Wednesday, September 30, 2009

15 Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter

September 28th, 2009 in Entertainment

15. EconTalk


Duration: Roughly an hour

Hosted by professor Russel Roberts, EconTalk is the number one podcast for economics. With “clear and thoughtful conversations about economics”, the show brings the theory behind economics to situations and subjects that a wide variety of people can relate to. The show is usually a one on one discussion between Roberts and another guest.

Check out EconTalk HERE.

14. The Naked Scientists


Duration: 60 mins

The Naked Scientists is an interactive podcast covering topical science news stories as well as answering audience questions. The show has featured several distinguished guests such as Alec Jeffreys (the discoverer of DNA fingerprints) and James D. Watson (the co-discoverer of DNA structure). The Naked Scientists have won several awards during their run, including the European Podcast Award.

Check out The Naked Scientists HERE.

13. Common Sense with Dan Carlin


Duration: Roughly 1 Hour

Dan Carlin is one of those people that has the amazing ability to present all side of an argument but remain non-partisan while doing so. Common Sense takes no prisoners, making all aspects of government and politics fair game for Carlin’s quick witted criticism. Known lovingly as “George Costanza on steroids”, Carlin’s podcast will keep you on your toes and your brain in shape!

Check out Common Sense with Dan Carlin HERE.

12. The Writer’s Block


Duration: 30 Mins

This weekly reading series is targeted mainly at 25-40 year olds, appealing to young, intelligent, edgy listeners. Distributed through NPR, The Writer’s Block features stories, essays and poetry by all kinds of authors, and all kinds of genres, from non-fiction to plays!

Check out The Writer’s Block HERE.

11. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe


Duration: 60 Mins

The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is a podcast hosted by Steven Novella and his panel of “skeptical rogues”. The podcast discusses myths, conspiracy theories, pseudoscience and paranormal discoveries with a certain level of disbelief and, well, skepticism. Novella and his colleagues have been instrumental in debating with anti-vaccine activists, “homeopathy practitioners” and those who debate the connection between HIV and AIDS.

Check out The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe HERE.

10. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!


Duration: 60 Mins

This hour long “quiz game show” is hosted by playwright and actor, Peter Sagal. Every week, three panelists are chosen to compete on the show. Listeners are also encouraged to participate by phone or email, sometimes being chosen as contestants themselves. Prizes for winning often include Carl Kasell recording voicemail on contestants home machines!

Check out Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! HERE.

9. The Sound of Young America


Duration: 30 Mins

Based in Los Angeles, The Sound of Young America is hosted by Jesse Thorn, who spends segments interviewing popular arts and cultural personalities. Guests have included Art Spiegelman, David Cross, Patton Oswalt and even Ira Glass. The Sound of Young America got it’s start as a college station back in 2000 and made the jump to podcast form in 2004. The show has been mentioned in TIME Magazine and Salon.com, who said, “If you’ve never heard of The Sound of Young America, The Sound of Young America is the greatest radio show you’ve never heard of”. Well, now you don’t have an excuse, you’ve heard of it, now you just have to listen to it!

Check out The Sound of Young America HERE.

8. Keith and The Girl Comedy Talk Show


Duration: Roughly an Hour

Keith and the Girl is one of the most popular comedy podcasts to hit the airwaves in the past 5 years. Hosted by couple Keith Malley and his singer girlfriend Chemda Khalili, the show features the pair discussing the daily adventures of their lives as well as current events. The show has over 50,000 listeners and has been ranked in the Top Ten Podcasts by Podcast Alley.

Check out Keith and The Girl HERE.

7. NewsPod


Duration: 35 Mins

This daily program presents highlights from other BBC news programs, including BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 5, BBC Asian Network and many more. NewsPod brings the quickest news updates with a wide variety of topics and informed speakers.

Check out NewsPod HERE.

6. All in the Mind


Duration: 30 Mins

All in the Mind host Natasha Mitchell presents one of the most unique podcasts, delving deeply into the human mind, brain and behavior. Topics include depression, addiction, consciousness and free will. This podcast brings educated, although unexpected, voices and themes to challenge the listener to take a closer look at the mind.

Check out All in the Mind HERE.

5. Material World


Duration: Roughly an hour

Each week on Material World, scientists discuss and describe their work and projects. The program is split into two sections, spending 15 minutes on each topic, and interviewing scientists and engineers. Although this is one of the most scientifically informative podcasts, it’s only downfall lies in the abundance of cheesy science jokes and puns.

Check out Material World HERE.

4. The Dave Ramsey Show Podcast


Duration: 3 Hours

The Dave Ramsey Show is a self-syndicated program that takes live calls regarding personal finance. Ramsey offers step by step guidance to listeners experiencing financial difficulties. The defining factor between Ramsey’s show, and other financial podcasts, is Ramsey’s willingness to take more than just the mathematical/statistical aspects into account. Ramsey relates to his audience through a spiritual and emotional connection, making him more like a friend or mentor than just a financial adviser. There are many roads to financial security and stability, but listening to Ramsey’s common sense proclamations is a great motivation for keeping on track to anyone who struggled with debt or their finances.

Check out The Dave Ramsey Show HERE

3. TED Talks


Duration: Varies

TED talks is one of those rare shows that spans a large quantity of topics, without sacrificing the quality of discussion. This series of lectures features some of the best concepts (”ideas worth spreading”) as well as amazing speakers. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Jane Goodall, Al Gore and Bill Gates have all been noted speakers. By April of 2009, the talks had been heard over 100 Million times by over 15 million people.

Check out TED Talks HERE.

2. NPR Intelligence Squared


Duration: 60 mins

This NPR podcast brings an “Oxford-style debating to America”, your basic motion, one moderator and 3 on 3 debating. NPR markets this podcast toward a wide range of people, it’s discussions including American religions, Hollywood, and even terrorist organizations. The topics are timed with world events, but this podcast tends to shine a light on events you might not be hearing about on the nightly news.

Check out NPR Intelligence Squared HERE.

1. This American Life


Duration: 60 Minutes

This hour long program, hosted by Ira Glass, is a journalistic non-fiction program, featuring essays, memoirs, short fiction and much more. The show, which first aired on the radio in 1995, is one of the most listened podcasts of our generation. The show’s incredible value was recently on display when it tackled the housing crisis and economic collapse with two episodes entitled “The Giant Pool of Money” and “The Giant Pool of Money Part 2″. TAL excels at taking the esoteric and making them understandable – relatable even – to the average Joe. Each week’s episode tackles one issue or topic in a variety of ways, ensuring that you will come away each week with a deeper understanding of the world.

Check out This American Life HERE

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

40 Tips For A Better Life

Reading tips from the Internet, I got this helpful list where I personally follow some of it to help me improve my day to day life. Read through it and get what you will, then follow the things you want to believe. Each person has his/her own needs/wants/beliefs so, in a global sense, just do your best on a daily basis.

  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
    It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. DVR / tape your late night shows and get more sleep.
  4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement,
    ‘My purpose is to __________ today.’
  5. Live with the 3 E’sEnergy, Enthusiasm, & Empathy.
  6. Play more games and read more books than you did last year.
  7. Make time to practice meditation, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
  8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  9. Dream more while you are awake.
  10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
  12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  13. Clear the clutter from your house, your car, your desk & let new / flowing energy into your life.
  14. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, OR issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
  17. Smile & laugh more. It will keep the nagative blues away.
  18. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  26. Forgive everyone for everything.
  27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  28. Remember God heals everything.
  29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  31. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  33. The best is yet to come.
  34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  35. Do the right thing!
  36. Call your family often.
  37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
    I am thankful for _______. Today I accomplished ____.
  38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass.
    You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.
  40. Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can’t change.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tweet for hire: Big businesses hire 'Tweeters!'

September 2, 2009 2:57 PM ET


CHICAGO (AP) - People around the world interact with Alecia Dantico all day. Usually, though, they don't know whether she's young or old, male or female.

What her followers on Facebook and Twitter know is that's she's a friendly, sometimes sassy, blue and gold tin of Garrett Popcorn. That's the icon of the popular Chicago-based snack food that has tourists and locals lining up around the block at locations here and in New York City.

And when Dantico sends out a "virtual tin" of popcorn to a fan over Twitter, she's breaking new ground in the way companies market themselves, joining a growing number of social media experts hired to man Twitter, Facebook and similar sites.

"My day starts on Twitter and it doesn't really end," Dantico says. She keeps her BlackBerry on at all hours to respond to followers in different time zones. "It's driving my family crazy, but that's OK."

Best Buy Co. Inc. riled up the social-media world earlier this summer with a job posting for a senior manager of emerging media marketing. One of the job requirements, as originally posted, called for applicants to have more than 250 followers on Twitter.

When that caused an online backlash, the electronics retailer opened the process of crafting a job description to the public, generating a huge response.

Multinational corporations, such as Ford Motor Co. and Coca-Cola Co., are beginning to use social media to increase positive sentiment, build customer rapport and correct misinformation, says Adam Brown, Coca-Cola's Atlanta-based director of social media.

"Having the world's most-recognized brand, we feel like there's an obligation or a responsibility when people are talking about us, we have a duty to respond," Brown says.

Dantico, who is getting a doctorate in communications with an emphasis in building brand identity in online communities, says she has seen an uptick in sales when she's tweeted from events since joining the company in June.

"I really believe in the power of conversation in social media," she says. "Some days we talk about the weather. Some days we talk about the 'Chicken Dance.' Some days we talk about recipes and parties and shipping Garretts to Cabo for a wedding."

She mentions popcorn in her Tweets, and has helped customers secure tins for special events, but never implores followers to go out and buy some. Successful selling through social media is much more subtle.

"Social media is all about being social," says Nora Ganim Barnes, a marketing professor and director for the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. "It's not called selling media. The biggest mistake companies make is using social media to hawk products. It's a turnoff."

Large Fortune 500 companies have been the slowest to adopt social media strategies, Ganim Barnes says. But not-for-profit organizations have been the fastest.

"It's free," she says. "And they've never had such access to media before."

Recent research by Ganim Barnes and colleagues, though, points to a rapidly growing familiarity with social media, even among the world's biggest brands.

"It's bigger than Twitter, MySpace, Facebook or blogs," she says. "It's about engaging people."

The lightning-fast pace of social media, and Twitter in particular, has forced businesses to act in a whole new way, says Brown, of Coca-Cola.

"If you don't respond within three or four hours, you might as well not respond at all," he says.

For example, a man on Twitter recently expressed annoyance at his difficulty in claiming an all-expenses paid trip he'd won through the My Coke Rewards program. He Tweeted, "Coca-Cola, bring down your drawbridge," Brown recalls. Within about a half an hour, Brown had engaged the customer on Twitter, got on the phone with him and resolved the problem.

Not long after, the man changed his Twitter avatar to a can of Coke Zero.

Like Brown, Scott Monty is working to create a social-media strategy for his company, Ford Motors, where he serves as digital and multimedia communications manager in Dearborn, Mich.

"The beautiful thing about sites like Twitter and Facebook is that it's a one-to-one conversation," Monty says. "You're addressing whoever wrote the original comment. But you're doing it in the public square."

Whether your business is large or small, Monty advises those interested in expanding to social media to stand back and listen before diving in.

"It's not the typical one-way push kind of conversation," Monty says. "You wouldn't burst into a cocktail party and just start handing your business card to people and leave. The online space is no different."

Dantico, with Garrett Popcorn, says she responds every time someone mentions her company on Twitter, whether it's positive or negative. And if one of her followers posts about having a bad day, it's not unusual for Garrett Popcorn to send over some treats.

"Popcorn is fun. My brand is fun," she says. "The conversations were already happening. My job was just to join them. This is the best job in the world."


On Twitter:

ArtfulMind.biz: http://twitter.com/artfulmindbiz

Garrett Popcorn: http://twitter.com/garrettpopcorn

Ford Motor Company: http://twitter.com/Ford

Coca-Cola: http://twitter.com/CocaCola