Podcast recommendations

A close friend recently asked to me to recommend some interesting podcasts. For regular readers of this blog, nothing on this list will surprise you.

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A close friend recently asked to me to recommend some interesting podcasts. Here is my list. It’s not comprehensive, and the categories are quite general. For regular readers of this blog, nothing on this list will surprise you.

Thankfully, most podcasts cover several subjects, and so they’re hard to classify as one thing. Generally, I like news programs, lectures to intelligent crowds (but not recorded classroom lectures), or one-on-one conversations. I mostly avoid call-in shows — I like to keep the public out of the equation whenever possible — but I make exceptions for exceptional programs.

As of Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, the iTunes library tells me I have 2,311 podcast episodes. It calculates that it will take me 66 days, nine hours, 23 minutes, and 46 seconds to listen to all of them.

NEWS
DocArchive — BBC World Service
Global News — BBC World Service
Newshour — BBC World Service
Best of Today — BBC Radio 4
Podcast of Week — CSPAN
New Yorker: Out Loud — The New Yorker
New Yorker: Comment — The New Yorker
Story of the Day — NPR
World Story of the Day — NPR
Hourly News Summary (central to my hourly existence in this life) — NPR
The World — PRI
The Takeaway — PRI and WNYC
TribCast — The Texas Tribune
Washington Week — PBS
PBS News Hour — PBS

NEWS :: DOCUMENTARIES
Documentary of the Week — BBC Radio 4
Outlook — BBC World Service
American RadioWorks — American Public Media
Longform Podcast
ProPublica Podcasts
DecodeDC
Radio 3 Essay — BBC Radio 3
The National Press Club podcast
Weekends on All Things Considered — NPR

NEWS :: FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Economist podcast
Inside CFR Events — Council on Foreign Relations
Brookings Event podcast — The Brookings Institute
Prime Minister’s Questions — The Guardian
The Stream — Al Jazeera English
Worldview — WBEZ

NEWS :: SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY
Marketplace Tech Report — American Public Media
New Tech City — WNYC
Quirks and Quarks — CBC
Science Weekly — The Guardian
Stardate podcasts — McDonald Observatory
Science Times — The New York Times
Environment podcast — NPR
Nature podcast — Nature

FILM / TV
Front Row Daily — BBC Radio 4
The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell — KCRW
Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith — CBC

MUSIC
Legacy Podcasts: Rock — Legacy Recordings
Legacy Podcasts: Sarah McLachlan — Legacy Recordings
Other Directions — Steven Lee Moya
Soundcheck — WYNC
The Blues File — WXPN
Classical Performance — WGBH
25 Years of Chill Out Music — Roebeck
50 Great Voices — NPR
From the Top — NPR
Jazz Profiles — NPR
Chillsky
Properly Chilled
Escuela de Rumberos Salsa podcast

BOOKS
Book Review Podcast — The New York Times
Q and A — CSPAN
After Words — CSPAN
The Guardian Books Podcast
Writers and Company — CBC
Bookworm — KCRW
The New York Review of Books podcast
Between the Lines — WABE
Unfictional — KCRW
New Yorker: Fiction — The New Yorker
Selected Shorts — PRI
World Book Club — BBC World Service

GENERAL ARTS / LIFE
The Brian Lehrer Show — WNYC
The Leonard Lopate Show — WNYC
TED Talks — TED
The Best of YouTube
Arts and Ideas — BBC Radio 4
Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon podcasts
Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin — WNYC
The Current — CBC Radio
Ideas — CBC Radio
The Forum — KQED
Fresh Air (as long as Terry Gross isn’t on) — NPR
RadioWest — PRI
Studio 360 — PRI and WYNC
To the Best of Our Knowledge — PRI
WGBH Forum
Radio Times — WHYY

HISTORY
Conversations with History — UC Berkeley
Free Library podcast — Free Library of Philadelphia
American History TV — CSPAN
Great Lives — BBC Radio 4
15 Minute History — University of Texas at Austin
BackStory — University of Virginia
The History of Byzantium — Robin Pierson
Walter Cronkite’s History Lessons — NPR
History: Days of Infamy, Daily Life
The Journal of American History Podcast
Lectures in History — CSPAN
Lincoln and the Civil War
Witness — BBC World Service
Los Angeles Public Library Podcast
Miller Center Forums — The University of Virginia Miller Center
New Books in History
Pritzker Military Library Podcasts
Virginia Historical Society Podcasts
We the People Stories — National Constitution Center

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Profiles of first ladies / Childfree and loving it / A boring mission to Mars / A Texas-made space telescope / Nixon’s love for Jews

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This week: Profiles of first ladies / Childfree and loving it / A boring mission to Mars / A Texas-made space telescope / Nixon’s love for Jews

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. The First Ladies
C-SPAN | 2013 and 2014
Watch the stunning and fascinating series about the women as intelligent, complex, canny, and noble (if not more so) than the presidents their husbands became.

2. The Choice To Be Childfree
On Point with Tom Ashbrook :: NPR | Aug. 23
“Childless by choice. We look at the trend of couples saying ‘no thanks’ to having kids.”

3. Dating Superman
By Seth Stevenson | Slate | May 2013
“The ultimate superpower would let you find, woo, and mate with the perfect person”

4. Olivia Wilde Takes Center Stage
By Emma Brown | Interview | Aug. 22
Drinking Buddies is Olivia Wilde’s first time carrying a film, but it is certainly not her last. With upcoming roles in everything from Rush to Spike Jonze’s Her and Paul Haggis’ Third Person, Wilde is the girl of the moment.”

5. Danger! This Mission to Mars Could Bore You to Death!
By Maggie Koerth-Baker | The New York Times Magazine | July 2013
“It would be catastrophic if humanity’s greatest voyage were brought low by the mind’s tendency to wander when left to its own devices. ”

6. Some Newly Uncovered Nixon Comments on the Subjects of Jews and Black People
By Elspeth Reeve | Atlantic Wire :: Atlantic Monthly | Aug. 21
“Richard Nixon was like many a Millennial (or middle-aged politician) who’s gotten busted for sending racy emails or sexts — even though he knew everything he was saying would be archived forever, he still said really inappropriate things.”

7. UT, A&M telescope to be 10 times sharper than Hubble
By Robert Stanton | Houston Chronicle | Aug. 21
“This Saturday, the third mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be cast inside a rotating furnace lab at the Steward Observatory in Tucson, Ariz. It’s the only facility in the world where mirrors this large are being made.”

8. Turkey’s Women Strike Back
The New York Review of Books | Aug. 19
“Just as some Turks have recognized for the first time that violence against the Kurds in the east is no different than the police violence they are now experiencing in the west, they are also becoming aware that state meddling in women’s lives means meddling in the lives of everyone.”

9. Not-so-empty nests: When adult children live at home
By Adriene Hill | Marketplace Life | May 2013
“There are more than 22 million adult children still living at home with their parents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

10. The End of Second Acts?
By Shadd Maruna and Charles Barber | The Wilson Quarterly | Spring 2013
“The mass warehousing of convicts is a sign of America’s faltering belief in second chances. Considering how individuals atone for their crimes can help us restore rehabilitation as an ideal.”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Scowling, revengeful faces

One minor but interesting element of Stone’s diary is how long it took for her to learn of developments on the battlefield.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

One minor but interesting element of Stone’s diary is how long it took for her to learn of developments on the battlefield. As her old world crumbled, as she was cut off from traditional letters and newspapers, and as she moved farther and farther away from Brokenburn, it took longer for her to learn about rumors of defeats and victories and even longer to gain accurate information about such events.

For example, the Battle of Gettysburg ended on July 3, 1863, and Vicksburg surrendered to Grant’s siege on July 4. Note what Stone says of Lee in Pennsylvania and of Vicksburg’s defenders, almost two weeks after both Confederate defeats.

July 16, 1863

Lamar County, Texas

The atmosphere has been most peculiar for several days. The air is cool and damp. The earth, the air, the sky — all are a dull dead grey. The sun seems to emit neither heat nor light, gleaming with a dim red glare like a blood-red moon. We thought at first it was one phase of the Texas climate, but the natives are as much puzzled by it as the strangers in the land. Some think it portentous, a sign of great victories or defeats. Others think it the smoke from burning grain in Mississippi. No one really knows anything about it.

We hear that we have won a glorious victory back of Vicksburg, repulsing one wing of Grant’s army and opening communication with Vicksburg and replenishing her supplies. Also we hear of surprising the enemy in south Louisiana and capturing many men and stores. We also hear that Gen. Lee’s army is laying waste [to] Pennsylvania. If only the Pennsylvanians may feel some of the horrors of war and know the bitterness of defeat. We live in hopes that our day of triumph may come but we fear not in the near future. …

Texas seems a hard land for women and children. They fly around and work like troopers while the men loll on the galleries and seemingly have nothing to do. Mamma cannot start on her search for a new home for a week yet, and it is disagreeable living here … their ways are not our ways.

As we sat on the gallery tonight, gazing across the darkening prairie into the gleaming west, the very air was brilliant with fireflies. The fancy came that they were the eyes of the departed Indians, come to look again on their old hunting grounds, flashing through the night, looking with scowling, revengeful faces on the changes wrought by their old enemies, the palefaces. I fancy I can see the ghostly shapes one minute taking the form of an Indian brave with bended bow and flying arrow, the next fading into thin air leaving only the fiery eyes. …

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

How to pack / Voyager 1 / 9/11 myths / Iowa’s ad wars / Thatcher’s 1981 crisis

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Guapura 101: How to pack for a long trip
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Dec. 26
“Many of us are either currently on a vacation, or will be taking one soon, and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share a tip that I learned a few years ago that has made packing much easier.”

2. Iowa ad war: late starting but nasty
By Beth Fouhy | Associated Press | Dec. 29
“At least $12.5 million and counting has blanketed the airwaves ahead of next Tuesday’s Republican presidential caucuses, with hard-hitting commercials awash in ghoulish images and startling claims. Most are coming from a proliferation of new independent groups aligned with the candidates.”

3. Newly released files detail Thatcher’s 1981 crisis
By David Stringer | Associated Press | Dec. 29
“Official records for 1981 released by the National Archives depict a prime minister grappling with violent dissent, rising tensions in Northern Ireland and sharp criticism from her own allies. The papers were being made public just five days before the London premiere of ‘The Iron Lady,’ the film about Thatcher’s career starring Meryl Streep.”

4. Voyager 1 Speeds Toward The Brink Of Interstellar Space
By Bill Chappell | The Two-Way :: NPR | Dec. 28
“The craft is currently in what NASA calls, not undramatically, ‘the boundary between the solar wind from the Sun and the interstellar wind from death-explosions of other stars,’ an area that astrophysicists also call, less dramatically, a stagnation layer.”

5. Baby Bird Alert
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | July 2009
“When you find a baby bird on the ground, what should you do to rescue it?”

6. How to Stop a Multinational
By Rodrigo Vazquez | Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“Three Argentinians put themselves in harm’s way as they try to stop a gold mining company destroying their environment.”

7. DWI Versus DW-High
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | Nov. 30
“Is it more dangerous to drive drunk or stoned?”

8. Five myths about 9/11
By Brian Michael Jenkins | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Sept. 2
“We all remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda launched its horrific attacks on the United States. In the decade since, no number of commissions, books, films and reports has been able to end the misconceptions about what 9/11 meant, America’s response to it and the nature of the ongoing threat.”

9. Civil War women: Olivia Clemens
Civil War Women Blog | Nov. 14
“Olivia Langdon Clemens was the wife of the famous American author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, and was a major influence on his writing.”

10. Italian Bombing of Libya – 1911
Witness :: BBC News | May 10
“A young Italian flyer describes in a letter home how he mounted the world’s first ever aerial bombing run during an attack on Ottoman forces in Libya, in 1911.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Cold War myths / Classics’ future / Talking to yourself / Boozy writing / Gossipy grandma

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. In 2012 race, both sides seek middle-class voters
By Erica Werner | Associated Press | Dec. 24
“Fighting to win over unhappy American voters, President Barack Obama and his Republican challengers are seizing on one of the most potent issues this election season: the struggling middle class and the widening gap between rich and poor.”

2. The Forgotten Cold War: 20 Years Later, Myths About U.S. Victory Persist
By Leslie H. Gelb | The Daily Beast | Dec. 23
“This month is the 20th anniversary of its end, but few remember how it dominated our lives. What does stick in people’s heads, writes Leslie H. Gelb, is wrong — that Reagan won the war with big military spending and toughness.”

3. Do the Classics Have a Future?
By Mary Beard | The New York Review of Books | January 2012
“[H]ow do we make the ancient world make sense to us? How do we translate it?”

4. For Joplin, a Love Letter in Ruins
By A.G. Sulzberger | The New York Times | Dec. 25
“The reason this house has so far survived the wrecking ball can be found scribbled on its walls, on its floorboards, in its closets and along virtually every other remaining surface. They are personal messages, thousands of them, handwritten by the volunteers who flooded the community to help sift through and cart out the debris.”

5. Thinking Out Loud
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | September 2009
“Why do ‘normal’ people talk to themselves?”

6. Barcode Scanning Apps
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Nov. 16
“Once scanned, most apps present a list of places and prices the scanned item can be found, which makes comparison-shopping even easier on the go.”

7. The Dreamers
By Amie Williams | Activate :: Al Jazeera | September 2011
“Roughly two million young people in the US are unaware that they are classified as illegal immigrants.”

8. Does Alcohol Improve Your Writing?
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | Dec. 16
“Putting Hitch’s theory to the test.”

9. I can’t get along with my grandma, who loves to gossip, criticize
Troubleshooter :: The Yomiuri Shimbun | Dec. 16
“When we all sit down for dinner, she loves to gossip and speak ill of people, talking about how much money they have or their level of education.”

10. Isherwood in Berlin
Witness :: BBC News | March 18
“The English author Christopher Isherwood lived in Berlin throughout the 1930s. His vision of the city has been linked with the German capital ever since.”