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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


It took me a while to get onto the idea of podcasts. Although I straight away saw the appeal - niche content with no ads that you can listen to whenever you like - I never really felt the desire to seek out good podcasts, probably because there's just so many of them. Eventually I found some really good ones and these are them:
  • The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. This is my favourite. Each week a panel of skeptics (or sceptics if you prefer) from the New England Skeptical Society (the phoney New England in America, not the real one in Australia) gather to discuss recent developments in science and pseudo-science. Aside from interesting and intelligent discussion there's also a great dynamic between the panellists who all have a great sense of humour and fun. There's also a new five minute version called The Skeptics Guide 5x5, in case an hour of hard-nosed scepticism is too much for you.
  • Radio Lab. Two guys take a topic relating to science, philosophy or psychology and delve deep into the subject, in a really interesting, engaging and accessible way. On the way up to Woodford recently I loaded about eight episodes (one hour each) onto my MP3 player and listened to them in the car. It was awesome.
  • The Rogues Gallery. I found this one just the other day, and listened to an episode today. At four hours (over 200 MB) per weekly episode it's not for the faint hearted, but it's chock full of really great music. As you may know, I can't stand most radio, but one drawback of not listening to it is that it's harder to find out about new music. With podcasts like the Rogues Gallery, that problem is solved.
  • Irregular Podcast!. The prolific David Morgan-Mar of Irregular Webcomic! and his co-workers put their witty and geeky heads together now and again to record a ten-minute podcast about... hmm... all sorts of things really. But it's always clever and pretty funny too. Except the bits where they sing.
So there you have it. Throw out your radios, get those RSS feeds aggregating and listen to some of these. Just don't try to do it on dial-up.