If you like just a little distraction when you start up your browser, if you find Twitter and news sites too in-your-face, but a blank page too mundane, try Wikipedia. Yeah that’s right, we just linked to Wikipedia, like it’s some obscure site we found. Because if you only end up there through Google results, you might have never noticed their elegant, calming home page.
On the left, you’ll see today’s featured article, one of the best 0.1% of Wikipedia pages. It’s not pegged to the news, it’s just a good article that Wikipedia’s editors thought you might appreciate.
Below that, you’ll see a “Did you know…” section, similarly just drawing some good trivia to your attention. These aren’t crazy facts that will wow your friends; they’re entry points to more good articles. You’ll learn that “the 2012 anthology No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall, collects queer comics covering a 40-year period,” or that “the barbels on the chin of the red mullet are sensory organs and used in locating prey.” (The red mullet, it turns out, is a European species of goatfish with tasty flesh.)
On the right you’ll see four news headlines. As of this writing, all four stories are from last week. This section isn’t for breaking news, but for good Wikipedia articles about recent news.
Below the news is the “On this day…” section, which lists historical anniversaries.
Below all this is the day’s featured list. Recent lists include the presidents of the New York Public Library, and the filmography of Charlize Theron.
Below that is the daily featured picture. Then come some permanent links to parts of Wikipedia and its sister projects. Your brief meditation on knowledge is over, until you click a link.
There are many peaceful or pleasantly distracting options for a home page. You could even, as we suggested in 2008, start with a random Wikipedia article. But since Wikipedia’s home page is a curated selection of the best articles, you’re especially likely to find something mildly interesting — before you do whatever you opened your browser to do.
Wikipedia [Home page]
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