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.

Well, fate finally let me finish my article about why we might not have free will. I've been thinking about this for years, but it was the Podcast Brunch Club listening list that finally sparked me into motion.

Ok, let's jump into some of the best and smartest podcasts to recently show up in podland.

Gastropod: The Bagelization of America [food stories with sides of science and history].
  • There is so much interesting history to the bagel!
  • As early as the 1960s, many people in the US would not know what a bagel was.
  • A food scientist definitely proved that NYC having great bagels has nothing to do with the water, as many argue. It's simply a combination of great ingredients and a ton of people who have years of experience making bagels. 
  • The first thing I did after finishing this was to look up the best bagels near me.

My Year in Mensa: IQ and the Average Girl [humor-infused exploration of IQ].
  • Comedian Jamie Loftus planned to take the entrance exam to Mensa, fail it, and then write several articles lampooning the whole organization.
  • But to her surprise she scored high enough to get in.
  • What follows is half interesting reporting about IQ and the elitism of high IQ organizations, and half an alarming look at the bad behavior directed at Loftus.

Threshold: The Refuge ep 1—Sibling Rivalry [excellent field-based science reporting].
  • A show about nature and the environment, and our connection to it. 
  • The third season is called The Refuge, and is the culmination of two years of reporting in the Arctic.
  • This episode provides in-depth context on exactly what is happening with the largest protected wildlife zone in the US, Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 
  • Oil companies are set to start moving in shortly, and this season explores exactly what this means. To the land, and the various people who call Alaska home.
  • Prudhoe Bay oil field is another large wildlife area in Alaska that was opened for drilling decades ago, and is used as a comparison within the episode (the sibling in the title).

Sidedoor: The Worst Game Ever? [interesting stories related to items at Smithsonian].
  • Like so many other great shows, I discovered this when it recently dropped into the 99 Percent Invisible feed.
  • I know this story about E.T. for Atari, but it is just so good. Even if you also know this story, this is worth a listen because you hear from the man who made the game and an answer for once and all on if the cartridges are truly buried in a desert landfill (spoiler-they are).

Radiolab: The Bobbys [Jad's farewell to Robert].
  • Robert Krulwich's last episode as full Radiolab staff before his quasi-retirement.
  • I LOVE the idea of the Bobbys, where for decades Krulwich has been awarding special prizes to different pieces of media, but only privately within the bounds of his notebook. I also love the idea of pitting things against each other by year you stumble across it, not the year the thing was made.
  • Thought this was a great quote from Krulwich, said while talking to Jad about their style together:
  • "Also I kind of noticed at a certain point that what was really making the show work for the audience was probably a little bit less what the subjects were, because I’m not sure there was a ravenous interest in physics and philosophy and all these things. But when two people are having real fun, it’s sort of like a warm fire or something, people just want to sort of sit next to it, and I like that. I like that this is true.”

Understanding the Argument Against Free Will [article]. A collection of the arguments, podcasts, and videos that will make you question everything.

I have to say say it every so often, so here goes. This picture will hurt your brain [image]. It's a gigapixel image of the Milky Way showing millions of individual stars, and you can zoom WAY in. It's even mobile friendly.

Using 20,000 matches to make a coffee table [video]. This lead me down a rabbit hole of other fantastic videos by Simone Giertz, who I only vaguely knew as the "shitty robot" person. 

Do you have a science podcast? What is it called? What's it about? [tweet]. A viral tweet (for podcasting) with hundreds of comments full of excellent science podcast recommendations.

Comment two podcasts you love and someone else respond with one you might enjoy based on that [reddit thread]. Great source of recommendations.

Click here for a beautiful list of all the links in this newsletter.

For fun: Mom's Spaghetti

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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