Podcasts, videos, and links to make you think
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Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain newsletter.

Hi, I'm glad you're here. This is a place to get some recommendations on podcasts and other links that make you think. If podcasts like 99% Invisible, Radiolab, or a good, thoughtful interview are your jam, then you are in the right spot. The goal is to uncover the best of these popular shows and help get the word out on new or independent shows that are equally awesome in their ability to help us understand the world a little better. 

So before getting to it, any shows cause you to take notes lately? I do most of my listening while driving, so if you take copious notes while listening, I am jealous of you. I plan to get back into it soon, but the show that has overall caused me to take the most notes across the years is probably You Are Not So Smart.
99 Percent Invisible—Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Twine: I wouldn't have imagined the tale of competing claims of "World's Largest ball of twine" would be so fantastic. But 99% Invisible has the ability to make most things fantastic. 
  • The sliding definitions that each town uses to categorize their ball of twine in order to maintain the #1 spot is such a perfect analogy for so many things.
  • As somewhat of a relief, it's not only the US that has this kind of roadside attraction obsession. It seems to be an affliction of any newish country, including Australia.
  • The end of the episode might have contained my favorite part, with The World's Largest Collection of the Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things.

The Report: A narratively told breakdown of the Mueller report. Nobody has read it and nobody seems to have loved Mueller's actual testimony last week, which might be why this podcast has topped the Apple Podcasts chart. You learn the actual, sobering information contained in the Mueller report in a way that is extremely engaging. 
  • The first two episodes help us understand what Russia really did, both in targeting our social media and hacking our political IT systems. It is alarming to hear it comprehensively detailed.
  • If you aren't quite sure what to make of Wikileaks, the Mueller report's findings on their involvement will probably clarify your position (second episode).
  • From the well-known Lawfare blog and the fantastic Goat Rodeo in Washington DC.

Land of the Giants: Why You'll Never Quit Amazon Prime: A new narrative series from Recode that is examining Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google (FAANG). The first season is about Amazon and this first episode was informative and strong enough to easily get a subscription out of me. It walks the difficult line between a fascination of the subject matter and a clear apprehension of the power these companies have amassed.

Revisionist History: Dr Rock's Taxonomy: The second in a series about the practice of casuistry as popularized by Jesuits. Gladwell in the episode acknowledges that some see casuistry as simply a way for smart people to rationalize anything, but he makes a compelling case for it nonetheless. The focus of this episode is the history of the Catholic doctor who invented birth control and the complicated religious ground he walked in the process. 
  • "At the Church's crucial moment, when Pope Paul VI had the chance to offer consolation to millions of Catholics around the world, he flinched. He put a principle ahead of the particulars. Don't let anyone tell you that the courageous man is the man of principle. The courageous person is actually the one who knows when to put principle aside."
Next in my feed: Sam Greenspan's Bellwether. Anyone listen yet?


What is a quote that has just "stuck with you"? [askreddit] Some truly good quote's in here.

History Podcasts Map. [podcast subreddit] A post that links to an interactive map of history podcasts!

Why All Movies from 1999 are the same [YouTube]. Ready to feel old? The Matrix, Fight Club, Being John Malcovich, Office Space, and American Beauty all came out 20 years ago. And they all have a very corporate dystopian vibe as part of the story. This 8-minute video explores why.

p.s. Getting back into Calvin and Hobbes with my kids and it still holds up incredibly well. But it is scary how much I now relate to the parents.

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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