Let’s open this week’s newsletter by looking at great science podcasts 🧪🔬
The second series of DeepMind: The Podcast, presented by the mathematician and TV presenter Professor Hannah Fry, dropped this week. Each series explains current research and breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and unpacks the ethics around this form of technology, in a language anyone can understand (even me). In the first episode of the new series, Fry looks at how an AI system managed to crack a challenge in biology decades earlier than anticipated, and evaluates what this could mean for the world of medicine and healthcare.
If you’re into news about scientific developments, The Naked Scientists is worth a listen. Each episode features conversations about breakthroughs, advances and key learnings within the science community, also in layman’s terms (thank god). Their most recent episode looks at the implications of a life without smell or taste.
Jon Richardson and The Futurenauts, a podcast that reflects on the threats humankind may face in the future and all the reasons, despite all the doom and gloom that we should be hopeful, has a new episode available looking forward to 2022. They touch on carbon removal, which is the scientific process of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The Carbon Removal Show looks at this topic in-depth, exploring the ethical and scientific hurdles that need to be overcome.
NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK
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- The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon is on The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker, talking about why women politicians have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts to get the same recognition.
- Former technology journalist Steve O’Hear is on Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future this week, talking about how young people can get into journalism, the role of media in ensuring democracy and how businesses can work with journalists.
- Fearne Cotton from the Happy Place podcast was on The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett this week, talking about how she built up her self-confidence and how to deal with imposter syndrome.
- Kiefer Sutherland (from 24!) is this week’s castaway on the travel nostalgia podcast Alan Carr’s Life’s a Beach.
- The presenter and broadcaster Paris Lees is on Fortunately with Fi and Jane.
- MasterChef: The Professionals Rematch winner Santosh Shah was on Where To Go, a travel podcast, to talk about his first cookbook called Ayla.
Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead
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Go Love Yourself – Laura Adlington, one of the finalists from Bake Off 2020, has launched a new podcast with her friend Lauren Smith. Its aim is to try to empower people to think more positively about how they think about their bodies, particularly at this time of year when advertising wants to shame us to sell their own products. “We believe that the way you look is the least interesting thing about you,” advocates Laura.
The podcast is utterly delightful. The chemistry between Laura and Lauren feels like you’re eavesdropping rather than hearing a structured show, and it is able to do that difficult podcast trick of swinging from lighthearted chat about nonsense to important and sensitive heartfelt discussions on topics around shame, the hangover from our teenage years, comfort eating and the impact that other people’s words have on ourselves.
Simple Politics Podcast – If you’re on Instagram and you have even the most general interest in politics, you’re likely to be following the @SimplePolitics Instagram account. More than 750,000 people follow their Instagram because of how it cuts through noise and often complicated stories coming out of Westminster by letting you know of the latest developments in conversational English and in just a couple of sentences.
Hot off the heels of the account’s success, they now have a podcast where they break down the week in politics in an equally straightforward fashion. Tatton and Diane, who run the account, are joined by host Kobi to discuss the week’s news and help explain some of the issues behind the talking points, with the latest episode looking at inflation.
Whenever It Kicks Podcast with Jessie Cave – There have been a fair few new podcasts in recent months that guide parents through pregnancy, from Is It Normal? (a Jessie Ware podcast with episodes that correspond to every week of your pregnancy, with tips and guides to ) to the NHS’ useful series Unexpected Beginnings.
This new podcast, presented by the actress and illustrator Jessie Cave, is a welcome addition. It consists of an audio diary guiding listeners through each step of her own pregnancy ahead of the birth of her fourth child, with lots of observations and conversations about balancing being a mother whilst preparing for a new one. Her frankness and the podcast’s intimate style will be relatable for anyone else currently going through the same.
GABA – How to describe GABA. This project by Adam Martin is part soundscape, part meditative practice, but it is also a tapestry of archive clips stitched together for your audio enjoyment. The lack of being able to clearly define what GABA is also what makes it such an interesting listen, with a recent episode featuring quotes and thoughtful observations from the late, great Betty White.
We’re ending this week’s newsletter on a sad note. The great comedian Barry Cryer passed away earlier this week at the age of 86. Just a couple of weeks ago we featured his podcast Now, Where Were We?, where he interviewed friends and fellow comedians with his son Bob in a local.
The podcast reflected all the things that made Barry so loved: his wit and his anecdotes, along with his trademark distinctive laughter. I highly recommend giving the podcast a listen this weekend if you can. The Miriam Margolyes episode in particular is a hoot.
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