Media Recommendations

My Family Podcast Recommendations

Delaney Ruston, MD
December 26, 2022

As I mentioned in a recent post, AI has reached new levels with ChatGPT, but one thing that it hasn't yet been able to do is to recommend specific podcast episodes based on a person's listening habits. Podcast shows are often recommended, but not specific episodes.

Perhaps this already exists, and I am missing it — if so, please let me know, and I will pass it along.

In the meantime, let's put into action my little saying, “What is better than AI? A US!”

On a recent 3-day trip to Vancouver, BC, with my family, I compiled a list of podcasts that I wanted my kids to listen to and asked for their input as well. (We only made it through a few of them, but it's good to have these recommendations for future trips.)

When my daughter Tessa returned from college last week, we were catching up on some of the things she did this past semester. She told me about one of the trips she did with her Backcountry Squatters club, and she said, “When we were driving at one point, we thought to put on a podcast, and I immediately said, ‘I got this.’ Of course, mom, I said this because we have listened to podcasts on road trips as a family so much. But then, when I started looking for a podcast,  I realized it was harder to pick for others than I thought.”

We laughed in solidarity about the vulnerability one can feel when making recommendations.

So with this nod to vulnerability, here are some recommendations from my family and me:

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Latino USA: Into The Fire

This short podcast brings forth gratitude. This episode features a firefighter who is part of the “Hotshot Crew,” which works in the most intense areas of wildfires. I am grateful to all the men and women who work to prevent and stop fires. 

Their work is near to my heart. When I was in medical school, my mother’s duplex in the Oakland hills got destroyed in a massive fire that destroyed nearly 3,000 homes. Thankfully, my mother was not injured, and the fire was eventually contained thanks to the efforts of the firefighters. 

Short Stuff: Liquid Paper (about 20 min)

My kids know I have a major bone to pick with our society: women get much less recognition for contributions than men. That is why I actively look for things about women in history to weave into conversations. 

This episode is about the inventor of Liquid Paper, Bette Graham. When Graham was frustrated with making mistakes on the company's new IBM electric typewriter, she started looking for a solution. Interestingly, Wikipedia states that Bette is considered one of the most famous female inventors of the 20th century. So why, then, do so few people know about her? My point exactly!

Short Stuff: Goosebumps (about 20 min)

Who doesn’t want to hear ideas about why we get goosebumps? The episode brings up other topics like music bands.  

Life Kit: Your Technology Is Tracking You

This short episode discusses ways in which we can be more proactive about our online privacy. While not a sexy topic, it is an important one and a great way to start the New Year.

Renegade: Born In The USA: Money And The American Dream

Here is the description of the series: “... a series of conversations between President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen about their lives, music, and enduring love of America—despite all its challenges.” The episode I’ve listed looks at their childhoods and issues of money.

My husband talked about this podcast series for weeks after listening to it. He still brings up the fact that he wishes he could be hanging out talking with the two of them — that they seem so relatable. (Good luck with that wish).

As someone who didn’t grow up listening to Springsteen —  I grew up with singers like Stevie Wonder, The Police, and Prince — I have to admit, I am enjoying hearing him in interviews and learning all the ways as a kid he deconstructed music to learn to play. It's refreshing to see a rock star who has managed to live a rock star life without the usual rock star calamities.

Anything Goes:  Post It Or It Didn’t Happen?

Tessa suggested I listen to this episode of influencer Emma Chamerplans’ podcast, Anything Goes. After listening to it, I enjoyed my conversation with Tessa about what we liked and didn’t like about the episode. For example, we talked about the disconnect we experienced with Emma talking as if she was any old teen when, in fact, she is a massive celebrity representing Louis Vuitton and others.

This episode has many discussion topics, like the pros and cons of taking photos and videos at an event, issues around posting, identity, and FOMO. 

But be aware there is some swearing. Also, the many ads throughout bothered me. When I mentioned the ads to Tessa, she replied, “You can just fast-forward through them.” I wanted to reply, “I know that; I wasn’t born yesterday.” But I held my tongue and fast-forwarded through them. 

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Scamfluencers:  Intercontinental Con Man

My son and husband really enjoy this podcast, hosted by two great hosts, Scaachi Koul and Sarah Hagi. Many stories transpire over a couple of episodes, but the one I put here is only one episode. It recounts the story of a teenage boy who tries to escape poverty in Columbia by stowing away in the wheel well of a plane. He eventually becomes a master identity thief.

Hidden Brain: Reframing Your Reality Party 1

Here, you’ll hear a fabulous interview with Stanford psychology researcher Alia Crum. She talks about her cool research related to how our thoughts about things impact our actual biology. Meanwhile, we learn how her challenges growing up influenced future experiments.

Hidden Brain: Reframing: Your Reality Part 2

The host of Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam — in an unusual move for him — devotes two episodes to Alia Crum because of all her fascinating work.

(Also, here’s a reminder that I, too, have a podcast, The Screenagers Podcast, with many episodes to listen to with the whole family). 

**Feel free to pass on this email to anyone you want. 

Questions to get the conversation started:

  1. What is your favorite speed to listen to a podcast? (Mine varies between 1.25 and 1.5 depending on the show)
  2. What podcasts have you or any friends talked about these days (if any)?
  3. When was the last time you made a recommendation to others on any topic, and did you feel self-conscious?
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Media Recommendations

My Family Podcast Recommendations

Delaney Ruston, MD
December 26, 2022

As I mentioned in a recent post, AI has reached new levels with ChatGPT, but one thing that it hasn't yet been able to do is to recommend specific podcast episodes based on a person's listening habits. Podcast shows are often recommended, but not specific episodes.

Perhaps this already exists, and I am missing it — if so, please let me know, and I will pass it along.

In the meantime, let's put into action my little saying, “What is better than AI? A US!”

On a recent 3-day trip to Vancouver, BC, with my family, I compiled a list of podcasts that I wanted my kids to listen to and asked for their input as well. (We only made it through a few of them, but it's good to have these recommendations for future trips.)

When my daughter Tessa returned from college last week, we were catching up on some of the things she did this past semester. She told me about one of the trips she did with her Backcountry Squatters club, and she said, “When we were driving at one point, we thought to put on a podcast, and I immediately said, ‘I got this.’ Of course, mom, I said this because we have listened to podcasts on road trips as a family so much. But then, when I started looking for a podcast,  I realized it was harder to pick for others than I thought.”

We laughed in solidarity about the vulnerability one can feel when making recommendations.

So with this nod to vulnerability, here are some recommendations from my family and me:

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