Must be aliens, and some podcast Valentine's
The Last of Us has a fantastic podcast, an unfortunate math problem, and other podcasts and links that will make you think.
Welcome to Hurt Your Brain #175, the place to get podcasts and links that will make you think.
I’ve listened to a lot of Planet Money lately because I finally upgraded to Planet Money + (not an affiliate link or anything like that) and caught up on all the bonus content. It’s easily one of my favorite shows and it’s not too steep of a price, so why the heck not? By the way, in the process I realized I had missed a regular episode called The E-Book Wars, which is super interesting (particularly if you use apps like Libby or Hoopla).
Also, I’ve been having some fun with Valentine’s Day visuals for podcasts. Check them out down below. (As reminder, you can follow all my visual stuff on my new Instagram).
Alright, recommendation time! What do we have here…
The Big Idea: A short and sweet podcast about space from astronomer and science communicator Dr Michelle Thaller.
I loved her episode of Meditative Story that I recommended last time, and I’m sadly only now finding out about her own podcast, Orbital Path. C’mon, how did I not know about this!?
I say sadly, because it looks like it ended a few years ago. But I loved the short, cosmic discussions in the first few episodes, and I plan on going through and listening to all of them. Space is a timeless topic after all, and Thaller is a very compelling person to listen to.
This first episode is about serious discussions scientists have about possible signs of alien civilization, and is as great a place to start as anywhere else if you are new to this show.
The YouTube algorithm just knows me, because Thaller was in a 7-minute video for Big Think this week and I was served it right away. It’s about grief and it will bring the feels.
The Big Idea: A must listen for anyone watching The Last of Us (which you should be!).
This is the official companion podcast from HBO that comes out after each new TV episode. It’s hosted by Troy Baker (who voiced main character Joel in the video game) who has a discussion each week with Craig Mazin (showrunner of the fantastic Chernobyl HBO series and co-showrunner on this HBO series) and Neil Druckmann (creator/writer of the video game and co-showrunner of this HBO series).
I had never listened to an HBO—or any official companion—podcast before, but I was sold pretty quickly after the first episode. Hearing from the showrunners directly adds an incredible amount of context, and is basically like a modern director’s commentary from the DVD/Blu Ray days.
The video game is one of my favorite things of all time, and so far the show has been incredible. Hearing how Mazin (who is from the TV world), and Druckmann (who is from the video game world) met and how they collaborated together on the HBO series is fantastic.
I’m now going to seek out the official podcast for any prestige show I’m watching as long as it includes the showrunners. Sorry House of the Dragon, looks like you don’t fit the criteria.
Feed the Queue: Alabama Astronaut
The Big Idea: Feed the Queue is back, a podcast that recommends other podcasts by featuring full episodes curated by Lauren Passell and Adela Mizrachi. I had never heard of Alabama Astronaut, and this episode is a wild introduction to a very unique show.
It’s hard to summarize, so here it is directly from the episode description: “Alabama Astronaut is a podcast featuring Alabama songwriter & artist Abe Partridge. Abe discovers a set of undocumented songs in the hills of the Appalachians, and believes they are undocumented because of the subject matter: lyrics that speak of the consumption of poison, and the handling of venomous snakes. These are the songs of the serpent handlers. To capture their music, Abe must first capture the hearts and the minds of the people who wrote it...and in the process, they capture his.”
I definitely want to keep listening after checking out this 30 minute introduction to this whole world and cast of characters.
Unexplainable: Your creepy, crawly roommates
The Big Idea: No matter where you live or what type of place you live in, you probably have around 100 species of creepy crawly insects living quite well right in your home. Yes, even if you are a clean freak.
“We know that we are surrounded by bugs... pretty much all the time. But what can we learn from them if we stop treating them only as pests, and instead, explore them like ecologists?”
Get ready to look suspiciously in every corner of your bedroom. Worth it though, it’s a great episode!
Here’s a link to all the show’s transcripts.
Maintenance Phase: Workplace Wellness
The Big Idea: Workplace Wellness programs don’t work, are a way to penalize many categories of people, and of course, are big business.
Lots of interesting history, context, and research about the reasons these exist and what kind of impact they have.
PODCAST LINKS (two great new podcast sites)
Sound Off the Ground. “A sound design newsletter for new podcasters”. Lori Mortimer is an indie podcaster who has a brand new newsletter called Sound Off the Ground. Check out her first post on why she is writing it and how it can help you. Also, I made a little visual for it so please check it out :)
Mentally? A Magpie. Sign up for monthly updates on all the podcast reviews Keelin posts to her site. There’s like a billion podcasts, and those dedicated to reviewing them are the heroes we need. Sign up here to never miss any podcast reviews.
And another visual:
Some Valentine’s Day fun.
We all love podcasts here, so in an effort to keep February fun, I’m doing as many podcast Valentine’s visuals as I can muster leading up to the day. Of course the first thing that came to mind was new heart candies.
Another Valentine’s visual:
February is the worst month of the year, but it’s an honest month.
Kid tries to cross puddle and discovers the futility of life.
Speaking of The Last of Us, it was an all around killer episode of SNL with Pedro Pascal hosting. Favorites: Wing Pit, HBO Mario Kart, the monologue, and the everything-off-the-rails ending skit, Lisa from Temecula [well done steak].
Alright, that’s all. Thanks for reading and please like or comment if you feel so inclined. Replies and feedback are always open.
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