Dom Flemons, late of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, plays music that makes me very happy

I was listening to the latest Judge John Hodgman podcast today (as I do every week!) which was performed live in Washington DC; as with every live show, there was a musical guest, and this guest was so completely awesome I made a note to post about him when I got home. Read the rest

Update: The Future of HOME

Here's a brief audio update on the immediate future of HOME: Stories From L.A. The TL;DR version is, I'm slowing down the production schedule to make the project more sustainable over the long term. Give a listen for a little more background on the hows and whys of it all. The show returns this spring for Season 5, and in the meantime, the archive is a great way to load up your podcatcher. (Oh, also: I'm looking for a social media/publicity ninja; if that's you, drop me a line.)

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If you're already a subscriber, many thanks. And if you have a minute to leave the show a short review at the iTunes Store it'd be much appreciated.  Read the rest

Podcast recommendation: Busted: America's Poverty Myths

Radiolab brought to my attention this great five-part podcast series on poverty in America. Busted: America's Poverty Myths breaks down accepted wisdom about poverty to reveal the reality of what it’s actually like to be poor in America. The show takes familiar concepts like the social safety net and the rags-to-riches narrative and explores the ways in which they’re not quite what they seem. You can download the podcast on the On The Media iTunes feed or listen to it on the WNYC website. You can also get a taste of Busted by listening to the latest Radiolab episode, which offers a compilation of Busted stories. Read the rest

Podcast recommendation: Learn your British history with Rex Factor

My new obsession is the Rex Factor podcast, which examines every king and queen of England from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth II in order to determine which was the greatest ruler of all time. The podcast actually started way back in 2010 and determined its final verdict in 2014. But hosts Graham Duke and Ali Hood are now working their way through the kings and queens of Scotland, and I’ve been immensely enjoying the show’s back catalogue, which is still easily accessible.

Each monarch gets their own podcast (and sometime several if they’re a particularly important ruler). The hosts briefly go over the monarch’s biography and then rank them from 1-10 on “Battleyness,” (their warfare skills), “Scandal” (the more scandal, the higher the score), and “Subjectivity” (how much they improved the lives of their subjects). They also examine each ruler’s longevity and their ability to produce a strong dynastic line. And finally, Duke and Hood determine whether each monarch has a certain extra special star quality they call “Rex Factor.”

Though they clearly love history, Duke and Hood don’t take their subject matter too seriously. Their conversations are light-hearted and easy to follow, even for the biggest historical novice. I’m only on their Richard the Lionheart episode, but I’m really looking forward to listening to the rest and seeing who they pick as their ultimate Rex Factor winner.

You can listen to Rex Factor wherever you listen to podcasts or learn more via Twitter and Facebook as well as the show's website and blog. Read the rest

What do we mean when we talk about home?

HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network, is on a brief hiatus, and returns for its fourth season in October. If you haven't heard the show yet, this might be a good time to catch up with an episode from the archive -- like "The House On The Hill," about a forgotten figure from the Golden Age of Hollywood; or "A Home, A Murder, A Mystery (or two)," about a house that saw a horrific murder in 1959 and then sat empty and silent for more than 50 years; or "Rose, Mercedes and The Days Of The Dead," about what an L.A. actress did to encourage the troublesome spirit of her late grandmother to vacate the house they once shared. (Hint: It involved sage. And hammers.)

HOME looks at home in the broadest sense -- as a place, a feeling, an aspiration, a dream. Do you have a story about home that takes place in Southern California? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a note. Tell me a story. And maybe you can have a hand in helping me figure out: What do we mean when we talk about home?  Read the rest

The excellent Politically Re-Active podcast will get you through this election season

This insane presidential election season hasn’t been easy on anyone, but comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu are here to help you through it. Read the rest

Helpful podcast hilariously explains internet sub-lebrities

Who? Weekly spoofs Us Weekly and other outlets so in need of "celebrity" content that they resort to covering people of questionable renown. Read the rest

What if school was out, forever?

Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence.

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In this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially intelligent TA, folks who build learning apps, and critics who wonder if all the promises being made are too good to be true. What do we gain when we let students choose their own paths? What do we lose when we get rid of schools?

Illustration by Matt Lubchansky.

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A Pod To Call Your Own

HOME is a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network

If you could choose to find out your death date, would you?

Today we travel to a future where everybody knows exactly when they’re going to die. Read the rest

Do fries go with that home?

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A.:

It looks like a Hopper painting plunked incongruously down on a busy commercial street in West Los Angeles — The Apple Pan, home to freshly-baked pies and what hamburger aficionado George Motz says may be the best burger in America. But the affection Angelenos have for The Apple Pan only starts with the food. It’s an oasis, a rock, a spot out of time, essentially unchanged since the day it opened in 1947. It may not be the kind of place where everybody knows your name, but if you’ve been going there for a long time, as it seems like most of its customers have, it is the kind of place where the countermen most likely know your order. Warmth, familiarity, stability in a rapidly-changing landscape… aren’t these some of the things that make a place a home?

With this episode HOME wraps up its second season. We'll be back in June with an all-new season; subscribe now and you won't miss a thing. 

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Comedians describe the tricky balance between the road and home

The crowning paradox of the touring comic's life may be this: You have to leave home to make a name, but without the grounding and security of home you may not have anything to say. This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., three experienced comedians on striking the tricky balance between the road and home.

HOME is a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network. If you like what you hear, please consider leaving the show a rating and/or review at the iTunes Store. 

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Thanks to Cathy Ladman, whose one-woman show, "Does This Show Make Me Look Fat?", opens soon; Brad Upton, whose upcoming tour schedule is available here; and Jackie Kashian, who can be heard on The Dork Forest and The Jackie and Laurie Show. Read the rest

Flash Forward Reveals Hidden References

Today’s episode is a minipod, a smattering of time travel, future travel, and news about the show.

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In this episode we hear a bunch of messages from listeners: what folks think about past futures we’ve been to, and future futures we should travel to. We also do a little bit of time travel to the past, to talk about the first season of the show and hear some of the best bits from those futures. We do some announcements, and reveal a few of the hidden references from earlier episodes. A lot of people have asked me what they should be looking for, so this should help in your search.

In episode 2, Love At First Sexbot, the names of the different sex robots are references to particular people and characters. The Hadaly is named after a mechanical woman invented by a fictional Thomas Edison in the 1886 novel, The Future Eve. She’s one of the first female robots to appear in literature. The Leopold is named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, whose name lives on in the term “masochism.” And here’s probably the hardest one from that episode: Margot’s Discount Closet Solutions is named after a character from a Ray Bradbury short story called “All Summer in a Day.” That one was hard, I admit. In the mosquito episode, two of the names are references to Animorphs characters, and the repeated use of the number 18 points to the book in which the Animorphs turn into mosquitos. Read the rest

Will we ever live in a world without pets?

Today we travel to a future without pets. What would it take for us to give up our fuzzy, slithery, fishy friends? Should our pets get more rights? And if we didn’t have dogs or cats, would we domesticate something else to take their place?

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In this episode we also run through a couple of possible ways we might wind up in a pet-free world. Which, to me, sound really sad. Thankfully (spoiler alert) it’s probably never going to happen.

Illustration by Matt Lubchansky

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How to spot and avoid the "No True Scotsman" fallacy

When your identity becomes intertwined with your definitions, you can easily fall victim to something called The No True Scotsman Fallacy.

It often appears during a dilemma: What do you do when a member of a group to which you belong acts in a way that you feel is in opposition to your values? Do you denounce the group, or do you redefine the boundaries of membership?

In this episode, you will learn from three experts in logic and argumentation how to identify, defend against, and avoid deploying this strange thinking quirk that leads to schisms and stasis in groups both big and small.

This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the third in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

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This episode is brought to you by Trunk Club. Like Netflix for clothes, a professional stylist helps you define your new look, and then your new clothes arrive at your doorstep in a special trunk. Keep what you want, return the rest. Get started today and Trunk Club will style you for FREE. Plus FREE SHIPPING both ways! Click here for this special offer.

This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Read the rest

A Life at sea, on land

How far would you go to rescue the remains of a bygone world you've loved since you were a kid? Peter Knego went to Alang, India, and then did it again and again, to save what he could of the great ocean liners being scrapped there. But he didn't just want to save the ships. He wanted to live in one. And to a remarkable degree he's succeeded, filling his home in Oceanside, CA with a breathtaking array of maritime memorabilia. 

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., one man's mission to recreate, in landlocked miniature, the great days of the oceangoing ships. 

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How to live a spreadsheet approved life

Today we travel to a future full of spreadsheet approved lives. A future where everything we do is tracked and quantified: calories, air quality, sleep, heart rate, microbes, brain waves, finances, happiness, sadness, menstrual cycles, poops, hopes and dreams. Everything.

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This episode is longer than our usual 20 minute jaunts to the future, because the future of quantified self is so huge. We cover everything from biased algorithms, to microbiomes (again), to the future of the calorie, and more.

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