Recommend me some intellectually stimulating podcasts?
March 14, 2015 12:35 AM   Subscribe

I know all the common podcasts, this american life, the stuff you should know, radiolab, planet money, freakonomics, the story, ted talks, moth podcast, invisibalia, serial, le show. Give me more! (I've looked through old posts, but some are outdated, and I already have all the top picks)

Anything scientific is good, peer reviewed journal articles, stories of people with interesting lives, news stories, your personal favorites, anything interesting even on random topics.

posted by crawltopslow to Computers & Internet (38 answers total) 141 users marked this as a favorite
You should look at the offerings from CBC (the Canadian "NPR") I would suggest "spark" (tech) "quirks and quarks" (science) "white coat black art" (medicine) and my fav, "age of persuasion/under the influence" (real life Mad Men)
posted by saradarlin at 12:47 AM on March 14, 2015 [8 favorites]

The Infinite Monkey Cage
Hardcore History
Selected Shorts
Welcome to Nightvale
Snap Judgement
posted by dvrmmr at 12:58 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

In Our Time. On, basically, everything. Eruditely and brilliantly compered by Melvyn Bragg.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:02 AM on March 14, 2015 [11 favorites]

Seconding In Our Time. It's not just good, it's superb. Wide-ranging, intelligent and always interesting.
posted by Nick Jordan at 1:24 AM on March 14, 2015

[Warning: Mostly UK podcast-centric.]
Came to recommend The Infinite Monkey Cage (with theme song by Eric Idle!). Can also second the recommendation of Melvyn Bragg and would add Laurie Taylor's Thinking Allowed. If you like John Oliver, I'd also recommend The Bugle. And another one I enjoy, right at the top of the "random" pile: QI's There's No Such Thing as a Fish. One from the TAL/PM/Serial farm: Reply All.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 1:28 AM on March 14, 2015 [7 favorites]

I have been enjoying Criminal and Life of the Law lately. Criminal is interesting true-crime stories, well-told, and Life of the Law is fascinating (US) legal stories.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:31 AM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

99% invisible
posted by dvrmmr at 1:32 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Omega Tau is the best I've ever heard.
posted by fake at 1:37 AM on March 14, 2015 [5 favorites]

Unexpectedly, Slate's Amicus podcast is my current favourite - about the US Supreme Court, with the guests all directly involved in cases or legal scholars.

Also from Slate, or I guess now Panoply, I am really enjoying John Dickerson's Whistlestop, which is brief and covers interesting stories from presidential campaign history.

I've been culling my subscriptions and realise I most enjoy the ones with actual substance but not too mannered a tone, and both of these are keepers.
posted by carbide at 2:08 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a lot to raid with the BBC: I'd second Thinking Allowed and third In Our Time, but also BBC Radio 3's 'Free Thinking' (sort-of arts and discussion I guess? It's a bit hard to characterise) & there is also the stonking, diverse, extraordinary, variable backcatalogue of the World Service's documentaries (that covers pretty much every topic under the sun, and has a much broader horizon than most of the more typical recommended podcasts).
posted by AFII at 2:22 AM on March 14, 2015

The Long Now Foundation's monthly Seminars were started in 2003 to build a compelling body of ideas about long-term thinking; to help nudge civilization toward our goal of making long-term thinking automatic and common instead of difficult and rare.

Podcast is the audio portion of the seminars.
posted by Homer42 at 2:46 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Aftermath radio, surviving psychopathy (psychopaths - remorseless/conscience-less individuals).

The Royal College of Psychiatry free podcasts
posted by tanktop at 4:05 AM on March 14, 2015

The Memory Palace.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:11 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

SmartEM is my friends David and Ashley's podcast analyzing the research behind accepted emergency medicine treatments and techniques. It's engaging for the layman, and although it doesn't update often you can enjoy catching up on the old ones.
posted by nicwolff at 4:12 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love any and all CBC news programs, they just ask the questions that US news broadcasters wont. Also, could you go funny? You're the Expert is science-based comedy, but I've learned a lot listening.
posted by Toddles at 4:16 AM on March 14, 2015

I've enjoyed several of those listed below:

BBC All In The Mind
BBC Analysis
BBC Costing The Earth
BBC File on Four
BBC Frontiers
BBC Inside Science
BBC More or Less
BBC World Service Documentaries
Council for Foreign Relations Podcast
GAPS History of Philosophy
To the Best of Our Knowledge - WPR (Wisconsin Public Radio) podcast

There's a load more but I can't check at work without being beaten hard with a stick. It's hard to go wrong with most of the BBC ones. Will be back later with more when my boss has been distracted by dainty French pastries.
posted by longbaugh at 4:26 AM on March 14, 2015

(quick update)

BBC The Bottom Line
BBC World Service The Inquiry
BBC The Report
BBC The Life Scientific
BBC Thinking Allowed

The BBC World Service "The Inquiry" podcast is one of my faves at the moment. Relatively short but very good introductions and about as unbiased as I've ever seen.

(I glanced mid-pain au chocolat ;) )
posted by longbaugh at 4:37 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcast has some truly amazing interviews with people in entertainment and (occasionally) science. Totally worth combing through the list of past guests to see if anyone you're interested in has been on -- interviews are long (usually an hour, I think the Favreau one is twice that) and CH and his fellow hosts are super well prepared, often pulling out obscure details of the guest's career from decades earlier. You never get the feeling they skimmed the book the night before. They end up having the conversation with the guest that you wish you would have if you ever sat next to that person on a flight. Much different and so much more satisfying than typical interviews.

Recentish shows that have been fantastic: Jon Favreau, John Cleese, Gillian Anderson, Brian Cox and Eric Idle.
posted by apparently at 6:00 AM on March 14, 2015

NPR has a new show called Invisibilia that I've really enjoyed! It's about the "intangible forces that shape human behavior." Fanfare link: here.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 6:07 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

i really enjoy notebook on cities and culture (and especially its predecessor, marketplace of ideas). the host of the podcast travels to cities around north america and the world (e.g. san francisco, portland, vancouver, mexico city, toronto, copenhagen, osaka, etc.) and interviews writers, visual artists, musicians, academics, urban planners, and bloggers.
posted by mrmanvir at 6:32 AM on March 14, 2015

CBC Ideas is one of the smartest things out there. Try a few as the topics vary from show to show.
posted by furtive at 8:47 AM on March 14, 2015

I really like the Story Collider Podcast, which is kind of like the Moth but specifically for stories that involve STEM.

Adam Savage has a podcast, Still Untitled, that I really enjoy.

Jpsie Long's Short Cuts Radio Show is excellent, found in podcast form here. It hasn't updated in awhile, but I haven't heard anything about it ending.
posted by KernalM at 9:20 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Definitely check out:
Backstory, American history around a theme (like work or cleanliness or the middle class or time). I'm not really a history buff or anything, but the presenters are excellent and engaging
TLDR, quick shows about the weirdness that is the Internet

Longer shots:
Song Exploder, an artist or composer walks through the process of writing a song or musical piece, pulling out individual components of the work to talk about them. They've done stuff from The Postal Service, The Long Winters, the theme for House of Cards, The Imitation Game soundtrack.
Roderick on the Line, ongoing philosophical/general bullshitting discussion between a couple of internet-famous dudes (mathowie has said this is his favorite podcast)
Latest in Paleo, discussion about health, exercise, and nutrition with a focus on scientific research as well as cultural trends. Don't let the paleo thing turn you off if that's not your bag; the presenter does a really nice job of critiquing studies and trends, and is thoughtful and thought-provoking.
The Flop House, bad movie discussions; doesn't meet any of your critiera - it is just fucking hilarious
posted by jeoc at 10:04 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hello Internet with CGP Grey and Brady Haran.
Two smart fellows talking about stuff. I just recently started listening and I find them really interesting.
posted by Glinn at 10:14 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding Invisibilia, Quirks and Quarks, Criminal, In Our Time, and Amicus. No Such Thing as a Fish is my favourite but it is more funny than scholarly. I do learn lots of great facts from it though.

I also really like Spycast from the International Spy Museum, although sometimes it's a bit dry. The Life Scientific podcasts that turn up in the Discovery podcasts feed from the BBC sound great for you; they interview successful scientists about how they got there. There's also the History Hour podcast from the BBC. If you listened to all of this you would probably know everything of historical interest that happened in the whole world in the past 100 years.

This is not a podcast but there's an itunes u course from Yale called Epidemics in Western Society since 1600, which is fantastic.
posted by carolr at 10:42 AM on March 14, 2015

Sawbones is definitely one of my favorites-- it labels itself as 'a marital tour of misguided medicine.'
posted by frizzle at 10:43 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

You Are Not So Smart - It's a podcast about how our brains work differently from how we think they do, cognitive biases, etc.

Life of the Law - "The law is alive. It doesn’t live in books and words. It lives in how well we understand and apply the law to our lives. We ask questions, find answers and publish what we discover in sound-rich episodes and live storytelling."
posted by bjrn at 10:58 AM on March 14, 2015

Seconding the rec for Reply All above. They did an episode about racism on college campuses a few months ago that was really compelling.
posted by darkchocolatepyramid at 11:24 AM on March 14, 2015

On Being is a brilliant podcast. Krista Tippett interviews deep thinkers on religion, ethics, and the meaning of being human.
posted by gillianr at 12:49 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

Intelligence Squared is Oxford-style debating. I pick and choose my episodes based on my level of interest in the topic. I've lot about the topics at hand and also about rhetorical techniques.
posted by workerant at 1:09 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff is a weekly drop of goodness from two of the top game designers: Ken Hite and Robin Laws. They cover politics, food, books, the strange, literature, and of course game design!
posted by mfoight at 1:35 PM on March 14, 2015

Great interview shows:
Science for the People
Little Atoms(feed)
Great astronomy show:
Star Stuff
posted by coleboptera at 4:10 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thirding the BBC Life Scientific. Scientists, often very good and/or famous ones, being interviewed by an a scientist about their research and life trajectories. It's a total delight to hear them talk excitedly and affectionately about their life's work and good-naturedly go off on random tangents. (When my experiments were failing daily in grad school, it was one of the few things that kept me happy and sane as I worked in my basement lab alone at night...)
posted by nemutdero at 8:23 PM on March 14, 2015

Gastropod! Food, science, geography, history and weird facts all rolled into one. I love it.
posted by 9000condiments at 4:37 AM on March 16, 2015

I find Hound Tall Discussion Series with Moshe Kashe pretty stimulating. It's a couple comics and an expert discussing tough issues like death, being brown in America, and sexuality. They do it in front of an audience and take questions afterward. Funny and insightful. I suggest starting with the death episode. TW for child mortality.

Here Be Monsters makes me stroke my chin and say 'hmmm.' It's about the unknown. I think it's one of the best currently-running podcasts.

The Allusionist might already be familiar to you (on the same network as 99%I). It's about language and a lot of fun. Check out the episode on swearing. But be warned: there's a lot of swearing.

Monster Talk is really neat! A couple skeptics talk about a monster, folk/urban legend, or "supernatural" phenomena each episode. Usually they're joined by an expert and the experts are usually historians/anthropologists/scientist who got caught up in the stories around these strange beings/occurrences. The one about demon cats is really cool!

Those are the sort-of deep cuts off the top of my head that you might have heard of. My profile has a link to my website where I write podcast reviews if you're still looking for more and these suggestions were helpful.
posted by Tevin at 7:57 AM on March 16, 2015

Australia's Radio National network has some good ones that fit your criteria:

All in the Mind is about brain & behavior.

The Science Show is self explanatory.
posted by jyorraku at 11:24 PM on March 16, 2015

The Thomas Jefferson Hour. So good.
posted by amoeba at 5:35 AM on March 18, 2015

Sawbones - about medical history
Stuff you Missed in History Class
Futility Closet - Podcast by the people who make this blog
posted by birdbone at 6:15 AM on March 18, 2015

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