Features Ed Blog: On The Internet

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Have you ever searched for something on the internet, and ended up disappearing down a rabbit hole? Following link after link to interesting things, sometimes so much so that you forgot where you started?

In The Name Of Research

That happens a lot to me, both personally and professionally! When we’re looking for new feature ideas, the idea might not be the first thing you discover. But it might be the story behind it, or an offshoot you never expected.

Recently, I was looking up aspects of Polynesian culture after watching Disney’s “Moana” with our son. The story centres on a demi-god who unwoke a dark force that discouraged voyagers from exploring the South Pacific in the way they had done for hundreds of years. In reality, the civilisations of the South Pacific actually did stop exploring for about 1,000 years, before kick-starting again around AD900 and making landfall in Hawaii!

Bridging The Gap

on the internet


I was looking up the Florida Keys, for some reason, when I became briefly distracted by bridges. They’re connected by the most phenomenal feat of engineering. The Overseas Highway travels 113 miles from mainland to tip, with its longest land-free section lasting for seven miles!

And that’s nothing compared to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge in China. Turns out this covers an almighty 34 miles of ocean crossing. There’s also a bridge near New Orleans that’s so long, that for 8 miles of it you can’t see land.

I remember why I was looking that up, now – I was investigating Route 66. The American Highway network is phenomenal, with roads that cross the country from east to west and north to south, two to three thousand miles long.

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Bottomless Resource

Some readers have very kindly said of us that they don’t know how we keep finding things to write about. Ironically, sometimes we in the Features Team have the opposite problem! Getting enough time to turn all our ideas into features, which is why we’re so dependent on our lovely freelance writers.

From the resurgence of swimming in tidal pools to how oysters can clean our water, we have so much to share with you! And we chuckle sometimes about how eclectic an issue can be, with everything from horse sanctuaries to Favourite Benches in our back catalogue.

Internet Daydreaming

Sometimes it’s good before an ideas meeting to just go off down a rabbit hole or two on the internet. And I’d honestly encourage folk to do that in their personal time, if they have access. It is a kind of daydreaming – you can find the answer to any question you could imagine. And turn up things you’d never thought to ask!
Sometimes it’s inspiring just to type in the start to a question! Type in the word “Does” or “Should” and see what most people have been asking the internet. Wired magazine runs a series of interviews based on this autocomplete function, getting famous folk to answer their most Googled questions.
And did you know that if you search for something on Wikipedia and click on the first link that appears on your result page, and carry on clicking on the first link of each consecutive page – 97% of the time you’ll end up at the result for Philosophy? It’s true! For everything from marmalade to One Direction . . .
Don’t forget, though, that we love to get your questions, too! Our “Would You Believe It!” page has been answering your pressing questions since before the internet even existed. So if you’ve got anything you’d like us to look into, then send us an email or pop us a message through Facebook or Twitter

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Read more from Alex here.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.