New podcast recommendation: DeepMind the Podcast

I have just come across a new podcast hosted by the always-brilliant Hannah Fry. It is on AI, and was made in collaboration with the DeepMind laboratory in the UK, and it is simply called DeepMind the Podcast.

The website has the following description:

What’s AI? What can it be used for? Is it safe? And how do I get involved? These are the kinds of questions we often get asked at public events like science festivals, talks and workshops. We love answering them and really value the conversations and thinking they provoke.

Sadly, we can’t have face-to-face conversations with everyone who is interested in AI. So, to help us bridge that gap, we’re now launching DeepMind: The Podcast, a new series that we hope will answer these questions and more, while also giving listeners an inside look at how AI research is done at an organisation like DeepMind. You can subscribe now on your favourite podcast app.

 

Monster Talk has gone independent

The excellent podcast Monster Talk, hosted by Blake Smith and Dr. Karen Stollznow, has gone independent.

It used to be connected to Skeptic, the magazine which is edited by Michael Shermer. Even though the podcast had no connection to Shermer, it still meant it was hard to promote the podcast, or even worse, support the podcast financially, without somehow benefiting Skeptic and Shermer.

Luckily, this is no longer the case. A few weeks ago, Smith and Stollznow went independent with the podcast, which is now produced by Blake Smith’s company Monster House, LLC.

If you want to support their new independence, Blake Smith has set up a fundraiser and they have a patreon

I haven’t been able to find a link to the actual podcast which isn’t under the Skeptic domain, but I am sure it is only a matter of time before they have a website I can link.

 

Podcast recommendations

A few months ago, I made a list of podcast recommendations, so I thought I’d bring an updated list of what I am currently listening to.

The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry – I mentioned it in my last post, but I have listened quite a bit more to it since then, and I still highly recommend it.

The Infinite Monkey Cage – Robin Ince, Brian Cox, and friends take on scientific subjects. There is one in-joke, where people ask Brian Cox whether it is true that “things can only get better”, which is a reference to a hit by the band D-REAM, which Brian Cox used to play guitar in.

Making History – A history podcast/radio show. The latest season was hosted by Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence. It is not secret that I am a great fan of Iszi and her podcast The Z List Dead List, but even if I hadn’t already been a fan of her, I would have liked Making History.

In these Trump times, it can be hard to make sense of what is going on in the legal realm in the US. A great podcast to help you with that is Opening Arguments, where the two hosts, Andrew Torrez and Thomas Smith explains things. Andrew Torrez is a lawyer, who brings his expertice to the table, while Thomas Smith plays the role of the interviewer. The podcast has a liberal bend, as does reality, but will also take on legal nonsense from the left.

Monster Talk is another podcast I love. It is hosted by Blake Smith and Dr. Karen Stollznow, and describes itself as “a free audio podcast that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves.”

Podcast recommendations

I have come across a few interesting podcasts, that I thought I’d share with the rest of you.

The first of them, came to me via Tony, who recommended it. It is Uncivil, which is described thus:

A history podcast from Gimlet Media, where we go back to the time our divisions turned into a war, and bring you stories left out of the official history.

The second podcast, is really a series of episodes of a podcast. It is the Seeing White series of the Scene on Radio podcast.

Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.

Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?

Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into these questions, along with an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, in this fourteen-part documentary series, released between February and August 2017. The series editor is Loretta Williams.

This was again a podcast that came to me via Tony.

Opening Arguments a podcast by Andrew Torres and Thomas Smith. A progressive podcast, focusing on legal matters. It describes itself thus:

Opening Arguments is the show that pairs a real-life, Harvard-educated lawyer (Andrew) with an inquisitive host (Thomas). Every episode, Thomas and Andrew take on a popular legal topic and give you all the tools you need to understand the issue and win every argument you have on Facebook, with your Uncle Frank, or wherever someone is wrong on the Internet.

Thomas and Andrew have tackled Hillary Clinton’s emails, Jill Stein’s recounts, the Emoluments clause, overtime regulations, Roe v. Wade, the wacky “sovereign citizen” movement, and much, much more!

It’s law. It’s politics. It’s fun. We don’t tell you what to think, we just set up the Opening Arguments.

A few weeks ago, I was at QED in Manchester, where I heard Hannah Fry give a brilliant talk. This made me look up her work, and I was reminded that she is one of the two hosts of The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry, a show that addresses listener questions from a scientific angle.

The Archaeological Fantasies Podcast describes itself thus:

Welcome to the Archaeological Fantasies Podcast. Join Sara Head and Doctors Ken Feder and Jeb Card as they explore the wild world of pseudoarchaeology. They look critically at topics ranging from Transoceanic travliers, Ancient Aliens, and Vikings in America, all the way to archaeological evidence of Big Foot.

Who will be at QED?

The QED conference is coming up in Manchester, and I will be attending this year.

The program looks frustrating and amazing – frustrating because I want to several things at the same time, amazing because of the sheer quality of the speakers.

I haven’t decided what I am going to see yet, except that I am definitely wants to see the Z List Dead List session.

If you are at the conference, feel free to say hi

Podcast recommendation: Skeptics with a K

As part of my series of posts recommending podcasts, the turn has come to recommend Skeptics with a K, a podcast by the Merseyside Skeptic Society. The Merseyside Skeptic Society is of course an important skeptical organization, which is well known for having come up with the 10:23 campaign and for co-organizing the QED conference.

The podcast started out in 2009, and is thus a quite long-running podcast, coming up on its 200th episode (as I am writing this, episode 198 was released two days ago).

The podcast has had 3 hosts from the start, with the current hosts being Mike Hall, Michael “Marsh” Marshall, and Alice Howarth. Mike and Marsh has been hosts from the start, while Alice joined in 2014, taking over from Collin Harris.

The shows style is basically that the three hosts sit together, talk about their daily life, and then talk about a skeptic or science subject that they find relevant for the show. The show is relaxed, often silly, but despite what the hosts (especially Mike) would say, very informative. From the science talk by Alice, over Marsh’s work for the Good Thinking Society, to Mike’s addressing misconceptions and misuse of the placebo concept.

In recent years, it has become easy to be cynical about organized skepticism, but podcasts like Skeptics with a K helps fight that cynicism, showing the good side of organized skepticism, demonstrating that it can make a difference, and that it is not just about people promoting themselves, but it is also about people like the 3 hosts who actively work to promote critical thinking, both through their podcast, and through their work fighting against things like homeopathy.

Note: if you have a problem with swearing, this is probably not the podcast for you.

Also, you probably would want to avoid the Christmas special as the first episode to listen to, as it is a drunk episode, and not very representative of the rest of the podcast.

Podcast recommendation: Oh No Ross and Carrie

I am always looking for great skeptic and scientific podcasts, and since I am sure that many other are doing the same, I’ll occasionally recommend podcasts that I have come across, and think are worth listening to (some times with a caveat or two).

This time, I will recommend the Oh No Ross and Carrie podcast, which is a podcast series where the hosts and Ross and Carrie investigates different health or supernatural claims, and cults.

In the past they have investigated things like Scientology, Christian Science, Laughter Yoga, and Reiki.

The only caveat I will make about the show is that they sometimes try too hard to build the suspense during the introduction, and drag it out needlessly. This becomes annoying if you listen to several shows in a row. Thankfully this can be skipped through fairly easily.

Podcast recommendation: The Z List Dead List

This post is an attempt to a new series of blogposts, recommending good podcasts I’ve come across.

First on the list, is The Z List Dead List, a podcast by Iszi Lawrence, based on her comedy show of the same name.

The basic concept of the show is that Iszi Lawrence invites comedians (and others) to come and talk about a person who is a) dead, and b) should be more widely known.

This concept allows for a great series of podcasts, where you get introduced to some interesting people from history. There is a British bias in the selection, but even so, we get introduced to a pretty widespread selection of people through the 7 series, that exists so far.

Given that Iszi Lawrence is a feminist and a skeptic, the podcast is great in these areas, and several of the episodes includes people from these areas.

If you have any comments to the podcast, or have any suggestions for podcasts that I should check out please let me know in the comments,