From archives to turtles

Plus: the puzzle of life

Case Closed

Episode: "The Clue Of The Blue Bottle" | Podcast: The Last Archive | 45m48s

Polished, constantly intriguing series about the nature of truth and evidence. It's hosted by the historian and writer Jill Lepore, who chooses different cases from history — of murder, of racial injustice, of public health success — in order to investigate knowledge itself. It's an unlikely blend of academic discourse with popular storytelling, made all the more unusual by the fact that it's mostly presented in the style of a 1930s radio drama. Suitably, this first episode is an early 20th century murder mystery. Somehow, it's all riveting (45m48s)


Family Ties

Episode: "1990's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles With Carlos Santos" | Podcast: Why Do You Know That? | 47m34s

High energy conversational podcast that invites guests to explain why they know so much about a single topic. Here, the comedian Carlos Santos goes deep on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — the four humanoid turtle superheroes named after Italian Renaissance artists who live in the New York City sewers — and specifically the 1990s films about these 1980s comic book characters. There's some strong language as he explains how this unlikely bildungsroman influenced his own formative years. Some strong language (47m34s)


I Am

Episode: "The Puzzle Of Consciousness" | Podcast: The Hard Problem By Jesse Winters | 26m17s

Elegant survey of the history of consciousness. The host has pitched this well — it's informative but not so advanced that those who haven't studied philosophy to a high level can't follow. He draws on everyone from Descartes to Dawkins to pull together this overall picture of developing human ideas about why our awareness is as it is. As he says at the outset, it helps in understanding this speculative field to begin from a place of relative certainty: "There's no maybe in consciousness. I definitely am. I definitely exist" (26m17s)

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