Thursday, February 4, 2010

A quick rundown of a few podcasts (or netcast if you are like that)

Irreligiosophy interviewed Mims Carter.  Wait, isn't he that guy who gave them a two star scathing review on iTunes and thus, they have the Mims Carter, Skunk Dick award.  Yes.  Apparently, Carter emailed Chuck and between the exchange, it was agreed to have Carter as a guest.  Was it fireworks and ugliness?  Not at all, in fact it was a rather enjoyable biography of "This American Atheist", a 50-something father and husband living in Mississippi.  Yes, Mississippi in the heart of the American Southern bible belt where Catholics aren't considered christian.  Anyway, the boys took Carter through his life from growing up nominally Catholic in Louisiana, moving to Michigan, then through school, and then Vietnam, and then back to the South and finally Katrina and life in Mississippi.  It was a really interesting conversation.  It was a bit of a different type of show for Irreligiosophy, but a nice change of pace.

This week Brian Dunning on Skeptoid covered whether Jewish Slaves built the pyramids, and the answer is no.  Brian went through with his typical detail point for point explaining why the earliest that Jews were in Egypt were hundreds of years after the final of the great pyramids were constructed.  He also went through the recent evidence of non-slave paid labor that built the pyramids.  Interestingly, shortly after this episode was uploaded, Dunning sent out a tweet that he was getting a lot of traffic from fundamentalist christian websites.  I am not surprised as this episode is a direct assault on a literalist history take on the bible and in particular the exodus.  The episode as normal is short, sweet, and interesting.

The Skeptics Guide 5X5, which is the topic-focused five minute companion podcast to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe.  The episode covered the Bermuda Triangle.  The Rogues covered that all the missing planes and ships in the triangle between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Miami is due to a leftover and mis-firing death ray left on and laying on the bottom of the ocean floor at the gates of Atlantis.  Aliens, being from another dimension, all nonsense.  No, no, no...just seeing if you are paying attention.  Instead they went through the lack of evidence for there being anything involved with the various missing planes and boats without a trace other than it is a high traffic shipping area, and if you have enough traffic, and you lose enough vessels some percentage of them will disappear without a ready explanation.  It is as always an excellent podcast to share with a group of mature public school students.  (That is until one of the kid's parents complains to the school board about free thinking communist atheist programing in the classroom and its either the Rogues or your job.)

Karl Mamer, contributing author to The Skeptical Review, has covered a few podcasts that he enjoys that are not necessarily of the skeptical genre.  I thought I would list out a few of the other podcasts that I try to keep up with that are not skeptical too.

Two technology podcasts that I listen to are the very popular This Week in Tech (TWiT) and Mac Break Weekly both hosted by Leo Leporte in his TWiT network.  (The TWiT network contains a whole family of podcasts: This Week in Google, Security Now, This Week in Fun, Dr. Kiki's Science Hour among others)  First, Leporte does not call his shows podcast, he refers to them as netcasts as podcast infers that they are somehow associated with Apple when they are not.  I understand what he is trying to accomplish, but I think the majority of people understand that podcast does not necessarily mean Apple or iPod just as in the Southern United States asking for a "coke" can mean any softdrink and not just a Coca-Cola carbonated sugar beverage.

TWiT (the podcast) is broadcast live every Sunday night around 6pm EST, and is uploaded in podcast form after midnight, I believe PST.  The show covers all matters tech and geeky from google, to microsoft, smartphones, to Apple, to linux, cameras, televisions, etc.  Leporte has a rotating panel of tech journalists and pundits that both skype and sit live in his studio at the TWiT cottage in San Francisco.  The banter is rather loose but Leporte keeps the show on track enough to be informative and entertaining for around an hour each week.  If you want a one stop shop for the latest in tech toys and goodies, TWiT fits the bill.

Mac Break Weekly is another panel discussion podcast that covers all things Apple-- iMacs, MacBooks, iPhone, iPod, and now iPad (sweet, sweet iPad).  It is an Apple fanboy's dream.  I do not consider myself an Apple fanboy, but a recent Apple convert from PC last summer.  The show definitely leans pro Apple, and the mystical cult of Steve Jobs is quite palpable.  He's the stern abusive step-father Apple fan boys dislike, but still are in awe of and desperately want his respect.  For anyone who uses a Mac, the show is a treasure trove of gossip of future products, Google bashing, and interesting programs to buy and/or download.  I do not find the pure entertainment value of the program as engaging as TWiT, but what it lacks in that realm, it more than makes up for in useful information.  Mac Break comes out after midnight every Wednesday.  

Sometime next week, I'll cover a few other podcast I follow in the history and automotive realm.

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