Podcasts to listen to

By Kevin Bartelt

Today’s technology makes life pretty easy.

Insightful, right? However, something we should not take for granted is how technology can educate us.

From the many different podcasts I have researched, here are a few that I’d recommend for anyone interested in learning something new.

“This American Life”

“This American Life” brings the beauty of story back into the 21st century. Stories woven together under a common theme are told by the frank Ira Glass.

It is “a weekly public radio show that broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 1.8 million listeners,” according to ThisAmericanLife.org. “It is also often the most popular podcast in the country, with around 700,000 people downloading each week.”

This week’s podcast is about the shootings of 29 current and former students at W.R. Harper High School in Chicago. Last week’s episode was about people going to the extremes to find love.

Other episodes include creative themes, like a story for each of the Ten Commandments, stories of babysitting and the Dos Erres massacre.

If you are going to pick any of these podcasts, choose “This American Life.”


While “This American Life” is more story based, “TEDTalks” is definitely more lecture based.

“TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading,” according to TED.com. “It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.”

Unlike Saturday Night Live’s “Drunk Uncle” character, TEDTalks contains lectures told by doctors, professors and people with credentials you wouldn’t believe.

At times, TEDTalks can be a little overwhelming. I didn’t know what a dung beetle was and after learning about it, I kind of regret it. TEDTalks is not light material, so make sure to narrow down your interests before selecting an option.

Some TEDTalks lectures can fly right over your head, so read the descriptions before committing. Some of the topics include science, business and politics.

Keep an eye out for appearances by author Daniel Pink, feminist and playwright Eve Ensler and entrepreneur Bill Gates. When choosing the correct audios, TEDTalks can be a very intellectual experience.

“How Stuff Works”

Another great podcast to check out is “How Stuff Works.”

What attracts thousands to this podcast is its simplicity. Every week, broadcasters Chuck and Josh pick a topic and break it down with a guest. “How Stuff Works” is great to listen to on the treadmill or while walking to class.

Some topics include how jetlag works, myths about the brain, how willpower works and the science behind the five-second rule. Use your newfound knowledge from “How Stuff Works” to spark conversation with friends and classmates.