Podcast Round-up

Podcasting has arrived in a big way, as a cursory glance at the iTunes directory will confirm – if you can think of a science related topic, the chances are that someone somewhere will probably be talking about it. On that note, here’s a quick look at some which may be of interest to readers here – some are those I listen to, others were recommended to me by Carl at Hot Cup of Joe, (and who also contributes to Anthropology.net), so many thanks to him for his suggestions. All shows listed below are available for free via iTunes, but if you don’t use that application, I’ve provided a link to each of the sites, from where you can either listen or download direct.

All In The Mind – ABC

This show from Australia looks at issues involving psychology, with their two most recent shows looking at ‘mental surveillance’, discussing the unregulated domain of brain scanning in courts, our understanding of criminality, our susceptibility to becoming smokers or alcoholics based on our brain patterns, and a whole lot more – very well presented, and plenty to ponder over exactly how much free will we actually have.

Archaeology Channel

Here we have the weekly news from Archaeologica, who also run an excellent daily news service from their site.

n.b. The Archaeology Channel have an excellent range of video material on their site, the latest edition of which features an interview with Dr. Louise Leakey, yet another member of that famous family, discussing her work at Lake Turkana – also, be sure to check through their extensive archives for some very good presentations.

ClioaudioThis is produced by Alun Salt, formerly of Archaeoastronomy, and although still in its early days, has already covered some very interesting topics, including the debate between archaeologists and pagans, regarding how we should treat the ancient remains of individuals who are discovered during the course of digs or other excavations.

Dogma Free America

One of Carl Feagan’s recommendations, a show which evidently looks at the ongoing debate between science and religion – at the time of writing I haven’t had time to listen, but looking through their past show summaries, it looks as though there is a wealth of good material to catch up on.

From Our Own Correspondent

One of many from the BBC, this comes out quite often, sometimes twice in the same week. Each show features 3 separate reporters submitting a 10-minute piece from around the world, taking a look at people and places who wouldn’t necessarily make it into the headline news, but who nevertheless provide us with fascinating insights into any number of topics.

In Our Time

Another from the BBC, this one featuring presenter Melvyn Bragg and a handful of specialist guests brought in for each edition, who address a specific topic each week – the current edition looks at the Permian/Triassic extinction event, which wiped out over 95% of all life, some 250 million years ago.

New Scientist

Also known as Scipod, this is a joint UK/US effort, and each week the two presenters take a look at topics typically covered in their magazine – this week it’s Richard Wiseman on something called ‘quirkology’.

Point Of Enquiry

I only came across this recently, and this is a pretty good one – here’s my write up from remote central – “Each issue features a different guest, many of whom will be instantly recognisable – Phil Plait, Steven Pinker, Susan Blackmore, Richard Wiseman, Dennett and Dawkins, with even Salman Rushdie popping in for a visit. At the moment I’m listening to Prof. Eugenie Scott, of the Dover, Pa. 2005 trial fame, discussing Creationism masquerading as Intelligent Design, and the attempts by some to have both subjects taught together in the science classroom.”

Royal Society

A mix of video and podcasting, not sure of this is still up and running as there have been no new editions since early May, but their past shows are still available.

RU Sirius Show

I actually first heard of this when Martin at Aardvarchaeology recommended it on his site. This is a long established show, and although not strictly tied to anthropology, nevertheless features plenty of material that will be of interest to many – current edition looks at ‘Cyborgs, revolution and Steve Wozniak‘.

Science Talk

This is from Scientific American, and is a weekly look at science and technology in the news, as well as a host of other related topics discussed with different guests, always something of interest – SciAm have also started posting related video news content on their site, including a companion piece to their recent feature ‘Earth Without Humans‘, which looks at how New York would become transformed over the years, were we humans to suddenly vanish from the scene.


This is another podcast which dealing with issues of faith, belief, and topics such as scientific evidence, or lack thereof, for the afterlife – again, one I haven’t had the chance to check thoroughly, but one that promises to have some good discussion – the latest edition focusses on what is described as the battle between religious and scientific fundamentalism, and looks at ways in which some type of compromise can be reached between the two sides to take the arguments forward, rather than becoming enmired in the morass of verbal mudslinging which seems on occasion to dominate any debate.

Skeptics Guide To The Universe

Another recommendation by Carl, haven’t had a chance to properly listen yet, but the snoppets I’ve heard bode well for future listening – their latest issue discusses ‘News Items: Do black holes exist, President bush veto’s new stem cell bill, Legends for profit;

This Week In Science

The final show to be featured here, which describes itself as ‘the kickass science podcast’ and again, one recommended by Carl – this is another show I’ll have a listen to more fully later, and they certainly appear to tackle a formidable range of topics, with interviews, so it should have something of interest for all. There’s also a link from their main page to Seed Magazine’s ‘Science Writing Contest‘, which I imagine would attract the interest, and again, what little I’ve heard, is very well presented.

So that’s it for now – doubtless there are other podcasts out there of which I’m unaware, but hopefully those mentioned above will prove useful and hopefully entertaining to readers here – it’s just a question of finding the time to listen to them all , but one of the best thing about podcasting is that we’re no longer tied to radio schedules, which in the past, all too often meant that a show missed one week, was effectively a show missed for ever. Happy listening. (TJ)

image from here

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