Podcasting, it seems, is undergoing a renaissance. And my favourite of the new crop is Invisibilia from NPR, a podcast (and, apparently, also a radio program) that “explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior.”
They are four episodes in now, and I’ve been fascinated by something – and usually more than one something – on every episode I’ve listened to.
Their description of the three schools of psychotherapy – who knew! – in The Secret History of Thoughts and the part of the Entanglement episode discussing how distant atoms can somehow at once be the same atom, are the highlights for me so far.
I encourage you to listen.
My podcast-listening application of choice (thank goodness “podcatcher” never took off as a noun) is Pocket Casts, which is available for both iOS and Android and here’s what you’ll find in my subscription list these days (the links are the podcast subscription links that you can add to your, er, podcatcher):
- Planet Money — also from NPR, I enjoy their approach to money and the economy; it’s a sweet spot between lowbrow and highbrow.
- 99% Invisible — design, architecture, curiousities.
- Transom — seldom updated, but the back catalogue of independent documentaries is rock-solid.
- Invisibilia — as above!
- CANADALAND — hyperbolic, but interesting nonetheless.
- Slate’s Working — where did it go? I hope it returns, as each episode’s focus on the quotidian aspects of a different profession was gripping.
- Reply All — technology with a humanist bent.
- Radiolab — arguable the grandfather of Invisibilia, and a pioneering user of what might be called “cinematic” techniques in radio.
- Longform — a collection of interviews with writers about the craft (sort of like “Working,” but broader in scope but limited to a single profession).
- Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews — I can’t imagine going anywhere else for film reviews; my longest-standing subscription.
- StartUp — a podcast about starting a podcasting company; I love it.
- TravelCommons — much less regular in recent years, but I keep listening because of the focus on the quotidian aspects of business travel.
- This American Life — the classic.
It appears, as I write those thumbnails, that “quotidian” is my passion of choice.
Here’s an OPML file of all of the above that you can import into your podcast-listener if you want to slurp them all into your life too.