Now Hear This: Podcasts you don’t wanna miss. (10/29/21)

Science Vs. (Gimlet Media)

For our inaugural installment of Now Hear This, I’d like to start off with something that affects everyone at some point in their lives, particularly during the topsy-turvy times we live in. Burnout. That’s the topic of a recent episode of Science Vs. They dig into the science and history beneath that nauseating feeling that sometimes sweeps over me when I open Outlook.

Basically, it’s a stress response hard wired into our brains, except originally the adaptation served different purposes. (I mean who would have thought my inbox could get so cluttered?) Wendy Zukerman explores the ways repeated assaults of fight-or-flight caliber stress can physically alter your brain. (Maybe this explains the throbbing temples and watery eyes?) Is there a solution to this madness beyond deleting Outlook? You’ll have to give Science Vs. a listen to find out.

Zukerman et al. always deliver in informative and, most importantly for me, creative ways. The same goes for their topics. As close to a can’t miss as science podcasting goes. Their even more recent episode about blue balls is something worth giving a listen to as well. Good stuff.

Unexplainable (Vox Media)

In a perfect world, climate change would not be a topic of podcasts or anything for that matter. Unfortunately, the world we live in is full of ExxonMobils waging disinformation campaigns on climate science. This episode of Unexplainable looks at the way climate change is affecting the size of animals and how Bergmann’s rule doesn’t explain the changes being seen in the wild. Sometimes it seems like people associate everything wrong in the world with climate change. Turns out, they may be on to something.

Global Health Matters (World Health Organization)

SciCommers have it rough. They often catch it from both sides. Oft times disparaged by the scientists they champion for simplifying science. Other times (and more often during the pandemic), they are on the receiving end of the general public’s vitriol about the science they are attempting to communicate in the most palatable way possible. That’s not to say SciCommers aren’t loved because they are. There are lots of science fans who appreciate the work they do. This episode of Global Health Matters is all about SciComm. You’ll hear all about what it takes to bring complicated science to the general public as well as clever ways different media can make the process more interesting.

Overheard (National Geographic)

The final podcast being featured in this world premier installment of Now Hear This is less science and more just interesting. (Of course, there’s a little science in there.) It’s the Overheard podcast, brought to you by the venerable folks at National Geographic. It’s about Pompeii. Now, that may sound boring since you learn about Pompeii in grade school and there are all sorts of travelling Pompeii exhibitions, not to mention countless television episodes dedicated to it. This episode is different. It’s about graffiti on the walls of the ancient buried city. Apparently, there are tons of it around but, compared to modern graff, ancient Roman graffiti was really small. There are shopping lists with the actual prices of things in the market. There are also writings by female slaves, a discovery that shakes things up a bit since #1 it’s a woman doing the writing and #2 a literate slave isn’t exactly how the common narrative goes. There’s an even bigger revelation, but you’d have to listent to the podcast for the rest.

WORDS: Marc Landas.

Darwin’s Tree of Life (just think).

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