There’s no Ancient and Esoteric Order of the Jackalope podcast this week, but we know you need your podcast fix. How about trying one of these eight podcasts we like?
Short form podcasts are a mixed bag. Some feel like abandoned projects that could have run for more episodes, but many also feel like they’ve been stretched thin to fill more episodes. Wondery’s Bad Batch is right in the sweet spot. Science reporter Laura Beil digs into a catastrophic failure of the health care industry, and the astonishing inability of anyone involved to come forward and admit that they screwed up.
One of the best surprises of the last few months has been “Undercover Economist” Tim Hartford’s Cautionary Tales. Tim uses economics as a lens to explore human decision making, sort of like Freakonomics but less contrarian and smug. Some notable episodes include an examination of how two different economists handled failure of their predictive models, and how ancient oracles can help us deal with their modern counterparts.
On each episode of GastroPod Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley look at food “through the lens of science and history” which combines our three favorite things. They’ve had some great episodes about how menus are designed to guide you to certain items, a look at food items that no one will ever be able to eat again, and a discussion of tiki culture, warts and all.
Art appreciation can sometimes be difficult, so thank god we’ve got Tamar Avishai’s Lonely Palette to make it easy. Every episode tackles a single work from multiple angles, whether she’s discussing Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait or Frida Kahlo’s Dos Mujeres. My absolute favorite, though, is “Behold the Monkey,” her thoughtful examination of the botched Ecce Homo restoration.
If you love British panel show QI then you really should be listening to No Such Thing as a Fish, where each week the QI Elves (James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber) share four facts that they unearthed while researching the show.
The team over at The Pessimist’s Archive looks at technology, how it’s changed us, and how we try (hilariously) to resist it. Some of the best episodes include a look at how cheap mirrors changed our attitude towards vanity, why we thought teddy bears would destroy society, and all of the various ways technology will make your face freeze like that.
There’s a huge sub-genre of podcasting that’s just “ranking things” and there are ones for everything from Roman Emperors to Christmas songs. My favorite is Pontifacts, where Bry and Fry rate all the popes from Peter to Francis on their sacred and secular impact as well how interesting they were and how hot they looked. With a few stops along the way to look at antipopes, ecumenical councils, and more. Educational, and highly entertaining. My personal favorite is the story of Pope Fabian. “Put a birb on it!”
Not a non-fiction podcast, I know, but sometimes we all need to relax with some tunes. And music podcast’s don’t get better than Radio Free Hipster, where GeekDad’s Z sorts through the latest geeky and nerdy tracks to bring you half hour of audio pleasure twice a month.
(Full, disclosure, #13 has done artwork for a few of Z’s projects, but we assure you that hasn’t affected our sincere love of his podcast.)
New Episodes from Old Favorites
Benito Cereno and Chris Sims of the Apocrypals made a two-part deep dive into the Book of Ezekiel (“The Parable of the Sexy Blood Baby” and “Welcome to the Bone Zone”) and the results are hilarious.
I make no secrets of the fact that Mark Chrisler’s The Constant is my absolute favorite podcast, and his episodes on cannibalism and perpetual motion episodes are some of the best work he’s ever done.
Ken Jennings and John Roderick at The Omnibus Project had a very interesting discussion about induced demand.