Podcasts, videos, and links to make you think
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Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain newsletter, a collection of good stuff from people trying to make the world smarter.

Two quick things to highlight with more info below:

1) New article: Are There Too Many Podcasts? Yes, but That’s a Good Thing

2) New podcast conference called Sound Education Nov 2 and 3 at Harvard I am super excited about. If you create or love educational podcasts, definitely check it out. Dan Carlin from Hardcore History is giving the keynote. 

Ok, here are some podcasts and other links to make you think:

Ghibliotheque: Spirited Away (27 min). A new series all about the best movies from the famed Japanese Studio Ghibli. The first episode of course starts with Spirited Away (one of the few I’ve seen) and this has made me eager to follow along with the rest of the movies. “I think, well, it’s just one of the best opening sequences in all of cinema.” 

Science Solved it: The Doctor Who Drank Bacteria (18 min). Medicine is just as prone to inertia of the status quo as other realms of science. The wrong concept of ulcers being caused by stress was a difficult one to dislodge, and the story of the doctor who had to drink a type of bacteria to prove his point is an incredible modern tale of what it takes to change institutional knowledge.

Radiolab: Dark Side of the Earth (27 min). Astronauts have the best stories. You can’t get much more tense and dramatic than some of the situations they find themselves in. Radiolab speaks with two, and the last stories left me in awe.

The Lonely Palette: Hiroshi Sugimoto's Byrd Theater, Richmond, 1993 (32 min). I admit that I have trouble thinking deeply about art. I know if I like something right away, more as a gut reaction. I love The Lonely Palette because just like any form of the best cultural criticism, it helps give me new vocabulary to think about different ideas. The piece in this episode is what happens when an artist leaves the camera exposure open during an entire movie, within the most beautiful theaters in the country. 

Behind the Bastards: Hitler- Y.A. Fiction Fan Girl (57 min). From How Stuff Works and an alum of the Cracked podcast, comes a show about the worst people in history and things you never knew about them. It’s humurous but also well researched and you'll learn more than you think. “He is a grown ass man, he is charge of Germany, and he is obsessively re-reading the Wild West books of a dead con man.”
Hidden Brain: Creating God (53 min). A look at the role of religion from a zoomed out, cultural evolution perspective. Why have some religions flourished while most haven’t? Why are certain rituals the way they are? This was more interesting and enlightening than I would have predicted. 

The Polymath Project: Learning how to Learn with Barbara Oakley (65 min). A new interview podcast from Charles Chu, a writer I follow who has two focuses in his writing which both resonate with me. 1) How does the world work? 2) How can we live better in it? Learning How to Learn remains to this day the only MOOC I’ve fully completed, and this is a rather interesting discussion with Barbara Oakley, the person who created it (one of the most popular online classes of all time). Two interesting points made: Any strong assertion from a social scientist is likely to be wrong, and the trend of making learning “fun” is not a helpful one.
A short article I wrote about why you should ignore ever trying to achieve inbox zero with podcasts, and why you should instead treat your feed like an endless library. Also, embrace this flood of podcasts as a chance to become "well-listened".

Sound Education podcast conference. As I mentioned above, I am very excited about this conference. The creator of Ministry of Ideas, Zach Davis is organizing this at Harvard and the panels and talks look excellent so far. Please spread the word or try to attend! (going to be my first podcast conference)

Podcast Trends Survey 2018. Over at Discover Pods, they are collecting survey results about podcast habits (the more the better). It will be interesting to see this year's results. Take a look at what 2017 showed.

Question on Quora: Why doesn't NASA send a probe into a black hole to learn more? As you may have noticed as a long time reader of this newsletter, I am a sucker for space analogies because of how hard it is to wrap my head around the distances and time involved. I loved this one in an answer on Quora:

"There is a gas station about a quarter mile down the road from my house. I doubt it’s exactly a quarter mile, but let’s say that it is: 1320 feet. Now let’s suppose that Earth is at my front door, and the nearest known black hole is at the gas station.
Using this scale, Voyager 1, the farthest space probe we’ve ever sent out is just 0.01 inches from my front door. It’s taken four decades to get that far."

Podcast subreddit: 37 High Quality Podcasts. Who doesn’t love a good curated list from someone passionate about podcasts?


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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