The fascinating world of law, space photos are white lies, and the future of work

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from May 20, 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.


Fact of the week: While driving down the road, have you ever seen a large bird like a hawk being pestered and attacked by one or more small birds? It’s territorial behavior called mobbing and once you notice it, you’ll see it constantly.


Radiolab: Null and Void 53 minutes
With their excellent side project about the Supreme Court, Radiolab has positioned themselves as one of the best in the business at mining the law for amazing stories. This episode is more than just an explanation on what jury nullification is, it will make you think about how you want the balance of law to operate.

+ Directly related to this story is the OJ Simpson trial. I just finished The People vs OJ Simpson: An American Crime Story, and just like I had heard in numerous different places, it’s surprisingly excellent (and on Netflix).

Half Hour Intern: App Developer 39 minutes
If you have any interest in what it takes to get into programming or learn about how to make apps as a complete beginner, this episode is for you. Also, it’s always worth checking out Half Hour Intern’s feed to see what pops out as interesting if you couldn’t care less about making apps.

Outside/In: The Accidental History of Solar Power 40 minutes
99 Percent Invisible has great taste in showcasing other podcasts in their feed, and this episode from Outside/In is no exception (in 99pi feed as Reversing the Grid). Learn the interesting tale of how the rules that allow solar power snuck right up under the noses of large energy companies.

Science Vs conclusions

Science Vs: Antioxidants 37 minutes
The first live show from Science Vs, where they look at health claims for red wine, coffee, and chocolate. Conclusion 1: Antioxidants found in these foods or in supplements have no evidence of lowering cardiovascular outcomes or reducing cancer rates in people, and there is some evidence that antioxidants can actually increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Conclusion 2: A new health craze that is also found in red wine, coffee, and chocolate are sirtuins, which are proteins that are thought to have long term health benefits. There is not enough evidence in humans either way so watch out for unfounded claims from the supplement industry around this new buzz word.

Science Vs: True Love 47 minutes
One of my favorite Science Vs episodes so far. Conclusion 1: The actual physical process of feeling love involves oxytocin release in the brain combined with the complicated and poorly understood magic that happens in our cortex. Conclusion 2: You can’t look at nature around us (and mammals specifically) and get some kind of ironclad argument for what type of relationships are “natural”. You can find some species that are mostly monogamous, some that are mostly swingers, and examples for both the male and female as the romantic gatekeeper.



Seeker: This is not what space looks like 3 minutes
You know those awesome space images we always see? They are not what the naked eye would see and they all have coloring added in after the fact. This video explains why.

Calling Bullshit 1.1: Introduction to Bullshit 8 minutes
This free course from the University of Washington is just so great and couldn’t be more timely. Media literacy and the ability to parse bullshit is sadly a requirement to function in the modern world. This first video shows how enthusiastic these professors are to teach this and how much fun they plan on having. The second video is equally short and jumps right into a bullshit claim that Apple has used.

Time lapse of full life cycle of Hercules Beetle 1 minute
Get ready for this rollercoaster of emotions in a one minute video. Huh that’s cool–> wow that’s kind of a big larvae–> wait, beetles have a larval stage?–>WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!–> oh god, nature is so weird–>what is happening?–>wow, that’s a badass and beautiful and absolutely gigantic beetle.



The Guardian: The meaning of life in a world without work
This essay is from Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, who I see mentioned with increasing frequency. Interesting ideas from an interesting person, but I can’t help but think of the hilariously dead wrong essay by famous economist John Keynes who predicted 15 hour work weeks and a life of leisure for our generation.

Subscribe to:
Science writer Ed Yong’s newsletter. Yong is one of the best science writer’s working today, and his newsletter has a fantasitc curated list of his and other great science writing as well as other articles he found interesting.

r/todayilearned: Abraham Lincoln’s son was present during 3 out of 4 US presidential assassinations.

r/todayilearnedStan Lee is the highest grossing actor of all time. His 39 films have taken in $7,748,462,823 to date. And probably less than 10 minutes total screen time.

r/television: Bill Nye’s new show kind of sucks. I take back my previous recommendation on Bill Nye’s new Netflix show. I didn’t mind the first episode, but it has been universally panned across the internet and the reasons seem justified.

Quote: “Democracy requires citizens to see things from one another’s point of view, but instead we’re more and more enclosed in our own bubbles. Democracy requires a reliance of shared facts; instead we’re being offered parallel but separate universes.” –  Eli Pariser in The Filter Bubble



That’s all for this week!


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