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.

2021 was once again saved by the podcasters. In my opinion at least. No matter what happened in the world, there was always an embarrassment of audio riches to escape to or engage with.

Thank you to all who make shows, and thank you to everyone for joining me again throughout 2021 to celebrate the content that makes us think.

OK, let's do this one last time before the new year.
Obsession: Japanese whisky—One steep sip
  • Obsession is one of my favorite new shows for learning about the world.
  • You don’t need to be a whisky aficionado to appreciate this discussion about the history and rise of Japanese whisky. Just an all-around interesting listen.
  • You’ll also get an answer to why so many western celebrities do whisky ads in Japan (just like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation). 
Turn on images to see. Stylized whisky bottle with flower.
Episode artwork for Quartz's Obsession. Photo by Eric Helgas, styling by Citrin-Safadi.

Gameplay: Animal Crossing—New Harmonies
  • If you are like me, you’ve heard A LOT of music from Animal Crossing throughout your home over the past 18 months (whether from you or family).
  • This episode is all about the interesting ways the entire franchise treats music. Specifically, how to make it catchy and not annoying to hear on repeat.
  • I had no idea that every hour the music changes, so there are really 24 unique tracks in each game.
  • I’m the only one in my home who didn’t play this game, and I still found this all fascinating. 

The Ezra Klein Show: Timeless Wisdom for Leading a Life of Love, Friendship and Learning
  • One of the most quotable shows I’ve listened to in the past few months.
  • This is guest hosted by David Brooks.
  • If you like to reflect about things at the end of the year, this is a fantastic pairing to put you in a contemplative spirit. 
  • “Like a great book, a good friend has an inexhaustible depth, and to be able to share in it is one of the great gifts on the world.”
  • “A marriage is a 50 year conversation. Pick someone you can talk to for the rest of your life.” 
  • “Resume virtues are what made you good at your job. Eulogy virtues are what they say about you when you’re dead.”

Mementos: Ruth’s Poetry
  • Lori Mortimer continues to show with Mementos that indie podcasting is full of delights if you know where to look.
  • This show is full of stories people have around objects with special meaning in their life.
  • The guest of this episode discovered very unexpected poems of her grandmother’s that will make you ponder what secrets your own family might have.

Storytime with Seth Rogen: The Ballad of Mount Doogie Dowler
  • If you want a tale of an incredible bear attack survival story to top all incredible bear attack survival stories, you really can’t go wrong with this. 
  • I tweeted about it and Seth Rogen responded with thanks, and I'm sorry that you are the person stuck hearing my humblebrag about it. I don't disclose that I'm on Twitter (or write this newsletter) to most people in my real life but I have to tell someone.

Dear Hank & John: 314: The Ultimate Week in Ryans (w/Ryan Reynolds!)
  • Famed YouTubers and authors (and brothers) Hank Green and John Green have this long running Q & A show that is always full of great banter and learning. 
  • That great banter was elevated quite high with surprise guest Ryan Reynolds (they don't usually have guests). If you enjoy any of these people or want to hear Ryan Reynolds answer random questions meant for a life advice/science question type show, I can promise your satisfaction in listening to this (but no money back guarantee). 


Podcast Your Way to Producing for Seth Rogen. One of the reasons I really enjoy Storytime with Seth Rogen is the quirky sound design by Richard Parks III (of Richard's Famous Food Podcast fame—this meta episode joint production with Everything is Alive is AMAZINGLY WEIRD and GREAT). Anyway, I loved this interview Skye Pillsbury did with Richard Parks III for on how he became involved with Seth Rogen's show. 

Inside Podcasting. A great newsletter for all things podcasting news and one of my favorites. Writer Shreya Sharma collected a wonderful slew of podcast takeaways from 2021 that can be found herehere and here


The James Webb Space Telescope Has Launched: Now Comes the Hard Part. "Over the next month, JWST will still have to execute nearly 350 potentially fatal maneuvers— or 'single points of failure' in NASA’s nomenclature—while prepping for scientific observations."

Kurzgesagt: Why We Should NOT Look For Aliens - The Dark Forest. An interesting and not very comforting theory around why we haven't found signs of other intelligent life yet. This is also a big part of the plot of the second "Three Body Problem" sci-fi trilogy, so if you like this video you'll probably like the series. 

For fun: Joining Zoom too early  

For fun 2: Nobody plays a smug asshole better than Adam Scott

And as always, before you go: check out my other newsletter if you love visual creations and creators. 

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

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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