Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Ooops, new post wednesday! Podcasts & recommendations

As I was saying before, who minds so much if someone's post is a day late or even non-existent! I've been working up to write a big piece of semi-investigative work, but people and institutions are slow to write back with some information I need for my piece. Also, I'm in no rush. :)

So just another general information post for you today. It's impossible to understate how great and informative podcasts have become. In the spreading of information of all kinds, skeptical and otherwise, they're becoming a cornerstone of modern life. You could yak on and on about citizen journalism and the death of print and blah blah blah, but they certainly do form a cornerstone of whatever our consumption of media and information is becoming.

If you carry a phone around with you, you almost definitely have a platform to listen to some podcasts right there in your pocket. There are a huge amount of ways to get your home computer to download your podcasts automatically, from iTunes to Juice and a gigantic range in-between. In fact, now that smartphones are getting to the point where downloading podcasts directly becomes easier and easier, there are plenty of apps like Stitcher which let you stream your audio rather than download it.

For the last couple of years I've been listening to upwards of 40 podcasts a week. They keep you highly entertained at work, that's for sure. I do have a hardware question for the community though - my Sony Ericsson XPeria X10 is a great phone, but 6 hours of continuous audio kills the battery - these Android phones just don't make good mp3 players. My previous phone could make it more than 24 hours, playing music the vast majority of that time. But I'm kind of hooked on these smart phones now, so my question for you is, what is the Battery life like on the Blackberry range of phones? If anyone has any experience with them, I'ld appreciate the feedback. My enviromentalist sensibilities discourage me from charging my phone as much as I do.

Anyway, some podcast recommendations for you! If you haven't tried out the podcasting thing, I encourage dipping your toe in the water. Here's some pro-science, rational, skeptical podcasts for you to try. They're generally very entertaining too. Stick them on your phone or mp3 player and try one out on your commute/gym trip/while ironing - they just might change your entertainment habits.

Here's some recent Irish podcasts - local and skeptical:

Dublin SITP's Skeprechauns via RSS.

On DCU FM, Occam's Barbershop.

Just across the water, some great skeptical podcasts from the UK:

From Merseyside Skeptics, Skeptics with a K & InKredulous - very funny!

Righteous Indignation, a weekly podcast about skeptical issues.

And elsewhere, another bunch of podcasts to keep you informed and entertained:

The premiere example of skeptical podcasts, NESS' Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

George Hrab's hugely popular and entertaining Geologic Podcast.

From Australia, The Skeptics Zone - also worth subscribing to their email newsletter.

There are so many more that this is just the tip of the iceberg. But it's an iceberg that's well worth mapping out and investigating for yourself. If you haven't tried listening to podcasts before, you really should give a few a listen. I'll be back soon, hopefully with the results of what I've been looking into.

ps. The Birmingham Skeptics did a nice link page on their blog, which you can find here. We got a line there, as well as linkage to this blog. If you use google reader or some other RSS reader, you should give them a follow, they post good stuff there. If you're on twitter, follow them @Brum_Skeptics. I'm going to push the design of this blog around soon, put up a similar page for us and get a better look and feel to the page, as well as linking in all our members contact details, blogs, etc. If you have a blog and/or twitter account or other site you want highlighted, email galwayskeptics@gmail and I'll add it to the list!

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