Don’t forget about acid rain, the grueling process of book writing, and new podcast newsletters

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from July 23, 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.


Alright, maybe I’m the last person to finally listen to S-Town, or maybe you’re like me and have been holding off until a long road trip. If the latter, just do it already. It’s really fantastic, I’ve been thinking about it every day since I finished our two-day binge a week ago, and it will bring you to a place wholly unexpected. I’m so glad I went into it pretty blind, so I won’t say any more. And for those who are much more respectable podcast fans than I, and have already listened, here are some extras:

+ A Rose for Emily: You’ll recognize this name from the song in the credits. Read the Wikipedia summary of this William Faulkner short story and you’ll see why it was a perfect choice.

+ Some pictures: Please forgive me for linking to The Daily Mail, but I just had to see what some of the people in the story looked like.

+ Brian Reed on Jimmy Fallon: You get to see the gold dime.

Ok, on to some great stuff from the internet you can learn from.


Direct Current: What happened to acid rain? 23 minutes
YES! What ever did happen to the panic about acid rain? Or the ozone? Did it get fixed, or has Facebook distracted us for the past decade? This is kind of a happy ending, at least compared to typical environmental news.
Learn: Scientists, policy makers, and regular people can sometimes actually work together. They largely diminished acid rain by pushing to incentivize the main contributors to take advantage of solutions that remove the most harmful pollutants.

Civics 101: Lobbying 14 minutes
I really love this podcast. In one, short conversation with an ex-lobbyist, so much has been cleared up for me on what lobbyists actually do. I don’t know if my overall opinion of lobbying has changed, but my view of how congress functions has somehow dropped even lower.
Learn: You only have to register as a lobbyist if 20 percent of your time is spent lobbying (i.e. there are influential people lobbying that we don’t know about because they fall below that threshold). Members of Congress spend an incredible amount of time fundraising, and lobbyists show up to these fundraising breakfasts/lunches/cocktail hours/dinners with a check in hand to get a seat at the table, and then express the concerns of the organization they represent.

Planet Money: Meeting the Russians 20 minutes
If you follow political news, maybe you’ve heard some talk involving Russia, adoption, and the Magnitsky Act. I keep hearing the news mention the Magnitsky Act and what it does, but this story is about how it came to be, and it’s much more dramatic and serious than I had imagined.
Learn: The Magnitsky act helped freeze the assets of major Russian oligarchs who are implicated in the death of Sergie Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who had been looking into corruption on behalf of an American businessman. In retaliation to this law, Russia has put a stop to U.S. citizens being able to adopt Russian babies.

20k Hertz: The Wilhelm scream 20 minutes
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Wilhelm scream, and how sound designers have had a long running inside joke of using this same short scream across hundreds of different movies (even Star Wars and Indiana Jones). I’ve heard this bit of trivia many times and with increasing frequency, but this episode is by far the most complete and satisfying telling of it.
Learn: The now famous scream was recorded by none other than Sheb Wooley, of “Purple People Eater” fame.

+ Here’s a Youtube compilation of the scream. Warning: you won’t be able to un-hear it.

Revisionist History: The King of Tears 42 minutes
Malcolm Gladwell spends this episode trying to sell you on the appeal of country music, and like any strong opinion he has, he really pushes hard. I still don’t see myself seeking out country music anytime soon, but I really do appreciate the framework Gladwell gave me to listen to the genre through.
Learn: We cry when melancholy collides with specificity, which is country music’s specialty. And apparently according to one much cited study, country music is more lyrically diverse than rock and roll (I don’t feel like looking more into it, but I’ll go ahead and call bullshit).

For fun:
30 for 30: New riveting podcast from ESPN that has put out four extremely compelling episodes so far (and I don’t really watch sports).
Memory palace: When I first listened to this show a while back, I didn’t really understand what it was. I recently gave it another chance and it’s now a must listen for me. It’s history, briefly and poetically told.


Ryan Holiday: How To Write A Book – From Research To Editing To Publishing 6 minutes
I’m not trying to write a book, but I thought this was a pretty fascinating look into what the process looks like, and I certainly have a new appreciation to how grueling it is. I’ve never read any of Ryan Holiday’s books, but I always enjoy his writing, like this even more detailed article about writing and marketing a book.
Learn: The idea of writing a book and the reality of writing a book exist in different universes.

For fun: I didn’t watch as many educational videos this week because an incredible amount of trailers came out. I got caught in a YouTube spiral as I fantasized that I would have time to watch any of them when they come out. Westworld season 2, Stranger Things season 2, the new Thor, Justice League, Black Panther, Ready Player One, The Disaster Artist, Bladerunner 2049.


No #longreads this week, but a few great new finds in the podcast newsletter/discovery space.

Flyover podcast newsletter: A new email newsletter from Kelly Moffitt, a podcast producer, who goes in-depth each week on one podcast from the much ignored but still vibrantly creative non-coastal states. It’s off to an excellent start.

Discover Pods: A new podcast discovery site, with great articles and podcast playlists. There is a email subscription and slack channel you can join as well. I enjoyed their interview with the creator of Hi-Phi nation.

Science Vs newsletter: This link allows you to sign up for all the Gimlet newsletters, but Science Vs is a new choice and offers links to science news and other things Wendy and company are thinking about.


That’s all for this week!


Connect with me @erikthejones on twitter and if you’ve learned anything interesting, please forward this link to any curious natured friends or family so they can subscribe. Many thanks!