Satellite for Nerds?
November 29, 2007 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Can there seriously not be a single science (or even technology) channel on either one of the two satellite radio systems?

XM's lineup
Sirius's lineup

I'm getting tired of the increasingly ridiculous stories on NPR (today's idiocy was exposing the "hypocrisy" of a populist becoming *gasp* popular) and I'd like to switch to something else. There's nothing local, but, hey, satellite radio has so many choices, I'll probably find something, right?

Unless I'm reading it wrong, no, I won't. I've googled the hell out of this because I still can't really believe that this would be the case. If nerds, geeks and early adopters aren't listening to Radio From Outer Space, then who is? I've gotten a few hits for things like Discovery Channel Radio1 but I don't see the channels on the lineups and the reports are always 3 or 4 years old. Maybe the channels didn't last? Or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong place?

The two systems have a combined 32 sports channels and 7 Christian channels, but not a single science or technology one? Wha?

1Which would probably be just as shallow and disappointing as the TV channel, but at least it would be something.
posted by DU to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
BBC Radio 4's science programs, my friend. Listening online might be your only option as they no longer broadcast on shortwave to North America.
posted by mdonley at 4:52 PM on November 29, 2007

You are correct, there are no science channels on XM. The satellite networks are all about airing preexisting content, with the exception of the two network's "hot talk" channels.

You might have to stick with podcasts.
posted by Pastabagel at 5:09 PM on November 29, 2007

Maybe you should be asking about decent science podcasts. To that end, the one suggestion I'll throw in is Dear Science at The Stranger. While new, it has been pretty good thus far.

I'm curious: what was that idiotic NPR story you referred to?
posted by Weebot at 5:19 PM on November 29, 2007

Response by poster: Podcasts are a good idea, although then the issue is an mp3 player that I can a) connect to from Linux and b) hook up to my truck radio.
posted by DU at 5:25 PM on November 29, 2007

Um, what mp3 players don't work in linux? I've used like, 3, of varying brands, and none of my dork friends are without mp3 players. I can vouch for a variety of samsungs and at least one creative. Apparently you can get an ipod running, too
posted by shownomercy at 5:42 PM on November 29, 2007

Response by poster: My wife has this iRock thing that doesn't work. Or didn't, last I checked. Maybe I should just plug it in and see what Ubuntu says.

(The stupid NPR story was this one. I'm not a particular fan (or foe) of Chavez, but seriously. "Growing in prestige" is a bad thing now? Indicting his mother for moving out of a hovel and owning dogs? OH NOES!!!)
posted by DU at 5:53 PM on November 29, 2007

gtkpod should automount an iPod under ubuntu now.

If you have a CD player, I used to burn things to CD to listen to in the car. Takes longer, I know.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:21 PM on November 29, 2007

I think that science and engineering are better for TV than for radio. There are a lot of things in both that are easy to show but hard to describe.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:23 PM on November 29, 2007

Nthing podcasts. MP3 players work with Linux fine, in fact pretty much everything does, it's not 1999 anymore. I have GTKpod working on my Ubuntu machine for my wife's iPod and the setup was shockingly easy. It Just Worked.

Other mp3 players should mount as USB disks. If the iRock won't work for you, other noname models are like $10 now, right?
posted by intermod at 8:16 PM on November 29, 2007

Response by poster: Are they? I was shocked to discover that 2GB USB sticks are like $20. Get off my lawn!

I guess I should go with podcasts. It lacks the unexpectedness of broadcast, but whatevs.
posted by DU at 4:07 AM on November 30, 2007

still NPR, and available as a podcast, but more science related: Science Friday
posted by jrishel at 4:13 AM on November 30, 2007

XM did carry Discovery Radio when I had it, but I never listened to it - found it kind of bland. I think it's gone now.

Sirius carries CBC Radio, home of the excellent Quirks and Quarks weekly science show, plus the daily Ideas, which though not always science is always geeky and interesting. Both are available by podcast too.
posted by pocams at 6:29 AM on November 30, 2007

Sirius runs CBC Radio One, which runs science shows all the time. Quirks and Quarks is the most famous, but The Current often runs current affairs/science stories. And there's "Search Engine" the new nerd show.

To be fair, it's mostly Canadian current affairs, but the science reprots is pretty good. And less dead air than NPR.
posted by GuyZero at 6:34 AM on November 30, 2007

I heard the story you're speaking of and thought it was very balanced. They reported, accurately, that many people claim Chavez and his family are getting rich off the country. They reported without fact the things they could observe and the things they were told and were clear about which were which.

I'm a little confused about this apples vs oranges example anyway - Morning Edition doesn't purport to be a science program. As Jrishel says, Science Friday is available in a podcast and - perhaps in support of your spontaneity desire - bundles their show in multiple pieces per show. (Segments 1, 2, 3 and 4 or however many there are that day all come in their own individual file)

So you could get it and some other science podcasts, put them on a ipod shuffle or other manf's player, and just playback at random. I mention the shuffle because in addition to being cheapish it's got no display so you'll be unable to have any idea what's coming.
posted by phearlez at 8:25 AM on November 30, 2007

Radiolab is great, they often talk about science, conduct interviews with scientists, etc. At the end of the day, however, the show is really about philosophical issues, such as death, time, morality, etc.

It is available in podcast form. It is great.
posted by kpmcguire at 9:46 AM on November 30, 2007

Response by poster: phearlez molests kittens

/me waits for NPR to report, accurately, that "some" are claiming phearlez molests kittens

The only really iffy thing in the Chavez story that was an actual, you know, fact was the nepotism. But I just wrote that off as How They Do Business Down There (racist). Every other thing in there is either a rumor or not even a bad thing. "Prestige increasing"? Is that the same as or the opposite of people on the street liking what you are doing?

Also, you did hear the part about the dirt floor and his mother, right? The last paragraph of the story calls her out for failing to still have a dirt floor. She may well be exploiting her position as Queen Mum, and Chavez definitely has been doing a lot of shady stuff, but moving out of a hovel and buying a couple dogs isn't really a ringing indictment. How many dogs would Barbara Bush have to own before impeaching W was back on the table?

But I wouldn't throw out the radio with the bathwater over this one story. I just noticed that I was, however mildly, complaining about NPR to a friend yet again and thought to myself "why am I even listening to them anymore?" (And the redonkulous Anne Garrels torture fiasco didn't help.)

Morning Edition doesn't purport to be a science program

Yeah, that was confusing. I only really listen to NPR because it's the least dumb thing on the radio. If I could choose anything, it'd be a science channel, which I assumed satellite radio would have but couldn't find.

I'm appreciating all the science podcast links--keep them coming. I'll get a modern MP3 player and check them all out.
posted by DU at 10:15 AM on November 30, 2007

Response by poster: Update: I got my MP3 player and it is awesome. 8GB! Video! It's pretty much all over my lawn. I'm checking out all the podcast suggestions, thanks!
posted by DU at 8:35 AM on December 26, 2007

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