There seems to be a rapidly growing oversupply of people who describe themselves as futurists, but Ray Kurzweil is one of the most fascinating. This is partly due to the fact he writes about the "Singularity", which is the theory that mankind is rapidly approaching a sort of tipping point, at which technological progress will smash all previously known barriers, resulting in the ability to create a superhuman intelligence.
Still following? This sort of hype is the type that inspires cult-like followings, and if you're fascinated by the idea that the type of theories usually reserved for sci-fi might one day become reality, then this is the site to visit. Kurzweil is the man who pioneered computer speech recognition, and who according to Wired Magazine takes more than 200 vitamin tablets a day. If anything, this is odd stuff.
Similarly mysterious, but utterly intruiging, is the Space Collective, a site with the tagline "the future of everything". SC members share "sudden insights and moments of clarity" and build virtual time capsules. You can watch video episodes on topics like "A World Without Us", and read SC Projects, which are themed notes and dissertations by the site's members, with comments by readers.
Part of the appeal here is the mysterious content, which at times seems to blur the bounds of fact and fiction, and part of the appeal is the site's slick design, which is striking. Photo galleries add to the intrigue, as does the commentary. Taking part feels like you're taking part in something hugely important. A hugely important what, is the question.
This site has built a reputation for "jaw dropping" (it's even a tag you can click) moments delivered by guest lecturers at the group's events around the world. For fascinating lectures the site is hard to beat, with the group's annual conference aiming to collect the "world's most fascinating thinkers and doers".
They're challenged to give the "talk of their lives", no less, and videos can be browsed using filters like "inspiring", "persuasive", "funny" and "ingenious". Speakers include director JJ Abrams, deep-sea explorer Robert Ballard and Mythbusters' Adam Savage. Browse the videos by themes and you're presented with a compelling assortment, from tales of invention, to what makes us happy, to questions like whether there's a God. There's certainly no shortage of buzzwords and hyperbole, with the group promising to "explore the hidden forces that run through our lives". It might be all too easy to dismiss this as elitist, if the videos weren't so good.
If you appreciate the plotting and charting of numbers to illustrate greater meanings in technology or life, this web site might be of interest. Not all the visual graphs and charts make sense, but some are absorbing, not least the comparison of Windows IIS and Apache servers, meant to illustrate security weaknesses.
The end result is the ability to step back from the ever growing sea of data and see patterns emerging. Other most popular items on the site are an eclectic mix: "The remotest place on earth" shows how long it would take to travel to the nearest city, and identifies the Tibetan plateau as that location; a network map titled "1 hr in front of TV" maps one man, his two children, and a cat's movements.