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Do you listen to podcasts? You should. Not only are they a great way to keep up with the news, they can also be incredibly entertaining and enlightening. Even better, it’s the ultimate multitasking medium. I no longer mind cleaning around the house, for example, because it gives me time to listen to amazing things.
Finding a podcast you like listening to isn’t necessarily easy, though. Finding my favorite cool podcasts took a while, so I thought I’d share them with you. Let’s not stop there, though. Add links to your favorite podcasts below so everyone can benefit, myself included. Who knows, we just might end up publishing a follow-up piece outlining your favorites.
Humans have no idea how pigeons navigate so well. It’s not by sight, and it’s not by smell; we’ve run tests to prove this. If we could figure out how they navigate so well GPS satellites might become redundant. But we can’t.
That’s just one thing I’ve learned by listening to Radiolab, an altogether impossible to describe show exploring the intersection of science and philosophy. This extremely well-crafted show only puts out five one-hour episodes a year, along with ten shorts. This quality-over-quantity strategy pays off in a big way, because I’m yet to be disappointed by an episode of this show. For best results listen with headphones.
This is the opposite of Radiolab. John Oliver, of Daily Show fame, joins his former co-host Andy Zaltzman once a week to make up a bunch of nonsense regarding the news. It’s the only audio newspaper for a visual world. If you like walking around town wearing headphones and bursting into occasional fits of laughter, this show is for you. Be warned, though: this show has a satirical point of view, and isn’t shy to offend.
Check out The Bugle‘s terrible website, which Andy really shouldn’t have built himself. Oh well, there are subscription links there and that’s all you need.
Not much needs to be said about this show. Consistently among the most popular podcasts on iTunes, This American Life is a weekly examination of the big and small stories that collectively define America. Even if you’re not American, though, you’ll find something to love here.
The storytelling transcends documentary or journalism; it’s perhaps best described simply as “non-fiction” (though sometimes fictional stories are included as well). Oh, and take note, you can listen to the complete This American Life archives for free.
Does business and economic news confuse you? You’re not alone. From the Wall Street Journal to CNBC, financial news is riddled with jargon and often impossible to understand if you’re not an insider.
That’s why I love Planet Money, an NPR podcast that seeks to explain in simple English how our economy functions. Listen to this on a regular basis and you’ll be amazed how fast you start comprehending financial news, and how much fun you can have figuring it out.
It was a book and then a movie. Now it’s a podcast.
Exploring the weird ways economics can be used to understand the world beyond money, Freakonomics Radio is great fun to listen to. If you’ve read the books you know how different the Freakonomics point of view can be, but if not you should check out this podcast.
Oh, by the way, James and Dave, both writers here for MakeUseOf, work with me on a weekly technology podcast called Technophilia. It’s not in the same league as these shows, but it’s a lot of fun and covers a lot of the stuff you read here at MakeUseOf. I’d love it if you’d give us a listen.
Do you want some other podcasts to check out? We’ve made a few lists already:
Do you know of some other podcasts I should check out? Please let me know in the comments below. I look forward to your suggestions!