Open Thread, September 4th, 2010

By Razib Khan | September 4, 2010 10:53 am

If you’re American, you should be at a barbecue or something! So what podcasts do you listen to? The main talk show I listen to is Tom Ashbrook’s.

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  • Kevin I. Slaughter

    In the Spring of this year I made the following list, though the links don’t carry over from the copy/paste.

    Using the famous ALPHA-BETA system of ranking:

    AltRight Radio – especially now that Richard is recording himself better. He had a terrible mic and had a hell of a time with his plosives in the first few episodes… damn near unlistenable.

    American Conservative University – they aggregate Mises, Medved, Prager, Stossel and some misc. conservative radio or audio ripped from video. Some Christian garbage… okay, a lot – but some good stuff.

    Cato Institute Event Podcast – Mixed bag, there’ve been some really good talks on topics I would have never considered exploring. Libertarian/free market.

    Radio Derb on National Review Online – Weekly news commentary from John Derbyshire. I like Derb alot, and his weekly podcast seems to touch on so many of the news items that interested me over the previous week and more. He’s got a great British sense of humor. You can listen to my interview with him on my podcast.

    For Good Reason – Former host of CFI’s Point of Inquiry podcast. He’s one of my favorite hosts… quick witted and really able to discuss a range of topics. Challenges guests when he sees a hole in their argument, but never unreasonably or in a mean spirited way.

    Groks Science Show – Nerdy science fun. Host needs to figure out a different word than “fascinating” to describe every book by every author he interviews.

    The Nerdist – this seems to be a comedy podcast for people who are into comedy… not like “I like to laugh”, but “I’m interested in the process”. Mythbuster’s Adam Savage did his first stand-up set for a live show and was great. I’ve enjoyed the other episodes so far, but it’s a bit too “in the biz”.

    Onion Radio News – come the fuck on! How have they not run out of material? Q&A on Ayn Rand – Leonard Peikoff answers listeners questions, about 10% of them are about masturbation, another 10% prostitution. The rest are okay too. (But seriously, he gets a LOT of sex questions).

    Point of Inquiry – Now with three hosts instead of one, not as good as DJ Grothe. It might be bias against the new, so I won’t be too harsh. Some interesting stuff so far.

    PRI’s The World in Words – Very Public Radio/NPR in themes, tone, etc., but still interesting linguistic news and topics. Well produced… – Augh, video podcast… iTunes sucks for video, I’m rarely in a position to watch video on my iPod, so I end up just listening to the audio while the video plays. The video is produced really well, though.

    Reasonable Doubts – Solid atheist/skeptic/counter-apologetics. They know what they’re talking about in that area.

    Skepticality – a must.

    Skeptoid – I’m Brian Dunning, and you must subscribe to this podcast.

    Superego – funniest podcast ever. Listen to all of them.

    This Week In Google – Nerd it up!

    This Week In Tech – Ditto Dorko!

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  • Shoup

    I’m in the process of reading James Scott’s “The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia,” highly recommended :)

  • Zora

    Why the heck would I want to listen to a podcast? Speech is so dang slow. I can read a transcript in 1/10th the time it would take me to listen to the show.

  • RickK

    Zora – do you read text while driving to work? Do you read text while walking the dog? Do you read text while washing the dishes, mopping the floor, vacuuming the carpet, raking leaves, weeding the garden, or… well… you get the idea. Yes, audio is slower than reading, but in a busy life there is so much more opportunity for listening. When I started with podcasts and moved on to audiobooks, my volume of “reading” and consumption of new and interesting material increased dramatically.

  • dave chamberlin

    With all the great threads lately on our ancient history I have to put a plug in for what I thought was a great book, “Under the Mountain Wall, a Chronicle of Two Seasons in the Stone Age” by Peter Mathiessen. Planes flying over central New Guinea in the 1930’s discovered below them agricultural fields tended by tribes nobody in the outside world knew existed or had contacted. It wasn’t until 1961 that a group which Peter Mathiesson was a part of actually reached these people and lived amoung them. Peter is best known for his later books, but he had the good sense in this one to get out of the way of the real story, how a stone age people actually lived before touched by the modern world. Very very few books that I have read have stuck with me like this one did, and that is the best review I can give to any book. Read it, our chances to live amoung untouched stone age peoples are gone now, but thanks to a world class writer being in the right place at the right time we can at least be there in spirit.

  • Zora

    Don’t drive much, don’t have a dog, don’t have a big yard (just a few flowerbeds), usually do the chores a bit at a time between blogs.

    I like to do handsewing and watch movies at the same time. Suppose podcasts would make sense too. Still … talk is slow!

  • Laura

    Econtalk,, and the Cato Institute (daily + event) are the main ones. The Onion Radio News is also quite edifying…the sound quality varies a lot for Econtalk guests, so it can be difficult to hear with highway noise if you are on a road trip.

  • Otto Kerner

    Sinica is a really excellent newish podcast about current events in China. I began to worry right away that they wouldn’t be able to keep up such a high quality podcast on a weekly schedule, and lately they are proving me right: the last update was Aug. 20. I also like New Books in History, In Our Time, the Bible Geek (Robert Price’s Q/A show), Filmspotting, On the Media, Point of Inquiry (and now For Good Reason, thanks to K. I. Slaughter) , Econtalk, Lew Rockwell, sometimes Antiwar Radio, and Buddhist Geeks. I keep an eye on, and they have something that interests me fairly often, but mostly it serves to lower my estimation of the quality of the typical blogger. I check in on WBEZ’s Worldview occasionally, but the quality is usually low. I also like the Columbia Buddhist Studies seminar series if and when they actually update. Ditto for Tibet Connection, although there you really have to pick and choose which segments are worth listening to.

    There are a lot of interesting college courses which have been made available for free on the internet (Anne is a Man reviews them frequently), but a lot of them seem to want you to stream rather than listen as a podcast. Open Yale courses are available as mp3s if you go through the RSS Feed. I’ve listened to the classes on the Old and New Testaments and have been listening to Introduction to Political Philosophy lately — I’m not a big fan of the instructor, but the material is so fascinating that it makes it worthwhile.

    If anybody knows about a linguistics podcast that has a bit more of a hard/scientific tone than The World In Words, I would be much obliged. I wish there were a “New Books in X” podcast for every subject X that I’m interested in.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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