jinasphinx: (Sphinx)
Recently a friend posted a list of the podcasts he listens to, so I thought I'd share mine. These are the ones I listen to all the time; they're the silver lining in having a long commute.

  • 99% Invisible, by Radiotopia with Roman Mars. Interesting stories about design, like the guy who designed the "Blade Runner" building (not an architect, just a junior draftsman), and the woman who modeled for sculptures all over Manhattan. Except he makes it sound way cooler than that. And the production values are incredibly high. This is professionally produced radio, not amateur-hour podcasting.

  • More Or Less, by BBC with Tim Harford: fact-checking statistics that get thrown around, like will there really be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050?

  • The Memory Palace, with Nate Dimeo: stories about bits of history, like what it was like to build the Brooklyn bridge. Dimeo's descriptions are so evocative, it feels like a moment of being there.

  • Invisibilia, by NPR with Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller: I'm eagerly waiting for this to come back on the air. They ran a bunch of episodes from January to July 2015 about "the invisible forces that control human behavior" and I need another fix. The one that really sticks in my mind is about Batman, a blind man who can ride a bike and teaches others to "see" by making a clicking sound and listening for the echoes. See, I knew that Daredevil was a plausible story.

  • Radiolab, from WNYC: journalism about science; sometimes interesting, sometimes overproduced (intrusive music and sound effects).

  • The Story Collider: scientists and mathematicians telling their own stories. Sometimes funny, like Abishek Shah ("I had an easy job and could afford two Subway sandwiches a day...but such bliss cannot last") and sometimes touching like Ali Mattu about the love of Star Trek that he and his brother shared. Although the sound quality is sometimes not great (many of the episodes are recorded live), I generally prefer this to Radiolab. This is the kind of podcast I wish I had started.

  • Planet Money, by NPR: the #1 podcast I recommend to people. They tell stories about money, which I think is a universally fascinating subject, and they put it in terms everyone can understand.

  • Insert Content Here, by Lullabot with Jeff Eaton: a podcast about content strategy. Of course I love it. Can't really recommend it to anyone outside the field though. :)

  • In the Making, by Centerline Digital with Devin Asaro: conversations with content strategists and UX designers. Tends to ramble a bit, but also...love.

  • What is Wrong with UX?, with Kate Rutter and Laura Klein: per their description, "two old ladies drink and bitch about UX". They're gonna tell it like it is, and it's hilarious. Possibly of interest to anyone who works on software or web products.

  • Say Something Worth Stealing, with Dave Curry: interviews with UX designers, creative directors, visual designers, and yes, a content strategist. Great stuff; my favorite is the one with UX designer Jon Bell. Also, nice to have a locally produced podcast in the mix.

One that I listen to sometimes:

  • Lexicon Valley, from Slate with Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo: I find language fascinating, but one of the hosts is sometimes an interesting pedant and sometimes just a pompous windbag. I prefer their episodes on phonetics, like What Does It Mean to Sound Gay? and The Fawth Flaw (a two-parter on the New York accent). Except for the one where Bob Garfield felt the need to criticize young women for vocal fry. (See above, pompous windbag.)

There are a few others that I just started listening to, like Numbers and Narrative and Data Stories. I also tried listening to Vox's The Weeds, since it was recommended by Roman Mars (and that's high praise indeed, as I think he's the gold standard of podcasting right now). But I don't know if I can stand listening to analysis of politics very often, even Ezra Klein is one of the hosts.

August 2016



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