My latest adventure wasn’t too exotic. It was a trip to visit Brian which includes a roughly 12 hour drive on either end. On the way back I finally got smart — okay, I borrowed Brian’s smarts — and downloaded the Podcast Addict app which allowed me to pre-download podcasts to entertain me on the solo trip. This was a very exciting development for someone like me who dislikes driving, traffic, and all things roadworks-related.
In honor of the brilliant drive that resulted, here are the highlights from my Day of Podcasts. Below are 5 intellectual-yet-funny podcasts I discovered for this trip, mostly skewed toward science and technology because I’m biased that way. At the end of the post are two bonus shout-outs to my all-time favorite podcasts which I didn’t listen to on this drive only because I was already caught up.
If you have a drive, a boring job, or any other downtime I highly recommend checking for podcasts you might be interested in. You can subscribe via app, itunes, or catch some on the radio itself. There are a lot of great ones out there which help me learn new things and — often — laugh out loud. And best of all, these are all free to listen.
Note to Self discusses how we interact with technology day to day. Popular topics include how our online lives are affecting our real-world lives–from privacy to creativity–and it’s not unusual for episodes to cover how technology is affecting kids. I find it thought-provoking. The latest episode, for example, discusses the effect of building Lego kits vs. free-building has on creativity.
You’ve probably heard of Freakonomics because there are 3+ books and a movie in the Freakonomics enterprise. They all come from an economist-journalist duo who look at the world through the lens of economic theory. They’ve recently covered the economics of sleep, whether we should behave the way economics say we should, and a better way to eat.
Partially Derivative is a fun podcast, during which the hosts drink craft beer and talk about what’s going on in data science. They talk about interesting books, articles, and research. It’s a funny show that often talks about the role of data science in popular issues like politics, art, and robots.
Reply All is “a show about the internet”. Why do government websites suck? How is ISIS using the internet for recruitment and media efforts? What happens when an Hasidic Jew discovers the internet? There are shows about all sides of how the internet is used.
Science Vs “pitches fact against fad”. In only about 15 minutes, the show reveals the science (or lack there of) behind the latest “scientific” reports from diets to happiness. The show can begin a bit dramatic, but they quickly rein it in and add some much-needed context to some popular headlines-catching reports.
In addition to the new finds above I also enjoy these NPR classics which you can hear on the radio or download the podcast and listen any time:
Radiolab uses a dose of science to explore topics from finding Patient Zero of an outbreak to the origins of American Football. Well-researched and interesting, I often learn a ton from Radiolab, sometimes about topics I had no idea existed before.
“Wait Wait”, as I’ve come to refer to it, is a one-hour quiz show that I find totally hilarious. It quizzes callers and show guests about recent (usually off-the-wall) events and the classic prize to winners is a voicemail message recorded by one of the show’s hosts. A fun way to keep up with what’s happening in the world.
Science Friday is a great way of getting a dose of science every week. Episodes are 45 minutes and cover 4 to 5 interesting aspects of science. This podcast is popular among scientists but accessible enough for everyone. It took me way too long to subscribe, so don’t be like me and go subscribe.