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Radiolab's "Colors" ten years later
A iconic episode from over ten years ago, some deep cuts from the archives, and other podcasts and links to make you think.
Welcome to Hurt Your Brain #191, the place to get podcasts and links that will make you think.
Did you know it’s been a little over ten years since Radiolab’s “Colors” episode was released?
Taking Serial out of the equation, I would not be surprised if “Colors” is one of the most recommended podcast episodes of all time. It was a rite of passage when I first got into podcasts to a) be recommended this episode by scores of people, and then b) turn into someone who recommends this episode to everyone. It’s always been a great go-to recommendation when you wanted to impress someone with your taste and really wanted that person to be a new addition to the circle of people who you could talk to podcasts about.
But as of late, I have realized I recommend this episode less and less. One reason might be that the type of person who I absolutely know will love this episode has probably long ago found their way to podcasts. I don’t know any perpetually curious people who don’t already love podcasts. This episode was a gateway drug for that type of person.
I wanted to know if “Colors” still holds up ten years later, so I listened and then wrote about it here. I also spent much more time than I care to admit figuring out how to draw a mantis shrimp (see below).
I did a lot of catching up on podcasts these past two weeks. I’ll do a quick roundup here of some highlights and then pull some classic evergreen recommendations from the archives down below (with original formatting – the way I’ve formatted recommendations has changed over the years).
I indeed loved Lofi Girl from Endless Thread that I mentioned in my last newsletter, and If Books Could Kill did a juicy episode about Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek that I really found satisfying. I never read The 4-Hour Workweek and was happy to know I made the right decision. With that said I must come clean and admit I was pretty into The Tim Ferriss Show at one point in my life. I will still defend Ferriss as a good interviewer though and will always be grateful for his interview with Kevin Kelly which made me realize it’s never too late to get into writing. But yea, his first book is not something I’ll defend. Also, I did actually read The 4-Hour Chef, which was a very strange book that tried to be too many things, but it did get me into cooking and also into using cast iron pans, which I still love.
From the archives:
Civics 101: Calling Your Congressperson I am fully on board with ignoring the endless parade of political news and getting back to the basics of how government operates. A straightforward and well done show from New Hampshire public radio where the whole goal is to explain one topic at a time. This is perfect as a buffet style show where you pick and choose what episodes jump out at you. [from newsletter #39]
Also from the archives:
The Happiness Lab: The Unhappy Millionaire [the psychology of money and happiness].
A new show from Pushkin hosted by Dr Laurie Santos, a psychology professor at Yale who recently created Psychology and the good life, their most popular class ever.
This is an excellent show to listen to with a friend or partner and discuss afterwards with.
Even the top .1% of wealthy people have problems, but nobody feels bad for them. We have a hard time envisioning that WE would also struggle with certain things if we happened to be in the top .1%.
The truth is, the happiness that money brings plateaus around $75K and no matter where you are above that, you might think that just a little more will do the trick. This is true even for people with hundreds of millions of dollars!
We are bad at predicting how much getting what we want will make us happy and even worse at predicting how terrible things will not be as bad as we think. This is called hedonic adaptation.
“When you mentally simulate a breakup, you mentally simulate the anguish, but you never mentally simulate the rationalizations.”
[from newsletter #92]
How Does Radiolab’s “Colors” Hold Up Ten Years Later? 1x speed. Check. Good headphones. Check. Let’s do it.
OTHER LINKS TO MAKE YOU THINK
50 Great Classic Novels Under 200 Pages. My kind of list.
Megadeth drummer hears “Mr Brightside” for the first time. He hears it without the drums and adds his own. I went down a major rabbit hole with this YouTube channel. Pretty fascinating.
Imagine being a salmon, swimming around, getting caught, butchered, and cooked horribly, then ending up smashed into bits by Gordon Ramsay. The others comments are pretty great too.
Alright that’s all for today. Please like or comment (or reply) if you want to share any comments. See you next time.
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