The Smart Person’s Guide to the Holiday Weekend: What to Watch, Read and Do

bike lanes2

Plan a trip via bike paths this weekend, or just ponder the connections between cities and states (via GOOD).

5.25.12 | With a long holiday weekend upon us, there’s a good chance you’re looking to chill out and do nothing. We get it. And in support of your efforts, we offer up Lifehacker’s tips for getting the most out of your relaxation.

But if you’re feeling more ambitious and want to use this holiday to pursue your interests or learn something new, here are some suggestions:

Must-See TV: Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab, has pulled three talks that took place recently at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society on the subject of how information gets made, how it gets shared, and how it gets consumed.

Fill your coffee cup (or beer mug) and settle in for smart discussions by James Gleick, author of, most recently, “The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood”; Matthew Battles, managing editor and curatorial practice fellow at metaLAB; and Mike Ananny, a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Berkman fellow. 

Talking Back to Facebook: This book isn’t on Janet Maslin’s summer reading list, but it may be essential reading for parents this year. In “Talking Back to Facebook: A Common Sense Guide To Raising Kids in the Digital Age,” Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer offers advice to help parents navigate their kids’ online, media-saturated lives.

“Kids are starting to be aware of the pressure they feel to constantly be on, to constantly respond via text, and also to present their images on Facebook,” Steyer tells “Fresh Air” contributor Dave Davies, adding, “So I think young people are increasingly aware of the positives as well as the downsides of this form of communication. And that’s a good thing.”

Listen to the 20-minute interview at NPR, and learn more at the book’s website.

Browse Star Wars on Etsy: Admittedly this would not have come to mind had it not been for these 15 stand-out “Star Wars” items gathered by Mashable, but once you start, it’s hard to ... sorry, where were we? Only the universe knows how many more one-of-a-kind “Star Wars” items are available online.

Go for a Bike Ride: So now it’s time to get out of the house for a family bike ride. If you’re wondering what path to take, check out this infographic, “The United Bike Lanes of America,” created by GOOD magazine and designer Gregory Hubacek. Don’t forget a map.

See a Movie: “The Avengers”? Check. Time to visit a world in which kids rule—well, two kids at least. Read a review by Manohla Dargis of Wes Anderson’s new film, “Moonrise Kingdom.” Hopefully you live in New York or California, where the film is opening this weekend.

Measure the Universe: Sure, it’s ambitious. The Royal Observatory Greenwich makes it easier, however, in a short animation that Brain Pickings posted today (it’s a teaser for this exhibition, “Measuring the Universe: From the Transit of Venus to the Edge of the Cosmos.”

Need more suggestions? Browse through Brain Pickings and its well-edited bookshelf. Maria Popova blends her interests and insights to bring readers some of the most delightful cultural finds on topics from art and politics to science and technology. I guarantee you’ll be smarter by Tuesday, though you may need to catch up on sleep. 

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