Birthday present for me

Today is my birthday, so instead of offering a post for you, I thought I'd ask for a small gift. I'd like to revamp my personal web browsing system so that it's more efficient. I already keep up with psychology blogs via RSS, but I'd like to start browsing other things -- news, entertainment, and so on -- the same way.

So here's what I want for my birthday: I'd like you to suggest what should go in my RSS reader.

I'd like my whole list to be browsable in 30 minutes or so, so I need a *limited* list of suggestions for good RSS feeds to subscribe to. The whole list should have perhaps 100-200 items in a day, so if a blog posts 10 times a day, it better be good -- that's 1/10 of my list! Ideally some of the items in the list should be link-rich, so if I'm bored in the afternoon and I'm looking for extra reading material, I can always follow the links.

Please provide the actual link to the RSS feed itself along with your reasons why you think it's something I should be reading every day.

I'm looking forward to seeing your suggestions in the comments! Since comments with multiple links get held up in moderation, I'll be monitoring the comments pretty closely over the next couple hours.

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This blog raises some really interesting moral dilemmas. It is also one of the few good utilitarian-oriented blogs I've found that seems at all serious about overcoming bias.

Wow, a very thought-provoking blog, Ben. I've subscribed, but not in my new "infotainment" category -- I'm looking for somewhat more lightweight fare there.

I hope you know about this one already-Arts and Letters Daily provides a fantastic and eclectic mix of articles, essays, and book reviews:

Barn Owl:

I did know about Arts and Letters daily but I don't have the site bookmarked so I wouldn't have thought of it if not for your suggestion.

That's a good point -- please don't refrain from suggesting something because it seems "obvious." Even if I've heard of the site, I may not be able to recall it without your prompt.

Okay, I haven't read a lot of this blog, but I will post some of my favorite RSS

Deadline Hollywood - - good for entertainment news

Digg - - Good for all sorts of random, informative, and funny news

Quotes - - Just because I really like quotes

The Onion - - Best fake news ever

If you use Google Reader - They have a discover area where you can get recommendations and packages of feeds.

Emily: I subscribed to The Onion -- that's a good one! I took a look at Deadline Hollywood. It's pretty good, but a little gossipy for me. I guess what I was thinking of in entertainment was movie reviews. But of course, I don't like going to the theater, so I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good site that reviews new DVDs when they are released.

When looking over my RSS feeds, I realized that I'm a sucker for rant-heavy feeds. Since that's a specialized taste, here are best of my rant-lite feeds, IMHO.

Cosmic Variance




Informed Comment (Juan Cole, mostly on Iraq)

Informed Comment Global Affairs (Barnet Rubin on Afghanistan is particularly valuable)

Just Foreign Policy News (daily news summary)

Just World News (by Helena Cobban)

Washington Babylon (Harper's Magazine)


"Marginal Revolutions" by Tyler Cowen is a popular economics blog (you might already subscribe to it)... It is one of my favorites and has a good mix of light-hearted links and commentary and heavier economics related topics.

saint gasoline: he makes cartoons that I think yoiu might appreciate. He tends to post once a day or so and mixes it up a little with some of his persona opinion

The Natural Patriot: a professor of biology from the College of William and Mary who studies marine biodiversity and crustaceans. His blog is "dedicated to cultivating and putting to work a new and universal ideal of patriotism appropriate to the new Millennium, one based firmly in Reason and a deeply held moral of stewardship for our endangered homeland".

Of course you should already have The Other 95% and Deep Sea News in your RSS feed... right?

Happy birthday!

I highly suggest Seed Magazine's RSS feed ( The brunt of it is a once-a-day post called "Seed's Daily Zeitgeist" which is 5 links to interesting things on the web, mostly science related. Other than that one daily post, there are posts about once a week that are longer and on a single topic.

Great suggestions, everyone. Keep 'em coming!

I'm going to have to head out for a while, so don't be surprised if your comment doesn't show up right away. I'd love to see 50 comments waiting in moderation when I get back!

Happy Birthday. Below are some of my favorite feeds. I hope you find something in there. Robert Green, author of The 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction. Really interesting posts on power, strategy, etc. The Blog of Dilbert creator Scott Adams. Funny, smart, and interesting posts. Blog of venture capitalist Fred Wilson. He blogs about music, money, technology, etc. Freakonomics blog. Posts about economics, pop culture, etc. I assume you might already have this, but I love this blog. It has all sorts of cognitive, neurological and other posts.
I believe most of his posts are garnered from his own RSS. 5-10 links a day, but very few of them are more than a sentence description of the link and quote from the item itself. Always interesting.
Their sub-title is "Be Amazed, Be Very Amazed!". Not always science related, but with >1 post a week, it's worth sticking around to see what cool experiment or video they talk about.
"Why Bother Seeing the World for Real?"
They give the Google Earth/Maps links to famous places, interesting visible items, and strange sightings.
<1 post per day, so it won't clog up your feeds. (Sorry, I was VERY surprised that people can read 100+ feeds per day; I have schoolwork so I guess I can't get stuck to THAT many feeds)

Lisa already recommended Tyler Cowen's Marginal Revolution but it's worth a second vote.

Crooked Timber is another excellent Economics leaning blog that crosses over into news and interesting articles from a broader social sciences/news and entertainment bucket that fits your posting frequency guideline.

XKCD - the intellectual geek webcomic du jour. It's weekly so adding it to your feed list wont be a burden.

I second the recs. However, the quality of xkcd has been slowly but steadily declining for a few months, so you might want to surf through the older stuff, too. The newer stuff is fun, but the older stuff is awesome.

A site I've enjoyed lately is . It's the blog of a young math/CS professor at MIT, and he has a lot of interesting things to say and almost all of it isn't excessively dense or unapproachable.

TED ( ) boasts a very wide variety of talks, often by intellectual "celebrities."

B McManus

Happy Birthday!

This is a good idea, I need to clean up my subscriptions too. Recommendations, hmm. You already read the brain blogs I'd recommend, so for something a bit different:

Bad Science. Always hilarious, as well as very perceptive and smart.

Also, Ben Goldacre's feed has leftover juicy info nuggets.

Doc GM Splash Fly is a personal blog written by a man with schizophrenia. I like it for being poignant, intelligent, complex and revealing.
I have a serious blog crush on Information Aesthetics. It causes Stendahl syndrome.

BTW, did you see the Cog Daily (and Channel N!) review in Sci Am yet? Sweet. recently overhauled their sub system. Now you have literally a few hundred subreddits to choose from. And every subreddit has a feed. At least I think this last part may still be true. I suggest the subreddits:

science, worldnews, us, europe, cognitive science, WTF, scifi, human rights watch, podcasts, and anything else you find interesting if you set up an account.

You can even go to keywords in and subscribe feeds to submissions for that keyword. Find keywords that pique your interest and also seem generous.

If you use twitter, definitely subscribe to a few friends, especially the badastronomer and wil wheaton.

Just like, do the same thing at

Some of my favourites: Andy Baio consistently provides top-notch links on his sidebar ( and a weird mish-mash of internet reporting/investigation on his blog ( both are highly recommended.
Waiter Rant: Surprised nobody has mentioned this popular one. NYC waiter crafts nice little stories out of his daily grind. Surprisingly good read a couple of times a week (
Indexed: Another internet favourite. Daily hand-drawn graphs of weirdness. (
Dilbert: I personally skip the blog and just get the daily comic delivered to my reader from this feed (

My site has a feed too ( though I can't recommend it in good faith...

Happy Birthday!!! I have no suggestions, but my birthday is today as well, so I stopped to read your page. I am new to blogging, so I am checking sites out.

I really enjoy the BBC's Magazine. It's got short interesting articles about random things which are making the news from science to politics with a little twist here and there.

Here are some of today's headlines:
1. Masking a crime: This man is actually a woman. How do make-up artists use cosmetics and prostheses to disguise true identities?

2. Handing it down: Nigella Lawson is the latest wealthy celebrity to vow that she will not pass on all her money to her children when she dies. But why should you pass on your earthly wealth?

3. Ships on legs:
Wind farm Ships on legs
It's stormy and deep. So a boat steadied on stilts is used to build the giant towers of offshore wind farms.

Fascinating! And light.

Happy birthday.…

By Khalil A. (not verified) on 30 Jan 2008 #permalink

Following Khalil A's comments, I'd recommend picking something from the BBC's list of feeds - everything from world news and technology to science/nature and entertainment.
The list is here:

Thanks for some great suggestions, everyone. I've subscribed to a whole bunch of feeds:

NYT > Home
The Onion
Slate Magazine Breaking News Sports
Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate
The Morning News
Political Animal
Marginal Revolution
Rotten Tomatoes: New DVD Releases
Saint Gasoline
Language Log
The Perry Bible Fellowship
Conversational Reading
Titles are so 2007
information aesthetics
Uncertain Principles
Reason Magazine - Hit & Run
BBC News | UK News | Magazine | World Edition
Megan McArdle

I went through them this morning and it took a bit longer than I'd like -- probably because there was a backlog of posts. I think in the end this will be a manageable number of blogs to read, with plenty of fascinating/hilarious/enjoyable posts, so thanks!

I think ultimately I'm going to want 20 or so more subscriptions, so keep those suggestions coming.

Mr. Munger, I don't know if you want to spend all of your day on your RSS reader, but if you don't, that if way too much stuff. Political animal updates about 8 times a day, Megan McArdle about 10, NYTimes about 50 times, Arts and Letters Daily an absurd amount, and many of your other sites too. Some of those are very good, but I don't imagine you possibly have enough time to even skim the headlines on all of those sites. I would focus on sites without an absurd amount of subscriptions, like Marginal Revolution, Language Log (very funny), and maybe:

Ryan Holiday,

Ben Casnocha,

Ramit Sethi (I will teach you to be rich),

each of those blogs have some funny stuff, and you don't have to click through to the blog to read what they write. They update about once a week. I would also recommend:

The "Humor" and "Movies" sections from the New Yorker, they only update once a week and always have some funny stuff. Anthony Lane is an excellent writer, and has some funny movies reviews. The cartoons in the "Humor" section are definitely worth it.

Good luck!

This is the Virtual Reality RSS feed of 360 Cities is the world's largest VR (virtual reality) network comprising 50 cities from all over the world, and thousands of amazing, interactive, high resolution panoramas. The RSS feed is great because it's a bite-sized intro to the growing archive of locations from India to the Arctic, in nice little thumbnails. Click on any of them to open the (Fullscreen!) panorama. Enjoy it!

Jeffrey Martin

I really like
Ask MeFi is especially good, because people give such great answers to a variety of questions.

I second the, and indexed. Oh my lord does indexed make the math geek in me laugh out loud.

enjoy your birthday.

I saw you asked for a site that reviews DVDs, I don't think they have a feed, but try They take reviews from major critics across the country, extrapolate their review to a 100 point scale, then average them all together to give a final rating. They do this for DVDs, in theater films, music, and video games.
Also, this is shameless promotion of a friend of mine, but he has a blog whose feed is
It's a quality blog where he attempts to put findings in neuroscience and genetics into laymans terms (or at least explain the terms he uses). I think the writing and topics he chooses are excellent, and would read it even if I didn't know him well.

Essentials: Marginal Revolution,, Brad DeLong