Friday, 7 March 2008

Podcast geekery

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit of a technophile – I like gadgets and I positively love my laptop. I have a whole raft of blogs set up on my favourites list and I don’t suppose it’ll come as a surprise to anybody that most of these are to do with books, writing or publishing.

But I’m also a bit of a podcast freak. This started when I began running again a couple of years ago and I needed something to think about other than the pain. My boys had MP3 players or ipods and I’d always quite fancied one but had never been able to justify the expense as I don’t find music necessary to my life in the minute-to-minute way which headphone use implies. But running whilst listening to interesting stuff really appealed to me. So, sleek little 2gig nano acquired (white, so as not to be confused with The Bassist’s black one) off I went for a trawl on the iTunes podcast directory and Podcast Alley to load up some stuff.

But in case you thought it would be all arty, booky stuff, think again.
If anybody compared my blog list with my podcast list, they’d think they belonged to two entirely different people. My list of podcasts casts me as science geek-girl. Here’s my complete podcast list, in alphabetical order (because that’s how iTunes does it – I’m not that anal)
All the the mind (psychology programme from Australian national broadcasting corp)
Best of National Geographic Magazine
Beyond Belief (BBC programme comparing standpoints of different faiths on moral/religious ideas)
The Brain Science Podcast
CBC Radio: Quirks and Quarks (Science digest from Canadian Broadcasting Corp)
CBC Radio: Search Engine (internet magazine prog, ditto)
Crossing Continents (BBC international reporting)
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (not the history of porn it sounds like! Actually a fabulous look at history from an enthusiastic amateur who always relates the 'then' to the 'now' - just like a split time novel really...)
Documentaries (BBC Radio)
Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4(the Now Show, the News Quiz et al)
From our Own Correspondent (BBC foreign correspondents’ eye view of current posting)
Living Planet (English language environmental magazine programme from Deutsche Welle Radio)
The Naked Scientists (also not porn – actually an excellent BBC eastern region science programme broadcast weekly on Sundays at 6pm but listened to by most of its devotees online or via podcast.)
Podictionary weekly (Canadian Charles Hodgson’s weekly digest of his words of the day – fascinating to those of us geeky enough to be fascinated by etymology.)
Radio 4 Choice
This Week in Science (describes itself as The Kickass Science Podcast – unsurprisingly it’s American, coming from the University of California at Davis via public radio. Covers, what’s new that week in science. Also has ‘the weird from Washington’ – what US legislators are doing/not doing to advance/get in the way of science.)
The Word Nerds (yes, more word-geekiness chez moi, this time at a more whole-language level. Broadcast by three high-school teachers who are just fascinated by language it’s described as ‘why we say the things we do’. Podcast from ‘just outside Washington DC, the capital of obfuscation and acronym’, it clearly has a large international following.)

I know that if I were a really good blogger I'd have linked all those to their relevant websites but that would take ages and I've got the w-i-p to get on with. Just stick any of them into Google and it'll take you straight to the site anyway.

So, what does my podcast habit say about me?

That I don't get enough time to listen to the radio.
That sometimes it's easier to listen than to read (I'm definitely a more auditory than visual person).
That I’m interested in the way things are and why they are that way, from language to international politics, history's influence on now and the world around us.
That I’m fascinated by the brain, the mind and why people do the things they do.
That I like my comedy word-based and clever.

Not bad attributes for a novelist.

1 comment:

Ginger Campbell, MD said...

I am glad to hear that you listen to the Brain Science Podcast.

I wanted to tell you about a new website at

I am looking for good science podcasts to invite to join the site and I would appreciate your suggestions. You can write to me at docartemis at