Mutant mice, James Franco always looks high, and how the sausage gets made at Spotify

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from Aug 3, 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.

I am loving the recent increase in tightly edited, well produced science podcasts. The first part of the year saw Hi-Phi Nation and Cosmic Vertigo, and now this summer there is Undiscovered and Science Solved It, both of which I highlight below. Let me know if there are any other newish shows that fall in similar vein and I would love to check them out!


Undiscovered: Mouse’s Vineyard 32 minutes
My new favorite science podcast comes from the team at Science Friday. The process and human component of science provides a vast supply of stories, and Undiscovered expertly puts the scientists and their process of discovery at center stage.
Learn: If you are trying to convince a whole community to let you do something controversial like unleash thousands of GM mice in an effort to stop the spread of Lyme Disease, changing their mind has zero to do with information and everything to do with who you are and why you are doing it.

50 Things That Made The Modern Economy: Passports 9 minutes
I go through phases of binging this show to catch up, and this episode was the most surprising of the most recent batch.
Learn: If there were no passports and anyone could freely move/travel anywhere, it is estimated that worldwide economic output would double.

The Document: Baby Steps 22 minutes
This show has a concept that I love- take interesting documentary films and weave together the best audio parts of the documentary with an interview with the filmmaker. You get to experience the message of the film as well as the bigger context, all in less than 30 minutes.
Learn: Don’t ever, ever tell someone who is going through IVF they are lucky they don’t have kids because they can still do whatever they want.

The Art of Manliness: Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong 51 minutes
An interview with Eric Barker, the guy behind Barking up the Wrong Tree, a blog about science backed explorations on success and happiness that I have increasingly come to enjoy. Sometimes just hearing how someone talks will boost or kill their credibility in my mind, and this discussion made me appreciate that Barker really does know his stuff.
Learn: A good way to think about what you really want and how to get it is with the acronym WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan). And most of us are ambiverts who need to better learn which parts of extroversion/introversion to turn on/off and when. Use your extroversion side to build networks and your introversion side to build expertise.

Science Solved It: Don’t Be Alarmed, But the Rocks Are Crawling 22 minutes
A show that poses an interesting, previously unsolved phenomena, and the various amateur/crackpot theories that inevitably pop up to explain it. Many podcasts look at folklore, but what separates Science Solved It is that you get the satisfaction of a concrete answer to what happened.
Learn: Science is a giant buzz kill to fun theories, but the real answer is typically fascinating in its own way. For this episode specifically, you get to see how even a phenomena mulled over by scientists for decades failed to produce a theory as imaginative as nature could provide.


Philosophy Time: Liz Camp on Metaphor
This is a new series of short philosophy videos, hosted by James Franco. And no, I did not screenshot the above image while he was blinking, he really made that face for a solid five seconds. It’s worth the watch for that alone (starts at 3:50).
Learn: Why metaphors are more useful than concrete language in many situations.TED-Ed: The Wars That Inspired Game of Thrones 6 minutes
YouTube basically turns into Game of Thrones Tube this time of year, but with videos this well done and interesting, I welcome it.
Learn: The details on the 14th century War of the Roses, which is just as bloody and convoluted as Game of Thrones.BBC Earth: Amazing Crabs Shell Exchange 4 minutes
Ok, their title is not hyperbole, this really is amazing. I must have low expectations of nature, because coordination between animals on stuff like this really blows my mind.
Learn: Hermit Crabs line up from largest to smallest shell, and all swap out shells in one swift flurry of action. And you get to see their little strange lower bodies out the shell.



WATT: The Secret Lives of Playlists
A very insightful look into how exactly the sausage is made at Spotify.
Learn: Not surprising- Spotify is working with the big labels, and independent musicians are getting pushed out. Surprising- the extent of the power that their playlists have and the nature of the back room deals occurring.

Some podcast links:

Earbuds Podcast Collective
Get five podcast recommendations sent to you every Sunday night based around a theme. They regularly introduce me to shows I’ve never heard before and I’ve grown to look forward to it as a nice end to each weekend.

Fresh this Week by RadioPublic
RadioPublic is one of the best new generation podcast apps because it goes all in on human curation with lots of great playlists. If you check out the “Fresh this Week” playlist in the link above, you just might recognize some names 🙂

The Mission: Podcasts for Programmers – Part 1 – Beginners
For any podcast fans looking for a curated list of shows to help them learn how to program or to help them see if they might be interested in learning more.

That’s all for this week!


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