Even though I am usually not fond of information transmitted over the audio, for some reason I was fascinated by the idea of podcasts ever since I first heard of it. But somehow, I never find the time to listen to the podcasts that I seem to care about, so the unread episodes just keep on pilling and pilling. This week, I decided to dedicate it to podcasts and listen to everything that was on my list. So, every time I had a few idle minutes, I fired up my podcast app (AntennaPod for Android) and selected the next one on the list.
Here’s what I listened with some thoughts for each episode (Unfortunately I’m without internet ATM, so links to episodes and podcasts will follow soon):
Philosophize this is probably the podcast I’ve been following the longest, and probably the only podcast that I’ve heard all its episodes. It is produced by a guy named Steven West, who has a passion for philosophy and for explaining it to strangers on the internet. He started presenting philosophical ideas chronologically, usually focusing on one major philosopher each episode, and recently things became very interesting because we are reaching the present time.
The episode I listened to this week was about Gilles Deleuze and his thoughts on What exactly is Philosophy. He started by thinking that through the centuries, philosophy (or at least some branches of it) was trying to find the ultimate truth about our world. And every couple of centuries/decades, philosophers realise the mistakes of their previous colleagues and come up with a better version of the truth.
What Deleuze states however, is that Philosophy is not trying to discover the truth, just merely trying to create a representation of the world that fits in the current culture and norms of the times. So instead of being an ‘explanatory’ action, philosophy is actually a ‘creating’ action, as philosophers are creating these models. I find this idea very intriguing as it fits with my believe that the truth is relative, and all we can do as individuals is to experience the world through our own narrow viewpoint, which is created by our education and cultural norms.
I think the reason why I started following this podcast is because I used to follow a documentary as a teenager with the same name. I am not sure if the Inquiring Minds podcast has any relation with the Inquiring Minds tv show, but I can say that I am enjoying them equally a lot. They usually invite authors of science books and discuss the topics described in the book.
This week I listened to three episodes from Inquiring minds:
- The Science of Perfect Timing
This was a podcast about how timing can affect our productivity. And by timing you need to understand the time during the day in which we engage in different activities. The book they focused on is “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” by Daniel Pink, and they discuss specific tips on understanding what works better for you.
- Lessons from the Edge of the Universe
In this episode, the interview the author of “Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe” Dave Williams, and his experiences as a austronaut, neuroscientist, physician, and lately as a hospital CEO. We learn what it means to be selected for a mission to space and how his different experiences helped him bring the best out of each situation.
- Top 10 Science Stories of 2018
This episode was a short one and it outlined the most important science stories of 2018, according to the podcast producers. I was surprised to see that I didn’t really know all of the stories, which shows that I should pay more attention to the science news :)
I discovered Reveal through the suggestion list of gpodder, my podcast client for linux. This is one of the ‘darker’ podcasts, doing investigative reporting and bring up stories such as immigration issues, justice, democracy etc etc. Pretty serious stuff that is. I really enjoy how they dig in into a topic and try to cover different perspectives, although they are obviously democratic oriented.
This week I listened to the podcast “Silencing Science”, where they follow through a story of a scientist, doing research on climate change and its impact on US national parks. The story is brought up due to suspicions that the Trump administration is trying to bury such science and censor any mentions to human influence on climate change. The interesting thing I learned was that the Trump administration does not want to admit the human influence because if they do, then they will have to act on it. Since they want to focus on different, more immediate, areas for improvement, they decide to neglect the facts.
This is the only podcast that I am following with 2 hours episodes. I am usually unable to follow something for more than 30’, but this is very fun and easy to follow. It is basically a discussion on security topics of the past weeks.
This weeks episode was called “Which Mobile VPN Client?”, in which the hosts, besides many other topics, they finally discussed which mobile app is the only reliable VPN client after a lot of research. I was very interested in this topic as I rely heavily on VPN, and wanted to see if my client has any issues. And of course, my client was the one choosen as the only reliable one :D I won’t tell you which one I am using, you should check the episode! :D
Free-Libre Open Source Software is a podcast that I’m not really listening, but following the episode names so that I discover interesting open source projects. It is usually not very interesting discussions, but the projects they interview are usually fascinating.
This week, I did listen though the episode about “Opencast”, which is a platform for universities to schedule and automate publishing of video recordings of their courses. I am very interested in the topic as I want to record and publish my lectures in the near future, and this episode gave some good idea of what does it mean. I don’t think I’ll use Opencast though, since it is a much bigger thing than I need, but it’s good to know it exists.
ROS developers podcast
This is a recent catch. I started using ROS about 6 months ago, and I think this podcast can help me dive into some specialised topics that would take me forever otherwise. This week I listened to a very very relevant podcast called “The state of Robotics Education” where the host interviewed Joel Esposito, a robotics professor. Joel did a worldwide survey to understand how people are teaching robotics in different institutions and the episode was full of insights and good ideas on how to do my job better. Joel also published his findings in a journal article, which you can access for free on the podcast website
This is for the Greeks. Ελληνοφρένεια (Greek craze) is a radio show that you can listen in a podcast format as well. Which is great, cause they broadcast during working hours, so it’s difficult to listen to it live. They comment in a satyrical way the Greek news, usually targetting the government, cabinet, or the opposition leaders. It’s a laugh-or-cry podcast, which helps me stay in contact with Greek reality.
Wow, I did listen a lot of things this week! Maybe I overdid it a bit! But writing my thoughts down makes me thing that I’m not so bad at listening stuff after all, and that I can retain information. Maybe I should go ahead and try audiobooks as well!