Curated Podcast Playlists

Bodega Beach Feb 2014 (3)This blog is my space to share podcast episodes I’ve found educational, enlightening, insightful, shocking, mind-bending and more. The pace at which I write versus the pace at which new podcast episodes are released is like a snail to a Ferrari.  I’ve no reservations about writing about a podcast episode released two years ago. When something is good and it stays good, it deserves recognition.  Pursuing Podcasts is a slow-curation project.

I love slow-savoring my podcasts. I relish keeping track of episodes I’ve listened to, jotting down notes about why they resonated for me.  I love anticipating the release of a RadioLab, Hidden Brain, Reveal, This American Life or Note to Self episode. I know and adore these shows.

But…there’s a flood of new episodes from well-established podcasts overwhelming me. Plus there’s a profusion of brand new podcasts being created daily. The fear of missing out on new stuff is nipping around the edges of my consciousness.

“There are 250,000 podcasts and more than 15 million episodes. Over a billion minutes of entertainment, education and information at your fingertips.
How do you choose?”

I’d love to find ways to have current episodes curated for me.  Some playlists created. If only….

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6 Facebook Podcast Groups to check out

PursuingPodcasts_AdobePodcasts are exploding. If you think you’re the only fanatical podcast listener out there…oh…how wrong you are. The medium is growing so fast, we can now swim in our own little niche genres; talk smack with fellow true crime fans; argue over which is the “best” podcast for making sense of our current political climate; find programs suitable for children…in different age groups; serve up our favorite humor programs. It is a mighty fine time to join the podcast train.

To help you find your way, I bring you…

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The Pill [50 Things That Made the Modern Economy]

Pink Plant 9-30-15 (1)
Nature, plants and sex

Humans have sex. A potential consequence of sex is pregnancy. When pregnancy is unwanted, people come up with all sorts of ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Crocodile dung in Ancient Egypt. Half a lemon as a cervical cap.

The birth control pill is one of those many pregnancy-prevention systems developed over the years. One of the things that stands out about the Pill is its effectiveness at preventing unwanted pregnancies.  The Pill has a 6% failure rate under typical use, versus an 18% failure rate for condoms.  The sponge and the diaphragm have a similar failure rate.  When the Pill is used optimally, the failure rate is even lower.

What was most interesting about this show was how they talked about the profound social and economic effects the Pill had on society, especially for women.  First, for married women; and then, for young, unmarried women.

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Nukes (and the President) [RadioLab]

(Photo Credit: Official CTBTO Photostream)

My early exposure to the concept of nuclear war was oddly calm: duck under your school desk, cover your head, and all will be right with you and the world.  It was only later, when visuals on TV showed more horrific images, that the terror of it became clear; along with the inanity of “duck and cover,” that tender ode to nuclear annihilation.

I was a child during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As a child, I didn’t truly understand the horrors the world was facing. As an adult, it’s becoming all too clear, especially with the current saber-rattling of nations around the globe. Including ours.

Which got me to wondering: what are the “rules” around launching a nuclear bomb? Who gets to authorize it (the President) and can anyone stop him from doing so (no).  This RadioLab episode provides a unique look at the process, considering it from the perspective of a military officer who would receive a call to launch. Could he refuse to act?

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A Frank Conversation with a White Nationalist [Reveal]

Al Letson, Reveal’s African American podcast host, talks with Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and President of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank. This was an uncomfortable podcast to listen to, but I’m glad I did. I valued the civility and Letson’s willingness to disagree and push back; but Richard Spencer’s ideas, as an alt-right leader, are unsettling.

Here’s a taste of what they talked about.

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The Christian Doctor Fighting for a Woman’s Right to Choose [Only Human]

Dr. Willie Parker

A woman’s “right to choose” is a divisive topic.  I first heard Dr. Willie Parker, a Christian, on the podcast, Only Human.  He chose women’s health as his specialty and became an obstetrician gynecologist.  He talks about the road he traveled with regard to his beliefs, moving from a “Fundamentalist, Protestant born-again Christian” upbringing—where he was taught abortion was wrong—to specializing in “providing safe abortions in the Deep South.”

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What’s a salamander got to do with gerrymandering? [Civics 101]

Wild Mushrooms at Kims Fall 2014History engages me more when there are nuggets of intrigue and interest buried in the history itself. Gerrymandering has its nugget. The name was first used in 1812 in the Boston Gazette, when the paper blended Massachusetts’ Governor Gerry’s name with salamander, the shape of one of the districts mapped out under Governor Gerry’s redistricting. Sometimes being memorialized into the future carries a certain ignominy.

What is gerrymandering and why does it matter?

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Filibuster – Update! [On the Media]

2016-12-27 19.41.29 (2)My “What’s a Filibuster?” post provided a short filibuster lesson, taken from the Civics 101 podcast. Senate Republicans have since eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations, a decision referred to as the “nuclear option.”

After the “nuclear” decision, On The Media delivered helpful historic context about the filibuster, stuff I hadn’t gotten from the Civics 101 episode.  If you want a quick overview with some more “filibuster flesh,” listen to Brooke Gladstone’s interview of guest Sarah Binder. Binder, a professor of political science at George Washington University and author of Stalemate: Causes and Consequences of Legislative Gridlock, had thoughts about the “fabled filibuster.”

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