12 Twitter accounts that will make you smarter
You can do really, really stupid silly on Twitter. In fact, Twitter has made foolishness more spreadable, weaponisable, and as anyone who ate a Tide pod knows, delicious.
But, occasionally, it has also made it easier than ever to seek out knowledge, acquire information and better yourself. So really, there’s no excuse to at least try and thrown a few intelligence-enhancing follows into your daily mix of Gifs and #Woke memes. Think of it as passive, ambient learning.
Consider unfollowing a couple of “Funny pictures of cats” accounts and following a few of these mind-massaging, brain-embiggening, cerebellum-squeezing ones.
1. Atlas Obscura (@atlasobscura)
This may be the loneliest lighthouse in the world. Iceland’s Þrídrangaviti Lighthouse is perched upon these tall cliffs, which stretch an impressive 120 feet upward. It is located off the coast of the Westman Islands, 4.5 miles away from mainland Iceland pic.twitter.com/7RmCNf0bM7— Atlas Obscura (@atlasobscura) March 16, 2018
Showcasing some of the weirdest, most interesting places in the world, Atlas Obscura won’t just make you feel smarter, it’ll give you the itchiest feet ever. Follow it and find yourself desperate to live in a needlessly remote banyan treehouse or secret subterranean bicycle factory.
2. Susie Dent (@susie_dent)
A reminder of the 13th century word ‘forswunk’: exhausted from too much work. To be ‘foreswunk’ is to be exhausted before you even begin. Morning.— Susie Dent (@susie_dent) February 2, 2018
Countdown fixture Susie Dent is a lexicographer that just can’t stop lexicographing, and posts obscure, weird, wonderful words on a near-daily basis. Did you know that “latibulating” is hiding in a corner and not wanting to leave it? You do now.
3. Letters Of Note (@LettersOfNote)
Can't help but admire this letter to Mark Twain. pic.twitter.com/XJmt4JEzi0— Letters of Note (@LettersOfNote) March 14, 2018
An incredibly impressive endeavour and arguably Twitter doing what it’s meant to do, Letters Of Note shares thousands of pieces of old correspondence, from legendary exchanges to goofy ones, huge names to unknown chancers. Fascinating, often hilarious and definitely educational in some way.
4. Fact Retriever (@factretriever)
Like the smartest dog in the world, Fact Retriever offers up loads of vaguely arbitrary but memorable tidbits of information. For instance, President Andrew Jackson taught his parrot to swear. Is that knowledge ever going to get you a job? Probably not. But will you think about it next time you meet a parrot? For sure!
5. Neil Degrasse Tyson (@neiltyson)
Pointlessly geeky fact: 33 is the number of Pi digits required to manifest all ten numerals at least once:— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018
Imagine getting trapped in a lift with Neil Degrasse Tyson. It would be great fun for about fifteen minutes until his enthusiasm for complicated ideas about space become exhausting and you find yourself snapping at him that maybe, actually, the Earth was flat, and then immediately regretting it. Follow him on Twitter instead.
6. Medieval Manuscripts (@BLMedieval)
Ploughing through the medieval archives of the British Library and plucking out highlights, Medieval Manuscripts offers up a nice combination of history, linguistics and funny-looking old embroidered faces. It’s not just video games that can’t get eyes and mouths right.
7. One Perfect Shot (@OnePerfectShot)
Classying up your feed by providing loads of cinematic elegance, One Perfect Shot is dedicated to highlighting particularly beautiful frames from films. Improve your sense of aesthetics, your appreciation for the art of cinemtography and your Netflix queue in one go.
8. A.Word.A.Day (@awad)
segue: verb intr.: To make a smooth transition from one section or topic to another, in conversation, music, film. etc. noun: A smooth transition from one section or topic to another. https://t.co/uNk5idtNjg— A.Word.A.Day (@awad) April 11, 2018
Like the toilet paper Joey had in that one episode of Friends, but in Twitter account form.
9. NASA (@NASA)
Once upon a time...scientists needed to reach the edge of space to observe thunderstorms and their role in the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. Balloons were too low. Weather satellites were too high. Then, they discovered @Space_Station was just right: https://t.co/pfcx3PfBBN pic.twitter.com/qwqtC5rHrg— NASA (@NASA) April 11, 2018
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration certainly know their onions - their space onions! They’re constantly posting astonishing pictures from space, mind-bending facts and occasional badass job offerings for anyone in the Greater Houston area.
10. History In Pictures (HistoryInPics)
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring - Marilyn Monroe pic.twitter.com/AYDsmJ7KmE— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) April 10, 2018
While there’s a reasonable amount of “Look, a famous person off the telly but when they were slightly younger” material in History in Pictures’ output, there are also plenty of fascinatingly weird gems like the above.
11. Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster)
Noah Webster, the Webster of Merriam-Webster, was the man who decided Americans would spell words like “colour” wrongly by omitting the U, but don’t hold it against him. The dictionary posts interesting etymological facts daily.
12. Quite Interesting (@qikipedia)
A contronym is a single word with two definitions that are contradictory. For instance, dust can mean to cover with dust, but also to remove dust, and seed can mean to plant seeds, but also to remove seeds.— Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) April 10, 2018
The programme Dave couldn’t exist without is on something like series one million now, but due to the production team’s endless output (podcasts, live tours and stuff), even when it’s not on it still puts out really interesting stuff daily.
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