The joy of french fries, how to catch up to the future, and why giftedness is not innate

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from Aug 16, 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.




Revisionist History: McDonald’s Broke My Heart 33 minutes
One thing I’ve grown to love about Revisionist History is it’s unpredictable nature. Gladwell’s worldview is not hard to figure out, but you never know what direction he will shine his considerable talents for a strong argument towards. After this episode, you will not realize how much you needed a french fry cooked in beef tallow in your life. I kept expecting the conversation to veer towards the debate about the merits of different fats in our diet, but in retrospect I am glad the focus was entirely on the taste experience.
Learn: If you have money and are absolutely determined about something, you can shame even the largest food companies in the world into changing their most beloved food.

Constitutional: Framed 64 minutes
The first episode in a new series from the Washington Post, from the same talents behind Presidential. It’s all about the history of how the U.S. Constitution came to be the document it is today and the stories behind it. There is a great analogy used throughout this episode where the initial meeting of the document was similar to the literal process it takes to create the parchment it was ultimately written on.
Learn: One of the most important figures in the creation and language of the U.S. Constitution is James Wilson. Poor Wilson, not getting his due in the greater cultural awareness of who’s who. Also, there has been over 11,000 attempts to amend the constitution, with only 27 being successful.

Guardian Long Reads: Globalization- the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world 36 minutes 
A really interesting history of the idea of globalization. I think for the past several decades, it had this inevitable feeling to it. Like of course we are heading towards increased globalization and there is no way to stop it. It is only a matter of time before we reach the world of Star Trek, with one world government. But the last two years has showed us that nothing is inevitable, and economists are just as likely to eat their words and be wrong as anyone else. This article (or audio) provides the larger context of what globalization means.
Learn: The argument of globalization is that free trade is good, companies should move manufacturing somewhere with cheaper labor when it becomes too expensive, and that any local negatives of free trade are outweighed by the global good. The high social and political consequences of this thinking were not factored in to the equations.

More podcasts worth your curious time:

  • The interesting history of the stethoscope on 99PI.
  • The science of six degrees of separation/Kevin Bacon fully explained on Undiscovered.
  • Moral entrepreneurs are always ruining our fun on Pessimists Archive.


“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”.

This is a quote from William Gibson I’ve heard many times but appreciate every time I come across it. With technology, I love being on the outside of “the future” and then trying to get caught up all at once. I recently went down a rabbit hole on both 360 video and binaural (3D) audio. Both are pretty wild, even outside of any kind of virtual reality headset, so I can only imagine the craziness with all three of those technologies perfectly merged.

360 videos to check out (can scroll the screen in any direction with your finger):

Binaural audio to check out (put on good headphones):


The Guardian: Why there is no such thing as a gifted child
I love good articles that question assumptions.
Learn: “While the jury is out on giftedness being innate and other factors potentially making the difference, what is certain is that the behaviours associated with high levels of performance are replicable and most can be taught – even traits such as curiosity.”

New podcast app:
Leela Kids: Think of this as the podcast version of YouTube Kids. Easy access to kid friendly podcasts that you can feel safe about letting your curious child explore.

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!