Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from February 7, 2017. 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.
Best fact from this week: When a new word is formed that shares someone’s name, it’s called an eponym. There’s usually an interesting story behind each of these words, which is why 99 Percent Invisible did a whole episode on them. Easy examples are inventions like the diesel engine being named after its creator Rudolf Diesel, or the Victorian era being named after Queen Victoria.
If you listen to lots of podcasts and are always hunting for new apps to check out, I wrote an article just for you:
60dB, Tung, and RadioPublic: three unique podcasting apps deserving of your love (maybe)
THE ULTIMATE WIKIPEDIA RABBIT HOLE
Episodes 1-5 | Random Article
As part of the National ‘Review Your Favorite Podcast and Support the Makers of Things That Bring You Joy’ day, I decided to stop being such a free loader of excellent free audio of all these years and to actually give back. A simple iTunes review seemed like a good place to start, and my new favorite show, “Random Article”, was my very first target. This is what I said on iTunes:
“After binging on the short first season, I now have full faith in creator May Jasper to turn literally any Wikipedia article into something interesting. She’s your personal learning guide that goes out and discovers what the deal is with any subject and walks you through it with excitement and humor. This is must listen for widely curious people.”
Boom, feels good! I highly recommend reviewing your favorite independent show like Random Article, they could really use our love. And here are the episodes from the first season, dictated entirely by Jasper hitting the “random article” button on Wikipedia:
Ep 1: Syndesmica
Ep 2: Model Airports
Ep 3: Ernesto Juan Castellanos
Ep 4: This Land is Mine
Ep 5: This Land is Mine (part 2)
CULTURE DEFINES EVERYTHING
Stranger in Paradise | Radiolab | 46 minutes
What starts as an interesting story about the beloved native raccoons to the islands of Guadeloupe turns into a complicated narrative on culture and identity and how science can sometimes cause unintended consequences. (show notes/listen)
THE NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON OF THE UK
Science’s Epic Fails | The Infinite Monkey Cage | 46 minutes
Brian Cox is one of the leading science communicators in the UK, and I’m becoming a big fan of his BBC podcast which is recorded in front of a live audience. This episode touches on the true nature of science, which celebrates doubt and is a necessary tool in the #postfact world. (show notes/listen)
SO WHY IS A SPECK OF PAINT DANGEROUS IN SPACE?
High Speed Collisions in Space-Experiments with a Carrot gun | The Royal Institute | 6 minutes
Cool demonstration of why something moving at extreme orbital speeds behaves differently than we’d expect when crashing into something. (watch)
SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED SOMEONE TO TELL YOU WHY TO LIKE SOMETHING
Frank Ocean-Musical Identity | Kaptain Kristian | 6 minutes
A short video essay on why Frank Ocean’s music is worth checking out. When it comes to genre’s I don’t usually listen to, I always appreciate someone breaking down exactly why I should care. (watch)
JOHN ARNOLD MADE A FORTUNE AT ENRON. NOW HE’S DECLARED WAR ON BAD SCIENCE
This excellent piece from Wired details how an relatively unknown young billionaire is behind a lot of the talk to improve the way science is done. Seeing who his philanthropic funding targets are is like reading a who’s who for people not afraid to attack the sacred cow of academic research. (Read)
Ok here is a post with some fun mind blowing comments. Are humans closer in relative size to the planck length or the entire observable universe?. For reference, the planck length is the theoretically smallest measurement physics would allow, and here is a great scale you can play with (if on desktop browser) or a video that zooms in and then out for you.
That’s all for this week!