Keeping my Mind Occupied: Podcasts

As much as I'd like to read more, I just don't have to time to absorb detailed information about all the things that interest me by reading alone. That's where podcasts come in. I have about a dozen podcasts I subscribe to regularly, with many others that I download an episode from occasionally when the topic interests me. Here are some podcasts that really fascinated me in the last week or so:

On Point with Tom Ashbrook- Syria's Children and the Cost of War

I love this show in general, even when it's covering a topic I wouldn't ordinarily be too taken with. This show in particular, discussing not just the Syrian crisis but the particular perspective of how the conflict is impacting Syria's children, really spoke to me. While the number of casualties grows and is sensationalized by the media, sometimes we forget some of the most vulnerable victims of war: those that are left living. In this case, we have millions of children who have been displaced, orphaned, exposed to violence and poverty, and even afflicted with diseases such as polio, with little to no access to prevention or treatment. With so much talk of a potential "lost generation" of Syrian children, we have to consider the implications of what it means for Syria's future for so many children to be abandoned and disillusioned, to be out of school and out of touch with civil society. This podcast had a great group of guests and really cuts to the heart of what war really does to people.

Planet Money- The Invention of the Economy

Whether you are interested in health, education, politics, or none of the above, I guarantee that at some point you have thought about how "the economy" influences these topics or your life specifically. "The economy" does this and "the economy" needs to do that. How often have we stopped to consider what the economy actually IS? Where did the term come from, and why? What is it actually measuring, and is it the right measure? In true Planey Money style (another one of my favorite podcasts), this issue is presented with great context and storytelling, and does a good job of answering a question many of us wrestle with in some capacity almost everyday but fail to properly articulate: what is the economy? More importantly, WHY is the economy? The answer is at once fascinating and shockingly mundane.