A bumper crop of erudition for your ears this week.
The Memory Palace :: Hercules
With Washington’s Birthday coming up, a reminder that our first President held people in bondage because he enjoyed what their labor provided without having to pay for them. The story of Hercules, a talented chef, who successfully escaped slavery.
Smithsonian Sidedoor :: Killer Viruses and One Man’s Mission to Stop Them
The story of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and the efforts of Dr. Maurice Hilleman to create vaccines to prevent later outbreaks.
The Nation Start Making Sense :: Elizabeth Warren on Monopoly Power
Elizabeth Warren wants to make fighting monopolies part of the Democrats agenda again. Also, the truth behind Warren Buffett, and white working class Trump voter.
The Truth :: Nuclear Winter
A spooky story set in an outdated nuclear missile silo. Don’t worry, it’s fictional!
Afropop Worldwide :: Africa and the Blues
A fascinating look into musicologist Gerhard Kubik’s research into the traits of blues music that connect with the music of different regions of Africa. Read more here: http://afropop.org/articles/africa-and-the-blues-an-interview-with-gerhard-kubik
StoryCorps :: In the Neighborhood
The story of the multi-talented François Clemmons, most famous for playing Officer Clemmons on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, his friendship with Fred Rogers, and their quietly bold statement for civil rights and equality.
60-Second Science :: Ancient Women Had Awesome Arms
Thanks to science, we now know that prehistoric agricultural labor is the way for women to build upper body strength.
Twenty Thousand Hertz :: The Bleeps, The Sweeps, and The Creeps
Did you ever think that the noises from your phone, computer, car, etc were actually designed by someone with specific ideas in mind.
Slow Burn :: A Very Successful Cover-up
This series on Watergate continues with the history of just how uninterested people were in the scandal during the 1972 Presidential Campaign
Science Talk :: The Skinny on Fat
The science behind fat, it’s importance to the body, and the mythology of fad diets.
Life of the Law :: Traditions
Stories from prisoners about their memories of Christmases past and the new holiday traditions they create while incarcerated.
Code Switch :: With Dope, There’s High Hope
The history of the demonization of marijuana by linking it to African Americans and immigrants, the inordinate arrest rate of African Americans on marijuana charges, and how people of color are being left out of the legalized canabis market.
The Truth :: Mall Santa
This story of a disenchanted mall Santa who finds hope in a young, drunken Santa-Con participant really touched me in the feels.
Mortified :: Kids Who Teach
Stories of kids becoming teachers, including a stunning musical defense of feminism.
Have You Heard? :: What We Talk About When We Talk About the Corporate Education Agenda
An explanation of why major corporations have become big players in education policy and what it means for the rest of us.
Planet Money :: Your Cell Phone’s A Snitch
What personal information is gathered by your cell phones, how it’s being used by law enforcement and others, and what rights do we have under the Constitution to privacy.
99% Invisible :: Dollhouses of St. Louis
The sad story of St. Louis’ historic black neighborhood, The Ville, where old houses are being robbed of their bricks for resale to salvage operations.
To the Best of Our Knowledge :: You Had To Be There
Stories of places that are gone that are difficult at best to experience vicariously – from movie palaces to a video game based on Walden.
Fresh Air :: The Life and Death of Eric Garner
The details of Eric Garner’s life and final moments when murdered by the police on Staten Island are filled in by Matt Taibbi, author of the new book I Can’t Breathe.
99% Invisible :: La Sagrada Familia
The ongoing story of Barcelona’s most famous landmark, the masterpiece of architect Antoni Gaudí, and the efforts of subsequent generations of builders to follow his vision.
The Truth :: The Decider
A mesmerizing audio play about how a woman’s life is changed by a device that makes decisions for her.
What I’m listening to and what you should be listening to.
Have You Heard? :: Divided by Design: Race, Neighborhoods, Wealth and Schools
A history of racial segregation in neighborhoods and schools that is still feeding inequality to this very day.
To the Best of Our Knowledge :: What is School For?
I was worried that this would be peppered with corporate reform ideology and myths, but actually has some interesting stories on teacher burnout, multicultural studies, and the importance of the humanities.
The Truth :: Brain Chemistry
A funny/poignant audio drama about the life of a brain in a jar in the future, starring Scott Adsit of 30 Rock.
Hit Parade :: The Great War Against the Single Edition
It’s a good thing that Hit Parade is published infrequently, because I think I’m going to post every episode here. This is the story of how record companies from the 1960s to the 2000s tried to make people by the more expensive full albums in order to get a copy of a popular song. Deeply fascinating, with lots of Casey Kassem cameos.
99% Invisible :: The Athletic Brassiere
The hidden story of the sports bra (nee, the “Jock Bra”) and how it helped transform women in sports.
Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked :: A Friend in the Forest
The Snap Judgment spinoff podcasts tells creepy stories for the month of October, and this contemporary ghost story from Ireland is particularly eerie.