Reading Time: 2 minutes

rl2309The results of my informal podcast poll are in! I’ve listened to long excerpts from 35 podcasts recommended on this blog and by friends on Facebook and in TheRealWorld. That’s all it takes, really — within 3 minutes I have a strong inkling whether a podcast is for me. If I’m still listening at ten minutes — rarely the case — it’s decided.

Here then, in no particular order, are the eight podcasts that are, at this point in my life, for me:

Clever Little Pod (comedy)
Friday Night Comedy (BBC)
Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me (NPR)
The Bugle (topical comedy with John Oliver etc)
This American Life (narrative nonfiction)
The Moth (narrative nonfiction)
RadioLab (science and culture)
The Naked Scientists (science)

…and though those are in no particular order, one podcast — after hearing just half of a single episode — has risen waaaaaay above the rest: RadioLab — “where science meets culture and information sounds like music.”

Holy shite, that’s a great program.

I first heard about RadioLab about a year ago — in fact, I think it was from Joe, the designer of the PBB website. I checked it out, thought it looked good, then filed it away, since I wasn’t into podcasts at that point.

Then another friend mentioned it, and another. Finally I put out this call for recommendations, and several people screamed RADIOLAB.

Now I see why.

Titled “Stochasticity,” the episode I’m halfway through is about randomness. And even though I was already familiar with the principles they’re talking about, I’m still eating it up alive. I also played the first bit for the kiddos, who likewise feasted on its tasty innards.

After just half a listen, I’m so well convinced that I downloaded 62 past episodes — 62 hours of RadioLab. [Cue Homer Simpson’s gargle when thinking about bacon.]

As promised, a plenary indulgence is now winging its way to kcruz, barrettc, MCable, tarrkid, Jenny, and several others who wouldn’t know what to do with a plenary indulgence even if it did windows. And a retroactive one for Joe.

I’ll be doing a post about stochasticity shortly. Thanks ever so very seriously much to everyone for your suggestions. My earbuds are buzzing with gratitude.

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.