Why is milk really in the back of the store?
Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from September 25, 2016. 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.
The Universe: What Remains to Be Discovered – The Infinite Monkey Cage (BBC) Aug 1, 46 min (listen) Learn: from scientists and comedians in a live audience setting about wide ranging astronomy and physics topics, including: black holes merging, gamma ray bursts, cosmic dawn, SETI, Carl Sagan's pale blue dot (always worth a watch). Thoughts: If you like space talk from excited people, you'll love this. Brian Cox is a physicist and a passionate science communicator. He's basically the English Neil DeGrasee Tyson. I still remember this amazing short clip I saw of his years ago where he shows you how to see cosmic rays using nothing but a fish tank, dry ice, and some alcohol. It's pretty incredible.
Surviving the Cosmos: A Conversation with David Deutsch – Waking Up (with Sam Harris) Dec 2015, 114 min (listen) Learn: about the future potential of human intelligence and artificial intelligence during some intellectual sparring between neuroscientist/philosopher Sam Harris and physicist David Deutsch. Thoughts: The two episodes I've listened to so far have very much made my brain hurt (like for days). I heard about this episode because of this Wait But Why post. It's a fascinating discussion and contains a refreshing optimism about our future. Deutsch has a killer story about Richard Feynman at the very end as well. Mattresses – Surprisingly Awesome May 3, 38 min (listen) Learn: the history of mattresses (more interesting than it sounds) and that the price point sweet spot to budget for is $800-$1500. Thoughts: I'm catching up on the Surprisingly Awesome episodes that I've missed and this was one of my favorites. For music lovers, Circle of Fifths was also really interesting. Why is the Milk in the Back of the Store? – Planet Money Sep 21, 16 min (listen) Learn: why the story we've all heard around milk being in the back of the store might be mostly grocery store urban legend. Thoughts: Michael Pollen (The Omnivore's Dilemna) and Russ Roberts (Econ Talk) put their money on different theories as the host talks to people in the know to sort out who is right. I was hoping Wegmans (the best grocery chain!) would make an appearance and I was not disappointed. Quote: "I think if someone asks you, is the milk in the back of the store because it's easier, or is it because it makes you walk through the store? - a safe answer is just to say yes." The Zoo Economy – Planet Money Sep 9, 18 min (listen) Learn: why zoos and aquariums cannot use money to buy or sell animals and how olden times bartering has made a comeback. Thoughts: Anytime I go to an aquarium, I will forever think, "I wonder how many jellyfish they had to trade to get that shark?" Quote: "If you wanted to see what the world was like before money was invented, you should go to an aquarium". The Trend Forecast – 99% Invisible Sep 20, 20 min (listen) Learn: how WGSN, a company you've never heard of, and which sounds like a radio station, has an incredible amount of influence across the fashion and design world. Thoughts: WGSN tells the biggest fashion companies in the world where the trends are going, but are they creating them or predicting them? Making Up Ground – 99% Invisible Sep 13, 23 min (listen) Learn: the fascinating history of why there are shipwrecks underneath San Francisco and why there are so many projects throughout the world that involve moving tons of earth to create new islands. Thoughts: We are actually running out of the right kind of sand for creating new land which is kind of crazy. Also, the amount of engineering to make the Netherlands not underwater is pretty fascinating. Quote: "God created the world but the Dutch created the Netherlands." VIDEOS Drone Solar System Model: How Far is Planet 9 – Mark Rober Mar 9, 9 min (watch) Learn: the incredible scale involved with our closest space neighbors. Thoughts: Mark Rober worked for NASA for 9 years and now makes great science videos. I recently discovered his channel and this is one of the best videos I've seen that shows the scale of the solar system. If the sun was the size of a soccer ball and placed on a football end zone, Earth would be a small fleck of rock on the 26 yard line. Neptune would be 777 yards away. How about the newly discovered but yet to be seen planet 9? Check the quote below. There is an extra part at end where Rober explains the coolest space fact he knows. It involves the unexpected image the Hubble telescope produced after pointing at the darkest part of the sky for ten days. This video is worth a watch for that part alone. Quote: "And now we've laid the framework for understanding just how far away planet 9 is, because to reach it, I would need to walk, and to walk some more, and to keep walking at a brisk pace, for 5 and a half hours, before I finally reached the pea that is planet 9." (17.5 miles away) Big Sugar, Big Money, and the Obsfuscated Truth about Heart Disease – Healthcare Triage Sep 17, 4 min (watch) Learn: about the recently uncovered evidence of undisclosed sugar industry involvement in the decades long anti-fat crusade that has helped create the health mess we are in today. Thoughts: As I dig deeper into YouTube, I'm finding more and more great channels that excel at explaining things. When it comes to the barrage of complicated healthcare news, I've come to rely on Healthcare Triage and Dr. Aaron Carrol's excellent and succinct coverage. His two part epsisode explaining the Epipen pricing mess is really helpful. (Part 1 and 2). ARTICLES AND OTHER LINKS My pocket app is full of interesting articles but wanted to actually read them first before passing them along. Expect lots of long reads next week! Sketchplanations (site) are weekly sketches sent to your inbox that, as you might guess, explain things. It's such a simple, elegant idea that I love so far. I'm a sucker for astrophotography so to continue this decidedly space themed newsletter, Here are two posts from Reddit this week that are amazing: I stood here for an hour, in Mountain Lion country, waiting for the galaxy to align with the road. It was totally worth it. Here's an album of my favorite space related images I've collected over the past few years. 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!