Thursday, March 3, 2011

Regarding Podcasts

Hey everybody. I was supposed to update yesterday but I kinda had a lot of things on my mind. But I’m not here to speak of that, I’ve decided. Too dull and depressing. I’ve decided to let everyone know what I’m listening to on my iPod: podcasts.

Now of course, music is a large part of my iTunes collection. Indeed, I have nearly fifteen gigs of it. A large part of it is videogame and movie soundtracks, some classical, some pop and a helluva lot of metal.

Yeah, it's kinda like that.

However, I’ve found that podcasts are a lot more entertaining and informational besides. I drive all the way from my house to the hospital every day, which means a half hour commute and RM 10 a day in toll, and listening to music while driving is…well, normal, and for a while that’s what I did. But then I realised, I’m kind of wasting time every day just driving and listening to tunes (an hour in total gone, just pissed in the wind), isn’t there anything productive I can do? Something meaningful, instead of just listening to music to prevent boredom?

That’s when I discovered podcasts. They’re basically like radio programs, where people talk to each other or the listener about a certain topic, expouding knowledge, opinions and even jokes. I’ve learnt a lot by listening to these things, and I hope that by promoting these podcasts I help promote people to learn on the go as well. It is my firm opinion that it’s better to listen to Josh and Chuck of the Stuff You Should Know podcast talk about homelessness or Munchausen’s Syndrome instead of some dudes going on about flying like a G6 every morning.


BBC’s World Update is hosted by Dan Damon, who sounds every bit like a professional western media host should.  I started listening to this to keep up to date with the world’s happenings; no reason to be left out just because I don’t read the newspaper. I did try to find some Malaysian news podcasts, but I kinda stopped because I realised I wasn’t too interested. There are a mess of those, don’t get me wrong, but I just couldn’t be arsed. Ignorance is bliss and all that, maybe.

How Stuff Works Podcasts

I listen to maybe four podcasts from How Stuff Works, because they’re just packed with great information. The podcasters are great too, and don’t turn it into just another boring lecture. I did listen to a fifth, Stuff You Missed In History because it sounded cool, but then I realised history wasn’t really my thing so I stopped. I listen to these four now.

Stuff You Should Know is by far one of my favorite podcasts. Josh Clark and Charles W “Chuck” Bryant pick a topic and deliver unto you, the listener, healthy 30 to 45 minute dosages of information on that topic. Mixed in between are personal anecdotes, experiences and opinions from both “Joshers” and “Chuckers”, and it’s this informal tone that makes this a great listen. The interaction between Josh and Chuck are great and gives you the feeling that you’re listening to some friends (or really cool guys) talk while you’re out having a drink, rather than listen to a lecture. Highly recommended.

Tech Stuff is hosted by Chris Pollette and Jonathan Strickland, and they bring you the latest – well okay, not the latest, but definitely some of the best stuff with regards to technology.

Brain Stuff is hosted by How Stuff Works founder Marshall Brain, and while his podcasts aren’t as long as the above two podcasts, if you’ve ever wondered about aluminium or how people make olive oil or restraining orders, Marshall can deliver. It’s like reading a How Stuff Works article on the go!

Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know is a video podcast, which discusses conspiracy theories and unexplained things in history. I have no idea who the podcaster is, but maybe that’s all for the best. Short, like Brain Stuff, but if you like conspiracies then this is the stuff to fuel your paranoia.


Of course I had to slip some in there. I tried to find podcasts that would refresh my basic knowledge as I drove, or even podcasts that would teach me clinical wisdom. I found the below, though how effective they are is up for grabs I guess.
The Podmedics podcast is extremely useful, though their library is somewhat limited. Each podcast features either a doctor or a medical student presenting a certain topic, such as neonatal jaundice or cannulation, and the knowledge presented is pretty accurate even for Malaysian medicine. The link I provided goes to the new Podmedics 3.0 website, which is fantastic in my opinion. It has the podcasts, notes and a platform to ask questions. Great!

BBC Radio 4 Medical Matters and the BMJ podcast are fairly new to me, but I like them. They explore a certain topic each day, like diabetes and hyperemesis gravidarum, and all the latest treatments available for each.


TED Talks publishes its available talks as podcasts so you don’t miss out on any of their available talks, but there’s a huge amount of videos (yeah it’s a video podcast) out there and it updates every day, so sometimes I kinda feel overwhelmed by all the updates. There’s an option for audio podcast too, so there’s that too I guess.

Philosophy bites is my first ever podcast, and it really hooked me in a huge way. Well, it’s because I like philosophy and philosophical discussions (as you can see I have an armchair philosophy column myself) but also because it brings forth the ideas very clearly in a way that would easily be understood. Ethics bites is  another podcast by the same people but it hasn’t been updated in a while.

Well that about wraps it up. Do you listen to any podcasts? If so, which ones, and why? If you do listen to a few podcasts, you could leave a comment recommending your favorites and maybe I’ll check them out myself.

Until next time.

By Hafiz Tajuddin with No comments


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