Podcast of the Week

Between the hours spent commuting, tending to easy projects at work, or going on long, mindless runs, podcasts have become nothing short of addicting for me. I love learning, or a good story, to breathe some warmth, understanding or fascination into my daily life. In the spirit of Podcast Lurv, here’s a list of podcasts and specific episodes I have loved listening to each week. Would LOVE some good recommendations too!

April 12, 2017: TED Radio Hour; Champions
—>I went digging through the archives this morning in need of some serious motivation. This episode, one I’ve visited a few times before, always delivers such a powerful blow of inspiration and awe for me. They speak with Diana Nyad, a woman who swam from Cuba to Florida navigating deadly box jellyfish, a professional snowboarder who lost her legs and still found a way to be the best in her sports, and more. Here’s a favorite quote from the talk: “The drive for mastery is very different from the drive from success. If you want success, it typically means that you want a kind of approval, for society to say you’re good. I think mastery is about really valuing your own opinion of what you’re doing far more than almost anyone else’s.”

March 21, 2017: Hidden Brain; Tunnel Vision
—> This weekly podcast deal is becoming more monthly thanks to an inability to say “no” and gathering way too many things on my plate at one time. Still, I listened to this episode from Hidden Brain and thought it would be a nice one for today. In this episode, Shankar talks about different scarcities people navigate in their lives–whether it be food, money or personal time–and the effects that has on the brain. It was pretty heartbreaking and very  relatable; I think more people might have a bit more compassion if understanding how those in poverty are in a constant state of survival when resources aren’t always predictable and how it can be difficult to think of much else.

February 23, 2017: BBC’s The Conversation; Fighting Extremism with Hafsat Mohammed and Gulalai Ismail
—> In this episode, the host brings together two incredible women from Nigeria and Pakistan who fight against extremism. It was jarring to hear of the level of normalized violence they experienced or witnessed firsthand. They share their missions and goals, how they risk their lives speaking to youth to challenge radical beliefs and where the peace activism has succeeded, and where it has yet to go. A must listen.

February 16, 2017: 2 DOPE QUEENS; “Halibut”
—> Omgggg. I would be NOTHING without this podcast right now. Phoebe and Jessica are hilarious and a breath of fresh air in this political climate. They talk about sooo many white guys, trife comments and bring on comedians who talk about #whitelivesmatter. Humor allows for two things: to laugh at something & to speak the truth. I find myself laughing along and noting how much truth there is in their observations of b.s. in daily life. Just….listen

January 24, 2017: 2 DOPE QUEENS; “Trying to Work Through the Feels”
—> This podcast’s name isn’t really in all caps IRL, but my enthusiasm and love for these two ladies rendered it appropriate…just this once. 😉 This is an absolutely banga podcast with Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams who discuss everything under the sun with a lot of sass and help from their favorite comedians. I.Love.It. Nice taking a break from the science and political podcasts to laugh and hear some queens preach!

January 5, 2017: Snap Judgement; “Home Stories” by Shannon Cason.
—>Shameful! I have still listened to so many amazing episodes but with not enough time to share! Lately my audio has been divided between neuroscience podcasts and story telling, so I’ll start with Snap Judgement. This might be one of my all-time favorites. Shannon Cason is a perfect story teller with equal parts humor, poetry, sass and vulnerability. These are stories from his life, gambling away stolen money, navigating relationships, finding himself, and acknowledging that the struggle IS real, but it doesn’t make the journey any less beautiful.

December 2, 2016: BBC’s Woman’s Hour; Owning Our Ambition
—> All other podcasts are out. I cannot stop listening to Woman’s Hour for the contagious courage, wit, humor and intelligence these women share. This episode I found particularly interesting with a woman who explains her perspective on differences in how women and men display their ambition and how it is perceived by other women and men in the workplace. She also says in a beautiful way how she is firm, forward and confident about her own ambition, yet she is okay with receiving feedback and knowing how to share her opinions in a different way. I’m not doing it justice by trying to summarize but it’s well worth a listen!

November 21, 2016: BBC’s The Conversation; Domestic Workers
—>  I am so in love with this new show. These talks illuminate how many things I wish I could help and be a part of in my lifetime. This show, “a conversation about women, by women” discusses the lives of domestic workers in this episode and two women’s experiences leaving their families behind to support them from afar. One woman tells us the choice she faced: let her children go hungry and beg on the street or leave them to take care of someone else’s children to pay for her own kid’s food, shelter and education. The resiliency and bravery of these women is incredible. A very important listen.

November 17, 2016: BBC Health Check; What’s the Mind Doing When It’s Daydreaming?
—> BBC has over 500 podcasts to indulge in; podcast lovers rejoice! My favorite part of the talk was an interview with a charismatic woman studying the origin of thoughts and consciousness for her PhD thesis. What is the first thing that happens in our brains as we reach for an idea? This excited me to ask a few questions of my own as I listened and felt even more curious after the show ended. That is the mark of a wonderful learning experience and great show!

November 10, 2016: Here & Now; Getting Emotions Switched On After Decades of Aspergers.
—> One of the most fascinating topics in brain science and one I cannot learn enough about. Asperger syndrome is a condition on the autism spectrum with generally higher functioning that affects one’s ability to effectively socialize and communicate. Even more interesting is how it affects each individual completely differently. In this episode, John Elder Robinson talks about his inability to read people’s emotions and how that was “turned on” after undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS.) Seeing emotions and subtleties of personal interaction was not only overwhelming but changed how he saw himself throughout his entire life. John notes how the experience was still one he would never take back.

November 1, 2016: Story Corps; The Other Side.
—> So relevant for this election in more ways than one. In this episode a conservative father and his liberal daughter discuss their political views and the way it affects their relationship. Honest communication and better understanding seems to pave the way for so much progress, whether that be in personal relationships or politics. Here’s an excerpt:

Father: “I ask questions. What do you think about this; what do you think about that. It’s me trying to glean information from someone who’s significantly more educated than I am. And whose opinions I trust. I don’t think I intentionally talk about politics with you to get into an argument with you.”

Daughter: I’m really surprised to hear you say that. I had no idea you were genuinely interested in what I had to say.

October 24, 2016: Snap Judgement; Welcome to the Dollhouse
—> Dang. I’ve been slackin’. In the spirit of Halloween, I give you the creepiest, scariest stories told with the captivating Snap Judgement crew. Storytelling is an art and these guys do not fail to deliver masterfully gripping tales of horror. Working in the lab at night listening to this was an awful idea. 😛

October 18, 2016: Story Corps; Danny & Annie Perasa
—> One of the most touching love stories that I have listened to many times. In 2006 Danny was diagnosed with a fast spreading terminal cancer and this story was their last of many interviews with Story Corps.

October 7, 2016: Enormocast; Episode 62: Type A for Angela
—> I’ll admit, I’m starting to become addicted to podcasts. 😛 This one was also too good not to share. Angie Payne is one of my absolute favorite climbers. She’s humble, talented, honest and refuses to sugar coat life. Brilliant. In this talk, she goes over her history with climbing: how she experienced extreme sadness amidst winning national championships, how she’s grown and transitioned with climbing and how she rediscovered her love for climbing many times over after injury. This woman is my hero!

October 5, 2016: Star Talk; A Conversation with Whoopi Goldberg
—> Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better!! In this episode Neil, Whoopi, co-hosts Chuck Nice and Bill Nye cover a range of topics from superheros, people of color and sci-fi, Whoopi’s inner nerd and so much more. So much humor, insight, history and discussion with minds absolutely turned on and ready to play. This show is quickly becoming my top favorite!

September 28, 2016: Star Talk; Cosmic Queries: The Space Race
—> “You just got b*tch slapped with knowledge!” (-Cohost, Chuck Nice) I feel no guilt in doing a second favorite Podcast of the Week today! Neil DeGrasse Tyson needs no introduction and I have so much love for this man! Always laughing, always charming, forever posing challenging questions…I listen to these episodes multiple times over and feel the contagiousness of his attitude. Another great episode to listen to would be “A Conversation with Ray Kurzweil.” It’s mind boggling to think about computers potentially reaching human intelligence in the future and nano-robots that will connect with our brains to process mass amounts of data. Oosh!

September 27, 2016: Serial Podcast; Season 1
—> Yes. All of season 1. I listened to the 12 episodes in less than 24 hours because it was so gripping! Serial [season 1] unfolds a story–one episode at a time–about the disappearance of a teenage girl from a Baltimore high school. Not too long after, her body is found and the suspects narrow down to 2. They take you through every nuance and detail of the investigative process, which is equal parts fascinating and infuriating. It’s an interesting look into a world and a system where everything is questioned and nothing makes perfect sense.

September 20, 2016: Brain Matters; Molecular mechanisms of depression with Dr. Lisa Monteggia
—> An amazing talk with an amazing woman! Dr. Lisa Monteggia has a background in microbiology, molecular biology and neuroscience. [Hero status!] Through this talk they focus on drugs that show promise of long-term antidepressant responses, complexity of depression triggers and the neural circuitry, and the different ways depression can arise. They also discuss Dr. Monteggia’s road to finishing her Masters, then PhD, then to having her own lab. Very inspiring listen with great questions and scientific explanations that are easy to understand no matter what your background is.

September 13, 2016: Hidden Brain; #AirbnbWhileBlack
—> A short one at just 25 minutes but very much worth the listen. In this talk, Hidden Brain’s charming host Shankar Vedantam discusses the increase in information available when we offer or accept services or goods online….and how this can be detrimental when subtle–or not so subtle–biases exist. They interview minorities with consistent experience of being denied when applying for places to stay. Researchers also dug deeper to find the facts, one of which showed that being African American resulted in a noticeable difference–15% lower chance–in being accepted as a Air B&B guest. One of my favorite points is that “Air b&b isn’t some little startup anymore. It’s one of the largest players in the hotel industry worldwide.” This is a beautiful example of how unconscious bias or discrimination can become very systemic.

September 6, 2016: Invisibilia; Frame of Reference
—>One of my all-time favorite podcasts [and episodes] which is changing how I want to pursue my education. This hour long episode co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel discusses the ways in which we lives our lives within certain “frames.” In-cred-i-ble stories. My favorite and most touching story was the first one at ~6:45 with a woman named Kim. Kim felt perpetually confused and alienated for reasons she could not fathom. Later in life, about 40 years later, she experienced firsthand with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) what subtle emotional systems are in place that she had been missing her entire life. Kim diagnosed herself with Aspergers Syndrome in her early 40s, which didn’t exist when she was growing up in the 60s, and formulated her own ways to cope. When she experienced TMS years later, she was shocked, saddened and changed for the rest of her life. Absolutely stunning.

On the List for Later:
Woman’s Hour : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qlvb
Radio Lab
Back to Work
Rationally Speaking
Stuff You Should Know
Podcast History of Our World
The Infinite Monkey Cage
Science Friday
Cara Santa Maria
Science for the People
Stuff to Blow Your Mind
Mental Illness Happy Hour
Nature Podcast
Physics Central
Brain Stuff