The NPR mothership, experimenting on your people, and how to find a true expert

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from Sep 24, 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 have only ever ingested public radio in podcast form and honestly get a little confused on how NPR is related to KCRW or PRX or any other number of acronyms. Stuff You Should Know did an excellent episode explaining the history of public broadcasting and how the whole thing works.

Shane Parrish is the founder of Farnam Street, a thoughtful blog that distills the ideas of the world’s best thinkers. His podcast, The Knowledge Project, recently had Adam Grant on, and it was one of the best interviews I’ve heard in months.

Radio New Zealand started a short run series called Healthy or Hoax? The first episode addresses coconut oil and is excellent and interesting science reporting. It’s like Science Vs, but shorter and a little less punny (for better or worse).

Tim Harford is nearing the end of his 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy, and I found his pick of management consulting to be enlightening. I honestly didn’t know management consulting was a thing until I watched an episode of House of Lies back when that was on, and have been interested/confused ever since.

99 Percent Invisible’s The Finnish Experiment looks at the history and context of universal basic income. Economists say predicting the effects of such an endeavor is near impossible and needs to be tested. Lucky for us, part of Finland’s government is literally called the experimentation office.


99 Percent Invisible publishes interesting articles that don’t quite fit as a podcast episode, and their recent post on Sci-Fi megacities is pretty great.

Undark has a piece on how to tell if someone is a real expert or not in these confusing times. “Often people with legitimate credentials in one field begin opining about matters in other fields, in which their expertise may not be particularly helpful.”

A humorous review of Blinkist, a book summary app. “Blinkist seems built for the type of person who is actively looking for ways to lifehack the time they spend unwrapping their power bars in order to maximize their morning growth potential.”

The early videos from Veritasium on YouTube are some of the best science explainers out there. His video on slinky dropping (HD longer version of just slinky drops) is a great visual on a counter-intuitive phenomenon. Many of his early videos also made me finally understand what the hell inertia really is. There is a method to his pattern of making people look stupid before explaining something, and I still think about this inertia video years later (like anytime I see one of those giant floating granite balls).


That’s all for this week!


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