Podcasts, videos, and links to make you think
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New year, same disappointment in keeping any semblance of a normal newsletter schedule!

For new subscribers, I wanted to clarify what I try to do with these newsletters (which will most likely be sent twice a month or so). One of the greatest gifts of podcasts is their ability to explain the world in different/better ways than other types of media. My goal is to simply find the best audio that curious people will find the most satisfying. Podcasts involving things like science, explainers, challenging ideas, history, philosophy, and thought provoking interviews. And I always love hearing from you with any recommendations.

I'm obsessed with podcasts but this newsletter is ultimately about learning so there are two other things I wanted to mention. 1) I want to learn how to draw, so this newsletter is also my excuse to include sketches or visual explanations of things, and 2) after the podcast section I try to include other smart content from the internet.
Alright 2018, let's do this.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has a new podcast called AirSpace, and I found their first episode to be much more interesting than the Smithsonian’s other podcast endeavors. It’s about how scientists working on Mars missions (rovers and such) have to live on Mars time, which involves dealing with about a 25 hour day instead of 24. Confusion and sleepiness ensues. [Ep: Mars Time]

Twenty Thousand Hertz, a show all about sound, featured an excellent story from Gimlet’s Every Little Thing about how the evening news came to have such an iconic sound to their music. [Ep: 6’ O'clock Soundtrack]
I may have been the only person who enjoyed Upvoted, Reddit’s first go at a podcast (like their story on the super popular AMA with a cranky and funny vacuum repair man). It was put out to pasture a few years ago and has been reborn as Endless Thread, with a much needed partnership with the public radio talent at WBUR. There are a few episodes out and I’ve enjoyed all of them. The most recent one is about the heartbreaking story of the origins of the Svalbard, Norway seed vault. [Ep: The Vault]
mini playlist: bitcoin and what it means to misplace a small fortune
Reply All: Bitcoin Hunter
Planet Money: Bitcoin losers

mini playlist: challenge your thoughts on public spaces and homelessness
99 Percent Invisible: Unpleasant Design & Hostile Urban Architecture
99 Percent Invisible: The Containment Plan
Endless Thread: Getting Home
Hi-Phi Nation: Freedom and Hostile Design
This is how not to choose the right moments in a comic strip
99 Percent Invisible had a delightful interview with an expert on comic strips and graphic novels. I almost skipped this but so glad I didn’t. The reality is any topic can be interesting if the right person is telling you about it. [Ep: Speech Bubbles: Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud]


An article from The Atlantic questions the whole idea of college in the modern economy. “The labor market doesn’t pay you for the useless subjects you master; it pays you for the preexisting traits you signal by mastering them.”

Gizmodo has a fantastic explanation of how DNA testing kits work. “Four tests, four very different answers about where my DNA comes from—including some results that contradicted family history I felt confident was fact. What gives?” [...] “They’re not telling you where your DNA comes from in the past,” he told me, “They’re telling you where on Earth your DNA is from today.”

Julie Beck from The Atlantic wonders why we forget most of the books we read. An absolutely apt description of my brain. “Surely some people can read a book or watch a movie once and retain the plot perfectly. But for many, the experience of consuming culture is like filling up a bathtub, soaking in it, and then watching the water run down the drain. It might leave a film in the tub, but the rest is gone.”
The always excellent YouTube channel Kurzgesagt will make you think about the size of animals in all sorts of fun/disturbing ways. Part 1 and part 2.

BBC's Blue Planet 2 finally started airing in the US last weekend. It's incredible and if you are a cable cutter like me the first episode is free on the BBC America app.

That's all for this week!

Connect with me @erikthejones on twitter and if you've learned anything interesting, please forward this link to any curious natured friends or family so they can subscribe. Many thanks!

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