Tram Town
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Category: Podcasts
I put an email together of some of my regular podcasts and thought it might be worth posting here so...

Skeptoid is Brian Dunning a man who researches and publishes a ~10min piece each week on some sort of classic skeptic's issue.
I listen every week and I have listened to all past episodes. Large numbers of them would make quite good driving-to-the-beach material in my opinion. Of particular note: episode 14 Cellphones on Airplanes and episode 19 Organic Food Myths.

The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe is the podcast of the New England Skeptical Society. It is a lively discussion amongst five opinionated people (was six but the best of them, Perry deAngelis, sadly died earlier this year, from all this distance, I miss him).
The whole website is interesting.

Skepticality, the official podcast of Skeptic magazine is quite good when Skeptic editor Michael Shermer is conducting an interview and patchy when the regular hosts, Derek and Swoopy, are hosting. They are a bit subject to being guilty of the fallacy of "Argument from Authority" when the particular scientist happens to hit their political buttons, IMHO. Skepticism is often about questioning scientists. They are also celebrity whores. I subscribe but only listen to about half of the episodes.

NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me is great driving listening. It is a news quiz of the Good News Week type but perhaps a bit classier and with an interesting celebrity guest each week. Last week it was a Whitehouse press secretary, it has been Barack Obama and Tom Hanks in the past. Being NPR it does have a little bit of a [US] liberal bias but it works hard at disguising that and I never miss an episode. One of their regular panelists, their token republican I guess, is P. J. O'Rourke.

If you're looking for a daily ~half hour of tech news (this is my dog walk podcast), you could do a lot worse than Buzz Out Loud from CNet. It is informative, funny, opinionated and of indeterminate length.
(URL looks dodgy temp, maybe bol.cnet.com would be better)

Weekly supermarket podcasts include some from the TWiT network including the original This Week in Tech, Windows Weekly (lots of Microsoft news, bad AND good), and Security Now which I would advise any sys admin to listen to all 100 and something episodes, it is that good.

EconTalk is a terrific piece of work with Russ Roberts from George Mason University interviewing colleagues and friends on economic topics. Russ is a dag but the the issues are fascinating. The department at GMU has come up with the word Masonomics to describe their particular almost naive but insightful view of economics. It is definitely descended from the Austrian school but with a touch of simplification thrown in. It's kind of like: we know economics is complicated but let's try and look at some aspects that we can really understand. Of course, on re-reading I get the feeling that if Russ ever read this he would claim I had completely missed the point but never mind.

Without trying to come up with a commentary on each of these I will list some extra weekly listens (Google yourself):
Ockham's Razor on Radio National: 2/3's interesting, 1/3 nutbags
NPR Car Talk: We listen, laugh and learn (one of Tommy's favourites)
WeatherBrains: I learn something every week.

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