I thought it may be interesting in this blog post to take you lovely readers through a ride of the net’s best picks. Here we go:
1. http://www.reddit.com/. The mother of all link aggregators, the site is noted for the resourcefulness and activism of its community. Members can basically post two things: links and text (the latter usually consisting of questions and comments that they have about the site or life in general.) These posts (as well as comments to these posts) are up-voted and down-voted by other members of the community, and a small slice reach the front page. Different “reddits” cover different topics — ranging from men’s rights to weed. There is even a Stanford page, but it is woefully underpopulated. (Come, on people! We need to at least have more posts than Berkeley.) I personally check it just about everyday — the information often blows my mind.
2. http://www.mentalfloss.com/ has the motto “where knowledge junkies get their fix” and it certainly lives up to its name. Sometimes I feel that it tries too hard with its links — with a kind of pandering and watering-down of its content — but I found articles like this fascinating.
3. http://www.wefeelfine.org/. A cool web project that builds up a crowd-sourced application. It works by mining the internet every 10 minutes for signs of human emotion. That way, when you search for a given emotion, you get the contexts of people who feel like you around the world. It is short, sweet, somewhat limited — but cool nonetheless. A video of the creator.
4. http://universe.daylife.com/. The same author above also produced this website, and it is another short and and sweet applet that describes the web’s “universe” around a particular topic, complete with images of twinkling stars and galaxies. The graphics are particularly cool on this one, but the continual rotations of constellations / topic links can get somewhat annoying.
5. http://tashian.com/multibabel/. I love this little guy. The site translates english phrases back and forth across several languages, and then translates them back to english. Particularly hilarious with innuendos and scientific jargon.
6. http://flowingdata.com/. One of my all-time favorites, the site fulfills all my data desires. I like their combination of puzzles and humor too, as well as their use of simply enormous datasets. Finally, some graphics put it all in geographic perspective.
7. http://blog.okcupid.com/. If sociology was done more like this, I would seriously consider a sociology major! Their use of datasets to untangle the nature of human relationships reveals our American and international biases toward people. ( In some cases, it even confirms these biases, which I don’t know is a step in the wrong or right direction. For a more humorous discussion on race and dating, look here.)
8. http://laphamsquarterly.org/index.php. I like this the depth and complexity of this site’s essays and works. This is usually a place to go with some hot chocolate and a good 20 minutes to spend, but there are good pieces of eye candy as well.
9. http://gigapan.org/. This place is a real piece of work. The ability to view gigapixel panoramas of all kinds of images just tells me how far we’ve come in terms of information storage. To even conceive of a gigapixel is amazing. I especially liked the panorama from President Obama’s presidential inauguration; I tried to see how many political actors I could make out from the front balcony. You also should realize that on this site you are getting access to images that news outlets often use to report on an event. For example, check out how the BBC used the content from a gigapixel.
10. http://www.travelofftheradar.com/visual-blog-archive/. This blog features unique commentary and perspective ‘off the beaten path’ of more commercial tourism. I found the photo collection especially interesting.