I want to think about something new!
July 21, 2014 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Looking for quality, regularly-updated web content as an alternative to the potpourri discussion-based sites that usually make up my day online.

You know how there's quality TV versus regular TV? Let's just say I'm tired of the Two and a Half Men internet and don't know how to change the channel. I'm not looking for thinkpieces on internet topics du jour, clickbait content, stuff I might see on the news, outragefilter, art by artists doing art about themselves, or anyone's social media profile. No Reddits, no Gawkers, and yes, my Metafilter quota is already filled ;)

The fewer spaces for discussion, the better. Perhaps I'm looking for short fiction or maybe someone posting bits of classical writing on a blog. Maybe it's someone who curates a list of the most obscure and interesting Wikipedia articles. Maybe it's a historical photos collection that gets updated on the regular. I'd gladly pay for access to the right quality content. Any suggestions? Do you read a site that somehow stands apart from the rest of the internet?
posted by theraflu to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Arts & Letters Daily updates every day with links to three new articles elsewhere on the internet—one each in the categories "Articles of Note," "New Books" (reviews), and "Essays and Opinions."

I find that it overlaps very little with the other internet streams I drink from, including MeFi, and the quality of the linked pieces is very high. Each one is usually a deep dive into a narrow field.
posted by gracenote at 9:21 AM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Does Dark Roasted Blend fit the bill?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:29 AM on July 21, 2014

Longform.org has, well, longform nonfiction, curated from a variety of old and new periodicals and websites. It's great.
posted by papayaninja at 9:30 AM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Open Culture sounds like exactly what you're looking for.
posted by jbickers at 9:33 AM on July 21, 2014

Maybe you'd like Brain Pickings.
posted by three_red_balloons at 9:37 AM on July 21, 2014

What about "The Best of Journalism"? It does cost $1.99 a month but you get 2 emails a week. I've subscribed for a while and enjoy the selection.

posted by chr at 9:49 AM on July 21, 2014

Would esoteric blogs written by academics fit the bill? Restricted Data is something along these lines. He updates once every week or two with a long, historical blog post focusing on nuclear technology. They're all really informative and include lots of primary sources.

Language Log is a blog run by a linguistics professor. He talks a lot about Chinese dialects but was also noticing the vocal fry incident months before it became something of a meme.

The Toast is a lot of short-fiction. It's sort of what the Hairpin should have been. Lots of funny stuff along with good advice and tons of very interesting personal, lived-experience type memoirs about being a gay ethnic minority and trans and etc. Really a good, living example of what a smart, witty, and hilarious blog founded on the principle of intersectionality can be.

More esoteric would be Geographical Imaginations which is academic geopolitics and Jihadica which is a blog that analyzes primary materials produced by militant Sunni Islamists.
posted by saucy_knave at 10:22 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Language Log is a blog run by a linguistics professor. He talks a lot about Chinese dialects but was also noticing the vocal fry incident months before it became something of a meme.

While I do recommend Language Log, that's not a very accurate description. Language Log is a group blog featuring some of the top linguists in the English-speaking world, covering a variety of linguistic fields with blog posts that do things like debunk or elaborate on popular media language coverage, explore new (or newly noticed) language trends, expound on new language research, and go down various linguistic rabbit-holes as a way of stretching their intellectual muscles. Victor Mair is the fellow who frequently publishes about Chinese dialects, but it's not his blog. If it could be said to be anyone's, it's Mark Liberman's.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:01 PM on July 21, 2014

It shares an occasional link with Gawker, but I'm a huge, huge fan of the fray newsletter, which comes out by e-mail most weekdays and has lots of links to great web content. Here is a sample blurb from it:
Guys, I’m so sorry. I’m losing my touch. In yesterday’s selfie issue, not only did I neglect to wish happy birthday to Rembrandt, who took better selfies than all of us, but I also failed to bring you the important announcement that you can send selfies to a company that will burn your image into a piece of toast. It’s only $75 a slice!
Today's newsletter theme was LADIES ARE AWESOME and had links to an utterly heartbreaking essay on writing by Dorothy Allison, a profile to the lady documentary-maker who worked with Glenn Greenwald to break the Snowden story, a chapter from a book about the first lady to hike the Appalachian Trail, and lots of other awesome things.

(Disclosure: I'm a friend of the person who runs it, but am not involved with the newsletter besides being a subscriber.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:28 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm kind of fond of Kuriositas, which is a blog about a variety of things, but tending toward short movies, particularly animation; interesting places and things around the world, both natural and human-created; wild animals cross-posted from The Ark in Space; and art, history, and culture.
posted by sigmagalator at 5:28 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Browser runs all kinds of stuff and most of it interesting. I have a long overdue list of stuff to read from them. Oh, I often see stuff on MeFi that I saw on The Browser or vice versa.

Note: runs = shares -- nothing is original, basically they find interesting stuff then tell you about it.
posted by evening at 11:18 AM on July 28, 2014

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