Perusing the Podverse: Astronomy Cast 246

I came to a startling (for me, anyway) realization a few weeks ago.  It was this: of all the entertainment channels available to me in this media-saturated world, the one that I actually spend most time being entertained by is podcasts.  Yes, I spend more time listening to podcasts than I do reading, watching TV, whatever.

The reason’s pretty obvious, when you think about it.  Audio is the one form of entertainment you can slot into a multi-tasking arrangement, so I can consume podcasts while driving, walking, shopping, picking my nose etc.  Now I could do the same thing with radio, of course – and to some extent I do – but being a podcast junkie is like having in my pocket a constantly available radio station wherein every single bit of content has been personally selected by me to conform to my eclectic tastes.  Awesome, in short.  I’ve thought for a long time that podcasting is one of the more under-rated wonders that the internet has delivered to us.

So, I thought I’d embark on an occasional series of posts here highlighting podcast episodes I’ve listened to and enjoyed recently.

To kick things off, I offer up for your consideration Astronomy Cast #246.

My favourite recent edition of an often interesting podcast, in which knowledgeable folks discuss a question of interest to armchair astronomers, science fiction fans and writers alike: What If Something Was Different?  By which they mean, what would be the implications for Earth, life and everything if some of the circumstances surrounding our planet’s location, evolution or condition had been different.  They address all sorts of stuff from the cosmic – what if the Earth’s Sun had been one of those formed in the very, very early stages of the Universe’s life? – to the more local – what if Earth had a different number of moons?

It’s mind-expanding stuff, not only in making you think about seriously big picture stuff and providing a bit of pretty accessible cosmological education, but also in marvelling at the capacity of the human species to ask, and at least partially answer, questions like this.  If you feel your mind could do with a bit of expansion today, do go give it a listen.

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2 comments

  1. Fraser Cain’s avatar

    Thanks Brian, I totally agree about podcasts. They’re the greatest media development ever invented, and it boggles me that its progress somehow stalled. I watch maybe 4 hours of television a week, but listen to that many podcasts every day.

    Thanks for listening!

  2. Brian’s avatar

    ‘Boggles’. That’s exactly the right word.

    I know I’m an enthusiast, and therefore not the most objective observer, but the comparatively low profile of podcasting compared to so many of the other innovations the internet has made possible does absolutely mystify me.

    There are some very big, very popular podcasts out there, of course, and it still seems to be growing steadily as a phenomenom, but I just don’t understand why the whole world hasn’t been converted to podcast fandom yet. You definitely get the impression some of the podcast pioneers really thought they were launching a total revolution in audio media, and somehow it hasn’t become that.

    Still, there’s more than enough to keep me happy, Astronomy Cast amongst it, so thanks for the output.

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