Podcasts, videos, and links to make you think
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Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain newsletter, a collection of podcasts and links that make you think.

This week, a medical podcast playlist from this really cool RN I know, and a new article about how the amount of podcasts compares to other media, plus more.

My wife Alicia is a cardiac RN and has a more medical focused media consumption than I do. I pick on her that her she hate-watches medical shows in order to scoff at how unrealistic the depictions are. "That IV line isn't even open!" she'll say in disbelief.

There are quite a lot of excellent medical podcasts and non-medical podcasts with medical focused episodes out there, and below is a collection of some of her favorites. As you'll see, she highly recommends The Nocturnists in general, which is like The Moth but from MDs and medical professionals. 

She also picked her favorite quote from each episode below:
Science Vs: Vaccines—Time for a Booster Shot 
“So, while there are some unknowns here about the safety of all these vaccines - parents have to weigh those risks against the possibility that their kid won't be protected from a potentially really horrible disease.”

The Daily: How the Measles Outbreak Started
“The thing to know about measles is its insanely contagious. In fact, it's so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of people close to that person, who are not immune, will get measles… to understand why this spreads like wildfire in this particular community, you have to understand the unique nature of the Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn.”

99% Invisible: Sound and Health—Hospitals
“Hospitals can be really loud, but volume isn't the only problem. ‘I hear alarms coming from multiple patient rooms and I don't know whats wrong with the patients. The alarms are difficult to localize, so I’m not sure what rooms they are coming from.’”

Nocturne: The Nocturnist
“If you've ever roamed the halls of a hospital in the middle of the night, with its shiny echoey surfaces, background hum of anxiety, and distant monitors chiming like beacons of peril, you're in no rush to return. But if you must, you'll want someone like Shoshana Ungerleider there keeping an eye on things, especially if there are zebras.”

Radiolab: The Good Samaritan 
“A story about wanting to do good, choosing to do good, and then suddenly having to bear the cost of doing good… it was right around this time, 2016, there started to be reports of law enforcement, emergency medical services, and even nurses in hospitals, describing getting ill when they were exposed to powder that turned out later to be fentanyl or some other type of fentanyl.”

The Nocturnists: All That Jazz
“And I come to two things, which is, she has tried so many times to hurt herself, if she really wanted to be dead, I guess an obvious question is, wouldn't she be gone already. But the other question that comes to mind is, why don't we really talk about something like end-stage depression like the same way that we talk about end-stage cancer, is there such a thing?”

The Nocturnists: Enjoy Your Life
“Seeing Ellen that day really changed something for me. It had been over a year since I met her when I saw her in that coffee shop and I realized that, that entire year, whenever I thought of her—all I thought about was that she was dying, and I hadn't thought at all about how she was also living.”

The Nocturnists: The River Styx
“But even in this death, of this woman who I loved so much, who was my sourdough pancake-making, rattlesnake killing, north star, even then I was deeply imperfect. Which is to say that I am a deeply imperfect prospective healer.”

The Nocturnists: Good Doctor
“That moment, on her bed, as she hugged me, I realized that—although I made a mistake, maybe I wasn't necessarily a bad doctor. In fact, seemingly, in Mrs. Z.’s eyes, maybe I was a good doctor? And so, with all of that, I leaned over and whispered back, ‘I love you too.’”

The Constant: Endlings. One of my favorite indie shows is about the times humans have gotten things wrong (endless material). This episode details the truly shocking demise of the passenger pigeon.
  • In the span of the 19th century, passenger pigeons went from being the most populous bird in the world numbering in the billions, to completely extinct.
  • Migrating passenger pigeons with flocks in the millions would literally darken the skies, and hunting them was as easy as shooting randomly into the mass.
  • The last wild passenger pigeon was spotted in 1901, and the very last one (named Martha Washington) died in captivity in 1914.
  • An endling is the last known individual of a species, and possibly the saddest word ever.

Ignition Point: Let Curiosity Lead You. The problem with most self-help books is that the ideas could probably be outlined in a pamphlet instead of 200+ bloated pages. That's why I quite liked the short burst of motivation this podcast provided. I'm not ashamed to admit that doses of motivation is healthy for my brain.
  • One of my favorite sayings is "follow your curiosity", so this episode title immediately stood out and is a great call for learning.  


How Many Podcasts are There Compared to Other Types of Media? This is something I've always wondered and I did some digging. A short read with lots of graphs.

If you enjoyed the medical playlist above, check out Alicia's excellent Instagram, which are haikus inspired by events at the hospital (all photos hers too.)

You Accomplished Something Great. So Now What?. This piece from The NYT introduced me to two fantastic terms:  The arrival fallacy and affective forecasting.
  • “Arrival fallacy is this illusion that once we make it, once we attain our goal or reach our destination, we will reach lasting happiness.”
  • "Affective forecasting is our ability to predict how events will make us feel.” [...] “We tend to be pretty good at knowing what things are going to make us happy and unhappy,” he said, “but we’re not very good at predicting the intensity and the duration of the effect of events.”
  • “The No. 1 predictor of happiness,” he said, is the “quality time we spend with people we care about and who care about us. In other words, relationships.”

MIT Robot Breaks Rubik’s Cube Record [short video]. We are all screwed.

My Video Went Viral. Here's Why. I found this video from Veritasium to be fascinating. This is one of my favorite channels and it is a great look behind the scenes on what is going on with YouTube and why exactly video trends happen.

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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