I enjoy sharing my interests on this blog, and I noticed that I particularly enjoy sharing the media that I regularly consume. You know that TV isn’t a big part of my life, but that my feeds are. The other big media sources I subscribe to are podcasts. About 2 1/2 years ago, my sister introduced me to “Stuff You Should Know“, and since then, I’ve picked up and dropped many podcasts. Currently, I’m listening to about as few as I ever have, but let me give you a rundown on what I am listening to:
Baseball Today (iTunes) – daily during the baseball season and less frequent during the off-season, Baseball Today is the only way I stay up to date with baseball news and analysis. As much as I enjoy baseball, I’m pretty bad at following the sport as a whole. One of the more amusing things I’ve noticed recently is how much they point out misperceptions about how good teams or certain players are. These are largely lost on me because I don’t follow the game well enough to have thoughts. Produced by ESPN, the hosts are very knowledgeable and offer up the quirkiness you might expect from radio hosts. Eric Karabell anchors the show, and his shtick is to vigorously (and sometime angrily) express what a happy person he is. The producers have always done a great job of pairing him with negative, cynical co-hosts for the expected hilarity
Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips (iTunes) – my love of grammar probably isn’t so surprising to those who know me in part through reading my blog, and Grammar Girl offers short segments on topics or questions about English grammar. Listening to these hasn’t noticeably improved my command of the English language, though it has made me unjustifiably confident and stubborn in my beliefs about English. Don’t be surprised if I use this podcast as a reference in debates in conversation
Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (iTunes) – produced by NPR, Wait Wait is an hour-long weekly radio show wrapped up as a podcast and lovingly listened to by me just as often. Setup as a game show, Peter Sagal asks 3 panelists and listener contestants about current events, with many jokes and hilarious news stories along the way. Like Baseball Today, this show helps to fill in the gaps for me about how the week goes
State of the Game (iTunes) – also weekly, this podcast, hosted by JP McDaniel, features several professional Starcraft 2 players talking about Starcraft 2, news about eSports and professional Starcraft, and typical jabbering in a free-for-all format. This podcast is the final remnant of a time when I listened to many game podcasts (mostly for Magic: the Gathering) and has the same format of mostly 18-34 year old males, sitting in a Skype call and talking passionately about their game, immaturity flaring up at any chance. Since the beginning of the summer, I haven’t followed or watched professional Starcraft 2 quite as much, and like the other podcasts, it keeps me up to date on what I’ve missed
TEDTalks (iTunes) – about a year ago, someone from The Unofficial Stanford Blog mentioned that he was a big fan of TEDTalks and was surprised that not everyone else also religiously followed them. I had seen a few along the way, but sometime soon after, I started watching and enjoyed them immensely. The TED format is short (less than 20 minute) lectures, demonstrations, or performances about some idea or creation that people want to show off. When I first started watching, I was very impressed about what people were doing and how many world-changing ideas people had. Since then, my interest has decreased significantly, though I still subscribe. This might be the influence of being in Silicon Valley, but I don’t appreciate ideas as much as I used to. We need good ideas, and without one, many projects will fail. Even so, good ideas are cheap and plentiful, and with the number of world-changing ideas I’ve listened to, I haven’t seen the world changed that much. Execution is very important, too, and perhaps that’s where the secret is. Anyways, if you want to peek in, I recommend listening to these podcasts, cherry-picked for quality. I might not be as enthusiastic about them as before, but they’re still fun to listen to
Radiolab (iTunes) – Radiolab is awesome, and I have difficulty describing it. An hour-long radio program broadcast nationwide on NPR, it explores broad topics in science and philosophy with shorter segments, often with a slight human interest influence and presented in a very accessible format against a strange audio backdrop. Most of my interest in it came from my background in cognitive psychology, and even when I’m familiar with phenomenon they mention, I’m still enjoying how they put it together. Even better, they do it right: I will often snobbishly dismiss science writing for being shallow, overstating findings, or just being wrong, but Radiolab is pretty solid. Just recently, I finished going through and listening to the entire archives of Radiolab podcasts, something I haven’t done for any other podcast, because it’s just that good.
60-Second Mind (iTunes) – from Scientific American, this is a quick hit on recent findings in brain sciences. It’s so-so, but for a minute of my life at a time, I can listen in
Overall, a lot of my podcasts get filtered out since I listen to them while I’m working on something else (except Radiolab, which I absolutely must be paying attention to). It’s probably not the best way to do it, but since I don’t really watch TV or listen to radio, it’s just about the best non-print media I can find.