Podcasts of the Week Ending December 19


Ben Franklin’s World :: The World of the Wampanoag

A two-party history of the indigenous people of Eastern Massachusetts who encountered the Puritan settlers of Plymouth in 1620.

Planet Money :: We Buy a Lot of Christmas Trees

A behind-the-scenes look into how the Christmas tree market works.

Planet Money :: The Case Against Facebook

A suit filed by the federal government and 46 state attorney generals against Facebook is stirring up the long-dormant history of anti-trust action in the United States.

Radiolab :: The Ashes on the Lawn

The purposes of protest and why they can’t be modulated to avoid offending people as seen through the story of the ACT UP protests to support relief from the AIDS crisis.

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: Edison’s Demon Dolls

Talking dolls are creepy and have been so since they were first invented in the 1890s by Thomas Edison himself.

Snap Judgment :: The Crossroad

A true story of a good Samaritan in the time of COVID 19.

RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of the Week Ending October 3


99% Invisible :: The Address Book

A new back traces the history of street addresses, how different addresses have contributed to divisions in social class, and how the government assigning addresses can be seen as an imposition on individual liberties.

:: Goodnight Nobody

The story of Anne Carroll Moore, the New York Public Library librarian who invented and popularized the children’s library. She also used her position of influence what types of books would be purchased by children’s libraries, favoring escapist tales of imaginary worlds.  This is also the story of Margaret Wise Brown, who wrote a book rooted in ordinary childhood experiences that Moore absolutely detested, Goodnight Moon

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: Dress Coded

School dress codes have been a standard of educational experiences for over a century, and through all that time have particularly been used to police girls’ bodies, especially Black girls’ bodies.

Throughline :: The Everlasting Problem

The history of why the United States has eschewed single payer healthcare and how healthcare became associated with employment instead.

What Next :: The Bottom Line on Trump’s Taxes

Not only is Trump’s failure to pay much in taxes indicative of corruption and hypocrisy, but his desire to be reelected is partially because it will help him avoid paying his many debts.

RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of the Week Ending July 11


Last week I had no podcasts to share.  This week I have a bumper crop!

Afropop Worldwide :: Remembering Tony Allen

Pioneering Nigerian drummer Tony Allen died this spring, shortly after releasing his final album Rejoice, with Hugh Masekela. Afropop Worldwide revisits Allen’s storied career.

BackStory :: The End of the Road: BackStory and the History of Finales in America

My favorite history podcast BackStory comes to an end with an episode about finales in American history, from President George Washington to Mary Tyler Moore.

Hidden Brain :: The Night That Lasted A Lifetime: How Psychology Was Misused In Teen’s Murder Case

The story of a Black Boston teenager, Fred Clay, who spent 38 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted based on evidence the police extracted using hypnosis.

The Last Archive :: For the Birds

Rachel Carson, the extinction of bird species, and climate change.

99% Invisible :: Freedom House Ambulance Service

The modern practice of paramedics serving communities with an emergency medical service began in the Black community in Pittsburgh just over 50 years ago.

60-Second Science :: Animals Appreciate Recent Traffic Lull

One side benefit of the COVID-19 pandemic is the reduced use of automobiles.  Some cities (not Boston, of course) have even taken advantage of creating space for people to walk and bike by closing roads to cars.  But even in rural areas, animals are thriving because of fewer collisions with motor vehicles.

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: Take Me Who Out to the Ballgame?

If you’re American, you’ve inevitably sung along with the chorus “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” baseball’s unofficial anthem.  But if you’ve never heard the chorus, you may not know that the song is about a woman who wants to watch baseball at a time when that was considered a men’s only activity.  The podcast explores the history of how the song went “viral” and features music by Chicago White Sox organist Nancy Faust.

Throughline :: The Long Hot Summer

Civil disturbances in Black communities in America in 1967 lead President Johnson to call the Kerner Commission. The commission’s report revealed evidence of police violence that was criticized and ignored at the time, but still reads as a diagnoses of our present-day crises.


Podcasts of the Week Ending April 4


Hit Parade :: La Vida Loca Edición

A history of Spanish-language hit songs on the Billboard Top 100 from the 1960s to the present with a special emphasis on Latin crossover artists Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Shakira.

Memory Palace :: Stories to Wash Hands By

Twenty stories of historical events that last twenty seconds each, the perfect length of time to wash your hands.  Whether or not this is practical (I mean if you push play on your device before your hands are clean it will be contaminated, no) the stories are all very interesting tidbits of history.

Radiolab :: Every Day is Ignaz Semmelweis Day

The story of the Viennese doctor who determined that medical professionals should wash their hands to prevent the spread of deadly infections long before germ theory was even understood.

Sidedoor :: The Milkmaid Spy

The mindblowing adventures of Virginia Hall who worked as a spy in occupied France during World War II, helping establish resistance networks.

60 Second Science :: Bird Fossil Shared Earth with T. rex

Scientists discover evidence of the earliest modern bird, the Wonderchicken.


Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Appearances in 2020

Podcasts of the Week Ending March 20


It’s been hard to keep up with my podcast listening with my normal routine disrupted and working at home with kids I can’t tune out the way I do my co-workers.  Podcasts have actually been a good source of news on the pandemic, imo, because they’re discrete, thoughtful packages of news on current events as opposed to the deadly trickle of fear and unknowing on tv.

Anyhow, here are some other things worth listening to this week:

Fresh Air :: The Case For Abolishing The Electoral College

A historical look at how the US elects the President, why states have chosen a winner-takes-all model, and why it’s logical to reform the election to represent the popular vote.

Science Talk :: David Quammen: How Animal Infections Spill Over to Humans

An interview from 2012 about how infectious disease jumps from other animal species to humans and how that makes it difficult to eliminate those diseases.  Lots of fascinating facts including the first transmission of HIV from chimpanzee to human in Cameroon way back in 1908!

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: The Last Man to Know It All

Prussian scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt had a huge influence on how Americans relate to their natural environment and inspired the origin of National Parks.

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Appearances in 2020

Podcasts of the Week for the (three weeks) ending June 29


AirSpace :: Rock on the Moon

Not moon rocks, but the music astronauts listened on the journey to the moon and back.

Best of the Left :: Modern Monetary Theory: We already use it, now we need to understand it

I didn’t know much about Modern Monetary Theory and it’s benefits to sociery, so I found this very illuminating.

Decoder Ring :: Chuck E. Cheese Pizza War

My grandmother took my sister and I to a Chuck E. Cheese in the 80s when we were much too old for Chuck E. Cheese.  From this podcast I learned that the audioanimatronic shows were intended for adults and that they no longer exist at Chuck E. Cheese today.  And that’s just the beginning of a lot of strange stories.

Fresh Air :: How Ordinary People Got Us To The Moon

Some great stories of the unheralded people behind the race to the moon.

Have You Heard? :: White Homebuyers, Black Neighborhoods and the Future of Urban Schools

Hub History :: Boston Marriages in Literature and Life

The history of romantic relationships between women in 19th century Boston.

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: The Worst Video Game Ever

I remember playing E.T.: The Game as a child and constantly falling into pits.  The @#*!! pits!!!!

StoryCorps :: Remembering Stonewall: 50 Years Later

First-person stories of the riot that changed the world.

WBUR News :: Should Massachusetts Change Its Flag?

Massachusetts’ flag is boring and features a racial stereotype.  We can do better.


Running tally of 2019 Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week Ending March 30th


To the Best of Our Knowledge :: Is The Internet Built For Everyone?

Women built the internet, but in practice are victims of virulent misogyny.  Here are stories of women making the internet a more inclusive space.

Throughline :: The Phoebus Conspiracy

The history of planned obsolescence, or why the products we buy aren’t built to last.

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: The Feather Detective

The story of Roxie Laybourne, the Smithsonian bird expert who’s research into feathers helped her identify birds struck by commercial aircraft and prevent future collisions.


Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances: