We all want to be more informed, but it’s not so easy as it might seem. Nowadays, information is everywhere – reams and reams of facts. Figures, and more facts than we can even deal with are bombarding us day-in-day-out, until we become pretty overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information being directed toward us. So where can we turn for information that we can trust, delivered with clarity and purpose? When it’s our lunch break, or we’re waiting for the bus and we want to read something interesting and enlightening – who has our back? Well, luckily the internet has been hard at work producing sites dedicated to expanding people’s knowledge in easy and constructive ways.
Howstuffworks has an amusingly vague name, but there’s no doubt it fits. The website is dedicated to teaching people about pretty much any topic you can think of – and we do mean any. With articles on anything from the Oregon Trail to the danger of moose and legendary examples of spite, Howstuffworks is here to offer you information on anything, all wrapped in a neat little package. The website maintains the levity of its name in its writing, which is clear, engaging, and very funny at times. When Howstuffworks is telling you about something intense they’re suitably intense, drawing you into their stories with powerful and direct writing. However, when they want to lighten the mood they can do so on a dime, with writing that’s breezy and humorous. This ability to switch up styles – coupled with the variety of content – means that you can spend hours on Howstuffworks without getting bored. Regardless of what you choose to read about, it’s guaranteed to be informative.
Discover Magazine has a clear and defined purpose – to make scientific information available to and easily comprehensible for a wider audience. The website is dedicated to informing people on topics across the sciences, and does so through writing that is fantastically clear and easy to engage with considering the content. For instance, Discover is capable of taking an article about the makeup of DNA and turning into an easy-to-read, interesting piece. It does this through writing that is personable and free-flowing – alongside an absolutely masterful use of metaphor and stories to get some of the trickier ideas across. In addition, Discover manages to avoid dragging readers down with excessively complicated jargon, while still offering a comprehensive and accurate presentation of the facts.
XKCD What If?
Set up in 2012 by web-comic artist and scientist Randall Munroe, XKCD What if? is a website dedicated to answering the most ridiculous questions possible. Munroe takes quandaries like what would happen if you threw a baseball at light-speed, or what would happen if everyone on Earth pointed a laser at the moon – and puts them through the grinder of science to produce consistently intriguing and hilarious answers. Given its method of answering silly questions from the public, XKCD What If? has a much less specific focus than other websites – but it also teaches you things that you might not find out anywhere else. In taking such ridiculous questions and applying actual science to them, Munroe ends up crafting ridiculous scenarios that nonetheless disseminate legitimate scientific knowledge. What If? will teach you facts about science – just in the most absurd way possible.