THE 5 PODCASTS YOU SHOULD HAVE IN YOUR EARS - BUT DONT: Tech/Knowledge/Science

I’m a podcast addict. I adore them, I spend most of my day with headphones on either listening to music or podcasts. Some I treat like the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
Excitement setting in a few days before they publish and my sweaty addict fingers click the refresh button hoping for the latest hour of entertainment.

Podcasts are strange, its almost like we are going back in time. We’re listening more and more to educational programming, à la families in the 40’s (or whatever era) crowding around the family radio. What is modern however is our access to choice, giving us the ability to curate our listening pleasures.

I listen to podcasts with a variety of topics. I’ll cover each over the next few days giving you a few links to the best ones … as far as I’m concerned.

Today I’m covering knowledge/design/science based podcasts, which are generally my pod of choice.


99% Invisible

Ave time: 25 min
Download day: Wednesday
Host: Roman Mars
Genre: Design

99% invisible is hosted by my favourite voice in Podcasting Roman Mars. This weekly pod averages at about 25 minutes long, which is not my ideal length, but still supplies a superb in depth investigation into Design.

We are taken on a visceral personal journey into the subject matters at hand. 99% Invisible is one of a variety of pods that somehow make the visual appealing through audio. I land up googling a lot of the information that they discuss just for the added visual pleasure.

On their 213th episode 99% Invisible has a dedicated audience which tunes in every Wednesday for the latest installment. Off the top of my head I can think of a few of my best eps.

202: Mojave Phone Booth. About one of the loneliest photo booths in the world, which wasn’t so lonely …

194 – Bone Music. Not even Communism could prevent rock n roll from invading Russia

My select for you however is:  95 – Future Screens are Mostly Blue.  Which explains the incredible role Sci-Fi design has affected our real world desig


Dan Carlins Hardcore History

Ave time: 2 hours
Download day: When we get lucky
Host: Dan Carlin
Genre: History

This Pod is no joke. Its one of the most impressive feats in audio. Dan Carlin is an amateur historian, who investigates intensely specific elements of history that appeal to him. He comes at history with a less biased brush than a lot of Americans, I usually don’t feel like the USA gaze is over his opinions.

The podcasts average at about 2 hours long … and that doesn’t include the Serialised episodes which, when amalgamated are up to 10 hours of remarkable informative entertainment.

Dan Carlins voice is easy to listen to and I love his in depth alternate views on historical events. (Common Sense with Dan Carlin will feature in later editions of this article.)

My favourites are as follows:

43 – 47: Wrath of the Khans (8 hours) – a series of pods dedicated to the emergence of Genghis Khan and his successsors. These pods are a stunning achievement. Informative, in depth, brilliant.

48 – Prophets of Doom – This will be far less known than Genghis and Co, but this might be the easiest to get into. OMG I wrote that then checked the length. This episode is 4:29 hours long. That’s a serious episode, which I’ve listened to twice, which should give you an idea of how good it is. Its an exploration of extreme Lutheran Preachers in the German city of Munster. Everything you need is there, Heroes, Villians, Murder, Torture, Famine, Hypocrisy, Blind faith and Sieges leading to people eating their shoes. 

These come out … when they come out, they’re massive undertakings which take time to prepare.  I notice that Prophets of Doom is still available for free, but Wrath is now behind a paywall. Get Prophets ASAP!


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Codebreaker

Ave time: 30 min
Download day:  Season is complete. Awaiting season 02
Hosts: Ben Johnson + Clare Toeniskoetter
Genre: Tech/Philosphy

Codebreaker is a podcast that dares to ask – and answer – the fundamental questions about technology that consume us every day. In season one, we’re starting with three deceptively simple words: Is it evil?
— Codebreaker

That’s the official line from the Codebreaker website.  This was a concept podcast that really works incredibly well. They’ve taken a really interesting look at 7 different topics:

  1. Email
  2. Internet Porn
  3. The Dark Web
  4. Software Updates
  5. The Decisive Machine
  6. Going Viral
  7. Data Tracking

The question of Season 01 is Is It Evil? 

It’s a brilliant mind bender and gives fascinating look into your assumptions of those topics.

I recommend the full season, but if I had to choose one I’d say go for The Dark Web. I think its something that we all need to know more about, and they really went to the enth while studying this. 


Caustic Soda

Ave time: 1 hour
Download day:  Show is over ... go through the back catalogue
Hosts: Toren Atkinson, Joe Fulgham and Kevin Leeson
Genre: Tech/Philosphy

This is a cheat as Caustic Soda are not publishing anymore. After a run of 6 years they’ve packed up their mics.  This podcast has kept me company for 5 years now and its devastating to have lost it.

Still there are hundreds of episodes for you to go back and listen to. They started out rough and their politics was “unwoke” if you like, as they grew up they learnt some good lessons and by the end they were some of the most inspirational men on Radio.

The three Canadian hosts Toren, Kevin and Joe are joined by an Expert guest who helps them through the subject matter of any particular episode. The guys are total gamer nerds, which I love. Gamer nerds have great humour and a social insensitivity which I enjoy. Each Ep has a specific topic which the guys study over the week. They follow the format:

Etymology
About
History
News
Pop Culture

The name of the pod should give you an idea of their “vibe”. Its very caustic and can be difficult for overly PC viewers. They make light of serious topics, which might turn some people off. I love it. All the grossest facts and revoltingness of humans and nature will come to the fore. Its hilarious.

One of my favourites is the Jellyfish episode:

Mostly because the week I listened to it first, I had to pee on my girlfriend (no it wasn’t a sex thing) after she got stung. 


RadioLab

According to them they’re “about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.

This show is pretty similar to 99% Invisible for me. Though the subject matter is more Science and knowledge rather than Design. I find the one host Robert difficult as his views often conflict with my beliefs. I choose to look at his views as a Devils Advocate thing rather than leading to dislike.

I’d like to suggest two episodes in particular:

Debatable

This is UTTERLY fascinating. Its about a young man who is trying to elevate himself within the Debating hierarchy of the USA. The clincher is that he is African-American in a very white world.  It’s philosophically thought provoking in a general world context as well as in a debate context. My considered readers will really enjoy this one.  PS: you’ll hear the questions from Robert that push me to anger. But that’s ok… Not everyone is going to agree.

Patient Zero

This is a scientific look back into history to try work out Who is patient zero in the world of HIV/AIDS?  We all need to know this. 


Let me know your favourite podcasts in the comments section below