Podcast Friday!

Photo: Audiokarma.org

Welcome to the New Year’s edition of Podcast Friday! Each week we compile some of the more interesting podcasts from around the web and list them right here for your listening pleasure!

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Bits: Tech Talk from The New York Times

Technology Headlines 2011 (December 29, 2011) — A recap of the year’s major technology headlines and a gear roundup that includes digital-audio amplifiers and a solar-powered keyboard.

Book Reviews from The New York Times

Book Review Podcast (January 05, 2012) — This week, Geoffrey Kabaservice discusses his new book about the history of moderate Republicanism; Theda Skocpol on the Tea Party; Julie Bosman with notes from the field; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Sam Tanenhaus is the host.

Book reviews and best-seller news from the New York Times (December 30, 2011) — This week, Gary Bass talks about Philip Taubman’s book “ThePartnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb”; Louisa Thomas discusses “Some of My Lives,” a memoir by Rosamond Bernier; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Sam Tanenhaus is the host.

Brain Stuff from HowStuffWorks.com

Why do batteries die but then come back to life? (January 04, 2012) — Batteries — particularly car batteries — seem to go dead and then come back to life after a resting period. How does this self-recharging feature of batteries work? Find out in this episode of BrainStuff.

What are other ways to store energy besides batteries? (January 02, 2012) — Batteries are a common way to store energy, but there are many others. Discover more energy storage techniques, from falling weights to fuel cells, in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

How does fusion power work? (December 30, 2011) — Fusion reactors like the sun produce huge amounts of energy, so why aren’t there fusion power plants everywhere? In this episode, Marshall explains the chemistry of fusion reactions and discusses how close fusion is to becoming a viable energy source.

Culturetopia from NPR

Culturetopia: A Good Year (January 04, 2012) — To round out 2011, NPR News put a new spin on an old chestnut, the end-of-the-year roundup. With the down economy and a series of natural disasters, it was a bad year for many in the U.S., but there are still people, businesses and ideas that have done well. We are going to highlight them in a series called “A Good Year.” It’s been a good year for Android phones, coconut water, deportations, beets and the word “swag.” Along the way touched on topics from science to politics, hip-hop to hell. Here are some of the cultural connections from our series.

Music Popcast from The New York Times

The Best Jazz of 2011 (December 29, 2011) — Ben Ratliff and Nate Chinen, jazz critics for The New York Times, discuss the best jazz artists and albums of the year.


Life in the Blast Zone (January 03, 2012) — Ecologist Charlie Crisafulli describes how the ecosystem around Mt. St. Helens is rebuilding itself 30 years after the catastrophic eruption. Thirty years ago, a violent eruption ripped through the side of Mt. St. Helens in western Oregon. The blast killed 57 people and countless animals, and turned hundreds of miles of forest into barren wasteland. In this podcast, hear from ecologist Charlie Crisafulli on the slow recovery of the Mt. St. Helens ecosystem, and learn how the timing of the eruption actually spared some plant and animal life.


Culture of Dieting (January 04, 2012) — Odds are good you know someone who is on a diet right now. Tracy and Holly traverse the ins and outs of diet fads, healthy eating and finding ways to be realistic and sensible while still enjoying delicious favorites. Also, Holly praises Tracy a lot.

New Year’s Resolutions (January 02, 2012) — It’s that magical time when many people set the goals for the year that they fully expect to abandon by mid-January. Tracy and Holly share their resolutions for 2012, and dig through the research to find out why some people stick to resolutions while others struggle.

Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Cheating in the Name of… (January 05, 2012) — Have you ever cheated on a test? You’re not alone. But what goes on in a student’s mind when they reach for the cheat sheet and how does it play out in various cultures? In this episode, Robert and Julie look at what science has to say about cheating.

The Way of the Sword (January 03, 2012) — From samurai blades to claymores, the sword is one of humanity’s most iconic inventions, and they’ve cut a bloody swath across history. In this episode, Robert and Julie consider the way of the sword, from their manufacture to their use in film and more.

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Ötzi: Everyone’s Favorite Copper Age Man (January 04, 2012) — In 1991, two hikers in the Alps found a mysterious body. The frozen mummy turned out to be a 5,300-year-old man — a discovery that’s given researchers an unprecedented peek into the Copper Age. Tune in to learn more about the Iceman.

W. C. Minor: Madness, Murder and a Dictionary (Part I) (January 02, 2012) — In the first part of this episode, we look at the early days of William Chester Minor. Minor originally studied medicine and served and practiced surgery in the Union Army. Eventually he was committed to a hospital for the insane. But what happened next?

Stuff You Should Know

Was there a curse on King Tut’s tomb? (January 05, 2012) — When Howard Carter opened Tutankhamen’s tomb, some believe he unleashed a curse on everyone associated with his expedition. But there’s no such thing as a curse, right? Learn the scientific basis beneath King Tut’s curse as Chuck and Josh Meet the Mummy!

How Yo-Yos Work (January 03, 2012) — You may have played with a yo-yo before — perhaps you’ve even walked the dog — but do you know about the physics behind what makes a yo-yo sleep and wake up? Learn all about inertia, angular momentum and the history of the yo-yo in this episode of SYSK.

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