By Sara Snipes
While I usually take this time to discuss recent events in the scientific realm, this time around I thought I would share another avenue to get a daily or weekly dose of current events and, you guessed it, SCIENCE! Some of us are already familiar with podcasts, but some of us still don’t understand what the hype is or why that ‘annoying app’ on your phone is built-in. I certainly was the latter for quite a while. I imagined it to be filled with lame topics or things not relevant to me. WRONG!
For many years as an iPhone user, I neglected the purple box that contained what looks like a person being beamed out to space (if you need a visual, Google “iPhone podcast app” and click on “images”). It just sat on my screen probably sending me subconscious messages like “use me!” and “I promise I’m not boring!” but it wasn’t until I relocated back to our midwest area that I started using this purple box. I longed for the radio entertainment I listened to during heavy traffic on the 91 freeway of the LA metro area driving to and from my college courses at California State University, Fullerton (GO TITANS!). There were plenty of choices of radio stations and I had a few favorites, so, naturally, I looked elsewhere for my fix.
I decided it was time to explore the podcast app and I have never looked back. Of course, the ability to use this app is for smart phones so my apologies if you do not have one. However, you are still able to listen to many podcasts through the internet on a desktop or laptop! Currently, I subscribe to 47 podcast shows. Best part? IT’S FREE! I mean, aside from the fact you are paying whatever your cell phone bill is for data usage. However, the app itself is not a subscription and the shows I have also do not charge any fees. Win and win.
What is a podcast? I liken it to an audio blog mostly. What is a blog? A blog is a regularly updated web page that is authored by someone in much the same style as I am writing this article; informal and conversational. Mash a blog and a podcast together and that is what most podcasts shows are. However, you do have some formal news podcasts that function much like typical radio news stations.
While I won’t list ALL 47 podcast shows I listen to, I will list the ones that bring you complex/controversial topics, current events relating to science, and informational tools to help you refine your critical thinking skills while also blowing your mind:
•Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik
•Science Rules! with Bill Nye
•Science Vs from Gimlet Media
•StarTalk Radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson
•TED Talks Daily
•Nature Podcast by Springer Nature Limited
•Big Picture Science by SETI Institute
•The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe by Dr. Steven Novella
There is rarely a moment during my work day that I don’t have headphones on listening to a podcast to help me grow my thoughts and viewpoints. I enjoy being able to devour informational content during more mindless activities (e.g., laundry, dishes). Of course, podcasts aren’t limited to the topics I provided. There are endless topics such as religion/spirituality, history, pop culture, health/nutrition, daily news, etc., and my hope is you will be motivated to discover what your podcast app on your phone can offer you in the realm of science!