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Staff Picks Category: Educational

Stuff You Should Know by Josh Clark and Charles W. []



It can be a challenge to find a podcast that is very educational and informative, and at the same time is really funny. It can also be a challenge to find a podcast that appeals to the older and younger generations. Stuff You Should Know is a free podcast that fits the bill.

The podcast is hosted two good friends, hosted by Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant, both writers at HowStuffWorks. Each adds their own charming, clever, and sometimes serious take on a wide variety of issues. Thousands of episodes are available on this weekly podcast that started in 2008.

Check out this sampling of topics from 2017:

  • How Dictators Work
  • Are Artificial Sweeteners Really Bad for You?
  • How Pacifism Works (and could it?)
  • The Black Panther Party
  • Pain Scales – Yeeow!
  • Why Isn’t the US on the Metric System?
  • How Foreign Accent Syndrome Works
  • Is A Head Transplant a Real Thing?

Most of the podcasts are an hour, but Chuck and Josh offer short segments as well. Check it out On iHeartRadio or wherever you go for Podcasts. You’ll have a lot more fun on your exercycle and even learn a few things.

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Crash Course World History by John Green []



Library users may know John Green best as the author of such popular books as The Fault in Our Stars and An Abundance of Katherines, but he is also a prolific YouTube content creator. His Crash Course series is, so I’m told, aimed at teens, but is loved by adults as well. I am particularly fond of Crash Course History.

Crash Course History was the first series in the Crash Course brand and every episode consists of a short presentation by Green enhanced with clever animations. Green’s style is conversational and engaging. He treats us to occasional tangents and jokes, but the content remains focused and extremely informative, and he doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like imperialism, fascism, and slavery.

Each episode is just over ten minutes long. The length is appropriate for an easily digestible summary that leaves you curious and interested to learn more about a topic. Episodes include The Agricultural Revolution, The Silk Road and Ancient Trade, Mansa Musa and Islam in Africa, and The Columbian Exchange and 38 other topics from ancient through modern times.

Other series in Crash Course brand include, among others, English Literature, Philosophy, Economics, and U.S. History, and more are being planned. You can find them all at the Crash Course page on YouTube.

cartoony image from Crash Course World History

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