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While there are dozens of Search Engines out there to help you find specific information on the Web, many of the surfer's best 'finds' are either the result of pure chance, or a discovery passed on from a friend. Of course, if you had a few thousand friends ready to share their discoveries, your ability to find Web treasures greatly improves. Welcome to - specialists in Assisted Serendipity.

MetaFilter is one of the sometimes confusing class of sites known as 'weblogs.' In the original sense of the word, a weblog is a regularly updated collection of found links, commentaries, and personal reflections, maintained by a single person. For thousands of others, a weblog is simply an online diary - and while some have merit, many more (if not most) feature the "I hate my job," "my cat did the cutest thing," "here's my philosophy" essays which demonstrate that the locks on traditional diaries are there more to protect the public than the author's privacy. Fortunately, MetaFilter falls into the first category, with the distinction that contributions are not made by a single person - this blog has more than 12,000 contributors, and when it comes to scouring the Web, numbers matter.

Now, unlike most reviews posted in this space, I won't be able to tell you exactly what you'll find when you visit MetaFilter - the nature of the beast dictates that between writing and posting this piece, the front page content will have changed dozens of times. However, in an attempt to provide at least a glimpse of the wide range of subjects covered, (which can run quite literally from the sublime to the ridiculous) here are a few late-January samples:


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