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.

What better way to finish up Mother's Day than to send a favorite podcast their way? Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there. 

Also, my 7-year old son said this the other day: "It’s like cracking my mind all over my head.” He was trying to learn something difficult, and I think I may steal it as a tagline for this newsletter (well, at least this issue).

"Audio so smart, your mind will crack all over your head."

Let's get cracking.
Planet Money: Planet Money Buys a Superhero
Now that the series is over (for now), I just want to say how much I loved the Micro-Face series from Planet Money. It fits quite nicely in the pantheon of other high-concept, multi-episode arcs that the show has done (like the t-shirt, oil, and space ones). Instead of simply exploring the world of intellectual property in the comic book-to-movie pipeline, they set out to obtain and promote a long-forgotten superhero that has fallen into the public domain. The whole series is entertaining, funny, and pretty damn informative. For my money, Planet Money is one of the most creative shows out there. And you better believe I pre-ordered the comic book. The episodes in order:
1: Origins
2: Loophole
3: Resurrection
4: A Superhero Sells Out
5: A Superhero Goes To Hollywood

Cows in the Field: Tenet
  • Cows in the Field is movie podcast hosted by Justin and Laura Khoo that approaches film from a unique framework. Justin is an associate professor of philosophy at MIT, which naturally allows for all sorts of meaty, brain-hurting (in a good way of course) discussions about the philosophical undercurrents within popular movies . 
  • There are a lot of movie pods out there, but I really like this one. As always, I recommend going through their feed and starting with some of your favorite movies.
  • I appreciated all the new ways to think through Tenet from this episode, and it made me want to re-watch the movie ASAP.
  • I've enjoyed each of the episodes I've checked out, but to pick one more great entry point, be sure to check out Midsommar, with Vox culture writer Emily VanDerWerff as guest.

Bio Eats World: Revolutions in Cancer Treatment - Past, Present, Future
  • This conversation is a one-stop-shop for understanding how cancer works, the history of treatment for it, and advances right around the corner. 

Outside/In: 10x10 Sand Beach
  • I love the 10x10 series when they appear, which are in-depth looks at a very specific type of ecosystem. 
  • I'll admit it, I had no idea that beaches build up and then break down every day and night. 
  • The reason you really don't want to walk in the grassy dunes at beaches (like, you know, the ones with all the "don't walk here" signs) is that the roots that hold all the plants together are extremely fine and break apart easily.

  • Cara Santa Maria is popular science communicator and one of the co-hosts of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe (SGU), one of my all-time favorite shows. 
  • Talk Nerdy is Santa Maria's long-running interview show, and this episode is from years ago, around the time she first joined the SGU. Steven Novella is the creator of the SGU and this discussion is a great listen for anyone interested in science and critical thinking. 
  • I really liked Novella's concept of what a skeptic is (which I visualized here, and below): "Being an expert in science doesn’t make you an automatic expert in bullshit. You need people who are both.”
  • If skepticism was a superpower, the wise Professor X type would no doubt be Carl Sagan, who laid out the baloney detection kit decades ago (chapter from The Demon-Haunted World).
Turn on images if you can't see. Venn diagram of "love of science" and "expert in detecting bullshit", with "skeptic" in the middle.
How Steven Novella defines skepticism


I was excited to be featured in Lauren Passell's Podcast the Newsletter! I talk through my listening and discovery habits as well as my go-to lawn mowing podcast. Subscribe to her newsletter here, you won't be disappointed. 

Earthrise: What It's Like to Escape Our Planet. An excellent half hour documentary from The New York Times about the famous Earthrise photo taken during Apollo 8. This pairs well with "For All Mankind", a show I binged the hell out of over the past week. 

Please, No More Generic Stock Photos. "What I am here to say though is that low-effort stock photos are making the internet (I’m looking at you, Medium) feel bland, like driving across the country and seeing identical strip mall after strip mall."

For fun: "Have a nice flight." "You too!". I've thought about this bit probably at least once a month for the past decade. And a nice Darth Vader webcomic version

For fun 2: Speaking of Tenet, this is a brilliant spoof of the inevitable Michael Caine scene in any given Christopher Nolan movie. 

And reminder: if you like visual content, be sure to subscribe to my other newsletter right here

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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