Belarussian journalist Evgeny Morozov was getting sick of encountering the same stories about US politics on many of the blogs and news sites he frequents. So he decided to engineer some serendipity, building a new type of news aggregation site: Polymeme.Polymeme (Thanks, Ethan!)
Polymeme relies on the wisdom of crowds in a very different way that sites like Reddit and Digg. For each of twenty core topics, the algorithms behind Polymeme monitor a small set of blogs, chosen because they focus on a specific topic, like evolution, education or economics. The algorithms look to see what stories - in mainstream press, alternative or citizen media - are being linked to and discussed in these "expert" blogs. Polymeme offers a link to the story being talked about, as well as to a selection of blogposts that address the story in question.
The site lets you encounter new ideas as a conversation between an original author and a set of bloggers engaging with the ideas. And the stories featured tend be both fascinating and not to be the ones getting lots of love on Digg and Reddit.
Of course, some things don't change no matter how wide a net you cast: according to the site's own statistics, the two people most often mentioned in the blogs tracked: Barack Obama and John McCain.