99% Invisible #195
↳ Best Enjoyed By

Where do food expiration labels come from, and what do they really mean?

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Pop Culture Happy Hour
↳ Small Batch: Remembering David Bowie

“The song went on forever”

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Planet Money #666
↳ The Hoverboard Life

Where did hoverboards come from?

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StartUp Podcast #19
↳ Diversity Report

An interesting look at the challenges, importance, and meaning of diversity for a company.

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The Bright Sessions #1
↳ Check Out: The Bright Sessions

Fiction podcasts have been on the rise lately, but I've found it very difficult to connect to most of them. But The Bright Sessions has hooked me in, with a great mix of intriguing science fiction premise, novel (but very natural) format, and serialization.

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Reply All #46
↳ Yik Yak Returns

What racism looks like in our modern age.

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99% Invisible #188
↳ Fountain Drinks

Another episode of 99% Invisible about the surprising and fascinating history of something we find extremely common: drinking water.

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StartUp Podcast #16
↳ The Secret Formula

A look at how Gimlet develops a new podcast idea. I always find it fascinating to learn more about the behind-the-scenes production of NPR-style podcasts. I think as listeners we have a vague sense that "yeah, it's scripted", but not really a sense as to how deep that goes; what we see is the tip of the iceberg of the work that goes into these shows. And this episode is particularly interesting because it looks at the creation and development of a new podcast, which is even more unknown and invisible to listeners.

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On the Media
↳ Inside/Outside

An interesting look at the history of the "outsider" narrative of presidential candidates.

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Planet Money #550
↳ When Salaries Aren’t Secret

Who benefits from our fear of openly talking about money? What would happen if things came out into the open? (This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired in July 2014, but is just as relevant today as it was then.)

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99% Invisible #186
↳ War and Pizza

How do we get food that can sit in our pantry for years? Where do the chemicals that occupy grocery isles come from?

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Note to Self
↳ How to Shake Up Your Echo Chamber

Great chat with hosts of three of the best podcasts about expanding outside your social media echo chamber and broadening your perspective. I often hear that people are fed up with the same discussions over and over again on social media, and I've always felt that's just their own fault for whom they choose to follow (the same goes for podcasts). If you've felt like you need a change of pace, this is a great place to start. Also check out the accompanying blog post for extra notes and tips that weren't mentioned on the show.

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Reasonably Sound #30
↳ Bits and Chips

A really cool look into the world of chiptunes—a great listen if you have any interest in classic video game music.

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Criminal #28
↳ P.D.I.D.

An important look at how police treated a transgender woman in 2009. Even with all the progress we've made in transgender rights in the intervening six years, transphobia is still rampant, and this is a brutal look into how it manifests.

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Between the Liner Notes #3
↳ I Want My MTV

I have little interest in music, but I grew up in an era where the existence of MTV was a given part of life. Which makes hearing about the large obstacles faced in MTV's creation extremely fascinating.

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On the Media
↳ After Oregon

An important look at the role the media plays in mass shootings.

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Note to Self
↳ Why Google ‘Thought’ This Black Woman Was a Gorilla

This episode is a great and important reminder that not only is the current state of AI much dumber than we think, but also much more biased by the demographics of its creators than we'd like to believe.

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Radiolab
↳ Darkode

I swear one day I won't feature Radiolab every week, but today is not that day. This episode has two halves: the first is a thrilling and fascinating story about being hacked, and the second is a look behind the network that enables those activities. It's really great, and totally worth my guilt of featuring the same show three weeks in a row.

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Radio Rookies
↳ Why Do I Stay?

This isn't a fun recommendation, but is an important story to hear.

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Out on the Wire #1
↳ Eureka

If you're interested in making narrative nonfiction radio someday, this new podcast is a must-listen. But I'm not interested in getting into radio someday; I enjoy this podcast for entirely different reasons, for the peeks behind the scenes of great shows and glimpses into what it takes to create compelling stories.

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Untitled Patrick Rothfuss Podcast
↳ Gandalf Already Knows Prismatic Spray

I haven't read The Name of the Wind (though I've heard it's excellent). I'm not a big fan of Cards Against Humanity. But this podcast from Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind, and Max Temkin, of Cards Against Humanity, is really great. Their conversations are always interesting, but this episode really struck me with their discussion of the presence—or lack of—logical and well-presented rules behind fantasy magic.

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Radiolab
↳ The Rhino Hunter

Part of me feels guilty because this marks my first repeat show recommendation, and in consequent episodes of the podcast nonetheless. But this epiosde was too great to pass up. It takes what may seem like a binary black-and-white issue and explores the nuance, the varied perspectives, to teach us not only about the intricacies of black rhino hunting in Namibia, but how complex so many issues can be.

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The Cracked Podcast #85
↳ Ben Franklin’s Secret Hack to Make People Like You

The ear-catching (and definitely a bit clickbaity) theory described by this episode's title is interesting on a micro-level, but not exactly practical. Don't listen to learn a secret hack you can use to make people like you. Listen to this episode to hear the Cracked editors explore the ramifications of this theory in a fascinating and thought-provoking discusion about society. In particular, the way this theory intersects with and influences inequality is such an adept explanation for how vast inequalities arise, and how society's natural inclination is to trend towards inequality, rather than against it.

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Mother: A Podcast #7
↳ What We Talk About When We Talk About Pregnancy Loss

One of my favorite aspects of the podcast medium is the ability to hear stories from new perspectives, to grow my understanding of the world. As a guy, Mother: A Podcast fits that for me perfectly, though I'm sure the podcast would be even more interesting to mothers or women planning to become mothers one day. This latest episode of the podcast is a great collection of stories about pregnancy loss, which I found such a valuable experience because it is something I hear and think about very rarely and I can only begin to understand at a very abstract level.

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Radiolab
↳ Remembering Oliver Sacks

When the unfortunate news of Oliver Sacks's passing hit last week, I didn't know how to react. I had no idea who he was, just that people in public radio really loved him. Apparently Dr. Oliver Sacks provided many stories to Radiolab over the years. To honor his memory, Radiolab re-aired this episode from July, which is a great conversation with him and really shows why he was so loved.

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Death, Sex & Money
↳ In New Orleans: From Raising Hell to Raising Kids

This is the first part in an excellent series of interviews Death, Sex & Money released last week to line up with the decade anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Each interview offers a unique perspective on life in New Orleans. It's a great series, and you should definitely check out the rest of the episodes if you found this firts part compelling.

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You're the Expert
↳ Inside a Dog's Brain

I'm not a dog person. I might go so far as to say that I hate dogs (except huskies, because wolves). And yet I found this episode all about a puppy psychologist fascinating, engaging, and hillarious.

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Detective #1
↳ Murder in the First

Haunting and fascinating.

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Reconcilable Differences
↳ 50 Shades of John

John Siracusa is most well-known on the Internet for his library of comprehensive reviews of Mac OS X on Ars Technica, his concluded tech podcast Hypercritical, and as one third of the ongoing Accidental Tech Podcast. Hypercritical, which concluded 2 years ago, is still my favorite podcast—not directly because of any of the topics it covered (though those were usually interesting to tech geeks), but because of the way Siracusa was able to so effectively present and construct arguments about a wide variety of topics. In Reconcilable Differences, he and Merlin Mann (another internet figure known in the podcasting sphere for his long-running shows Back to Work and Roderick on the Line) sit down and try to figure out how each other ticks by sharing stories and philosophies.

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ARRVLS
↳ Mama, I’m A Girl

I've been thinking about how to feature Marlo Mack's incredible, inspiring podcast How To Be a Girl since I discovered it a couple weeks ago, and how to encourage people to go back and listen to the podcast's back catalogue. And then this episode of ARRVLS, an overview of the story behind How To Be a Girl, came along and answered that question. This episode is an overview of the story behind How To Be a Girl, and a great introduction to the podcast.

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Curious City
↳ Shoes on a Wire: Untangling an Urban Myth

Wait, but why do sneakers end up on power lines?

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Freakonomics Radio
↳ Why Do We Follow the News?

A couple months ago while listening to Hello Internet, professional YouTube explainer CGP Grey talked about his reasons for not following the news. He raised an interesting question that left a mark on me: is keeping up with the news as righteous, necessary, and morally imperative as we commonly believe?

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This American Life #563
↳ The Problem We All Live With - Part Two

You probably may have already seen this coming, but here's the follow-up to Monday's episode. If you haven't listened to the first part of The Problem We All Live With, start there first.

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This American Life #562
↳ The Problem We All Live With

This American Life is perhaps the biggest podcast out there, so featuring it here to some degree feels a bit odd. This episode isn't being featured to say “hey, you should check out this podcast you may not have heard of,” but rather: “this episode is extremely well-done, thought-provoking, very important, and you should definitely listen.”

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Note to Self
↳ This is Your Brain On Online Shopping

This is a pretty great primer to the concept and practice of UX (user experience) research. It's an interesting look behind the process of UX research, but also a great introduction to how questions of UX affect software and experiences that continue to become more significant in our lives.

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Another Round #19
↳ Was That A Microaggression Or Just Tuesday?

Come to Another Round to hear two smart women discuss race and social justice; stay for the squirreltalk and insightful interviews. If you're woke, listen to have fun hearing about issues you care about; if you're not woke (or don't know what that word means and think I'm using the past participle of 'wake' incorrectly), listen to have fun hearing new voices and seeing different perspectives.

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99% Invisible #173
↳ Awareness

If you don't listen to 99% Invisible regularly, you probably should. Some episodes focus on topics that mostly appeal to design or architecture nerds, but every now and then 99% Invisible hits it out of the park with a story that resonates with basically anyone. This episode is about a design, but really it's about the powerful social impact that a simple little design can achieve.

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What Is This Thing?

Welcome to Pod Pod Pod, a curated playlist of the week's best podcasts. I'm your podcast DJ, Jeffinitely Jeff.

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