Podcasts, videos, and links to make you think
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Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain newsletter, an email with bits of the internet that will make you think, mostly via podcasts.

A very short one this week because of vacation and an unseasonable stretch of sunshine over here in central NY that has kept me outside. It's weird to not be able to complain about the weather to be honest.

To make up for this lack of listening, I put together a list of my favorite episodes from the Hub & Spoke podcast collective in honor of The Constant joining them.
Nice Try!: Jamestown—Utopia for Whom. I finally started this new series that examines various failed utopias. This first season is hosted by the talented Avery Trufelman (from 99 Percent Invisible) and this episode focuses on Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in the new world. 
The English arrive in Jamestown, Virginia. It goes ok, then very not ok.
  • You get a great historical account of all the grim things they didn't cover in the Disney movie Pocahontas.   
  • It starts off quite fascinating with information I had never heard, and then it all turns into a horror movie: "Can you imagine someone lying down dying and you come up to them and lick the blood off their face because that's how starving you are?"

13 Minutes to the Moon: Long Island Eagle. This episode is about the Eagle lander itself, the insect-like vehicle that actually took Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to the surface of the Moon. I recommended this show two newsletters ago, but how often does the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing come around? (next weekend btw). Plus it's just an excellent series.
  • "The skins on it are so thin there was only 2/1000 of an inch of metal between the astronauts and vacuum. That's like a soda can...Buzz Aldrin in his memoirs wrote that he could have taken a pen and jammed it into the side of the spacecraft." 

Hub & Spoke podcast collective mini-playlist: Hub & Spoke is a Boston-based "collective of independent, high-quality, story-driven podcasts". They are home to Soonish, Ministry of Ideas, The Lonely Palette. Iconography, Culture Hustlers, and as of last week, The Constant. It is also where Hi-Phi Nation started out before moving to Slate last year. For any long time subscribers you might notice that I've recommended all of these shows over the last two years and is probably the only podcast network where if a show gets added, I know I'll love it. Their mission most fits with my listening preferences and is full of the type of shows I like to recommend in this newsletter: well-produced, narratively driven, independent, and will make you think about big ideas.

For me, a Hub & Spoke show is like a Christopher Nolan film. I know I'll like it before knowing anything else about it. Here is a little playlist where I pick one of my favorite episodes from each of their shows: 


Meet the Microcosmos: The introductory episode for a new YouTube channel from Hank Green called Journey to the Microcosmos. Get a beautifully filmed and relaxing introduction to the cast of characters the series will feature: Prokaryotes (bacteria), Eukaryotes (larger cells with nucleus), and micro-animals (like everyone's favorite, the tardigrade).

Learning Synths and Learning Music are two super cool and very easy to use sites that are mobile friendly. I forget how I stumbled on the synths tutorial, but I was hooked immediately and was taken by the great design of the whole experience. Everyone can have fun with this. I know because I am the opposite of gifted when it comes to making music.

The Most Radioactive Places on Earth: We blasted through HBO's Chernobyl in two days this week and it is so good. This is a great video I found in my obligatory hunt online for all things related to whatever I just binge-watched. You'll get to know the banana as a measurement unit for how radioactive something is.

That's all for this week!

p.s. if you are in the US and want to watch The Planets, an epic looking new documentary from the BBC, mark your calendar for July 24 and you can find it on PBS.

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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