Five Websites That Will Make You A Better, Smarter Geek

Let’s face it, internet chums. For all the wealth of incredible, mind-expanding content there is online, we spend a lot of our time looking at junk. Celebrity gossip. Mindless updates about that new camera that now has 20x optical zoom. Video clips of people embarrassing themselves. There’s no shame in this. We all do it.

But the web is a grand buffet, full of all the different types of food in the world – and yet we keep going back to get more ice cream with sprinkles.

And who wouldn’t? I mean, ice cream with sprinkles is great. But it’s also the kind of thing that, if you eat it every day, three times a day, might leave you feeling… well, ‘full’ – but also kinda’ empty.

But for the thousands of sites with questionable intellectual content like Perez Hilton or WWTDD there a ton, if not quite as many, sites that are full of smart, interesting things. And maybe, just maybe, they’re the kind of sites that may leave a you a better person than when you didn’t know about them.

And really, isn’t being smarter than your friends what being a geek is truly about? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

What follows are five smarts to keep you and your pompous self one step ahead of your geek and nerd peers.

 

You Are Not So Smart

Almost all web-heads know about Snopes.com, the site that debunks silly urban legends. But perhaps less know about You Are Not So Smart, a site that debunks the silly ways of thinking that lead to us to do stupid things like, well, believing silly urban legends.

Dedicated to destroying self-delusion, You Are Not So Smart goes through a series of misconceptions and then quickly and neatly rips them to shreds. Some examples? Well, you know how we believe that when making a choice – say about which smartphone to buy – we come to a decision based on rational decisions? Nope, says YANSS. What actually happens is something called ‘the Anchoring effect’, where our first impressions of a thing stay with us, altering later perceptions. So if it was the iPhone you loved first…

The site goes on to break down a ton of other myths, like whether opposites actually attract (hint: they don’t), or whether the universe is actually telling us something (hint: it’s not).

The only tricky thing about reading the site is learning not to be the douchebag at every party who says “erm, excuse me, but I believe you are committing the error of subscribing to the just world fallacy”. Yeah, nobody likes that person.

 

Know Your Meme

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“Hey Ladies, How Are you? Fantastic. Have you seen the double rainbow? It’s amazing. Oh, you haven’t. You dun goofed. Consequences will never be the same. You make Keanu sad. Maybe he was iced by a bro?”

Did any of that make any sense to you? ‘Cause if any of it didn’t, you need to get on top of your internet memes, son! (Or, um, daughter.)

And when it comes to staying in the loop with the latest memes, few sites are as helpful as Know Your Meme. Calling itself an internet meme database, the site that comes from the fine minds at Rocketboom aims to not only document internet memes, but also explain how and why certain things end up going viral and others just don’t.

Which, lets be honest, is a bit like explaining impossible mysteries like Justin Bieber. But hey, you feel smart reading the site! And how will you call yourself a certified geek if you don’t know what the latest memes are? An additional bonus is that there are numerous ways to subscribe to their show.

 

Techmeme

Ever get into an argument with a fellow geek and find yourself woefully unequipped? It’s like this other nerd has his or her finger on the pulse of the tech world. They knew about Antennagate, E3 rumors and Android days before you did. Curse them! How do they stay on top of so much information?

Well, other than reading Techi, nerds in know who want the latest, breaking tech news turn to Techmeme. See, Techmeme isn’t a tech site – it’s a news aggregator that collects all the latest tech stories. So if you just want quick information about what’s going on the world of digital – without all the smart, funny commentary you get here – you go to Techmeme, who list all the tech stories people are talking about. Sure, it’s a little dry. But if you want to know the news before you get witty analysis, Techmeme is invaluable.

 

h+ Magazine

Sure, sometimes the most important thing in the tech world is what Apple is up to, or what Google have around the corner. But what about the future? What about the really cutting-edge tech?

Put another way: Forget smartphones. Think singularity.

That’s what h+ Magazine deals with. Their tagline say they cover “technology, scientific and cultural trends that are changing – and will change – human beings in fundamental ways”. From artificial intelligence, to an in-depth discussion of BSG spinoff Caprica to arguments for and against immortality, this is a site for nerds who like to think about the big picture.

After, all if the only promise in technology lies in iPhones and game consoles, we’re kind of boned right?

 

Lifehacker

While Lifehacker isn’t exactly an obscure site, it really is indispensable for geeks in the know. Lifehacker is the site that even geeks turn to so that they might sort their lives out or do things a bit more efficiently.

Although its name suggests is would be about life tips, generally speaking, Lifehacker tends to lean toward tech, like telling you what’s worth looking at in the new Safari Extensions gallery, or informing you how to downgrade your iPhone 3G from OS4 to an earlier version (because it’s too damn slow with OS4!). If you want to speed up your life or your computer, Lifehacker is one to add to the feeds (if you haven’t already).

 

More Smart Geek Sites?

What other sites aim to make geeks smarter, better people? Help improve your peers and hit the comments and give your recommendations.

Written by Navneet Alang

Navneet Alang is a technology-culture writer based in Toronto. You can find him on Twitter at @navalang
SEE MORE ARTICLES BY "Navneet Alang"

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7 Comments »

 
#1
Dion Lynk
July 30th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Know your meme is such a great idea! Nice! Here’s another make you “Mo Smarter” site… http://prettycoolpeopleinterviews.submarinechannel.nl/

 
 
#2
SavTheCoder
July 31st, 2010 at 9:15 am

Know Your Meme would be my most visited site if it wasn’t for Facebook

 
 
#3
Kelsey
August 3rd, 2010 at 9:49 am

I love KnowYourMeme. I try not to go there much because I always get sucked in and spend way too much time there.

 
 
#4
Briongloid
November 9th, 2010 at 11:37 am

I’m a huge fan of Metafilter. It has all sorts of posts relating to technology, news, history, movies, music and art and things that are just plain weird. It’s like Readers Digest for geeks, with some National Geographic, New Scientist, Mashable and a little Fark thrown in and it’s all user generated.
I’d spend all day on Mefi if I had the time but sadly I don’t.

 
 
#5
hashish
November 11th, 2010 at 8:44 am

Lifehacker is not for geeks, its for the self-improvement crowd. Io9 and Gizmodo (both Gawker) are tailored for the traditional geek, not the geek-chic crowd. You are also forgetting two staples of the geek community: Slashdot and Hackaday.

 
 
#6
Ifham khan
December 25th, 2010 at 3:39 am

Nice post

 
 
#7
Business Partners
August 18th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Lifehacker is an all-time favorite. It’s definitely one of the most useful websites of its kind.

 

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