A Great Night for Podcasts


One small consolation of my contract in Rockville is spending quality time with my iPod Touch, podcasts, and the Civic–who is now officially named “Blue Monday”.  Tonight’s drive was especially pleasant from both the driving and podcast listening perspectives.  Here are some highlights from the things I heard:

Beer-Drinking Tree Shrews

Oh, beer.  You are such a Good Thing that even evolution loves you.  A palm evolved natural fermentation chambers to capture yeast and brew you from its own nectar.  A species of beer-swilling shrew doesn’t seem to get drunk despite a hefty habit; I can’t decide if we should praise or pity the little fellow.  A species of loris has also developed a drinking habit, nothing nearly as nasty as their anorexic cousin’s habits who grace the cover of one of my favorite O’Reilly books.  Evolution, beer, UNIX, and primates behaving badly–fabulous!

Nail Your Files

Stever Robbins, the Get-It-Done guy over at quickanddirtytips.com has some helpful hints about a subject near and dear to my heart, file naming conventions.  He gets points for suggesting the ISO 8601 date to tell apart your 5,000 report.doc files and to sort them chronologically in your file manager of choice.  It’s sad that most people still live in a world where meaningful search or–dare I say it–real metadata doesn’t exist.  On a related note, I definitely have a few things to say about how much I’m using Spotlight in a subsequent post.

Outsmarting Bombers

This edition of the Scientific American’s weekly podcast podcast takes a fascinating look at counter-IED technology in Iraq and a related story about the continuing problems with turning the lights back on in Baghdad.  More robots controlled by the video-game generation combat an adaptable enemy turning our commodity tech against us.  Scary and fascinating.  Finally, our friend the beer-swilling Loris makes an appearance at the end of the podcast in the “Totally Bogus” segment.  Who knew I was embracing my Inner Chimp every time I popped the top off a bottle of Midas Touch? Mmm, beer.

Tell Me a Story

Finally, RadioLab has produced some of the best podcasts I’ve ever listened to.  It’s This American Life meets Nova, two things I already love.  In this between-seasons short, Robert Krulwich addresses Cal Tech graduates.  I won’t butcher it with a summary.  Just go listen to it right now.  Being a science reporter like Krulwich or Mursky (of SciAm) is my new dream job.  Subscribe to the podcast, go back through all the episodes–especially the ones or morality and emergence–and thank me later.

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