Sunday, December 26, 2010

History of the Holidays

The American History Guys did a great show on the history of the holidays last year, check it out.

This episode is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Social Science Rocks!

I have a special place in my heart for the social sciences, and last week David Brooks wrote a brief recap about 10 of the more interesting studies and findings from the social sciences. My favorite is concerning the relationship between physical touch and team performance in the NBA. Read about that, and the other studies here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bold Predictions

The Economist is hands down my favorite magazine out there, and right now they're doing an interesting project in which they interview a host of economists and great thinkers about what the world will look like in 25 years. So far two of these interviews have been released on podcast, and I've linked to them below.

I don't necessarily agree with all these predictions (I'm not definitely not putting my money on the decline of the Nation State by 2036), but they nonetheless have some very interesting, if not slightly crazy ideas.

The first is an interview with the author of the book "The Black Swan," which was described by The Times (London) as "one of the 12 most influential books since World War II." Listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 12/1/10.

The second is an interview with Paul Saffo. Listen now, or download on itunes. The itunes release date was 11/23/10.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Dudliest Architect

The world might be a few better architects, but I doubt any of them are as much of a dude as this guy.

Listen now, or download on itunes. The itunes release date was 11/25/10.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A great story

Recently I came across a great podcast called NPR: StoryCorps. I've listened to about 10 episodes, and I'm posting the best one here. I won't even say what it's about, but it is a must listen. This episode is only about 8 minutes.

Listen now, or download on itunes. The itunes release date was 10/29/10.

Monday, November 22, 2010


The history podcast "Backstory With the American History Guys" did a great segment on Thanksgiving last week. They discuss how and why it became a national holiday, when and where the first Thanksgiving took place, and even where NFL Football factors into it all (including an interview Roger Staubach, who played on Thanksgiving 11 times).

Listen now, or download this episode from itunes. The itunes release date was 11/16/10.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Keith Richards & Jay Z

I love it when I hear an interview with somebody I've never thought much about before, and then they blow me away. This has happened twice in the last two weeks on Fresh Air. First it was an interview with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, then an interview with Jay Z.

The interview with Keith Richards is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now.

For the interview with Jay Z, download it on itunes, or listen now. The itunes release date was 11/16/10.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good and Bad Journalism

Some of you may have heard the rumor that President Obama's trip to India is running up the cost of $200 billion per day, which turns out to be totally untrue. CNN's Anderson Cooper broke the story a few days ago, which is less about Obama than it is about journalism. As Mark Twain once said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Here's a great article by Thomas Friedman about Anderson Cooper's story, and here's the CNN video.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I've recently become more and more interested by Native American history, which made it a nice coincidence that I came across this TED Talk by Aaron Huey.

Part of my newfound fascination with Indians is because of where I now live. San Marcos, Texas is possibly the longest-continually inhabited place in all of North America, people have lived here for roughly 12,000 years (that's about 10,000 years longer than people have lived in Paris). Yet practically nobody is aware of this, and we know almost nothing about the natives of this area. After living in Europe for 7 years, where history is everywhere, I've come back to the United States to realize that this land has plenty of history, we just don't know anything about it.

This podcast gives a great timeline of the 19th century U.S. conquest of the Indians, provides some shocking statistics about reservation life, and shows some powerful photographs.

Watch it now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 11/10/10.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Animal talk

Turns out animals can talk to each other...who knew? Check out this discussion about new findings concerning animal communication on WNYC's Radiolab.

To listen now or to download on itunes click here. The name of this episode is "Shorts: Wild Talk" and the release date was 10/19/10.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube

The Guardian put out this list of the 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube, very cool. Some of the comments at the bottom have great links as well. I haven't watched them all yet, but my two favorite thus far are Nirvana playing in the garage in 1988, and Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Animals & Nature

Here are two great podcasts, both about animals.

The first is a short one from a great podcast called The Memory Palace. It's about lobsters, how they came to be known as the fine dining cuisine they are today, and why they used to be considered on par with eating a squirrel (at the risk of giving it away, scarcity causes demand). This is hands down the most interesting podcast I've ever heard about lobsters (and yes, I've heard more than one).

Listen now, or download on itunes. The itunes release date was 8/25/10.

The second comes from 'To the Best of Our Knowledge' and includes stories about man-eating tigers, giant waves, and the savage side of nature. This is an awesome podcast.

Listen now, or download on itunes. The itunes release date was 10/24/10.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Earth, Atoms, and The Universe

Boy, they don't make 'em like this anymore. IBM produced this video decades ago, and though the video is a bit outdated, the awesomeness is not. This shows the relativity of Earth to the massiveness of the Universe and the minuteness of an Atom. Check it out, and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A tale of journalism and compassion

This story told by Phil Caputo is the best episode of The Moth I've heard in a long time. I won't say anything more than that, you just have to listen.

Listen now or download on itunes. The itunes release date was 10/18/10.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baseball Freakonomics

I love freakonomics, and on their most recent podcast they had a great bit on statistics and baseball.

Listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 10/7/10.

Monday, October 11, 2010


This TED talk is about pigs, and what they're used for when they die. Of course some of the meat is sold as pork, but pig parts are often used in the production of soap, tooth paste, paint brushes, cheese cake, concrete, train brakes, sand paper and even bullets. Often the entire pig is used. This podcast is informative, fascinating, and makes the thought of going vegan sound nearly impossible.

Watch now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 9/20/10.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What is a socialist? What is a libertarian?

The Planet Money Podcast recently had two informative episodes in which they interview a "real socialist" and a "real libertarian." I think it's interesting how often people misconceive what these two ideologies actually are. These podcasts are good 20 minute lessons on what they really stand for.

These episodes are no longer available on itunes, but for the socialist episode listen here, and for the libertarian episode listen here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jon Stewart

Great interview with Jon Stewart on Fresh Air this week. I feel like if the roll of the press is to act as a check against government and corporations, then the roll of The Daily Show is to act as a check against the press.

This episode is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now.

Here is Stewart's interview with Jim Cramer.

And just for fun, here's Stephen Colbert interviewing with Bill O'Reilly. The Stewart-Cramer interview is like watching someone get beat up, but the Colbert-O'Reilly interview is more like watching a master tennis player get totally picked apart.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What California was, and what it needs

Here's a great article from David Brooks of the New York Times about what is going wrong, and what used to be going right in California.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Data Visualization

I can't even attempt to describe this TED Talk by David McCandless, you just need to watch and check it out.

Watch now, or download on itunes. The itunes release date was 8/23/10.

You can also check out his website with tons of cool graphs and charts here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


No city intrigues me quite like Detroit. Once the 3rd most populated city in the United States, and now an urban wasteland. Whereas many probably think the city is as good as dead, I can't wait to see what it's going to turn into next. An artist's haven? The American Berlin? This three-part documentary offers a glimpse into the side of Detroit I'm talking about.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Wire

If you haven't watched all 5 seasons of HBO's The Wire yet, you should probably put life on hold and go start. I'm confident you'll learn more in those 60 hours than you would in a year of grad school. Not just is this the best television series ever created, but I'm confident it's going to go down in history as the 'War and Peace' of our time.

Think I'm overstating things, well they're teaching The Wire at Harvard now.

If that article isn't enough, here's a podcast episode of Bill Moyer's Journal interviewing the producer of The Wire, David Simon.

Listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 4/17/09.

Friday, September 17, 2010

David Foster Wallace

I have never read anything of David Foster Wallace, but I will now. This podcast by "To the Best of Our Knowledge" is a great overview of the author, his work, and the depression which eventually led to his suicide.

The best part is a short excerpt from a commencement speech he delivered at Kenyon College in 2005, it begins at 48:49 of the podcast. If you would like to read the transcript of the speech click here.

This podcast is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More on National Parks, and the forestry service

This episode of Fresh Air is a great addition to the previous posting about National Parks. It describes a wildfire from 1910 which burned an area the size of Connecticut over the course of a weekend, and discusses how that fire saved our National Lands, yet permanently transformed the way we treat them.

It also has some great tales about Teddy Roosevelt wrestling and skinny dipping (not at the same time).

This episode is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

National Parks

Here's another great episode from 'To the Best of our Knowledge.' This one is about National Parks, how they started, why they're so great, and Indians whom were sadly removed from many of the parks. I would have never imagined that they could have made the topic of National Parks so interesting, but voila! This podcast makes me want to go camping.

Listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 8/28/10.


David in London recently told me about a great new podcast: To the Best of Our Knowledge, by Wisconsin Public Radio.

It's got some great episodes, one in particular which is about superheroes. If you're not into comic books or anything like that, not to worry, this has has some great stories, including one Islam's first superheroes: The 99.

Listen now, or get it on itunes. The itunes release date was 9/3/10.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Country Music

This week the NPR: Fresh Air Podcast has dedicated every show to country music. It includes interviews with Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Doc Watson, an more. I really haven't been exposed to that much country music (shhhh, don't tell the other Texans), but listening to these podcasts is like taking a class in Country Music 101.

These episodes are no longer available on itunes, but you can also listen to any of them now by clicking here. Their are 6 episodes in total, with the release dates of 8/30/10 through 9/6/10.

My favorite interviews are with Merle Haggard, John Doe and Doc Watson.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Summoned Self

Here's a great article by David Brooks of the New York Times. It discusses how we use, and misuse our time and effort, and gives some guidance as to how we can do better.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Here's a podcast about...brainfood

This episode of Fresh Air discusses the modern age of smart phones, laptops, and digital overload, and they make the comparison between food and media more than once (I guess I wasn't the first person to draw that analogy). Today we have virtually unlimited entertainment available to us, some of which is the mental equivalent of twinkies, and some of which is more like brussels sprouts.

What does that make this blog you ask? I'm leaning somewhere towards broccoli, now eat up!

Listen now, or download this episode on itunes. The itunes release date was 8/24/10.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I used to have a Muslim roommate, and I was always interested when this time of the year would roll around and he would celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. If you've ever been curious to know more about Ramadan then this is the podcast for you. From the fasting, to the feasting, and everything in between.

Listen to this episode of APM: Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 8/12/10.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Mexican

I've never posted a short story before but after reading The Mexican, by Jack London, I couldn't resist. Published in 1911, The Mexican is about boxing, and revolution. If you're not interested in boxing or sports this might not be for you, but this is perhaps one of the best boxing stories in fiction.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Khmer Rouge

In the late 1970's Pol Pot took over Cambodia with a group of communists known as the Khmer Rouge. What resulted was widespread famine, and one of the worst genocides in history.

This episode of The Moth tells the story of a woman who survived this horrible time by fleeing to the jungle and living off whatever she could. As she would say though, "it was not such a bad time." When the Khmer Rouge lost power she would return to civilization to help other survivors through their crippling depression.

This is more than just a great story, it provides a short history of the Khmer Rouge, and an insight into a human's capacity to suffer, and to heal.

Listen now. This episode is no longer available on itunes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Slow down

We live in a fast world. Fast communication, fast food, fast life. But faster doesn't always mean better. Some things in life weren't meant to be fast, and the art of slowing down can be quite a virtue in this day and age. Therefore the following two links are about how, and why, we should just pull into the right hand lane, and slow down a little.

First is a TED Talk by Carl Honore.

Second, here is an article specifically about slow reading.

Take your time, and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Conservatives & Liberals

This is an older TED Talk, but one of my favorites. This speech is given by Jonathan Haidt, who discusses some of the moral differences, and roots, of conservatives vs. liberals (without necessarily siding with one of the other).

To view this video, click here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mad Men & WikiLeaks

The Fresh Air podcast aired two great back-to-back episodes last week. The first interviewing Matthew Weiner, the creator and producer of the show Mad Men. I just started watching the show, and even if you haven't seen an episode, it's still a good interview.

This episode is no longer available on itunes, but to listen now click here.

The second is about WikiLeaks, which seems to have been all over the press lately. If you don't know what WikiLeaks is, this is a must-listen episode. If you've been reading about WikiLeaks already it's still a good, comprehensive discussion.

This episode is no longer available on itunes, but to listen now click here.

Thanks again to David in London for alerting me about both of those podcasts.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Have you ever planned something, worked out every last detail, and then totally botched it? Who hasn't, right? Well this episode of WNYC's Radiolab, sent to me by Carol in Sacremento, talks about some of the worst (or best) mess ups ever.

Click here to download this episode from itunes. The itunes release date was 6/28/10.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Los Tigres del Norte

I've never thought too much about Mexican music, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it all kind of sounds the same to me. After listening to this podcast though I have a new appreciation for the genre, especially for the band Los Tigres del Norte. My favorite part of the podcast is how these guys make their set list, and that because of it they'll sometimes do nine-hour shows.

Listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 5/17/10.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I know some of you reading this probably visit Starbucks daily, while others think it is going to end the world. Regardless of how you feel about the buck, you cannot deny their success as a business and the ingenuity of founder and CEO, Howard Schultz. Here is an interview with Schultz on the Harvard Business Ideacast.

Listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date of this episode was 6/24/10.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thomas Jefferson

If you've never listened to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, you need to. It is hands down my favorite of the many historical podcasts out there.

Before you dive in, allow me to briefly explain how it works. For the first half of the show the host, Clay Jenkinson, plays the role of Thomas Jefferson. He answers listener questions written to Thomas Jefferson, he discusses policy that he (Thomas Jefferson) supported, and he rails on his arch nemesis, Alexander Hamilton. Then for the second half hour Clay Jenkinson speaks as himself, and analyzes what Thomas Jefferson said during the first half of the show. Brilliant.

Here's one of my all time favorite T.J. hours called "Presidential Blunders." Listen to this episode now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 4/9/06.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Science and Christianity

Today I'm posting two podcasts that are seemingly at odds. One is by a scientist (Sam Harris), one by a Christian (Shane Claiborne). But this is not about science vs. christianity, this is about science AND christianity. Both of these men are great thinkers, and both very concerned with the well being of others. I cannot stress enough how different these two podcasts are, but I feel like deep down at the root somewhere they share something in common.

The first is is an episode of "APM Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet." Listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 7/1/10.

The second is a video podcast by TED Talks. Listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 3/22/10.

Friday, July 9, 2010

WWII Spies

In 1943 a body washed ashore off the coast of Spain. Planted on this dead body were details about the allied plan to invade Sardinia and Greece. When the Nazis discovered this body they felt like they had hit a gold mine, and they moved most troops in the region to Sardinia and Greece. What happened? In probably one of the best instances of trickery ever used in warfare, the English left Sardinia and Greece alone, and invaded Sicily. The body had been planted by the English.

This article by Malcolm Gladwell provides a detailed account of this allied touchdown, and discusses some of the finer points of spying.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wrongly accused

I know many of you listen to The Moth podcast regularly, and the latest episode is one reason I love The Moth so much. This one is told by Barry Gibbs, a man who spent 19 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Listen to his story now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 7/5/10.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I've been getting some excellent podcast recommendations from David in London, and here are two, both on the topic of war.

The first is about the Vietnam War. Lyndon B. Johnson recorded many of the conversations he had when deciding what to do in Vietnam, and this episode of the Bill Moyers Journal plays and discusses some of these conversations. Listening to this almost makes you feel like you're hearing something you're not supposed to hear, and it gives good insight as to what motivates a president to make the decisions he does. You can listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 11/20/09.

The second is titled "wounded platoon," and it is about just that, a platoon from the war in Iraq. This episode is done by Frontline PBS, and you can listen now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 5/20/10.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fashion, copywriting, and a glimpse at what the music, film, and publishing industries should do

In fashion, you can copy just about any design. If I had the skills I could go buy an Armani suit, copy it's design exactly, and as long as I didn't use the Armani logo it would all be legal. Why can't you do this with books, movies, or music? Why can you do this with jokes, boardgames, and bluejeans? This 15-minute TED Talk video by Johanna Blakley (not to be confused with my favorite fashionista Michael Blakley) answers these questions, and discusses the implications.

Watch now, or download it on itunes. The itunes release date was 5/25/10.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Daniel Okrent just wrote a book about the history of prohibition called "Last Call". This podcast episode of Econ Talk interviews Okrent about not just the rise and fall of prohibition, but also who supported it in the first place (the Klu Klux Klan and the women's suffrage movement were totally in favor of prohibition, while the Jews, Germans, and Catholics were against it). This is a good history lesson, and they make an interesting point that so much public policy is ultimately shaped economics.

Listen now, or download it from itunes. The itunes release date was 6/7/10.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Contact

Here's an awesome This American Life, every act is great. The stories are about first encounters with unknown: beings, girls, foreigners, and perhaps even aliens.

This episode is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now by clicking here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Icelander's campaign is a joke, until he's elected

Have you heard about the new mayor of Iceland's capitol, Reykjavik? He's a comedian/punk rocker who founded what he called "The Best Party." In his words "It is the best party. If it wasn’t, it would be called the Worst Party or the Bad Party. We would never work with a party like that." And according to him I would qualify for being part of his coalition government since I've seen all five episodes of The Wire.

Adam in New York sent me this article from the New York Times.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup

Here's two short but interesting podcasts about the world cup, each is less than 10 minutes.

The first is from The Economist, and discusses how France's football woes are somewhat of a microcosm for the rest of the issues they are currently faced with. You can listen now, or download it from itunes. The itunes release date was 6/23/10.

The second is from Freakonomics Radio, and gives some statistical analysis about penalty shots and home field advantage. Listen now, or download it from itunes. The itunes release date of this episode was 6/10/10.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I've always yearned to learn more about the differences between North American Indian tribes, and here are two great podcasts about two remarkable tribes: the Comanche and the Apache.

The first podcast, about the Comanche Nation, is from Fresh Air. It is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now by clicking here.

The second podcast, about the Apaches, is from Dan Carlin's Hard Core History. Either listen now, or download this episode on itunes. The show is #19, and its itunes release date was 3/14/08.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

LCD Soundsystem

I had never even listened to LCD Soundsystem before, but I still loved this interview on Fresh Air with the leader of the band, James Murphy.

This episode is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now by clicking here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Overnight bike trips

Yesterday I bought a new bike then listened to this podcast, sent to me by Colin in San Francisco (release date 9/22/08). This one is done by The Bike Show from Resonance FM. All I've got to do now is get out and do one of these 24-hour bike trips.

Either listen now, or download it here on itunes. The itunes release date was way back on 9/22/08.

Oh, and the song at the beginning of this episode is awesome.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


This might be my favorite podcast episode of the last year. The topic is "limits," and it discusses the limits of the human body, and the human mind. With stories about the Iron Man Triathlon, a bicycle race across America, and a man who remembered everything (literally, everything), this is an action packed hour of podcasting.

To download click here. The release date of this episode was 4/5/10.

After you listen, here is the video of Julie Moss falling apart at the end of her Iron Man Race.

This episode of Radiolab was passed along to me by David Phillips in London.


Yesterday's Fresh Air interview gives a great perspective on what's going on in Iran right now, from a political prisoner who just got released last month.

It is no longer available on itunes, but you can listen now by clicking here.

Prison life

Here's my first post, from the Vanity Fair's Writers Reading podcast. I've always been kind of intrigued by what prison life is like, but this reading by Wilbert Rideau about his time in prison is the most raw-dog account I've ever heard.

Listen now, or download it here from itunes. The release date on itunes was 4/27/10.