
posted by Rory Marinich to Computers & Internet (30 answers total) 159 users marked this as a favorite
Wikipedia and TV Tropes are pretty good for that. Every time you come across a link that looks vaguely interesting, open it in a new tab. It's pretty easy to end up on some topic or topics that are only very tangentially related to where you started.
posted by logicpunk at 10:46 AM on July 9, 2013

I find that PBS's idea channel vlog series is the best thing ever to send me into a research hole.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:46 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

It seems like StumbleUpon might provide you with some interesting surfing when the mood strikes.
posted by DrGail at 10:47 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mental Floss magazine is pretty fun for this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:48 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Dark Roasted Blend does this for me.
posted by BlooPen at 10:48 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm looking for text rather than videos; something about text is more comforting to me when I'm in that infoglut mood. And I've never been able to get reliably quality stuff on StumbleUpon.

TvTropes is too subject-specific for me. I mean, I love it and get hooked every time I visit, but it's very dedicated to one particular type of media analysis.

Dark Roasted Blend is EXCELLENT.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:56 AM on July 9, 2013

posted by stenseng at 11:06 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]



Metafilter :)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:09 AM on July 9, 2013

Best answer: Futility Closet

It is dishearteningly brief in its posts for someone like me who wants a bit more of the platter service, but I imagine for a sprightly mind like yours, Rory, it will be a delight.
posted by carsonb at 11:23 AM on July 9, 2013 [8 favorites]

This is why we have Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog.

It's history, yes, but I promise it will lead you to some strange places.
posted by Think_Long at 11:55 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Now I Know is a daily email newsletter that sends you info on random interesting things every day. Last email was about the first, and so far only, jockey who won a horse race after his death. Archives are here.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:59 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Damned Interesting
posted by radwolf76 at 12:01 PM on July 9, 2013

Atlas Obscura

Laughing Squid is sort of like this too.
posted by plastic_animals at 12:05 PM on July 9, 2013

Great question! Here are a few sources that I've found useful for this purpose.

The Morning News sends out a great set of links twice daily, in the morning and afternoon. They cover a whole range of material (not just news), and I always find at least one fascinating read. You can subscribe by RSS, or use IFTTT to have them sent by email.

I found Aeon Magazine a few months ago, and it now occupies a prime spot in my RSS reader. They publish one article daily, and they're consistently interesting. Each day of the week has its own theme: Mondays are "World Views", Tuesdays are "Nature & Cosmos", etc.

Also, I've found that the new Digg is a fantastic roundup of news and the best of the internet. It's always a great way to find a good read. They also send out a daily roundup of links, but the site itself is quite enjoyable.

I'll also second plastic_animals' suggestion. Atlas Obscura is phenomenal.
posted by rensar at 12:07 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like The Feature (formerly called Give Me Something to Read). I always find very interesting, substantive, in-depth articles there on a wide variety of topics.
posted by Dansaman at 12:25 PM on July 9, 2013

posted by PJMoore at 12:37 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend TYWKIWDBI ("Tai-Wiki-Widbee") - "Things You Wouldn't Know If We Didn't Blog Intermittently."
posted by mark7570 at 12:46 PM on July 9, 2013

Brain Pickings is consistently very very interesting.
posted by slightlybewildered at 1:21 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by kmennie at 1:29 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

50 watts together with A Journey Round my Skull.
posted by adamvasco at 5:03 PM on July 9, 2013

posted by annekate at 8:02 PM on July 9, 2013

posted by SisterHavana at 8:27 PM on July 9, 2013

Reading the hardcopy of New Scientist remains a major source of my interesting conversational topics.
posted by Elysum at 9:22 PM on July 9, 2013

(Futility Closet, by the way, is kept stocked by none other than Metafilter's own futility closet.)
posted by Iridic at 10:34 AM on July 10, 2013

Today I Found Out
posted by timesarrow at 11:14 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Arts & Letters Daily
posted by pracowity at 2:12 AM on July 11, 2013

Stellar's "interesting" feed is usually full of great stuff.

Andy Baio's links page is short, and has one of the highest stuff-I-find-interesting ratios anywhere.
posted by schmod at 9:43 AM on July 11, 2013

TheBrain dude.
posted by mkteku at 3:45 PM on July 12, 2013

Maybe "Endlessly amusing ourselves with curiosity" is more appropriate.
Mindless - such a boring state. ;P
posted by mkteku at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2013

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