I only listen to The Mountain Goats, what public schools are for, and how to level up your career for free

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from Oct 2, 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.



1) I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats is a collaboration between Joseph Fink from Welcome to Night Vale, and John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. The first episode is The Best Ever Metal Band in Denton and features famous author and Mountain Goat super fan, John Green. It’s part deep dive into The Mountain Goats, and part exploration of the creative process. It’s like the best version of a friend nagging you that you really need to be into their favorite band.

2) Radio Atlantic pulled together several of their staff to talk about an important question, What Are Public Schools For? There are a variety of backgrounds represented and some interesting questions are raised, like if you believe school districts need to be more economically and racially diverse, how do you justify still sending your kids to a private school?

3) My embarrassingly delayed entrance into Stuff You Missed In History Class was with the Voynich Manuscript Update. In a very inception-like manner, this episode is an update to an update. The Voynich manuscript is a book hundreds of years old, written in a language no expert has been able to make heads or tails of (it may be gibberish), and filled with drawings of mostly unidentifiable plants. There are regular announcements from academics that they’ve cracked the code (they never really do–hence the frequent updates).

+ For more on the Voynich Manuscript, and a fictional, other-worldly take on it, check out this post from Open Culture.

The “you should really check out Audible Channels” mini-playlist

If you aren’t aware, Audible has a whole slew of original podcast series they call “channels”. If you don’t have an Audible subscription, you can still access everything in their app with an Amazon Prime membership instead (or sign into Audible with a non-Prime Amazon account and get 30 day trial). There is some great stuff that unfortunately isn’t available anywhere else. Like:

4) The Butterfly Effect: You wouldn’t guess it from the title, but this is a series about the porn industry from journalist Jon Ronson. The first episode looks at the rise of porn hub, and the bunch of tech nerds who effectively took over the entire industry with a detached obsession over data and a/b testing.

5) The Great Courses Selected Lectures: Exactly what it sounds like. There is a large variety of topics and I listened to Inexplicable Space from Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This edited down selection deals with dark matter and dark energy. “96% of all that is the universe is not anything we even remotely understand”. 

6) Extra Credit: Short episodes of a dad bringing his wise cracking 13 year old son on special field trips to learn things his school is failing him on (like that evolution is a thing or that slaves were not immigrants looking for work). Fun and educational.


7) Coursera and many open learning sites are increasingly pushing paid specializations or certificates for career related topics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take the courses for free. Take note of any courses within paid specializations you’d like to enroll in, search for them, and then choose “audit course” to learn as you wish without paying. Their specializations are actually a nice curated selection of related courses that are worth browsing through.

8) What happens during one second on the internet?

9) Trailer for Blue Planet 2 from the BBC. David Attenborough, Hans Zimmer, Radiohead. Wow.

Podcast links

10) I put together the playlist for this week’s theme on Earbuds Podcast Collective. It’s my five favorite mind blowing science episodes, and you can check it out here.

11) Visually speaking: 14 podcasts that draw out the history of art.

12) The #2podsaday twitter campaign started yesterday and will run all of October. You’ll get two indie podcast recommendations each day. Follow along @2podsaday.

13) The fine folks over at Discover Pods would love for you to fill out the short survey for their 2017 Podcast Trends Report. I didn’t know how to feel after facing the reality of how often I listen to podcasts.


That’s all for this week!


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