Soooo many podcast recommendations

5 Nov

Some housekeeping: I changed all these random feminism/articles/race/other stuff posts to a new “Life” category and un-“Math” tagged them, so that everything tagged with Math is now actual math.  I also put anything that has to do with cooking into “Baking” because that’s the name of the blog even if it’s not factually accurate.  New page for “Life” posts to follow.

Now that I live in Austin, I drive instead of bike to campus.  In total I spend about an hour to an hour and a half per day in my car, so I thought I’d start listening to podcasts.  I highly recommend theget podcast from my friend Ivy, which only has three episodes so far.  Here’s a list of recommendations from my facebook friends so you don’t have to ask your facebook friends for recommendations.  I put the words I didn’t write into italics.  I also feel like this list really reflects the makeup of my facebook friends (sorry E, I cut your classical music podcasts).  Also, I binge-listened to podcasts over the past two weeks to try to put in as many of my own comments as I could.

Instructions for those of us new to podcasts: i-World step by step instructions, Android go find a third party app


  • Welcome to Night Vale “Prairie Home Companion meets Stephen King”, a very weird existentialist scifi podcast with really great indie music, 30 min episodes twice a month. Make sure you start at the beginning so you can follow all of the relevant storylines and have some hope of understanding the in-jokes.  Also there’s now a book.
  • Serial — enough said.  This incredibly popular podcast flew past me when it was being made, but maybe I’ll catch up.  But maybe not because I don’t like tension (I told this to a friend of mine when he asked what TV shows I watch.  I only watch comedies because I get really sweaty and can’t sleep if there’s any tension.  Somehow I make it through Sherlock, but only if I’m holding my husband’s hand, and then he complains about the sweat).
  • Undisclosed —goes more into details about problems with the States case against Adnan Syed. They sometimes pretend that they are unbiased, when they very clearly aren’t, which is a little annoying, but it’s still interesting.


  • The Moth funny story, I had tickets to see this live and was about to get on my bike to head to the bar, but then ended up biking to the ER for a kidney infection instead.  Worst bike ride I’ve ever had (stabbing pain each time I pedaled). So I haven’t heard this live.  But I’ve heard it on the radio and loved it (if you live in Chicago, NYC, or SF, go see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind; she’s the storyteller I heard on the Moth).
  • Harmontown–by the creator of Community.  I wikipedia’d this and it seems like an asburd, improv-y short show.  I listened to a single 4 minute joke and loved it.
  • Mystery Show- every episode the host solves a new mystery that cannot be solved by googling. For example, one guy found a very unique belt on the ground when he was 10 and wanted to track down the owner after 25 years. Interesting stories but there is only one season so far.  I actually listened to one of the episodes of this and LOVED IT.  I laughed out loud and unexpectedly choked up in the middle of her meandering conversations with strangers.  This was one of the best things I’ve ever heard.
  • Thrilling Adventure Hour– an old-timey radio show that ran for a decade.  A decade!
  • Limetowna fictional narrative in the style of Serial
  • Criminal — stories about crime
  • Strangers-– about meeting strangers (I think this is non-professional people tell stories to the hosts, but I’m not sure)
  • StoryCorps— non-professional people tell stories to/with family members.  I’ve read the transcripts of this and agree with my husband’s analysis-the stories are disappointingly, infuriatingly short.  They’re so interesting and you want it to go deeper, but then it abruptly stops.
  • This American Life — the most popular podcast in ever everyday; everyone loves Ira Glass.  (I tried to link to the website but got a weird error).

Quiz shows:

  • Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me weekly NPR news quiz show, absolutely hilarious, good way to keep up with American news.  This is recorded in Chicago and we watched it live, which was so fun.  We’ve listened whenever we can catch it on Saturdays/Thursdays.  I recommend this one a lot.
  • Ask Me Another — this is another weekly NPR quiz show, with word games and general silliness.  My friend was on this!  Also a fun one (though not as good as WWDTM)
  • You’re the Expert — Possibly about science- comedians trying to guess what professors study.


  • The Rachel Maddow Show — they always have the audio available, for free, of the most recent show. Only if you’re into liberal political news, obviously, but Rachel Maddow’s really super smart, does a really good job of explaining the background of current issues in the news, and her interviews are both really fair and really skilled.  Honestly I doubt I’ll ever listen to this; I’m not into political news.
  • History of English —a bit dry sometimes, but I’ve learned a lot.
  • The Allusionistand anything else in the Radiotopia network because they explore everyday things in a very interesting way.  This seems to be about linguistics.  I am intrigued.
  • A Way WIth Words— seriously it’s all about words!
  • Backstory Podcast —really great American history podcast
  • Stuff You Missed In History Class — Years ago I used to listen… and I really liked it for awhile (but then got tired of it).
  • You Must Remember This I can’t personally vouch, but my boss tells me (focusing on secret/forgotten histories of 20th century Hollywood) is really good
  • Revolutions— about revolutions throughout history.  Basically this entire category is a “doubtful” for me to ever listen.

(Science) Nerds:

  • No Such Thing As A Fish — 30-45 minutes each week, the researchers for a popular British quiz show called “QI” come together and talk about the most awesomely random stuff they learned doing research that week. Most of these researchers, by design or by chance I don’t know, also double as professional stand-up comedians, so the podcast is both super interesting and absolutely hilarious.  We listened to part of this, but it wasn’t as snappy as WWDTM or the podcasts in the next category.  I’ll try again some other time.
  • Meanwhile in the Future: from Gizmodo and one of my favorite science writers Rose Eveleth, it starts with a fictional account of a potential future scenario (what if we started genetically engineering humans to combat climate change, what if we didn’t care about gender any more, what if wind turbines took enough energy from wind that it affected global wind patterns) and then talks to experts about whether it could happen and what would have to lead up to it and happen as a result of it… also Rush Limbaugh thought Meanwhile in the Future was real policy suggestions instead of interesting thought experiments.  I found this one really interesting!  I really liked it and it’s quite well done and I recommend it!  And it’s quite short; 15 minutes or so. 
  • The Story Collider: like the Moth but for stories/storytellers with a connection to science…some really interesting science related stories.
  • Stuff You Should Know: By the HowStuffWorks people- they explain stuff!
  • RadioLab— I should note here that lots of people love RadioLab, but I do not.  This podcast sort of scared me off podcasts a few years ago because there were too many sound effects and I got overwhelmed.
  • TED Radio Hour— TED but in radio format
  • Invisibilia- about the invisible forces than change human nature.  Also has just one season so far, of six hour-long episodes.  I’m listening to it right now.  It’s awesome.  Very well-researched.
  • Hidden Brain— essentially psych experiments/studies on the brain.  I’m interested, haven’t listened yet.

Race, Feminism: (“social justice warrior” actually sounds super badass to me)

  • PostBourgiean excellent podcast where some younger (like our age or a little older) black individuals talk about race, gender, class, media, politics, etc. If you listened to the This American Life about Ferguson schools, they did a follow up interview with the woman who reported that story (Nicole Hanna Jones ?).  This is funny because the first three podcasts I listened to were young black people talking.  And I loved them.
  • Call Your Girlfriend:  is two smart, wonderful, feminist ladies talking about everything from their life updates to pop culture to politics and is by far my favorite podcast of the moment…it feels like you’re in your kitchen listening to your two best friends talk…has me thinking a lot about gender, sexism, and racism lately so it was right on point. The conceit of the podcast is these 2 women who are best friends but living on opposite coasts so they call each other and record it while drinking wine, talking about their period cramps, nyt’s articles, and Kanye West.  Three separate people suggested this podcast to me!  I listened to part of one and it reminded me of the get (so that’s probably a compliment to the get because CYG is huge).  This should probably be in the next category but they make money.
  • Slate’s Double X Gabfestfor covering lady-centric topics in an entertaining, reasoned way, plus the soothing nature of June Thomas’ voice.
  • Show about Race is amazing.  I’m both excited and trepidation-filled about this one.
  • Start Up season 2 follows two young women who are trying to start an online dating company with an interesting concept. Addresses a lot of interesting things like racism in online dating and sexism in silicon valley.

Friends chatting and making a podcast:

  • theget: two black young women talk about politics, pop culture, and whatever they want in a feminist light.  I get a shout out at the end of the second and third hour-long episodes!  (this could also fit in the previous category)
  • Brand New Podcast: My friend Brittani talks with her other friend in her car about stuff
  • Dinner Party Download, a little mix of everything. They describe themselves as “The Dinner Party Download is a fast and funny hour of culture, food and conversation designed to help you win your weekend dinner parties.” and how can you not like a podcast that opens with Dad jokes?
  • Millennial podcast– (a podcast about a woman learning to navigate her twenties).  This is actually one person but it still seems to fit in this category
  • Monkey and the Minotaur — my friend MJ messing around with her fiance: it’s fun to make podcasts!  A designer and a historian discuss philosophy, culture, and design.

Pop Culture:

  • Pop Culture Happy Hourmy favorite pop culture podcast.  I listened to this on the way home today, but wasn’t that into it.  It’s a roundtable discussion and/or an interview about books, TV, music, movies, radio, etc.  It feels more like meandering conversations rather than super-produced stories.
  • Popaganda a feminist pop culture podcast. Their episode on privacy was amazing.  
  • Reply All- a show about the Internet. I promise it’s more interesting than it sounds… it can be both hilarious and thought provoking.  I listened to one episode of this, and it was both interesting and pleasantly short, about half an hour.

Work and Money:

  • Open Account: SuChin Pak interviews people about money, but I just listened to the first episode and it was about so much more than money.  Lots of feminism and self-confidence and humor.
  • Working which is a Slate podcast about what people do all day. They basically talk to various people with jobs that are either unusual or unknown and find out what’s involved and how they do them and how they get in to them. Which, put that way, sounds kind of boring but it’s actually fascinating, in large part because the interviewers are really good (although the third season apparently has a new interviewer)
  • Planet Money–Two people suggested this one, about money and economics.  It’s only 15-20 minutes long.
  • Freakonomics— using economic tools in possibly questionable ways to examine questions about daily life
  • Death, Sex, and Money— interviews with people about life

Random But Specific Topics:

  • On Being – philosophy!  You will love it.
  • Song Exploder – musicians taking apart their songs, about 15-20 minutes.  We listened to the Death Cab for Cutie one, but it was a bit drier and self-serious than I expected.  This seems good if you’re really into music/musicians.
  • All Songs Considered – 40 minutes about music.
  • The Longest Shortest Time they are authentic true stories about parenting that I really enjoy even as a non parent.  I love parenting clickbait crap (“best pregnancy Halloween costumes!” was open in my browser a few minutes ago) and I LOVE this podcast.  Listened to the one about accidental gay parents and I was completely enthralled and emotional.
  • Judge John Hodgman because who doesn’t want to listen to John Hodgman, the guy who played the pc in the Mac v. PC commercials, adjudicate disputes and make up fake internet law. He is funny and surprisingly insightful and thoughtful.  Was this the guy in the NYT Magazine?  Or was that Ozzy Osbourne?
  • Rendered which is unfortunately over, but the old episodes are still available. A great podcast about DIY.
  • The Mortified Podcast Adults reading embarrassing things they wrote as kids. Need I say more?  Oh my gosh this was HILARIOUS and we LOVED it.  Definitely recommend this.
  • Futility Closetbecause their tag line explains it all: “An idler’s miscellany of compendious amusements”, 
  • 99% Invisible– Design and architecture
  • Very Bad Wizards- moral psychology and moral philosophy
  • Dear Sugar Radio- advice from Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond
  • Savage Love— Dan Savage, love and sex advice.
  • You Are Not SO Smart— about self delusion and psychology
  • The Bugle: (if you like John Oliver especially)

Thank you to all my friends who heeded my Facebook cry for help!  They are: Catherine, Erin, Laura (congrats on getting married I did not realize your last name had changed), Ellie, Tom, Jeremy, Lindsay, Evelyn, Andrew, Jessica, Paulina, Megan, Joanne, B, Kate, Jessica, Vivian, Angela, Jackie, MJ, Dinah, Meredith, and David, and they live all over the US (and UK and HK) and all do different things and are overwhelmingly female.  Interesting.  I didn’t notice that until I typed all their names.


One Response to “Soooo many podcast recommendations”


  1. Happy 3rd birthday, blog! | Baking and Math - November 26, 2015

    […] this list just reminds me that I’m really rather proud of all the math and life posts.  The podcast list has been useful for friends.  Everything about being a woman in math is my life and who I am, and […]

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