I know it may come as no surprise to you that a writer/editor is into a podcast about language and linguistics, but I swear it's SO interesting even if you aren't a logophile. Host John McWhorter is like the Neil Degrasse Tyson of linguistics with his soothing voice and sincere passion for the nerdiest of content. Two of my favorite recent episodes of note -- "Is There a Jewish Way of Talking?" (yes), and "The Language of Female Friendships."
This one is relatively new and I LOVE it. Host Jason Weiser tells stories of classic literature but with a incredible wit and sarcasm. I haven't read Dante's Inferno but now I don't need to and I probably enjoyed Weiser's version more than I would have enjoyed Dante's.
You know I love me some NPR, and NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam has a great podcast about the latest findings in social science and why we do the things we do. I like it because it helps make sense of some of the craziness we're experiencing today and also sometimes gives actionable, science-backed ways to approach your day-to-day life.
This is basically the BBC version of "Hidden Brain," and it's equally interesting and relevant with recent episodes on widely varying topics like the news, eavesdropping, and romance.
Jen and I are both big fans of "Freakonomics," which involves "surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature." I love it because Stephen J. Dubner applies the latest science to real-life questions and issues. For instance, I recently listened to an episode on why diamonds, which are actually kind of worthless, are so highly valued, and a three-part series on "Bad Medicine" (story of my life).
Like "Freakonomics" and "The Why Factor," my boyfriend turned me onto SYMIHC, part of the How Stuff Works family. Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey discuss some of the lesser-known aspects of major historical events and some not-so-major but equally interesting events. I am NOT a history buff, but I've learned so much since these two are so entertaining.
We all know by now that TED Talks are all about "ideas worth spreading," and they're some of the most interesting discussions on science, culture, and academia. There are TED talks that I can point to that have straight up changed my life, so I love that the TED Radio Hour host Guy Raz curates and distills some of the best TED topics and speakers in one podcast.
What are your favorite nerdcasts?