Podcasts, videos, and links to make you think
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Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain newsletter. Every two weeks I send out a playlist of podcasts, videos, and other links that will make you think. 

Lots of fascinating audio this week. And I have a new degree! (well actually not really, but you'll see what I mean)

Science Rules!: How to Do Anything - With xkcd! [interview, science, engineering]
  • Bill Nye interviews Randall Munroe, who is the creator of the internet famous webcomic xkcd and author of several books that explain science via simple drawings and detailed, over-the-top thought experiments.
  • This is somehow the first time I've listened to Bill Nye's podcast, and to admit it, it was better than I thought. Great interview and lots of room for Munroe to go down his interesting rabbit holes. 

In Deep: Microbial Goo [biology, infrastructure]
  • A series from American Public Media that is all about sewers and wastewater. The older I get, the more interesting infrastructure is and I thought this was great. 
  • The first episode details the story of the first epidemiologist, John Snow (not that one) and how the mystery of cholera was solved (don't drink the water you throw bathroom waste in).
  • I particularly liked this second episode because it highlighted something I have long been fascinated by, the magic of water treatment plants.

Writ Large: Frederick Douglass [US history, literature]
  • Writ Large is back with more episodes, and this one detailing the genius of Frederick Douglass was fantastic.
  • This episode is a compelling argument for why Douglass is one of, if not the most important non-fiction writers in American History. He also commanded the largest speaking fee out of anyone in the US at that time. 

Levar Burton Reads: Stories by Ken Liu [sci-fi short stories]
  • Ken Liu translated the first and third books of The Three Body Problem trilogy and I was excited to see that Levar Burton had chosen several of his short stories for his podcast over the years.
  • These are all really great stories. Liu is clearly able to write hard sci-fi, but the below selections are all tremendous human stories that anyone would enjoy and I highly recommend them. 
  • The Paper Menagerie 
  • Mono No Aware
  • Staying Behind

Quick note: I am officially a Planet Money Summer School graduate! It was a grueling exam that I stayed up all night studying for. Kidding of course, it was actually a fun eight-question test that anyone can take if you want your very own fancy certificate like me.
If I have time I would like to write something more in-depth about the Planet Money Summer School endeavor, but for now I'll provide some links for anyone to learn more:
  • The Summer School site with links to all eight episodes.
  • I realize this endeavor was light-hearted, but I do think this type of format has a lot of promise for educational institutions. I was thinking it would be interesting if the Planet Money team were to beef it up with even more resources, transcripts, etc. As if anticipating this feedback though, there is a fairly robust new section for educators, that really does have all the bells and whistles to make it much more enticing for teachers to use Planet Money in the classroom. 
  • Would love feedback from any educators out there. 


Freedom of Speech listening list
  • Over the last six months, I've joined in on the virtual chapter of Podcast Brunch Club a few times, and it's honestly been a great way to nerd out about podcasts.
  • This month's list contains five episodes about Freedom of Speech.
  • Anyone can join the virtual chapter. Just click here to learn more about this month's zoom meetups. I plan on listening this week and maybe I'll see you there. 
  • I mention all this simply because I think it's a great idea in this continued time of social distancing. 
  • This month's playlist was put together by Paul Kondo, who has excellent taste in podcasts. Don't believe me? Be sure to subscribe to his short and sweet Podcast Gumbo Newsletter to get three podcast recommendations every Wednesday.

Five Books 
  • How have I never been to this website? There are countless lists of five books curated by experts in that specific subject. 
  • The science section alone in the non-fiction drop down has enough excellent lists to keep me busy at least a decade. 
  • I've been pretty interested in insects lately (what has happened to me?), and this list of books on bugs looks pretty rad. 

I’m a huge science fiction nerd and have been wanting to read great sci-fi from other cultures other then American or British. So what ya got?
  • To keep on the theme of books, so great recommendations in this Reddit thread.

What's the most wholesome experience you've had with a stranger?
  • Restore your faith in humanity and possibly get all misty-eyed with this Reddit thread.

For fun: My kind of parenting inspiration

And a Listory list of all the links from today. 

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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