Fake News and Reckonings

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from November 29, 2016. It’s a collection of podcasts, videos, and other links for people who love to learn online and are fascinated by the world. Click here to get playlists emailed to you as they come out.

I was lucky enough to contribute several of my favorite podcast episodes of 2016 to a top 100 list published by The Bello Collective. It’s a really great list and I hope you check it out and find a few hidden gems.

100 Outstanding Audio Stories of 2016


A Conversion on Climate Change – Reckonings
This show “explores how people fundamentally change their hearts and minds”. The politician featured in this episode is remarkably open about how he formed a firm ideology based more in fitting in with certain tribes and winning political points than with being open to reality. I never thought I would learn something about grace and honesty from a politician.

Johann Johannssan (Arrival Score) – Song Exploder
Any writing I do is almost always done to some sort of movie or show soundtrack which is why I’m excited that Song Exploder is kicking off a series dedicated to that genre. I just saw Arrival in theaters and it certainly made me think more than any movie in recent memory. A big part of this smart sci-fi mood was set by the music that gets broken down and highlighted in this episode.

Messy Nobel – Planet Money
A creative look at this years Nobel Prize in Economics. There is a great moment where the hosts admit that economics is a soft science and is more useful as a way to tell stories about how the world works than to figure out some kind of immutable law. They say “it describes [an] imagined world. It’s a kind of science fiction.” I can already hear the chemists and physicists writing that down for the next time they argue with someone in the social sciences.


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neil’s Universe – StarTalk Radio
Ok this is really cool. Drive around with Neil DeGrasse Tyson in a multi part series as he talks nerdy about all sorts of things. Oh, and you can MOVE THE CAMERA around in every direction from the YouTube app. The third video entails a fantastic story about how one high school in the Bronx has produced more Nobel Prizes in Physics than all of Spain. Full Disclosure: Before I realized what a 360 degree camera meant I was staring straight down at the passenger seat for the entire first video. Then my mind was blown when I figured it out.

Extra: for another 360 video, check out the behind the scenes of this intense clip from the upcoming Planet Earth 2.

Talking with Attenborough – Vsauce
Speaking of Planet Earth 2, it’s of course narrated by the one and only David Attenborough. This interview with Michael Stevens of Vsauce is a reminder of what a treasure Attenborough is.



Planets, black holes, quasars and more: space terms explained – Wired
“A black hole containing the mass of the Earth would fit into the palm of your hand.”

These 62 Websites Will Make You Incredibly Smarter – The Mission (via Medium)
I’m a sucker for these types of lists. I can’t imagine the author has spent significant time with all of these resources, but it’s a solid list nonetheless.

Fake News Is Not The Only Problem – Data Society (via Medium)
I have seen an incredible amount of articles about fake news over the past few weeks. This article stood out to me as one of the most interesting of the lot, because it addresses larger issues of media bias and propaganda. It also has fantastic data visualizations on how ideas spread across Twitter and other social networks within walled off bubbles.


That’s all for this week!

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