Slate's "25 Best Podcast Episodes Ever" Podcasts are nothing new to the Blue, and roundup lists are a dime a dozen towards the end of the year, but it's always interesting to listen to a curated list of favorites. Most of the episodes they chose are from the last 5 years, featuring an eclectic mix of stories about love, popular culture, personal success, and public failure; there are deconstructions of the what seems mundane at first glance, and tragedy that is difficult to process.
Pseudopod 401: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife Be careful what you wish for, and be careful of things with labels you can't read. [more inside]
PodCastle 328: The Old Woman With No Teeth
When The Old Woman With No Teeth decided to have children, she didn’t go about it in the usual way. Well, really, what else could you expect from The Old Woman With No Teeth? If she ever did anything the usual way, even boiling a pot of water, the world might start spinning widdershins on its axis.[more inside]
"Now you just stop that. I can read perfectly well, you impudent ragger. Set down what I told you, and don’t believe all the stories you’ve heard about me."
There are many stories about The Old Woman With No Teeth, but people should not believe all of them. The most popular one is that she wore away her teeth by chewing a tunnel to the six-sided world. Nobody knows if this story is true. Many people have looked for the passageway she is supposed to have gnawed through reality, but none of the venturers have managed to pinpoint it.
"None of the ones who’ve come back, you mean. Silly bastards."
Shakespeare's Restless World is a BBC radio series (podcast link) where the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, explores England during the lifetime of William Shakespeare as represented by twenty objects, much in the way of his earlier A History of the World in a 100 Objects (previously). The focus is on Shakespeare's plays and how they were understood by his contemporaries. The series was also published as a book.
One Bad Mother is a comedy podcast about motherhood and how unnatural it sometimes is. Hosted by Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn (MeFi's own Tren), each week OBM covers some aspect of parenthood, like "the ramifications of teaching our kids fart jokes and songs about poop," "babies: still not relaxing," or, more seriously, things like partner resentment, and postpartum depression. Each week, in the "Call A Mom"* segment, Biz and Theresa talk to a guest who's got relevant experience or expertise on the topic at hand. But the best part of the show is the listener call-ins: Genius/Fail Time is "the part of the show where we share our genius moment of the week, as well as our failures, and feel better about ourselves by hearing yours"; and the "mom rant" allows exhausted parents to vent their spleen. The call-ins are so great because they're all about supporting other people in their day to day lives—it's through the lens of parenting, but the overriding philosophy ("this shit is hard and no one cares") is applicable to everyone's daily grind. [more inside]
Dr. Mark Crislip is a Infectious Disease specialist—an ID doc. He's also the master of a vast* multimedia empire, all parts of which are inflected with his insistence upon scientific evidence and many with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor: the president of the Society for Science-Based Medicine, he also writes articles for the affiliated website Science-Based Medicine; he runs the Quackcast, a podcast that reviews Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicines (SCAMs) from an evidence-based perspective; the Persiflagers Infectious Disease Puscast, which reviews the infectious disease literature; and his blog on Medscape, Rubor, Dolor, Calor, Tumor, is the basis for the third of his podcasts (and my favorite): A Gobbet O' Pus. As Crislip puts it: "A cool ID case, a stupid joke and a factoid you can use. What more do you need?" *For certain quantities of vast. [more inside]
SF Signal today finished a top 50 countdown of short SF/fantasy podcast fiction: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1. The Parsec Awards for SF podcasts honor many other stories annually, as well as related non-fiction, comedy, and music: 2014 nominees; 2013; 2012; 2011; 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; and 2006. And since 2012, the Hugo Award nominees for Best Fancast have been two-time winner SF Squeecast!, plus The Coode Street Podcast, Galactic Suburbia, SF Signal, The Skiffy and Fanty Show, StarShipSofa, Tea and Jeopardy, Verity!, and The Writer and The Critic with the popular Writing Excuses podcast often appearing in another category. [more inside]
Radio Free Gunslinger is a music podcast by the blog If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats (previously)
A guided tour through the chthonic regions of 20th century Western culture and the society it reflected. At least that's what it says on the wrapper.
Strongly Connected Components is a podcast of interviews with mathematicians. Hear complexity theorist Scott Aaronson (of Shtetl-Optimized), Tom Henderson (of Punk Mathematics) algebraist Olga Holtz of UC-Berkeley, master combinatorist Richard Stanley of MIT, and many more.
Splitsider posts a "Fairly Comprehensive Guide" to Comedy Podcasts. The comments thread begs to differ. [more inside]
The Island by Peter Watts (previously), winner of this years Hugo Award for Best Novelette. An audio version is available over at StarShipSofa (previously), itself a Hugo recipient.
Due to a rewording of the rules Science Fiction podcast StarShipSofa (previously, previously, previously) could be eligible for a Hugo award. Meanwhile the current episode features The Gambler (text version here), a story by Paolo Bacigalupi - best known as the author of The Windup Girl, one of TIME Magazine's ten books of the year ("Not just science fiction, mind, but fiction, generally") and almost certainly a favorite for the Hugo's best novel category.
The Ozone Nightmare is a podcast which ascends and degenerates with such regularity that listening is like riding the sine wave of thought itself.
The Florida Memory Project has a great audio section. In addition to podcasts and lots of individual files, they've compiled three mix cds of their offerings (Music from the Florida Folklife Collection, More Music, and Shall We Gather at the River). The real gem of the collection, though, may be the WPA recordings Zora Neale Hurston made while she was collecting folk tales in Florida. (Previous y2karl omnibus folklife post)
Three small classes of high school students, one in Watsonville, California, one in Jos, Nigeria, and one in Dharamsala, India, are currently collaborating on "Project Happiness". The students are "exchanging their thoughts about what happiness is, and how to behave in ways that promote happiness all around them," drawing on the Dalai Lama's Ethics for the New Millennium (useful 50-page pdf study guide; positive review from Christian Century magazine). In their work creating a curriculum for the book, the students communicate via email, a blog, and videos (an instructor in India describes the project's focus; a "what life is like here" video from India). The podcast section of the official site currently features just one introductory video posted a few weeks ago. The project will culminate in a meeting of all three classes in March 2007 in Dharamsala. A book and a PBS documentary are planned.