List of Lists
I get an awful lot of my news these days from email lists. I'm reading more and more of them and less and less magazines, and even less web sites. But lists are reviewed nowhere that I know of, and finding new or better ones is a hit-or-miss proposition. I'm constantly on the search for high-yielding lists, but for some strange reason people don't talk about the lists they read or like. Lists seem slightly geeky as a way to get news, or too funky in form, or below respect somehow. On the contrary I think email lists are the future of publishing. They are "push" media that work, they are intelligent and targeted, full of passion, and almost every public list that I like is edited by a strong, identified, and personal editor, as were the best newspapers and magazines of their day.
News of the Weird, by Chuck Shepherd.
(Two pages of notes once a week.)
My favorite. It delivers reminders of humanity's innovation and madness as reported by newspapers around the world. Bizzare happenings, stupid actions, weird events, amazing deviations, extreme behavior. No fiction could possibly be stranger or more amusing. I smell life every time I read it.
NetFuture, by Steve Talbot.
(About 12 longish issues a year.)
The best, most literate and intelligent critique of technology available. Talbot is honest, bright, and devoted to understanding the role of technology in our lives. He manages to host a conversation around his wonderful essays that actually moves issues forward. Most excellent and highly recommended.
Brad DeLong's Mailing List, by Brad DeLong.
(A long issue about every two months.)
Brad DeLong is the economist that I am paying the most attention to these days. His extremely prolific postings include chapters from an emerging book on the new global economy, book reviews that are better than the books themselves, reports from conferences he attends, and some of the most astute geo-political economic analysis around.
Viridian Notes, by Bruce Sterling.
(Occasional rambling issue, maybe every two months.)
An unabashed, over-the-top, caffeinated, hyphenated, parenthetically annotated, Texan amplified, cyber-augmented, witty, and dead-on-serious rant on all things green and ecologically conscious. Among the many other wonderful unique things about this singular publication is that it provides a "attention conversation notice" alerting you whether it's worth your time to read this issue.
Complexity Digest, by Gottfried J. Mayer.
(Three pages about every two weeks.)
A handy summary of pure science research related to the broad outlines of complexity theory in biology, physics, chemistry, math. Complexity is a very promising selection filter for viewing science. Points to original articles. Very thorough.
The Conversation Continues, by Esther Dyson and Kevin Werbach.
(A short issue about once a month.)
In a world of commercial hype and brute force, Esther Dyson is an oasis of sanity and brilliance. The conversation begins in her high-priced newsletter, but she and Kevin dish out sufficient material in this free list to keep a parallel dialog going. I read it for its steady insight of actual trends in technology.
Edge, by John Brockman.
(Very long issues, about once a month.)
High concept all the way. Brockman seeks out the brightest scientists and thinkers today and engages them in heady interviews and serious discussions centered around ideas. The content is unfashionable and orthogonal to the media news. It's deep and refreshing like six-feet of rich topsoil. Of all the lists I am on this one is the most conversational.
NewsScan Daily, by John Gehl and Suzanne Douglas.
(One page daily.)
Formerly called Edupage (which continues under new editorship) NewsScan Daily is an expertly written digest of six to eight stories of broad interest within technology and business. Short, sweet, reliable, and a no-brainer. Recommended for everyone.
My View, by George Colony.
(Twice a year.)
This doesn't come very often but when it does, I find it never fails to impress me. I like it because in a fast-forward world Colony's occasional missives are slowly formed, but enduring. Colony is the chief honcho at Forrester, the research outfit, and his essay is invariably marked by real numbers, slow reflection, and the long view in a quick world.
Interesting People, by Dave Farber.
(Usually a half dozen clips per day.)
Hot clips, tips and blips passed on by Farber to his list of "interesting people." His focus is on telecom policy, security, and digital politics. Chatty, informal, real. Much is gathered or relayed from other lists.
Kevin Maney's USA Today Column, by Kevin Maney.
Kevin Maney is a columnist who gets out of the office and visits interesting people at interesting companies, and while his reports appear in USA Today he'll also send you them if you ask him. I'd like to read other columnists this way because sometimes the writers are the only reason to pick up a publication.
To subscribe, send an email to email@example.com.
Smart Letter, by David Isenberg.
Telecommunication industry insider and maverick David Isenberg disseminates contrarian views of the telecosm business and technology, generated by himself and his network. Given the technical nature, this is very readable and accessible to laypeople like myself.
Red Rock Eater News Service, by Phil Agre.
(Five messages per week.)
Currently this is an almost daily list of annotated url links. They are almost always interesting, and many times unexpected, though with a decided left political bent. It is particularly useful for those who have suspicions about computer and communication technology.
Gallup Tuesday Briefing.
(Weekly long issue.)
I've just started reading this one. Gallup prides itself on the many detailed polls they conduct into every aspect of American life. This is the weekly debriefing of of those polls. Feel America breathe and stir.
The Risks Digest, by Peter G. Neumann.
(Very high volume issue every two weeks.)
This is one of the oldest moderated lists of wide interest alive on the internet. Risks is about about times when technology doesn't work, or when it doesn't work as we intended it. Professionals making and repairing technological systems reveal the inner weaknesses of these systems. Like all stories about failures, they are riveting. The high volume of traffic has driven me off in the past; some may prefer the web version where you can pick and choose.
Comet, by Lonely Planet.
News and gossip from around the world for low-budget and world travelers. I'm not that delighted with the relevance of much of the material but its the best I've been able to locate. Better sources welcomed.