The internet is good at so many things, not the least of which is helping you waste time. But that wasted time doesn’t have to be completely useless. When I spend an hour just staring at the screen and clicking from link to link, I like to think that at the end of it, I’ve learned something.

Here are a few of my favorite sites to read. Each of them gets updated frequently with interesting (and often fascinating) content. Interestingly, each of them might also be considered a blog of some kind.Google News is where I turn first if I’m looking for a quick internet reading fix. Headlines are magically generated from google’s search results. I have a particular fondness for the Sci/Tech section.

A List Apart gets updated about once a week, which might make it more of a zine than a blog, but almost all the articles are interesting, whether they’re on the nuts and bolts of web design, or high-level articles on what a user really wants from a their website. (Like this week’s What’s the problem?, an article introducing and explaining the concept of Use Cases.) takes a lot of slack for being overly populated by “trolls” looking to incite flame-wars (aka, teenage posters looking to start arguments), but the articles are still interesting, and often relevant even if you’re not a nerd.

Gizmodo, “The Gadgets Weblog”, is chalk full of stuff I’d love to have and probably never will. It’s posts about gadgets and gizmos that do interesting stuff. Nuff said.

Metafilter is king when it comes to funny and/or interesting but questionable links. I take this kind of stuff with a lot of salt, but when I want to laugh, I look here or over at Memepool which is just as funny, but without the comments and/or discussion.

The Writer’s Almanac is a radio show on public radio, but the online counterpart actually expands on a lot of what is said in the five-minute show (narrated by Garrison Keillor). It features a poem a day, and interesting writing/literature related news.

Arts and Letters Daily is where I go when I’m looking for more “intellectual” news items. Like many of the above, it just links to articles themselves. It’s also a great bookmark for the links along the left side of the page.

Finally, IP News Blog is one I just discovered today. It contains bunch of interesting tidbits about copyright and legal issues.