SITE | After a stint in the New York Times newsroom, Nate Silver — the guy best known for predicting elections with math — returned to his blogging roots earlier this year with a relaunched FiveThirtyEight.com. It's a little like Slate, but focused on numbers and actual facts. They've veered into some of the novelty data best left to other blogs — burrito brackets, for example — but for the most part they've made it a point to explain data sets and treat numbers seriously, even when applied to lighter topics. The strengths, though, are still the areas where Silver excels: sports and politics. Expect the site to hit its stride as midterm elections approach.
NOTEBOOK | Just a few years ago, Moleskine notebooks came only in black and had to be purchased at bookstores; now you can buy them in a rainbow of colors at Target. In other words, it's time for people who make a habit of carrying small notebooks to find something more interesting. My favorite is Field Notes, a collaboration between Portland-based Draplin Design and a small printing company in Chicago. Inspired by the tradition of agricultural memo books, they release limited editions every couple of months in new colors with themes like "County Fair" and "Lagers." One edition this year had covers made of actual cherry wood.
TV | We now know Season 2 of Gravity Falls is scheduled to premiere August 1. But even the date was long a mystery — one of many mysteries that fans have been obsessively discussing online since the first season of the Disney Channel cartoon ended last August. The show, created by Alex Hirsch, features twins Dipper and Mabel, who are spending the summer with their eccentric great uncle in a fictional backwoods town in Oregon. It makes winking allusions to Twin Peaks, that other great Northwest opus of weird, and it's gathered a zealous audience of adults with its cryptozoological encounters, secret codes and promise of a much bigger mystery.