Classified as “a human –powered discovery engine for interestingness” BrainPickings.org brings you “the things you didn’t know you were interested in- until you are.” Maria Popova, a self-titled “interestingness hunter-gather and curious mind-at-large” curates the site full of intelligent and insightful articles. While the content can be a bit highbrow at times (she is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow, after all,) the site provides a welcome change to the usual “10 people on Facebook you should Defriend” articles and pictures of cats that you usually find Stumbling around the internet.
A great feature of the site is the sidebar- it has a clickable word cloud of tags that take you to the content you’re after. If you’re looking for a great TED talk suggestion or a book on neuroscience and the effect that music has on your brain, the cloud can take you right there. The site’s book recommendations are also top-notch, especially if you’re looking for non-fiction.
The true genius of BrainPickings, however, lies in its weekly newsletter. Every Sunday, a digest of the best and most interesting content on the site is compiled and emailed to you (only if you sign up here, of course.) It’s always a fascinating read, and I usually learn something (OK, at least three somethings) new every time I read it. Think of it as the Sunday Times for our digital generation. This week, for example, it featured pieces on Carl Sagan’s “The Pale Blue Dot”, “Virginia Woolf on How to Read a Book”, and the ever-fabulous Amanda Palmer on “The Art of Asking.”