Some Podcasts I Like

Over the past year, from frequent rides on the tram in Zaragoza to lots of walks along the river next to my house in Minnesota, I’ve started to really enjoy listening to podcasts. Here are some of my current favorites:

Up First

Every episode of Up First has 3 short news stories and takes me just a little over 5 mins to listen to on 1.5x speed. It’s a great way to stay informed about the most important current events without feeling overwhelmed or putting too much time into constantly reading the news.

Code Switch

This podcast, which is hosted by journalists of color, explores the intersection of different areas in society with racism. It’s a great way to get a fuller perspective on current events and systems in our country.

Ten Percent Happier

I discovered this podcast before the pandemic, but as the world has become less and less certain it has become more and more comforting to listen to. One of my favorite episodes was about sleep and how important it is - listening to it made me really happy that I was sleeping a lot in Spain, and I’ve continued that trend into quarantine.

Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain covers human psychology in a very compelling and scientifically-backed way. I’ve learned so much about why we make the decisions we do, our biases, and interesting psychology experiments. They also have a series called You 2.0 on how we can use psychological insights to better understand ourselves and improve our lives, which I appreciate.

Intelligence Squared

This is one of my favorite podcasts, but be warned that you do really have to pay attention to it to get the most out of listening to it. In each episode, there is a resolution such as “Coronavirus will reshape the world order in China’s favor” or “Two cheers for the two-party system.” Then, two experts in the field (professors, people who have written books on these topics, etc.) team up to debate each side. The debate is always very well structured, and many episodes have helped me see both sides of the resolution in a nuanced way. As an added fun way to interact with it, the audience of the podcast can also vote on the resolution before and after listening, and the side that gains the most support wins the debate.

It’s important to note that “Intelligence Square US Debates” (which I linked above) has the debates, while “Intelligence Squared” is British and has many more interviews, which are also very interesting!

Science Friday

Science Friday is a great way to hear short stories on various scientific breakthroughs around the world. I think it’s great to stay informed about what’s on the cutting edge in other fields, and it’s also nice to hear about computer science advancements from a high level to get a broader perspective on my own field.

Neerja Thakkar
Neerja Thakkar
EECS PhD Student @ Berkeley
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