Podcast Roundup

I have a podcast problem… Too much audio and not enough time. This usually results in me listening to podcasts whenever I can, just to keep up with my growing feed. This summer I added to the problem by listening to the whole (and brilliant) History of Rome which led me to fall even further behind on my listening.


Then yesterday – the horror – my app crashed. This led to a frantic scrambling for the last backup – which naturally was way too old to be interesting. Thankfully, and with the wonderful twitter support my issue with RSSRadio Podcast Downloader was fixed by the developer himself and my listening could continue. So today, after the fact, its time to do a backup. And since I am doing that I may as well list the podcasts that right now have my ears. Here are the names and their rss feeds. 


The History Hour – – – Analysis – – – Great Lives – – – Drama of the Week – – – The Moth – – – From Our Own Correspondent Podcast – – – Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 – – – Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review – – – Spanarna i P1 – – – Comedy of the Week – – – This American Life – – – The Infinite Monkey Cage – – – Revolutions – – – 99% Invisible – – – BackStory with the American History Guys – – – TED Radio Hour – – – Serial – – – The Why Factor – – – Thinking Allowed – – – A Point of View – – – In Our Time – – – Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything – – – Radio Diaries – – – The Truth – – – Fugitive Waves with The Kitchen Sisters – – – the memory palace – – – The Allusionist – – – Reply All – – – TLDR – – – Four Thought – – – Death, Sex & Money – – – Gastropod – – – Lore – – – No Such Thing As A Fish – – – Us & Them – – – Criminal – – – Life of the Law – – – Vox’s The Weeds – – – Intersection – – – Imaginary Worlds – – – KCRW’s UnFictional – – – The New Yorker Radio Hour – – – Radiolab – – – Invisibilia – – – Planet Money – – – Hidden Histories of the Information Age – – – Results May Vary Podcast Podcast: Design Thinking for Living – – – Popaganda – – – KCRW’s Here Be Monsters – – – The Philosopher’s Arms – – – Note to Self – – – Strangers – – – Esquire Classic Podcast – – – The Documentary – – – Moral Maze – – – The Heart – – – Radio Motherboard – – – 2 Dope Queens – – – Codebreaker – – – Longform – – – Call Your Girlfriend – – – For Colored Nerds – – – Imagine Otherwise – – – There Goes the Neighborhood – – – Monocle 24: The Urbanist – – – Audio long reads – – – Code Switch – – – The History of Rome – – – Bildningspodden – – – Radiolab Presents: More Perfect – – – Reasonably Sound – – – Flash Forward – – – The Nerdist – – – The History of English Podcast – – – The New York Public Library Podcast – – – You Must Remember This – – – Philosophize This! – – – PhDivas – – – Revisionist History – – – LIFE101.audio – – – ReLearning Podcast

Some of these I have been following for a long time, others I have gone back to listen to their whole back catalog (some may not longer be coming out with new episodes and I really need to delete them). Then there is some new stuff for me like PhDivas, of which I have only listened to one episode so far. And some I have just been released – like Life101 which is Mike Wesch’s new podcast project.                                                                                                file5                                               file4file6







The post crash and end of summer is a good time to go through my feed and begin prepping for the start of term – even when it comes to podcasts.



John Cleese on Stupidity

This is perfect. John Cleese on stupidity

If you are very very stupid, how can you realize that you are very very stupid? You have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you are.

If you are absolutely no good at something at all, then you lack exactly the skills that you need to know that you are absolutely no good at it. And this explains not just Hollywood but almost the entirety of Fox News.

The abundance of books is distraction

Another package arrives and my first thought is the joy of packages. It’s an conditioned response from decades of birthdays and Christmases. Despite knowing what’s inside there is an element of anticipation when I unwrap yet another book that I could not help ordering. Yupp, another book. The joy of holding the book is only marred by the sinking feeling that I should be writing faster, better and to be blunt about it, more. Just more.

There is a sadness in living in a time when there are enormous amounts of books. Most of the books I buy are second hand copies where the postage costs more than the content. Today the gorgeous On Paper: The Everything of it’s two-thousand-year history by a self-confessed bibliophiliac by the prolific Nicholas Basbanes. Thankfully, in this case, the book cost more than the postage.

Read Books by Wrote. CC BY.

But then I leaf through the book, marveling at all the letter, lines, paragraphs, chapters… The weight in my hand and the need to read it. Now. Read. Now. But, there is a pile of necessary books. All relevant to the project and this is just one of many. Place the book in the already precariously balanced pile and sigh while I think that the abundance of books is distraction.

The only thing that calms me is the thought that these words are neither original nor my own. Seneca wrote that the abundance of books is distraction (distringit librorum multitudo). Getting lost in so many books is unhelpful. Anne Bair quotes his explanation to what he means (in another great book: Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age)

You should always read the standard authors; and when you crave change, fall back upon those whom you read before.

And yet, here I am with another great looking book on my desk. It demands my attention and offers me the chance to procrastinate. Reading is not laziness but research, its not procrastination, it’s preparation. And yet the more I read the less text gets produced.

So I do neither: I blog my dilemma.

Fake Books and Valuable Copies

There is something fascinating about book thieves and none are less fascinating than the Marino Massimo De Caro who was the former director of the State Library of Girolamini but is most infamous for his book thefts and forgeries. Apparently this self-taught bibliophile without a college degree managed to become director of the Girolamini Library through political connections and lobbying.
Once there he began sacking the library, occasionally replacing books with forgeries and sometimes merely destroying the records of their existence in the library.
The full extent of the losses is not known — the Girolamini Library lacks a complete catalog — but prosecutors, with some bombast, have compared it to the destruction of Dresden during World War II. In 2012, the authorities recovered more than a thousand library volumes that were found in a self-storage unit in Verona traced to Mr. De Caro.
(Rare Books Vanish, With a Librarian in the Plot, New York Times)
Not content with simply stealing books Mr De Caro also branched out into book forgery. The most famous case is Galileo’s book containing the earliest drawings of the moon.


These gorgeous works were unfortunately fakes…


…Like many forgers, De Caro acted out of a mixture of greed, envy, and a desire to prove himself to a field he felt did not recognize his talents (De Caro also forged a copy of Galileo’s 1606 Compasso to replace a stolen version). A college dropout, he “held an imperious grudge against people who had spent years studying in libraries,” writes Schmidle. Instead, De Caro had earned an honorary professorship by donating four Galileo editions (presumably genuine) and a chunk of meteorite to a private institution in Buenos Aires…

…De Caro and an accomplice artist aged several bottles of nineteenth-century ink to create the Galileo drawings, using the Florence Sheet as a guide for the seventeenth-century astronomer’s hand. After opening a bottle of red wine, he had his accomplice trace the outline of the moons with the foot of his wineglass. Then they baked the pages in his home oven to age them. It’s hard to believe De Caro’s fake survived scrutiny for over five years, until Wilding began to express his doubts in 2011…

(How a Book Thief Forged a Rare Edition of Galileo’s Scientific Work, and Almost Pulled it Off, Open Culture).

It’s a fascinating tale and it is particularly interesting after having a discussion on the value of books and their place in society and libraries. The value of a book as artifact is carried separately from the information within the book. The information in the book could be almost worthless and easily replicated but the actual replication of the physical format is what we desire.

What questions aren’t we asking?

Over at Fururamb Martin posted this quote by Kevin Kelly:

Machines are for answers; humans are for questions. The world that Google is constructing — a world of cheap and free answers — having answers is not going to be very significant or important. Having a really great question will be where all the value is.

Asking the right questions has almost always been more relevant than the actual answers. But I really like the way this quote puts it in context of the internet age. What questions aren’t we asking? And how much of the Internet is not being indexed and returned in our searches?