The best podcast for your major
Chapel Hill is a walking town. The unfortunate lack of parking mixed with relative ease of getting around on foot makes for a fair portion of each day spent moving. If you’re like me and haven’t downloaded new music onto your phone in months (I get it iPhone, my storage is full), those walks can get a little boring.
Enter podcasts. It seems like everyone and their mother is getting into the podcast game lately, and for good reason. There’s something for everyone, and they are the perfect way to pass time efficiently, learning something new without having to look down at a screen.
Thousands and thousands of podcasts exist, so it can be tough to know where to start. Here’s a list of podcasts to check out based on your major:
Hidden Brain: This podcast, hosted by Shankar Vedantam, features a ton of cool ideas like the science of fear and the paradox of forgiving. In the latter, Vedantam, a science correspondent for NPR, discussed how forgiveness occurs in communities where human rights atrocities have occurred. A lighter episode featured comedian Aziz Ansari discussing dating and technology.
Average Length: 22 min
Freakonomics: The co-authors of the "Freakonomics" book also host a podcast of the same name. It’s (mostly) simple enough for me to understand, and I barely scraped by in Econ 101, but actual Econ majors tell me they like it too. Steven Dubner and Steve Levitt cover all sorts of topics, from sticking to resolutions through “temptation bundling” to the argument over whether migration is a basic human right.
Average Length: 40 min
Longform: This is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to. The hosts, Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky and Evan Ratliff, interview writers and editors of all mediums, and ask them questions about the writing process – coming up with ideas, determining story structure, deciding how much of themselves to put into their writing, etc. Recent guests include Tavi Gevinson, Malcolm Gladwell and Lena Dunham.
Average Length: 56 min
Science Friday: Produced by NPR, Science Friday includes news roundups (think, what’s going on with the Zika virus) and features on things like self-driving cars, droughts and deep space design. The host, Ira Flatow, brings on scientists and inventors to interview, and the show has a surprisingly large web presence — find them on Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram under the handle “scifri.”
Average Length: 46 min
Stuff You Missed in History Class: Don’t be thrown off by the title — this podcast is everything the textbooks didn’t cover, not just the stuff you forgot. It comes from howstuffworks.com, and already has hundreds of episodes on people (Elizabeth Blackwell, Alice Roosevelt), little-known wars (the Honey War, not about honey) and more…there’s even one titled Good Humor v. Popsicle.
Average Length: 43 min
Serial: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Serial at least in passing already. In its first season, reporter Sarah Koenig took us through the story of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend in 1999 at age 17, despite questions over the lack of evidence in the trial. This season follows the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who left his post in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. Some see him as a deserter, others a hero finally returning home. It’s super addictive, and — no big deal — includes phone calls with members of the Taliban.
Average Length: 45 min
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