Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Podcast Power!

So here we are in the twenty-teens; the Interweb is increasingly an integral part of our global culture and streaming media is commonplace in bringing education, entertainment and all things quirky and questionable thru whatever media device we have at hand.  Content flows from torrents, wikis, websites and, of course, media giant sources, old and new.

Personally, when it comes to getting the latest news, entertainment or inspirational ideas to inform my pursuit of Goodness, audio podcasts have dominated the landscape for me.  These podcasts are on demand and they're perfect to listen to during your daily commute, while working out, or while relaxing wherever you are.

Today, I review briefly a few of my favorite podcasts, which you can stream for free, without commitment, regularly or on occasion as life permits.   (search for them on Stitcher, iTunes or your favorite podcast app) The links  I provide all point to the podcast's main website.

NPR Hourly News Podcast:   This is on the top of my Stitcher Favorite playlist.  In under 5 minutes NPR provides an excellent update of the biggest news in the United States and across the world.  In my opinion, NPR coverage maintains solid journalistic standards.  Augment this news brief podcast with whatever in depth coverage you like, NPR Money, World News, Environmental News, and you won't be disappointed.

The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe:  Steve Novella, neurologist and skeptic figurehead, leads his crew in reporting the latest on the pseudoscience and science fronts.  His medical credentials and communication skillset are brought to bear consistently in the discussion of topics ranging from evidence based positions on vaccines to GMO food healthiness.  The rest of his team effectively complements Steve's leadership to bring humorous, friendly, and mildly irreverent conversation in their weekly broadcast.

Food for Thought: As a fairly new vegetarian I scoured the Interweb for a podcast that could inform me on the latest topics on plant-based food nutrition and animal compassion.    Colleen Patrick Goudreau does a great job at creating a friendly tone while covering a variety of topics.  The opinions in this weekly podcast aren't always as assiduously evidence based as I'd prefer, so keep that in mind; however, the empathy and common sense suggestions she makes, are fully worth listening to and considering when building a nutritious meal plan that is also mindful of environment and our animal cousins.

The Reality Check: this weekly, Canadian podcast does a great job of researching and presenting the facts behind myths and pseudoscience topics.  Topics covered have ranged from camping myths like does it make sense to try to suck venom from a snake bite to debunking full blown conspiracy theories.  Listening to this podcast makes me feel as if I'm hanging with a few buddies over a brew as we chat up interesting things about the world and whether or not they are indeed fact, fiction, or somewhere in between.

The Best of the Left:  This podcast is the epitome of progressive podcasts out there.  Jay Tomlinson is the media guru of this show who three times weekly presents a progressive issue in depth.  His method is to stitch together numerous other talk show vignettes and sound byte moments in a meaningful way.  The aggregation of left and right positions to inform is capped off with his insights and listener calls that he adroitly defends or destroys as reason merits.

The Humanist Hour: Perhaps most aligned with my world view of seeking Goodness, the American Humanist Society's podcast offers a rounded look at building an honest ethical world view.  The heart of secular humanism lies within the idea that we can find Goodness in life more effectively by dispensing with the mythological beliefs of our forbears. Interviews and discussion of secular topics that help individuals and societies live well together comprise the regular fare on this friendly podcast.

Of course, there are plenty of other podcasts out there (Sound OpinionsCar TalkIntelligence Squared, and Star Talk are ones high on my list), Those reviewed here, I believe, effectively contribute to informing a world view that mindfully and supports taking peaceful action along toward building a better world. Check them out, let me know what you think, and by all means, share your favorite podcasts!

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