Pick of the Podcasts #01

Welcome to this new series where we explore different podcasts grouped around a central theme.
For each series, I’ll provide a brief synopsis of the podcast and I’ll also give my pick of one favourite episode, which may help ease you in if you’re a new listener or highlight an episode to revisit for regulars.

Today’s theme: Podcasts to answer to questions you didn’t even know you wanted to ask.

Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine

Presented by Dr Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin, this series looks at different medical problems and all the ways that humans have tried to treat and overcome them throughout history. They’re a funny pair, but it’s the incredible true facts about the medicine which keeps you coming back for more.  It’ll make you laugh, cringe and sometimes wonder how we’re all still alive to tell the tales of these disastrous home remedies.

My pick: Salt – It might be a cooking staple, but did you know how much else salt was used for? It’s a pretty eye opening tale that debunks some beliefs you might even hold yourself (Epsom salts, I’m looking at you).


Radiolab describes itself as “a radio show and podcast weaving stories and science into sound and music-rich documentaries”, and I don’t think I could describe it any better. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich somehow manage to mash together interesting stories and interviews with supporting soundtracks that bring to life a huge host of topics. It’s a very diverse series, so there’s definitely an episode to suit every type of curiosity and interest.

My pick: Colors – A fascinating look into colours, answering all the questions you could possibly have about colours supported by a perfectly themed musical accompaniment.

The Guardian’s Audio Long Reads

Accompanying the written series of in-depth reporting, essays and profiles, The Guardian’s Audio Long Reads delves into a whole host of topics, from politics to science, via history, sports and more. Each episode is presented by a different host, not always the same as the written article, though if you’re a fan of the writing, you’ll find little difference in the podcast version.

My pick: Liquid assets: how the business of bottled water went mad – This is the closest I have ever come to finally understanding why there are so many different versions of bottled water and it’s, surprisingly enough, a funnier story than you might initially think.

Stuff You Should Know
Created by the people behind HowStuffWorks.com, Stuff You Should Know is another conversation based podcast that explores a wide range of topics in order to give listeners a basic knowledge of whatever the subject is being covered. It’s totally unscripted, un-complicated and an easy way to learn about some topics that you might not already be familiar with in a fun and casual manner.

My pick: How Motion Sickness Works – If you’re a sufferer like me, or someone who luckily doesn’t understand motion sickness but has been stuck on a plane next to one of us, this will bring light to why some people hate going on different forms of transportation.

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