3 Podcasts You Should be Listening to
Whether you’re out walking the dog, exercising at the gym, chilling at home, or driving between places, podcasts are a great way to spend your time, while learning something new. Over the last year, all my commutes between home and work have been accompanied by the voices of podcasters from across the world. Some of these men and women made me laugh and some made made me think, but all of them taught me something new — all in the span of 30 minutes to an hour. Here are a few of the podcasters who left an indelible impression on me:
Dan Carlin’s ‘Hardcore History’
To borrow an analogy, imagine history as a meal. The Tudors, Celts, Romans, and Mongols are steaks, mashed potatoes, herbed vegetables, and bread. The Americans — spanning the Invasion of Panama to WWII — are the dessert. Very often, listening to Dan Carlin’s ‘Hardcore History’ is a lot like having this meal morsel by morsel. His podcasts rarely have a runtime lesser than three hours and are backed by over three months of research and reading. They are elaborate, in-depth, insightful, and most of all unapologetic about Carlin’s deep love for history and its implications on modern life.
Carlin’s podcasts very often deal with one particular incident in history, the events that led up to it, and the effect it had on human life — especially in the West — thereafter. However, what really drew me into ‘Hardcore History’ was how he could do this without making timelines confusing or jumbled up.
How Did This Get Made?
You know those evenings where you are at home drinking with a few friends and have a laugh riot that stays in your memory forever? ‘How did this get made?’ is nearly 200 episodes of such sessions, hosted by professional funny people Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, Jason Mantzoukas, and a guest. Each installment has a runtime of nearly two hours and sees the hosts tearing into movies that fall into the ‘so bad they’re good’ category. Some of the movies they’ve featured in the the past include The Smurfs, Avatar -The Last Airbender, and the Twilight series.
What sets ‘How did this get made?’ apart from other comedy podcasts is the feeling of camaraderie and friendship in every single episode.
During World War II, the American Navy gave a large contract to Wilton C. Dinges — the developer of an indestructible, torpedo-proof chair to be used on battleships. Called the Emeco 1006, today it is a favorite among designers such as Philippe Starck and Giorgio Armani. What’s more, it’s also at the center of a worldwide debate on what defines plagiarism in design. ‘99% Invisible’ by Roman Mars is a wonderful series that uses 30-minute podcasts to delve into the history, thought process, and current situation of such design ideas. Some of the topics Mars goes into include how American hospitals became more efficient thanks to Toyota’s plants and the design of the sport of basketball.
Personally, ‘99% Invisible’ is a great way to gain more perspective on the hidden design decisions around us. It has helped broaden my understanding of the world, while giving me bits of information I wouldn’t have realized in my wildest dreams.