March 6, 2010

Free Podcasts I Like

Over the past year or so, I've been experimenting with my iPod.  I have found that, while I enjoy some music, I tend to enjoy talk and good discussion even more.  So I have loaded my iPod with free podcasts.

Here are some podcast sources that I particularly like. - Audio Program of the Week's Program of the Week podcast delivers full-length weekly downloads of some of our most popular programming, available in either video or audio-only format.

Sample episode: Mythbuster Adam Savage's Colossal Failures
The 4th annual Maker Faire Bay Area hosts MythBusters co-host Adam Savage. Savage talks about failure - unmitigated, colossal failures he's experienced during his career. This program was recorded on May 30, 2009.

Following on President Obama's call to "begin again the work of remaking America," Maker Faire 2009 was organized around the theme of Re-Make America. Held in the San Francisco Bay Area, Maker Faire celebrates what President Obama called "the risk takers, the doers, and the makers of things." - Maker Faire 2009

Adam Savage has spent his life gathering skills that allow him to take what's in his brain and make it real. He's built everything from ancient Buddhas to futuristic weapons, from spaceships to dancing vegetables, from fine art sculptures to animated chocolate and just about anything else you can think of.

Since 1993, Adam has concentrated on the special-effects industry, honing his skills through more than 100 television commercials and a dozen feature films, including Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Galaxy Quest, Terminator 3, A.I. and the Matrix sequels. He's also designed props and sets for Coca-Cola, Hershey's, Lexus and a host of New York and San Francisco theater companies. Not only has he worked and consulted in the research and development division for toy companies and made several short films, but Adam has also acted in several films and commercials -- including a Charmin ad, in which he played Mr. Whipple's stock boy, and a Billy Joel music video, "Second Wind," in which he drowns.

Today, in addition to co-hosting Discovery Channel's MythBusters, Adam teaches advanced model making, most recently in the industrial design department at the San Francisco Academy of Art. Somehow he also finds time to devote to his own art. His sculptures have been showcased in over 40 shows in San Francisco, New York and Charleston, W.Va.

FRONTLINE: Audiocast | PBS
You asked; we listened. FRONTLINE presents audio versions of select full-length episodes for listening on the go. Want more full-length FRONTLINE Audiocasts?

Please leave a review and let us know what you think. (For behind-the-scenes interviews with FRONTLINE producers, please see the FRONTLINE Extras podcast with host Arun Rath.)

Sample episode: Digital Nation - Audiocast
FRONTLINE Audiocast. "Digital Nation": How is technology changing us, and what are the implications of living in a world consumed by technology? (Orig. PBS airdate: Feb. 2, 2010)

Los Angeles Public Library Podcasts: ALOUD @ Central Library
The following podcasts were recorded live in the Los Angeles Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium as part of the award-winning ALOUD at Central Library speaker series presented by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. ALOUD podcasts are updated on a monthly basis. Initial funding for ALOUD podcasts was made possible by Arent Fox LLP.

Sample episode: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right BY Atul Gawande
Gawande, a bestselling author and surgeon, takes us on an intellectual adventure in which lives are lost and saved and one simple idea makes a tremendous difference.

New England Patriots Podcasts
Browse, download, and subscribe to official podcasts produced by and about the New England Patriots.  Patriots podcasts include all the interviews, feature segments, and shows that keep you in touch with the team. For more information about Patriots official podcasts, visit

Sample episode: PFW in Progress
Listen to this edition of PFW in Progress as we discuss a wide variety of offseason topics. Send in your questions for next show to

NOVA scienceNOW
Our podcast offers irreverent stories and introduces intriguing personalities from the world of science. For more content from the producers of NOVA scienceNOW -- and to watch our broadcast series online -- visit us at

Sample episode: The Littlest Planet
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union decided on new definition of a planet--and Pluto didn’t make the grade. It was bumped down to “dwarf planet” status.  But it’s not alone. It’s now one of five known dwarf planets in the solar system. One of them, called Ceres, may hold clues to how life formed on Earth. In this podcast, we talked to planetary scientist Mark Sykes about this tiny world.

Podcast produced by David Levin. Original interview by Susan K. Lewis. NOVA is produced by WGBH in Boston. Funding for NOVA is provided by ExxonMobil, David H. Koch, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and public television viewers.

To learn more, go to

NPR: Science Friday Podcast
Science Friday, as heard on NPR, is a weekly discussion of the latest news in science, technology, health, and the environment hosted by Ira Flatow.  Ira interviews scientists, authors, and policymakers, and listeners can call in and ask questions as well. Hear it each week on NPR stations nationwide -- or online here!

Sample episode: Harnessing Thoughts To Control A Computer
Researchers decoded electrical brain signals without implanting electrodes, according to a new study. Instead, Jose L. Contreras-Vidal and colleagues monitored brain activity with EEG sensors placed on the scalp, using those signals to reconstruct hand movement and drive a robot.

Point of Inquiry
Point of Inquiry is the premiere radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, drawing on CFI's relationship with the leading minds of the day including Nobel Prize-winning scientists, public intellectuals, social critics and thinkers, and renowned entertainers. Each episode combines incisive interviews, features and commentary focusing on the intersection of science and belief: religion, human values and the limits of knowledge. Point of Inquiry generally explores three research areas:
  1. Pseudoscience and the paranormal (Bigfoot, UFOs, psychics, communication with the dead, cryptozoology, etc.)
  2. Alternative medicine (faith healing, homeopathy, belief in "healing touch," the efficacy of prayer, etc.)
  3. Religion and secularism (church-state separation, the effects and proper role of religion in society, the future of secularism and nonbelief, etc.)
Point of Inquiry is hosted by D.J. Grothe and produced by the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, NY. The Center for Inquiry is a think-tank collaborating with the State University of New York on the Science and the Public Masters Program, and is devoted to promoting science, reason, and secular values in public affairs and at the grassroots. CFI maintains additional branches in Manhattan, Tampa, Hollywood, Washington D.C., Toronto, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, and in fifteen other cities around the world.

Sample episode: Chris Mooney - Unscientific America
Chris Mooney is a 2009-2010 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science, Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum.

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Chris Mooney talks about the growing divide between science and society. He contrasts the issues addressed in The Republican War on Science with the current problems facing society as outlined in Unscientific America. He argues for the unique public policy significance of science for society, and why scientific literacy matters more than other kinds of cultural or historical literacy. He discusses the policy relevance of scientific illiteracy in terms of global warming and biotechnology. He talks about the need for scientists to become better communicators to the public. He shares his criticisms of the New Atheists and explains why their attacks against religious moderates works counter to the goal of scientific literacy. He recounts his experiences as an atheist activist while in college, and how his views have changed about campus forethought activism since that time. He explores other underlying causes of scientific illiteracy, including our educational system, the media's dysfunctional treatment of science, and growing anti-science movements such as the climate deniers and vaccine skeptics. And he details concrete actions that science advocates can take in order to increase scientific literacy.

Science Times
David Corcoran, a science editor, explores the topics addressed in this week's Science Times.

Sample episode: NYT: Science Times for 03/02/2010
This Week: How the Internet is like an elephant, tapping the body for electricity, and trying to lose weight one cookie at a time.

Scientific American Podcast
The Scientific American Podcast is a weekly science audio show covering the latest in the world of science and technology. Join Steve Mirsky each week as he explores cutting-edge breakthroughs and controversial issues with leading scientists and journalists. He is also an articles editor and columnist at Scientific American magazine and his column, "Antigravity", is one of science writing's rate venues for humor. Check our the new daily podcast from Scientific American: "60-Second Science." To view all of our archived podcasts please go to

Sample episode: Ice, Ice, Baby: The Physics of Curling
Mark Shegelski of the University of Northern British Columbia talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about the physics of curling, currently taking its turn on the world stage at the Vancouver Olympics. (Shegelski is also the author of the new sci-fi collection "Remembering the Future.") Plus, we test your knowledge of some recent science in the news

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is a weekly Podcast talkshow discussing the latest news and topics from the world of the paranormal, fringe science, and controversial claims from a scientific point of view. -The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: Your escape to reality -Produced by the New England Skeptical Society in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation(JREF) :

Sample episode: Skeptics Guide #241 - Feb 24 2010
Interview with Daniel Wilson; News Items: Homeopathy Smackdown in UK, What Darwin Got Wrong, The Bloom Box, Geller Aids Cops; Who's That Noisy; Science or Fiction

Star Talk
StarTalk bridges the intersection between pop culture and pop science, covering subjects like space travel, extra-terrestrial life, the Big Bang, the future of our Earth and the environment, and other breaking news from the universe. The podcast is hosted by Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson and comedienne Lynne Koplitz, and it airs as a radio show in select markets. For more info, visit:

Sample episode: StarTalk: Time Travel
Time marches on - except in astrophysics. Einstein taught us that time is a coordinate in space, and it's all relative. Learn about the weird physics of our universe that could make time travel possible. Standing in for Lynne Koplitz this week is J. Richard Gott, author of "Time Travel in Einstein's Universe".