Podcasts, videos, and links to make you think
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Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain newsletter, a collection of podcasts and links that make you think.

Right out the gate, a shout out to all the epidemiologists, health care workers, all other essential employees, journalists (including the data viz journalists), and folks doing their best to stay positive. 

I'm starting to figure out a routine at home that doesn't involve ingesting news constantly. Some of the podcasts and links mentioned below have been a wonderful distraction. Learning helps keep me optimistic.  

Before jumping into some recommendations, a few quick announcements.

Lyceum is a brand new educational audio platform that just launched. I think everyone who enjoys this newsletter would really dig it. There are many more details at the bottom of this email, but for now check out where you can download the app.

Other newsletters and new articles..

There are a few fantastic non-podcast focused newsletters I recommend below. They are all great and are particularly useful if you want something to look at on your phone that isn't the news.

There are also not one, but two new articles! One is from this great RN I know.

Ok let's start with some audio brain food.
Write Large: The Dawn of Global Tourism [books that changed the world]
  • Well-produced interviews with scholars on the impact specific books have had on the world.
  • This first episode is a discussion with Harvard professor Joyce Chaplin about Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.
  • The world was posed to become global with the inventions of continental railways and the telegram, but this book firmly coalesced the zeitgeist around the potential for global tourism.
  • The conversation provides great insight into the context from which Verne wrote this.
  • Hosted by Zach Davis and executive produced by Galen Beebe.
  • This is a Lyceum original. I can't fully de-tangle my bias because I'm involved with Lyceum, but I am not associated with this show and think it's really great. I'm excited to check out the rest of the season as they come out.

Strides Forward: Devon Yanko + Comrades Marathon - Her White Whale [stories about running and women]
  • An excellent first episode of this new podcast tells the story of athlete Devon Yanko and her experience running the Comrades Marathon.
  • The Comrades Marathon is actually no marathon at all. Rather it's a 56 mile ultra-distance foot race. It's the oldest and largest of it's kind, with thousands of runners gleefully lining up in South Africa each year to do something I can't even fathom.
  • I listened to this as I was running, and if you are so inclined, I highly recommend doing so. 
  • From writer/audio storyteller Cherie Louise Turner.

Democracy Works: COVID-19 Exposes Democracy’s Tensions [interview with infectious disease expert]
  • Great discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic is testing the ability of democratic nations to respond swiftly to such a world-wide crisis.
  • The guest is Nita Bharti, assistant professor of biology at Penn State and faculty member in the university’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics.
  • Contained an amazing quote that I am going to use a lot going forward:  “If we’ve done our jobs it should always look like we overreacted.”

For kids: Wow in the World: Betelgeuse! Betelgeuse! Betelgeuse! An Outer Space SUPERNOVA [time traveling, worm-hole jumping adventure to learn about exploding stars]
  • I'm finally getting my kids into podcasting, so I'll share great educational episodes here and there for anyone looking for something to listen to as a family.
  • This was a fun one, and you'll recognize the voice of Guy Raz as one of the hosts.

Next-up in my feed: Anthropocene Reviewed, Becoming Human, The Constant, Reply All

  • In this moment of kids being home and education becoming derailed, this is YouTube's moment to shine.

A Mental Escape Podcast Playlist From a Healthcare Provider [Medium]
  • This really great nurse with great taste in podcasts was nice enough to write this up for me. For anyone who also would like a mental escape.
  • "As a healthcare provider, it is exceptionally difficult to read about my peers around the world struggling with mental and physical health in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an attempt to focus on the good in the world and avoid a full-on anxiety spiral as healthcare systems continue to be overrun, I’d like to share the audio I’ve come to know as my happy place."

Richard Feynman - Ode to a Flower [Vimeo]
  • 70 second video with beautiful animation to accompany a quote from Richard Feynman.

Can you recommend to me some culture/deep dive podcasts similar to Decoder Ring? [Reddit thread]
  • Lots of recommendations, some obvious, some not.

Drawing Links [wonderful hand drawn newsletter]
  • A newsletter from Edith Zimmerman with hand drawn stories from her life. It's full of stories, comics, and links. It's great and it will grow on you.
  • "This is really nice and feels like the old internet." That tweet from PJ Vogt is what put this newsletter on my radar a few months ago, and I couldn't agree more. 
  • Sign up for it here.

The Invitation [newsletter with great curation of links]
  • From Tutuwa Ahwoi.
  • The tagline is, "A bimonthly collection of interesting links for the chronically curious". I love that and might be using it myself in an alternate universe. 
  • I can vouch for the great taste in the selections.

Why is this interesting? [daily thought-provoking newsletter]
  • "A daily email about intesting things from Noah Brier & Colin Nagy."
  • I've been liking this quite a lot since subscribing about two weeks ago.
  • Btw, everyone seems to be using Substack. I might have to reevaluate this whole Mailchimp thing.
Ok, so I'm extremely excited to share in public a project I've been helping with behind the scenes. It's called Lyceum and is the beginning of an audio based learning community. If you like educational podcasts, you will love this. 

You can download the app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play, via links on the website If you are an educational podcaster, there is already a growing community of creators that you can join. Reach out to the Lyceum twitter (@lyceum) account and we'll steer you in the right direction.

My involvement has been around helping curate the educational audio selection and to help create the collections you see on the home page. 

There is also lots of original content in the works, with one of the first shows being released last week. It's called Writ Large and is great (see above). You can find it on Apple Podcasts but will release early each week within Lyceum.

Each show also has a discussion room! There are lots of features to come, but please play around with it and let us know what you think.

For fun: Conan's DIY Home Improvement Tutorial.

Listory: As always, check out this full playlist in a beautiful Listory List.

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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