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Podcasts for geeks

One of the first things I set out to do after I got my Cowon D2 was to seek out some new podcasts. Podcasts are all the rage around the internets these days, but if you have been living in a cave the past years, here is a short update:

A podcast is like a radio series, except you subscribe to it with a web feed (or equivalent) and get each new episode on your computer, which you usually then upload to your portable media player.

So, where do you find podcasts to subscribe to? Well, if you know exactly what you're looking for, you can just go to a search engine and type in something like model railroad podcast, if you're interested in model railroads. Chances are that, whatever your interests are, someone has made a show about it.

If you want to get an idea of what kinds of podcasts are out there, you can browse sites such as PodcastDirectory.

Here are some of the podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis.

Are We Alone? by the Seti Institute

This is a professionally produced 50-minute weekly program about various scientific subjects. Even though it's produced by the SETI Institute, SETI is only occasionally a subject. This is my absolute favourite; if you check out only one of the podcasts on my list, this should be it.


This monthly podcast presents some of the latest findings in neuroscience research in a popular format.

STAT! The Podcast of Neurology News and Medicine

When I first discovered this podcast in the Podcast Directory, I expected something along the lines of NeuroPod. But the two podcasts could not have been more different. Whereas NeuroPod has a pop-sci approach to the frontlines of research, STAT! is made by doctors, for doctors, and has a practical, clinical focus. The typical episode of STAT! is an in-depth discussion of subjects such as what you ahould do if a patient comes into your office with a TIA. Nevertheless, I found this podcast utterly fascinating, and if you can get over the jargon (this was probably the first time I heard the word “iatrogenic” spoken), I warmly recommend it.

Unfortunately, it seems that this podcast has been discontinued, or put on ice: the latest episode available was published on April 6th, 2008.


This is another clinical podcast, which “strives to bring you the latest information about dental technology and clinical techniques”. I find dentistry a fascinating subject, partly because almost everyone goes to the dentist once in a while, but few people know much about what they do and why they do it.

Science @ NASA

Irregularly published short news stories from NASA, about 3 to 10 minutes each. A slight degree of hum, but you only really notice it when the episode ends.

The first draft of this entry included a recommendation of Eirik Newth's science podcast Superstreng. Unfortunately, since then I received the dismaying news that it has ceased production. (Actually, it was not primarily a podcast, but a show on Radio Norge that also appeared as a podcast a couple of days letter, often with additional material. Radio Norge is apparently no longer interested in airing the show.) But if you can understand Norwegian, all 118 episodes are still available for download at the Superstreng site.

[Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 @ 23:13] | [] | # | G