For every time I get sucked into clicking through another trashy celeb-related photo slideshow on The Huffington Post (I never learn), I try to balance my internet-surfing with some thought-provoking, intelligent content that replinishes at least half of the dead brain cells that shriveled away with every new picture of Lindsay Lohan sitting in the courtroom with her "fuck you" manicure.
Yes, I know. Waaaay easier said than done.
Which is why it’s important to celebrate online blogs, websites and communities that actually find an audience based on original, intelligent, creative content. I love me my crass celebrity gossip and bullshit horoscopes of the day, but I also love learning really wacky things about human psychology. Or innovative ways technology is helping improve the lives of people in impoverished countries. Or how visual language continues to evolve in how we consume information.
Here’s to online brain food, in alphabetical order, that doesn’t always stoop to the lowest common denominator. Also, I would love to hear your favorite online destinations for nourishing your curiosity as a passionate lifelong learner. School may be out for the summer, but fun learning never stops!
Big Think. Steal the knowledge of the world’s biggest thinkers via essays, videos and articles across every field imaginable.
Boing Boing. The ultimate information porn for nerds and geeks. This blog is a never-ending reward of cool information nuggets pulled from all over the web, mixing in absurdity, profundity and relevant current events told from an interesting angle. Cat stealing women’s undewear? Jesus’s face spotted at a Canadian water park? Random video animation of street graffiti? I dig.
GOOD.is. Interested in doing the world some GOOD? Learn everything you need to know about helping do some good in the world through interesting articles, relevant videos, and their eyecandy infographics about the latest hot-topic issues. In addition to being an online destination for the do-gooder in you, GOOD is also a quarterly magazine with 100% of your subscription fee going to a charity or cause of your choice.
Information Is Beautiful. An ongoing curation of the latest and best infographics visualized into some cool eye candy. With information and data getting more and more complex, today’s visual thinkers are coming up with more and more challenging and innovative ways to convey statistics in graphical form. Even creation myths across different cultures can be summed up into a graphic composed of colorful symbols.
Ode Magazine (www.odemagazine.com). Its slogan speaks for itself: "The online community for Intelligent Optimists." Tackling many social issues and current events from climate change to alternative medicine, Ode focuses on not just the problem ailing humanity, but the innovative solutions that the world’s pioneering scientists, human rights activisitsts, artists and everyday people are coming up with to make the world a better place for everybody. It isn’t every day you find a news site that makes you feel more intelligent AND more optimistic for humanity.
Vanguard. Streaming for free on Hulu.com, four news correspondents tackle challenging topics in their "no-limits" documentary series ranging from the cocaine mafia in Italy to the high levels of sexual assault taking place in Native American reservations across America. Every episode is an unforgettable rude awakening of what is going on in the world right this second.
WNYC – Radiolab. What happens in the afterlife? Do animals have souls? Do human limits exist? Podcasts about scientific curiosities combined with big philosophical questions, all condensed into hour-long episodes that can make your next long car ride or house-cleaning session a fun and enlightening experience.
Not in the mood for smarty stuff? Check out a list of 8 silly and absurd internet blogs for some major LOL.