Podcasts, videos, and links to make you think
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Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain newsletter, the place to get podcasts and links that will make you think.

I'm starting today off with a fiction podcast recommendation, which I don't do nearly enough of. The thrust of this newsletter is to recommend podcasts and media that help me understand how the world works, which is something fiction is more than capable of doing. Fiction books have given me some of my greatest lessons in human behavior. I just need to make more room for these kinds of stories in my earbuds as well.

I'm really enjoying the practice of visualizing quotes and concepts that I come across in podcasts. I included some examples below in various places. Let me know what you think.
The Sea in the Sky
  • This is an Audible original fiction podcast series about the first astronauts to travel to Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons.
  • I listened to the whole thing at 1x speed, and even signed up for a free trial of Audible to check it out, which says a lot if you know me.
  • I really enjoyed the story and particularly loved the bits of hard science that are woven in. Enceladus now feels a lot less mysterious to me. I hope we go there soon and peak into the oceans!
  • Quote that stuck with me that I ended up visualizing (also below): “Sometimes I wish I could just send you my heart in a stream of 1’s and 0’s, and we would see without any iota of a doubt how connected we all are.”
Turn on images if you can't see. Visual of heart made of 1's and 0's.
“Sometimes I wish I could just send you my heart in a stream of 1’s and 0’s". It's from the finale. In context of the story it's a wonderful bit a dialogue.

This is Love: Something Large and Wild
  • From Phoebe Judge and the team at Criminal, comes this spin-off series that focuses on love, not crime. 
  • This second episode is one of my favorite things I’ve listened to all year.
  • It’s about a world-class long distance swimmer and her encounter with a baby whale. It’s absolutely riveting and charming. 
  • This was part of the “Mother Earth” Podcast Brunch Club listening list, which has five excellent episode selections. My other favorite was the first episode of Threshold, which is about bison and absolutely worth listening to.

Throughline: Policing in America
  • A surprising (and yet not surprising) history of policing like I’ve never heard. 
  • Like with so many other instances when an honest account of our history is examined, a straight line can be followed from the early history of our country to the inequalities faced by Black Americans today. 

99 Percent Invisible: Welcome to Jurassic Art Redux
  • Our understanding of dinosaurs is incredibly influenced by how they are artistically depicted, which has shifted over the years.
  • If we had to conceptualize an elephant or a camel based entirely by their fossils, we wouldn’t know elephants had trunks or that camels had humps. 
  • This is a repeat in the feed (but with a few updates) that I still had to share. It's one of my favorite 99 Percent Invisible episodes ever.  

Gameplay: NBA Jam
  • An excellent history of the smash-hit NBA Jam arcade game from 1993. I have major nostalgia for this game and this hit all the right spots. 
  • Just how big of a hit this game was: It made more at the arcade than Mortal Kombat, and in fact reached more than $1 billion in quarters (IN QUARTERS!) within a year. To put this in perspective, Jurassic Park, which came out the same year, made about a third of that at the box office. 
  • This episode touches on the iconic voiceover work of Tim Kitzrow, but BOOMSHAKALAKA!, a follow up episode, goes into greater detail on his wild story. 

Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe: What Are Quantum Fields?
  • “So the next you are out walking around in the world and you look up at the sky and you are amazed at how beautiful things are, remember that deep down underneath it’s a hot nasty frosty mess of quantum fields, oscillating and interacting and bouncing against each other [...] just to make your everyday world works for you.”


I tweeted a thread geared towards any podcaster or publicist/PR person who wanted some insight into pitching a newsletter.

An excellent visualization of Ira Glass's famous quote about the creative gap, made by Aletheia Délivré.

Just how empty is a vacuum on earth compared to the vacuum of space? A short visual thread I made. 

Speaking of visuals, something I made was featured in Unexplainable's newsletter, which I was pretty thrilled about. I created these three visuals after listening to their episode about the replication crisis in science. They reached out asking if they could use one of them and I said absofrickinglutely (well, more professionally). Also, you can sign up for their newsletter here, which I think is great (and of course had already been signed up for). 
Turn on images if you can't see. Image is screenshot of Unexplainable newsletter.

A video of the first thing to ever fly on Mars! (well third flight, but first thing). 

10 of the best popular science books as chosen by authors and writers. Great selections in New Scientist. Hat tip to Kavein

Two links didn't work last newsletter and here they are for real this time: A great vanishing head illusion and an SNL clip I posted in the "for fun" section about icebergs and the Titanic (it'll all make sense).

Camera shutter speed and frame rate match helicopter`s rotor. This video will make your brain hurt for sure. Looks like a broken video game. 


For fun: Captain Atheist is the Worst Superhero

That's all for today. See you in two weeks!

If you would like to check out my other newsletter that is focused on showcasing and encouraging visual content, you can sign up right here

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 to Hurt Your Brain. Many thanks!

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