Thursday, August 29, 2013

Technology & Science podcasts

I’m reviving a long absent series of posts about podcasts worth listening to on the commute into work (or while mowing the lawn).

Click (formerly Digital Planet) from BBC World Service with Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson – a weekly ramble through the global technology trends and developments, often noting how some technologies are used in surprisingly distinctive ways in different countries. Recently the show has taken a thematic look at the technology of transport. The live shows in front of a studio audience are fun. There’s an audience-driven Facebook group! [Podcast feed RSS | iTunes | archive]

Even if I was up early to catch a red-eye flight I’d miss the original transmission of Outriders (formerly Pods and Blogs) at 3am on Tuesday morning’s Up All Night on BBC 5 live. Jamillah Knowles brings a weekly menu of interviews and insights into the “frontiers of the web”. The August 20 episode looked at “scientific code review and the DEFCON hacker conference documentary” while previous shows have observed maker camps, children’s coding clubs, citizen science and digital news. [Podcast feed RSS | iTunes | archive]

With the demise of the Guardian’s weekly Technology pull out [stop press – the Observer have just announced they’re launching a monthly Technology supplement on 15 September] the Tech Weekly podcast is the next best way to hear the news and views from regular contributors like Jemima Kiss, Aleks Krotoski, Charles Arthur and Bobbie Johnson. Interviews with authors and technology leaders, a regular focus on gaming, Silicon Roundabout and start-ups. [Podcast feed RSS | iTunes | archive]

The three series of Aleks Krotoski's The Digital Human (Radio 4) are still available looking at control, privacy, memory, serendipity, homogeneity, social and moral boundaries, detox, loneliness and love. [Podcast feed RSS | iTunes | archive]

While the episodes are sometimes a little too long, Alok Jha’s Science Weekly podcast for the Guardian tackles big subjects without being scared of depth: bio-engineering and synthetic biology; dangerous numbers and statistics; the chemical origins of life on Earth; interviewing the driver of the Mars Rover. [Podcast feed RSS | iTunes | archive]

From a statistical perspective, Radio 4’s More or Less takes a light-hearted look at the series issue of numeracy abuse. Politicians and journalists are amongst the people who misuse and misquote statistics to form mistaken conclusions. Tim Harford and frequent contributor Ruth Alexander debunk, entertain and inform … in partnership with the Open University. Ten minute BBC World Service episodes are interwoven with the half hour Radio 4 shows. [Podcast feed RSS | iTunes | archive]

Tim Harford’s short series of Pop-Up Ideas are also worth a listen. [Podcast feed RSS | iTunes | archive]

Locally, Chris Taylor and Matt Johnston produced 26 episoides of Tech Show looking at local technology and industry issues as well as tracking their love for Android and iOS. The last show was uploaded to in November 2012. [Podcast feed RSS | iTunes | archive]

Until its demise in April 2012, PRI’s The World had a fantastic Technology Podcast hosted by Clark Boyd. Its focus was “not on gadgets or gizmos, but rather the people behind those gadgets and gizmos”. And like Click it looked beyond the US borders to appreciate world-wide advances and applications. There’s an archive of shows on PRI’s website and I’m slowly working my way through several years of backlog on iTunes.

While not a podcast, worth mentioning Tech 24 programme on France 24’s English channel which spends 10 minutes each week looking at new technology, gadgets, often with a French (or at least a refreshing non-UK/non-US) twist. While it only covers three or four items each week, it’s a quick way to keep up with trends in gaming and nascent technologies that will impact mobile computing and telephony … and Bluetooth-controlled drones! [Facebook | archive]

If you’ve other techie podcasts to recommend, why not leave a comment …

1 comment:

Niall said...

More science than technology, I've been listening to Material World ( for a good while - currently on summer break and I seem to recall that the presenter is changing (if it returns). But great fun and learning.

Also recently started listening to Discovery (

Perhaps I'm a BBC-ohlic!

Also a number of excellent YouTube science and technology channels (Minute Physics stands out) - but that's another post, no doubt!