The 2005 book Freakonomics, launched by journalist Stephen J. Dubner and economist Steven D. Levitt, was a bit of a sensation, hurtling up the best seller charts. Dubner decided to launch a podcast version back in 2010, with the same ambition as the book: to prove the astounding connections between otherwise unrelated things. Fusing economics with some of the most interesting general knowledge you’ll ever lay your ears on, Freakonomics will have you wondering about the systems behind even the most familiar of concepts.
Let’s face it. We all use the internet an awful lot. You’re on it right now if you’re reading this. But very few avid ‘net users realise the potential and amazing things the technology at our fingertips can really do, aside from endless cat videos of course. Step in Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt’s Reply All podcast, which aims to give insights into the World Wide Web’s influence on culture and the wider world. They’re both expert storytellers, and have a knack for finding the most amazing, amusing and sometimes disturbing stories.
Journalists Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich set-up Radiolab, which takes a look at everyday oddities with a blend of science, philosophy, and music, and manages to make some pretty high-level subjects easy and accessible for all. A good example is their ‘Colors‘ episode, recommended by many as a good place to start, where you can learn about a sea creature with so many colours the human eye can’t even process them all.
Stuff You Missed In History Class
Own up, you probably didn’t pay as much attention as you could’ve done in school. But we’d be surprised if most of the teachings presented on this podcast ever made it into the syllabus in the first place, as we never remember school being this interesting. Weird facts, sad stories and engaging information are just a few of the things you can expect from Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey’s podcast. Best history teachers ever?
Ask Me Another
Ask Me Another brings a pub-quiz style format to the podcast genre, presenting itself more as an out and out show rather than your standard two people having a chat about science. Interspersed with comedy and musical skits which can be treated as a reward for soaking up some new knowledge, this ‘cast from NPR (the kings and queens of the informative podcast) is as fun yet informative as they come.
Stuff You Should Know
Sure, the internet is an unending library of information, throwing up answers to some of life’s bigger questions at the click of a button. But what about the curious ones out there who wonder about the little things? How do they make silly putty? How does pepper spray work? What’s better: cash, credit, or debit? With this podcast, you can have all of your niggling queries answered.
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is clear in its ambitions to make the world a smarter place, introducing its audience to critical thinking and rationality.
How To Do Everything
Another podcasting gem from the NPR team, How to Do Everything does exactly what it says on the tin, offering advice on how to get through some of life’s trickiest social situations faux pa free, and how to pick up some of life’s ‘essential’ skills (arm wrestling anyone?). Listeners send in questions to be answered, which means a surprising topic each week.
TED Radio Hour
TED Talks have proved some of the most popular sources of information on the internet, with their video lectures featuring some of the world’s leading experts on a variety of topics recognisable to almost anyone who’s ever touched a computer. It makes sense then that NPR has plucked some of the most interesting talks from the archive for this enlightening hour, hosted by Guy Raz.
Extra Pack of Peanuts
This podcast gives listeners invaluable travel hacks, along with essential geographical knowledge to make your next holiday a breeze. Even if you’re not planning a trip any time soon, EPOP (Extra Pack of Peanuts) will still provide you with invaluable knowledge of the world to impart on others.
Now we’ve got you thinking again, maybe it’s time to apply that knowledge to one of our fantastic courses we have on offer! Don’t miss out!