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Discovering Podcasts

As those of you who read gnomi's journal might recall, recently I had a medical procedure that laid me up for a day or two.

Because I wasn't going to be in the mood to read during those days, Nomi and I decided it was time to join the iPod generation. We had resisted buying iPods for these past five years, primarily because we didn't see any need to own them. (I define "need" here in the way that we discovered we "needed" cell phones. They went from being a luxury item that didn't seem necessary to something that we now rely on daily. Lots of technology is like that; before you acquire it, you have no idea why you would want it; afterwards, you wonder how you lived without it. But I digress.)

So now that I have an iPod, I decided to explore a world that heretofore I had mostly ignored: podcasting.

I have discovered the joy of podcasts. Forget music; I'm loading my iPod with podcasts, and whiling away the empty minutes with content. (It's amazing how much more productive I'm becoming at work when I have something for my ears to do.)

Here's a list of the podcasts I have started subscribing to:

60-Second Science
A Way With Words
Adventures in SciFi Publishing
Ask Lev
Comic News Insider
Escape Pod
Futurismic Audio
Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Levinson news clips
Light On Light Through
New Scientist Podcast
NPR: On Words with John Ciardi
NPR: Sunday Puzzle
NPR: Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Science Friday -- Making Science Radioactive
Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American
Slice of Scifi -- Science Fiction TV & Movie News, Interviews, & more
The 9th -- A Heroes Podcast
The Babylon Podcast
The Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy

I considered making each of those titles a link to the podcast, but then realized that would take me too long. So if you're interested in tracking down any of those podcasts, I'd suggest searching on Google or in the iTunes store. Chances are you'll find them.

You may have noticed that the podcasts I started with lean heavily towards some of my usual interests -- science fiction, writing, words, puzzles, and comic books. What I did find interesting is that three of the podcasts listed -- Ask Lev, Levinson news clips, and Light On Light Through -- are all recorded by my old friend Paul Levinson. Paul's a professor of communications at Fordham University, a science fiction writer, and a former president of SFWA, and he always has interesting things to share. I got in touch with him to tell him that I've started listening to his podcasts, and he asked if he could interview me for a future episode of Light on Light Through. So I'll be speaking to him tonight, and making my own haphazard way into the podosphere. (If "podosphere" is even a word.)

Now, even though I'm subscribing to a lot of podcasts, and am unlikely to ever have time to listen to them all, my iPod is still hungry for content. So if anyone out there has a favorite podcast or twelve that you'd like to recommend, do let me know.


there are a number of great science ones. Slacker Astronomy, Astronomy Cast, Astronomy a Go-go are all good. If you want something more accademeic Then look for Astronomy 161 and 161 from OSU.
Thanks for the recommendations -- I think I've heard of Slacker Astronomy before, so I'll look for that one.
i humbly offer www.audible.com for tons of "books on tape" in MP3 format fer cheep.
Thank you!
This American Life, also produced by the NPR station in Chicago but distributed through That Other Brand of public radio, began podcasting a few months ago.

It's been totally hit or miss for me- some I've loved, at least one almost depressed me into my shoetops- but they fill a CD nicely and the production work is always excellent.

I've discovered that NPR produces a lot of good podcasts. I'll check that one out; thanks!
My favorite podcast that I'm fairly sure you have no interest in is the 1Up Yours! podcast, from the guys at 1Up.com - it's all about videogames.

the other regular podcasts for me are EGM Live, also about gaming.

The one you might want to check out is the Comicazi podcast - hosted at http://bahlactus.com/category/podcasts/comicazipodcasts/ - it's Aaron, Mike & "Bahlactus" from the aforementioned comic book store.
Aha! A comic book podcast. Yes, you know my tastes.
What is on the Babylon podcast, if I may ask?
Honestly, I don't know. I haven't listened to one yet. But it's devoted to discussing Babylon 5.
I'm just fascinated that there are still new things to say about a show that's been gone this long and that had such a verbal fan presence when it was on.
If you're watching Battlestar Galactica, they're posting episode-commentary podcasts.

I'm afraid I can't recommend much else; I don't tend to process information by sound well at all and anything involving speech rather than singing is too distracting when I'm working ....
I actually downloaded their writer's-room meeting, and plan to listen to that at some point.
I'm a fan of Coverville, though I'm sadly behind on listening to it.
I like the icon. :-)
The WGBH Forum Network has nice long, usually interactive talks on almost always fascinating subjects, mostly of social interest; one of the recent ones I heard was Kenji Yoshino, a Yale Law professor with a new book out called "Covering: The Hidden Assault On Our Civil Rights", which was a fascinating talk about the necessity for some folks to 'cover' certain aspects of their identity in order to fit in (examples-a black person told not to wear cornrows or dredlocks at work; the issue is not the 'blackness', but a specific expression of 'black culture'). Another was a talk with the designers of the Second Life 'metaverse' on how and why their concept works in practice. (It's consciously modeled after Stephenson's 'Metaverse')
This sounds interesting; I'll look for it. Thanks!

Podcast Faves

Michael, this is a listing of the many NPR podcasts currently available from national and local sources. It has some items that might be of interest.


I've been loading up on programs like Democracy Now! (video or audio option), Counterspin from FAIR, RadioNation with Laura Flanders, KCRW's Left, Right and Center, Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac" and several podcasts on renewable and nuclear energy.

If you'd like the URLs for any of these, let me know.

Re: Podcast Faves

I've seen that page; what I've done is find podcasts that look interesting, then locate them via iTunes for a subscription.

Thanks for the URL!

Re: Podcast Faves

Michael, for what it's worth, I've used Google to hunt down some of these podcasts. I don't use iTunes (I use Juice on Windows XP or iPodder on Linux) so it's probably more of a rude and crude approach. Lot of fun stuff out there.
I think I must keep formatting my pc and forgetting to add a podcast downloader and resubscribing to the usual podcasts.

Escape Pod was one I used to listen to myself though!
I'm having a similar experience... Seth got me an iPod for Chanukah. It never occurred to me that I wanted, let alone needed, an iPod. Now I can't figure out how I'll ever live without it. And podcasts! Wow. I never thought much of podcasts. In fact, I thought they were rather silly. But now!? I am seriously lamenting the slow but steady death of my iBook because I can't get to my precious podcasts!

December 2016

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