In sync with The Last Soviet
Lance Bass with a surprise gem of a podcast, the happiness of silence, introducing The Sloth, and other podcasts that will make you think.
Welcome to Hurt Your Brain #177, the place to get podcasts and links that will make you think.
No intro today except to say there are lots of podcasts and links I’m excited to share. Please send some interesting listens and reads my way, and as always, thanks for reading.
The Last Soviet: Ep 1: Let’s Go
The Big Idea: Lance Bass (yes that Lance Bass) hosts this show about a Soviet Cosmonaut. That completely unexpected sentence alone was enough to pique my interest, but after seeing this recommended several times I had to check it out.
It turns out Lance Bass had trained as a Russian Cosmonaut during the heyday of NSYNC (yes really) and has a personal connection to this story of Sergei Krikalev and his decision to stay on the Soviet Space Station during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Bass is a great fit and this show is way more interesting than a typical celebrity-as-host situation. If you love anything to do with the space race era, you’ll love this.
Song Exploder: Yusuf / Cat Stevens - Father and Son
The Big Idea: Song Exploder is my favorite showcase of the creative process. Creativity is this black box where the output can’t be predicted from the input, and hearing artists talk through the winding and surprising way they arrived at the final version never fails to inspire.
Even though I absolutely love Cat Stevens’ music, I had never so much as heard his speaking voice, let alone an interview. Hearing him walk through the process of re-recording parts of and re-releasing Father and Son was a real treat.
“I always choose the son’s dynamic, because there are still things to march about, there’s still things to shout about, there’s still things to sing about. I think that’s the world we live in and it’s never gonna change.”
The Happiness Lab: The Happiness of Silence
The Big Idea: There is this concept introduced of doing a “noise audit,” and thinking through how our days can be improved with either more silence or more meaningful decisions around the constant noise surrounding us (both sound and distractions).
I love this concept and everything about this episode. Many things to make you think through in your own life.
Other People’s Pockets: Cord Jefferson, Hollywood writer & producer
The Big Idea: A new show that satisfies my nosiness around other people’s personal finances. This frank discussion with a Hollywood writer who is credited on hits like Succession is my favorite episode so far. Host Maya Lau gets into career progression, actual amounts of money being made, luck, and different psychological components to money.
Even when someone makes way more than you can ever hope to make, it’s refreshing to hear the actual specifics.
This show has loads of potential, and I’m looking forward to peeking behind the curtain at all sorts of career paths.
The Big Idea: An excellent showcase around how science works and why we need to continue funding basic science, even when the ROI isn’t at all evident ahead of time. Plus, did you know there is a “Grammy’s” of government funded scientific research?
I won’t spoil the details of where the story goes besides to say that it involves obscure snails (I know, I know, quite the catchy hook) and a series of events that is only possible when science is given time to breathe.
Medicine is full of fantastic origin stories.
Podcast Brunch Club podcast playlist on altruism. I swear I’m not getting paid by PBC, I just love linking to them. The curated playlists around topics are always excellent and make me think.
What was the podcast that got you into podcasts? Get ready for some nostalgia as well as some new finds.
Clippy asking the real questions.
The Sloth. A new spinoff from The Moth. Live storytelling that takes its damn time.
OTHER LINKS THAT WILL MAKE YOU THINK
Falling into a black hole as an observer. Combination of terrifying and awesome. Top comment from Reddit: “I was of the understanding you would end up behind a book case.”
Books like Harry Potter, but darker and for adults? Some great recommendations in this thread.
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. In the above link, there is a comment thread about Ursula K Le Guin, and this comment caught my eye:
“She wrote this short ‘story’ called The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas which took me about 15 minutes to read and about 2 months to stop thinking about.”
Then this reply to that: “I read that 'story' 24 years ago and haven't stopped thinking about it yet…”
And then: “Sometimes I randomly remember it at night, and that night, I am not allowed to sleep.”
Well shit, if that ain’t the type of stuff to make me immediately look up a version to read. The link above is the full five page story. Le Guin is a master of words and ideas that will make you think, and this one certainly will stay with you.
Passengers, Rearranged. I didn’t see this movie and didn’t mind spoiling the plot for myself with this video (doesn’t seem like I missed much). Regardless, an excellent thought experiment about rearranging the plot and getting very creepy (and more interesting story-wise) vibes from Chris Pratt’s character.
When you’re overqualified for the job. This gets me every time. Just wait for it…
Animals being derps. Just this entire subreddit.
Alright, that’s all. Time to get ready for The Last of Us. For those watching, buckle up for these last two episodes. Thanks for reading and please like or comment if you feel so inclined. Replies and feedback are always open.
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