Informative, Dry Podcasts for Running
July 23, 2014 7:42 PM   Subscribe

Astronomy Cast has been great, but I'd like to mix things up with other topics! What I'm looking for in a podcast: cerebral/abstract subject matter, steady talking by the hosts -- with few interruptions and few/regular hosts, relatively serious tone (not a lot of banter as well as not a lot of joking). An hour-long podcast would be ideal, but other lengths are workable.

Subjects that I'm interested in (but don't necessarily know much about!):

-- Natural Science
-- Logic (in terms of philosophy or math)
-- Math generally (I've only been through Calc I, though, so a lot of this is likely over my head!)
-- Urban Planning (technical *and* sociological aspects)
-- Medicine (anything from bacteria and viruses to public health)
-- Disability Studies (esp. accessibility)
posted by rue72 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
99 Percent Invisible is pretty good, but only about 10-20 minutes.
posted by Etrigan at 8:00 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Individually they're a bit short, but maybe you could chain together several of the Nature podcasts? I used to listen to NeuroPod and rather liked it. They're only monthly, but there's a backlog that might last you for a bit.
posted by dorque at 8:09 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I suggest EconTalk ( )

That was my answer to this question also:
Can you suggest dull and informative podcasts to help me fall asleep?

Some of the other answers might also apply to your question as well.
posted by metadave at 8:11 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Can you suggest dull and informative podcasts to help me fall asleep?

That question is actually how I found Astronomy Cast in the first place. But I've tried out all the podcasts suggested there that appealed to me, and Astronomy Cast is the only one that really hit it right. Hoping that there are more out there in a similar format and about somewhat different subjects, though. After about forty-five minutes of astronomy-talk at a stretch, I start getting a little burnt out and want to learn about something different!
posted by rue72 at 8:16 PM on July 23, 2014

How about The History of Rome or In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg? IOT typically has multiple experts but they tend to stick on topic.

I don't know if you'd be interested in pediatric medicine but Pediacast fits your bill very nicely.
posted by bq at 8:30 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I second In Our Time.
The Science Show is also good and lasts for an hour if you get the full show.
You might also want to check out podcasts of public speeches. The LSE and the Big Ideas series are good starting points.
posted by girlgenius at 8:45 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're interested in philosophy beyond just logic, Philosophy Talk. I used to fall asleep to it and still learn something :)
posted by Red Desk at 9:01 PM on July 23, 2014

I was also going recommend In Our Time. They're week done, steady, and have a very robust archive you can go through.
posted by kendrak at 9:04 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's a little shorter than an hour and I don't know if the subject matter interests you, but You Must Remember This is mostly does Old Hollywood stories, though there was one on Isabella Rosellini. Aside from a couple of odd sound bytes (this is still a pretty new podcast and she seems to be feeling her way around a little still) there's no clips or interviews, she just tells the story.

99pi is really short, but you might check out the other members of the Radiotopia family. The new episode of Pitch was really really good.

Song Exploder might also be interesting to you, if you're into music.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:05 PM on July 23, 2014

Partially Examined life, a philosophy podcast.
posted by dilaudid at 9:28 PM on July 23, 2014

If you haven't tried Radiolab yet, give it a listen. In my opinion, it's the gold standard for audio production combined with information. It meets all your criteria. The hosts pick a topic which is usually more of a question or mystery or something they will use the length of the program to illuminate. Topics they pick might fall within any of the 6 subject areas you describe or others. No assumptions are made about you, the listener's training or knowledge. The style and tone of the program provokes curiosity.
posted by ErikH2000 at 10:31 PM on July 23, 2014

I like "Stuff you missed in history class" from the How Stuff Works site. Some mild banter but really informative!

Also there's probably some good npr shows that fit the bill. Maybe Planet Money. I also listen to Radio Lab.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:52 PM on July 23, 2014

In Our Time is amazing.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:32 AM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: *pulls out phone*

Quirks and Quarks
Science Magazine Podcast
Science Talk
Various How Stuff Works podcasts
This Week in Virology
This Week in Microbiology
This Week in Parasitism
Nature Medicine

Some are shorter than an hour, but there are archives. The TWI* podcasts are highly informative, but might have a bit more banter than you like and are closer to 2 hours. Still, check them out. The only thing I don't like about the HSW podcasts is the advertising in them. It feels a bit excessive to me.
posted by kathrynm at 5:35 AM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another vote for In Our Time
posted by snarfois at 6:26 AM on July 24, 2014

Also, if you find the History of Rome works for you, Mike Duncan's moved on from there to Revolutions, where he covers various revolutions, starting with the English Civil War, moving on to the American Revolutionary War and he's now just started the French Revolution.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:36 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like the History Chicks a podcast about women in history.
posted by garlic at 10:17 AM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pragmatic: a weekly discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. Exploring the real world trade offs we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems.

My only criticism of this show is that it can be really dry at times... and that seems to be a feature you're looking for. (My mind boggles.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:00 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not one of your chosen subjects, but Hardcore History is great and long.
posted by dvrmmr at 12:20 PM on July 24, 2014

Response by poster: My only criticism of this show is that it can be really dry at times... and that seems to be a feature you're looking for. (My mind boggles.)

I find running to be very meditative, so shows that are more abstract and that have a steadier, quieter, more stripped-down tone work well with that.

Another reason I'm looking more for science, math, and possibly engineering topics for this context, is because those are subjects I don't really know much about or get much exposure to otherwise, so it's refreshing to spend some time thinking about them during my run.

I tried a few episodes of NeuroPod this morning and really enjoyed it -- thanks for that recommendation, dorque. kathrynm, a lot of those shows also sound fabulous and I can't wait to try them all. But please keep 'em coming everyone, these suggestions are great.
posted by rue72 at 12:22 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: Medicine: BMJ
Science/Technology: omega-tau
posted by TristanPK at 2:21 PM on July 24, 2014

I stopped listening to the Science Times from the NY Times because I found them too dry. Never thought I'd pass it along for that reason. They're on the shorter side (25-30 mins)
posted by paradeofblimps at 8:06 PM on July 24, 2014

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