Flip your brain to “on” with these podcasts
Flip your brain on with Brains On!, hear the mysteries of the multiverse, learn the psychology of fiction, check out a mini-AI reading list, and soak in other podcasts and links to make you think.
Welcome to Hurt Your Brain #179, the place to get podcasts and links that will make you think.
I’ve haven’t recommended 99 Percent Invisible in a while, but they’ve had a string of excellent episodes, like A Whale-Oiled Machine and The Wilderness Tool, both of which are great stories and are thought provoking. Radiolab’s Alone Enough is also a great episode that is classic in the sense that it will make you have one opinion in one instance, and then the opposite five minutes later. Opinion whiplash is fun as a listener.
Some excellent recommendations below, and trying something new by recommending a show from the archive. Happy spring everyone.
The Big Idea: True to the title, everything you’ve wanted to know about hearing aids, all presented in a delightful way.
This is a kids show, but you certainly don’t need to listen with kids. My favorite “learning hack” that the hosts of Stuff You Should Know frequently talk about is to read children’s books on the topics they are researching because they tend to explain things so well. Same is true with “kids” podcasts.
The Big Idea: A great serious discussion around the evidence or lack thereof for the existence of a multiverse within physics.
This is a new show from The Conversation, a news outlet I enjoy that is basically academics writing short articles about their work for lay people.
This episode features Katie Mack, who is probably my favorite go-to expert about space.
The Big Idea: An interview podcast from organizational psychologist Adam Grant (I swear he has like five podcasts). Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a writer turned psychologist turned full time author who is obsessed with understanding stories.
There is no better way to learn about the mind of others, or people in general, than via fiction. Barnes is a pleasure to listen to with her expert grasp on the science of psychology combined with her contagious passion and skill with shaping stories.
Discovered this via the excellent Podstack Newsletter
From the Hurt Your Brain archives:
You're Wrong About: The Challenger Disaster [from 11/8/20 edition]
Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall are journalists who research a person or event from history and explain to the other what the public has gotten wrong about that person/event.
This episode details the full story of what went wrong with the Challenger disaster, and Hobbes does an incredible job keeping it interesting throughout.
Spoiler alert: it may have had to do with an O-ring, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Incompetence, bureaucracy, and all the rest.
A niche playlist of podcasts for “when you want to be anywhere but here.” I continue to love this idea and selection of podcasts from Shreya Sharma in her new newsletter, Shreya’s Audio Affairs. I made the artwork for this edition, so please check it out! If you have any needs for visuals, just let me know :)
How I use Chat GPT to Turn a Podcast Transcript into a Comic. I don’t think this works for me quite yet, but the idea is very interesting and these tools improve literally on a weekly basis.
Congrats to Skye Pillsbury for turning on a paid subscription option with her excellent newsletter, The Squeeze. If you want to support journalism about the podcast and audio space, please consider joining the ranks of paid subscribers (was an easy yes for me). Btw, the newsletter is still free, but this is a way to support the work.
April is newly dubbed Adopt-a-Listener month by our friends over at Tink Media. Check it out and use this as an excuse to rope more people into your life that could benefit from podcasts (aka everyone).
OTHER LINKS THAT WILL MAKE YOU THINK
Honored to be featured in the first edition of The Visualizers, a new newsletter from Sathya all about visual creators. If you’d like to learn more about my visual journey, check it out!
A few great reads on AI and Chat GPT very worth going deep with: A short history of artificial intelligence. Chat GPT learns computing, and a gift link to “How to become an expert in AI” from the NYT (but it’s all very accessible to understand).
Letter from Stanley Kubrick to Arthur C Clarke on partnering to make “the proverbial ‘really good’ science-fiction movie.” This is how 2001: A Space Odyssey was born. I love seeing letters from one famous creator to another who don’t know each other very well.
Amazing invention- These drones will change everything. Video from Mark Rober. The way these drones are launched and deployed in Rwanda is incredible. A very feel good engineering story and a peek into the future of non-military drones.
Jacob Collier: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert. This video is just to give you context on a proper Jacob Collier YouTube rabbit hole that you should go down. Every single comment section of videos from this guy are full of musicians absolutely gushing about his technical prowess as a musician. I’m no musician, but I get fired up when I see experts in something constantly calling someone a true genius. It makes me want in on the excitement. Rabbit hole fodder: Jacob Collier explaining harmony in five increasing levels of difficulty, Why musicians love Jacob Collier, I don’t really get this, but people are very impressed.
One of the best school photo fails. Parent is requesting photoshop edits to make it funnier. Look through the comments.
“Photo of a man mansplaining a woman on how to eat a hamburger.” An AI image that is truly something else. That whole subreddit of AI image fails/weirdness is one of my favorite things lately.
My wife’s birthday is today and I wanted to share her favorite recent video. Lot’s of this soundtrack in our home. [and I’m no monster, I wrote this newsletter yesterday…well mostly].
That’s it for today, see you next time!
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