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Top 5 Websites for Inspiring Reading (& GAMSAT Section II fodder)

Our busy lives, the 24 hour news cycle, the dynamic, often fleeting interaction and exposure we have to news and information and even with those around us – it’s hardly conducive to thoughtful pondering or philosophical contemplation.

When we are busy, tired, rushed…even friendly banter or debate in the form of a well constructed argument is often put in the “too hard basket” and exchanged for small talk.

And yet, a large part of the GAMSAT Section II requires a written demonstration of not only your ability to absorb and understand deeper issues, but the capacity to present an argument, or at least demonstrate your own stance or opinion on a particular topic or theme.

Rather than set yourselves the near impossible task of reading every Man Booker Prize winning novel for the last 20 years, or TIME’s top 100 Novel’s of all time, I suggest a less arduous approach, something more intrinsic, that can become a daily habit in your life.

The following websites have published some of the most fascinating, thought provoking and sometimes controversial articles or essays I have read.

I’ve listed my top 5, in alphabetical order, below. I include a sample article from each to get you started.

Follow them in your aggregator of choice, and you won’t be able to resist reading them as they pop up.

Enjoy 🙂


 1. Aeon

Aeon is an online magazine that “asks the biggest questions and finds the freshest, most original answers, provided by world-leading authorities on science, philosophy and society.”

When I started reading Aeon, it published longform essays “explorations of deep issues written by serious and creative thinkers.” now it also has another three channels: video, short opinion section and interactive conversations.

I’ve chosen this article with the “C” word because it I feel it has relevance for anyone wanting to move into healthcare. It encompasses the entire body (pardon the pun) of the medical treatment process right from the very start- the research question, the actual medical research, the funding, the implementation, and then the bureaucracy that has the power to help and hinder outcomes for people’s lives. Interwoven through it all, is hope.

Follow aeon: WebFacebook | Twitter

Hand picked for you: Why are people still dying of cancer?



2. Brainpickings

A blog…. that’s not just any blog. Written by the amazing Maria Popova, bulgarian self-proclaimed “reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large.” The blog gets close to 2 million hits a month, the Facebook page has almost 4 million followers. Read her articles for a week and you’ll see why.

“If something interests me and is both timeless and timely, I write about it. Much of what is published online is content designed to be dead within hours, so I find most of my material offline. I gravitate more and more towards historical things that are somewhat obscure and yet timely in their sensibility and message.”

I love science philosophy and I especially love when Carl Sagan talks science philosophy-hence my hand picked article below.

Hand picked for you: Carl Sagan on Science and Spirituality

Follow Brainpickings: WebFacebook | Twitter



3. The Conversation

Thank goodness for The Conversation. Proud to say it was launched here in Australia, it is an independent, not-for-profit media outlet that uses content sourced from the academic and research community.

That’s real researchers doing real research writing this stuff. There’s plenty of comment on news and current affairs (which is not a focus of the other websites in this list).

Most of the articles I read on The Conversation are quite academic and at times dry, so I’ve listed this one as a bit of an antidote, or at least a reminder that a good story is good for the soul -so says science 🙂

Hand picked for you: ‘Remember when we…?’ Why sharing memories is soul food.

Follow The Conversation: WebFacebook | Twitter



4. Nautilus Magazine

Nautilus is an online and print science magazine that “combines the sciences, culture and philosophy into a single story.” Issue topics have included human uniqueness, time, uncertainty, genius, mergers & acquisitions, and feedback.

It was only launched in 2013, but since then has won some pretty prestigious awards, including a Webby Award in 2014 for best science website and in 2015 won two National Magazine Awards (aka “Ellies”), for General Excellence (Literature, Science and Politics Magazines) and Best Website.

Nautilus has also had two stories selected to be included in 2014 edition of The Best American Science and Nature Writing.

Need I say more? It’s awesome.

I came across this article after working for a short time in 2014 with the author, palaeontologist Peter Douglas Ward, who’s enigmatic personality will engage you in his science as if his life depended on it. His story here is beautiful, haunting, fascinating.

Hand picked for you: The Story of Nautilus.

Follow Nautilus: WebFacebook | Twitter


new phil

5. New Philosopher

Another home grown magazine to be proud of. Each edition is set around a philosophical theme and features an interview with a leading intellectual – previous subjects have included the likes of Noam Chomsky, Jane Goodall, Peter Singer and David Wood.

I’ve listed the shortest article of all here: 13 questions with Michael Leunig, beginning with 1. What is the biggest threat to our minds? Answered with “Our minds.” and culminating with “What is the meaning of life?” you’ll have to start reading to find out 🙂

Hand picked for you: The Cartoon Philosopher: 13 questions with Michael Leunig

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