Friday, 31 July 2009

Podcasts.. The top twelve.

I am an afficionado. The ability to construct a listening schedule to suit your personal taste and seasonal caprices is highly seductive. Add to this the ever growing number of Podcasts available and the search for gems is a real treat.

I offer a list of my current favourite sites, each linked to their respective web pages and subscription addresses. If you are not familiar with the process, Firefox and Internet Explorer will add them to your bookmark folder automatically.

I would recommend the use of Gmail which offers it's own 'Reader' (amongst other fabulous tools). Many Podcasts add a tag for instant transfer to Google Reader and this seems to be a developing trend.

I have embedded additional links to other Podcast sites. These are also worth a look.

Humour and entertainment.

Adam and Joe.

Top of the list for off the cuff earcandy. Fun for all teenagers manque and, as I am sure they would claim, all manky teenagers..

Jon Richardson.

From the same BBC 6 Music stable. A great deal of very skilled adlibbing here.

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo.

By far the best film review programme available. Rants, raves, routines and rituals abound. These two are now established as BBC anti establishment and have a following akin to ISIHAC.

Stephen Fry's Podgrams.

Ladies and gentlemen. I give you...


Astronomy Cast.

The wonderful Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain allow the complexities of the Special Theory and Dark Matter to tumble through the branches of our own limited experience of the universe we inhabit. In a twenty minute discussion, all is seemingly made clear, only to evaporate until the next hearing. And to think, they do this for nothing!

Are We Alone?

The official podcast of the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence conducted by the avuncular Seth Shostak, who provides a living link to Carl Sagan et al. Multi stranded and sometimes tangential to the theme. Always entertaining.

Ask The Naked Scientists.

One of the longest running 'Question and answer' format podcasts. Once again, from the BBC but local radio this time. Not afraid to admit defeat but rarely stumped. This one attracts a teenage audience and is therefore refreshingly open and naiive at times.

Science Talk.

The audio section of Scientific American. Brief clips and headlines explored. A balanced view from a seriously tilted nation.

Planetary Radio.

A great companion piece to Astronomy Cast. More focussed on our immediate back yard and more of a blatant appeal for hard cash to maintain the simple pleasure of the 'Beauty and mystery' of space travel.


The Skeptic's Guide To The Universe.

This is the granddaddy of them all. A now well established programme of talks, interviews and reviews with great humour, anarchy and a high trustability quotient. It is tempting to criticise the frequency with which the various luminaries in the Skeptical field are invited on to speak. It might be seen sometimes to be the James Randi appreciation society. On occasion, the listener is abandoned in favour of 'off mic' jokes (Like Penn Jillette did before his show was axed..). It's all worth it though. These people know their stuff.


Platform for the great Brian Dunning. Short pieces designed to exercise reason and scientific thinking whilst addressing commonly held beliefs, myths and legends, medical misunderstandings and fads. He is also extremely helpful when contacted personally. A common theme running through the Sceptics community is that of mutual support.


A while back, the community held it's breath as we awaited news of Derek's brain.. Half of this great Podcast suffered a stroke and has spent the last few years working his speech back to where he is confident on the microphone once more. In his absence, co-host Swoopy kept the show aloft and it is well worth listening again to some of the earlier episodes. Her professionalism and compassion are often breathtaking and again, offered for no profit. Merely the joy of developing reasoned thinking. This one celebrates Darwin to a large extent. And Dragons.


joan said...

I would agree with several of your choices richard. I subscribe to Adam and Joe, Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo and Stephen Fry's podcasts. May I also suggest you take a look at Daniel Kidson's podcast, available from itunes (for free of course), as is the podcast from Ricky Gervais.

Richard said...

I would, if Apple would make iTunes available to those of us who don't have an iPod. It's infuriatin' I tells ya!