Podcast Passions

A week ago I complained that I couldn’t find any good podcasts, and you guys responded with a wealth of recommendations. More to my surprise, a number of irate fans of the popular Nobody Likes Onions podcast showed up. They left a bunch of nasty comments to the effect that I am a stuck-up faggot who needs hair implants etc. This is kind of funny since what I had said in a possibly ironic way was that I don’t like the top-10 podcasts, but that this was only to be expected since most people are morons and so anything with mass appeal is unlikely to be any good. I gotta say that the NLO commenters did nothing to dispel that notion.

Anyway, commenter TJ pointed out that the most authoritative top-10 list for podcasts isn’t the one at Podcast Alley, but the one at iTunes. I can only get at their top-5 list without installing their software, but here it is:

  1. Oprah and Eckhart’s A New Earth

  2. This American Life
  3. Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil
  4. Fresh Air (NPR)
  5. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (NPR)

Nos 2 and 5 have been recommended by Aard readers, which suggests that I may be wrong about top lists and morons. But let’s note that Oprah is no 1 — q.e.d.

Meanwhile, I’ve found two more podcasts that I do like: Sex is Fun about astronomy and Planetary Radio about sex. The latter has excellent sexy astronomical news coverage, marred somewhat by a hokey US “family-friendly” style of presentation. (I was really relieved when the presenter allowed himself to say “crap” in the latest episode.)

Update 13 April: Charming and intelligent NLO fans are now taunting me in the comments because my podcast is not as popular as NLO. This really hurts since I don’t even have a podcast. And of course they’re calling me a faggot again, which I gather from context is supposed to be an insult. I just wonder whom they’re hoping to attract to NLO by this behaviour!?

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Comments

  1. #1 blf
    April 12, 2008

    Sex is Fun about astronomy …

    Now that‘s an interesting way to, ah, “frame”, science!

    Planetary Radio about sex.

    The Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon Six?

    I think you need to adjust some of your hair implants. Your head’s too hot or now has too many hole or something like that: Your brain seems to have melted down! ;-)

  2. #2 Martin R
    April 12, 2008

    Yes, of course I would never make any playfully absurd statements on purpose. (-;

  3. #3 Barn Owl
    April 12, 2008

    I realize that Oprah could use a healthy dose of skepticism at times, especially with regards to topics like The Secret, but I also think that both she and Martha Stewart are the targets of much more negativity than are wealthy and influential male celebrities, simply because they’re women. Discussion is rarely centered on their philanthropic and education activities, and instead focuses on their weight gain/loss, speculations about physical and mental illnesses, and association with woo.

  4. #4 night templar
    April 12, 2008

    … And don’t forget Oprah’s lesbian love affairs and ugly breakup with Phil.

  5. #5 Martin R
    April 12, 2008

    I’m just envious because I never get that kind of coverage of my own lesbian love affairs and ugly breakup with Phil.

  6. #6 bernarda
    April 13, 2008

    I don’t know if it is available as a podcast, but worth seeing is Charlie Rose’s 13-part series “Imperative of Science”. You can see it at these sites.

    http://www.pfizer.com/think/cr_sciencelanding.jsp

    http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2008/04/07/1/charlie-rose-science-series-the-imperative-of-science

  7. #7 HUGH
    April 13, 2008

    I am sorry that you can’t think out of your faggy thinking to like anything that is someone humorous. NLO is great and you need to rethink living.

  8. #8 NLOrules
    April 13, 2008

    NLO is the best podcast on Earth! Where is your podcast on Podcast Alley?

  9. #9 Speck
    April 13, 2008

    Sex is Fun = Awesome, educational. This podcast has made me rethink my views on many sexual

    Nobody Likes Onions = Hilarious, at many times with highbrow humor.

    Aardvarchaeology = I don’t know, I’ve never listened, but I’m sure as hell not going to insult work I’ve never listened to.

    “Aard’s readers should be a much better authority than the unwashed masses when it comes to podcasts.” Really? Is that so? Tell me, sir, if you can, why fun-loving, everyday people (the “great unwashed”) are any better or worse than your listenership when it comes to their entertainment. That attitude is the same attitude taken by the Europeans upon encountering Native Americans and African tribes: they saw that the culture and society of these people was different, less technologically advanced, and they deemed them savages without examining the complex structures of the society that these natives operated. Simply because another kind of podcast or culture is different does not mean it is inferior. Nor does this entitle you to make claims that you and your listener base are any greater than that of NLO.

    Sir, I like you. Looking at your personal website, I see a lot of the qualities that you have are qualities that I take particular pride that I, myself have. I call upon you then to reexamine your attitudes towards those things you do not fully understand, and to adjust your behavior to fit your findings.

    Or you can just go stuff your piece-of-shit podcast up a dinosaur’s ass so that millions of years from now, whatever species that replaces humanity can laugh their asses off at how stupid you are. Faggot.

  10. #10 BILLYGOWHOOP
    April 13, 2008

    I hope that you get your hand duct taped to an incandescent light bulb so that it cooks your hand from the outside in causing severe burns to the skin. Then I hope that the bulb reaches the inside of your hand and calderizes your veins and forms a fatal clot.

    http://www.nobodylikesonions.com/

  11. #11 Janne
    April 13, 2008

    So… From your previous posts’ comments, and this ones, “NLO” is apparently a podcast with a target audience of immature, insecure homophobes. I’ll just pass.

    In general, my problem with podcasts is that they’re, well, sound – I need to be able to listen to them, and I need to have the time it takes to do so. Sound is intrusive in a way that text is not, and I find it more difficult to break off, then resume an audio recording than a piece of text. It’s more jarring for some reason, possibly because it is so easy to quickly scan a paragraph or two of previous text to regain your context while sound is more fiddly and intrusive (rewind, then listen to the last part again). And podcasts proceed at the pace of the reader, while text is read at my own pace.

    I listen to audio books on my commute sometimes, but I must admit I have never been able to pick up a regular podcast habit despite several attempts.

  12. #12 Martin R
    April 14, 2008

    I agree, it’s much easier to switch a book or magazine on and off. (Particularly since my handheld’s version of the Windows Media Player software is a user-hostile mess.) I like to listen to podcasts on my commute, when driving, when taking a walk and when doing household work.

  13. #13 Martin R
    April 14, 2008

    I’m getting some welcome traffic from the NLO online forums. Looking at the conversations there, I get the impression that many of the fans are very young. A few of them are posting links to this entry and saying “go get him!”. The others click on it, say “NLO RULEZ. FAGGOT.” and zip away again. I guess we were pretty much like them once.

  14. #14 XMJ
    April 14, 2008

    I don’t think you realise who you’re dealing with here. NLO listeners aren’t professional idiots, most are intelligent, knowledgeable and rational who could easily form coherent arguments and points.

    However, if this is what presses your buttons then I hope that in years to come, that having worn hair implants creates a tumor…ON YOUR FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE !

    The first symptoms of this cancer will be a sharp pounding in the anus, and pretentious views and thoughts !

    NLO faggots !

  15. #15 Martin R
    April 14, 2008

    Umm… Yeah. We’re all tumour-ridden faggots around here, I guess. Who could easily form coherent arguments and points.

  16. #16 blue collar scientist
    April 14, 2008

    Wow. My context filter must be temporarily disconnected or something, because the first thing that I thought on reading all this was that I’ve seen Martin’s hair, and (a) it isn’t an implant and (b) doesn’t appear to me to need them.

    My second observation was that the NLO podcast website has a video ad in the upper right that blasts loud noise through my computer without my consent, which is about as obnoxious as an unprovoked punch in the face in meatspace.

    My third observation was that NLO listeners are apparently pretty unpleasant. In retrospect, that’s probably the only pertinent observation I’ve made all day.

    Thanks for pointing me to planetary radio, by the way. I’d somehow missed it.

  17. #17 XMJ
    April 14, 2008

    Once more, you simply don’t get it sir. We’re being nasty for a reason, because it riles people up, you’re taking it oh so seriously, we aren’t denying things like the moon landing ever happened, which if we had, we should be shot for. It’s a war of words through the internet designed to agitate those who read them.

    “My second observation was that the NLO podcast website has a video ad in the upper right that blasts loud noise through my computer without my consent, which is about as obnoxious as an unprovoked punch in the face in meatspace.”

    Please tell me you didn’t just say that, please sir, I beg of you, tell me you didn’t.

    I’ll put it this way, you my friend, had a choice to browse the NLO website, you sir, had complete freedom of choice to choose either to not view the site and all of its content or not. Nobody forced you. So how dare you complain, it didn’t hold you at gun point and make you listen, it is also not like a neighbour played the website full blast out his window, in which case you would have no choice to listen or not either.

    In the name of the father ! A video ad on a website ! Send in the troops. Lastly, no one made the point that the loyal viewers and listeners of both this website and podcast could not make coherent structured arguments of there own.

  18. #18 NLOrules
    April 14, 2008

    Bluecollar,
    From your comments it is very obvious that you are indeed blue collar. The “video that blasts loud noise” does not blast loud noise, it is actually fairly quite, maybe you should learn how to use your computer speakers and then check back with us. And secondly about the video, it is what is called an advertisement, which a horrible site like this will never get. I am a very loyal listener of NLO and I know that some fans are very immature, not every single fan is, and believe me, if I were to use any kind of foul language I would have most of you crying to your mothers within a paragraph.

  19. #19 Martin R
    April 14, 2008

    That’s a really devastating insult. Calling the self-described Blue Collar Scientist “blue-collar”, like, woah, man! I’m beginning to fear the mighty NLO listeners in earnest!

  20. #20 waywardcats
    April 14, 2008

    For the record, today’s (April 14th) top 10 podcasts at iTunes are:

    #1 Oprah and Eckhart’s A New Earth
    #2 This American Life
    #3 Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (NPR)
    #4 Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil
    #5 Best of YouTube (video)
    #6 Fresh Air (NPR)
    #7 NPR: Car Talk
    #8 The Economist
    #9 Comedy Central: Stand-Up (video)
    #10 VH1 Best Week Ever (video)

  21. #21 Martin R
    April 14, 2008

    Thanks! Could someone please check the top-10 disregarding videocasts?

  22. #22 NLOrules
    April 14, 2008

    Martin,
    The podcast directory in iTunes is not the official directory for podcasts. The directory at podcastalley.com is much more accurate and unbiased. When the directory in iTunes was launched, the top podcasts were podcasts made by Apple workers. If you would like the comments to stop, I’d suggest that you apologize for the irrational comments that you made against Nobody Likes Onions. I only speak for myself, and I will admit that many NLO listeners are immature, but many are also educated and mature.

  23. #23 Martin R
    April 14, 2008

    Here’s the deal.

    This is my blog. I make my opinions known here about a great number of things. Some of them I like, others I don’t like. For instance, I review books and films and albums and concerts. A reviewer doesn’t apologise for publicising his opinions: it’s what reviewers do.

    A bit more than a week ago, I rattled off the names of three podcasts that I had tried out and not liked much. All are popular and likely to remain so whatever I may say about them. Yet in only one case, that of NLO, did a lot of fuckwits turn up out of the blue to make fools of themselves in the comments section. I have come to realise that this is because NLO is apparently popular mainly among teenage boys, who of course do a lot of stuff they’ll be embarrassed to remember later in life.

    Not being a teenage boy, I don’t belong to NLO’s target audience. No wonder I don’t like it much. And those among my readers who are themselves teenage boys are IMHO not likely to find it much to their taste either. But really, who cares? You gotta be a fanboy to be passionate about these things, and fanboyhood is a transient state. Do please write me in ten years’ time and tell me your opinion.

  24. #24 Fan Girl
    April 14, 2008

    The target audience of Nobody Likes Onions is not young teenage boys – its just that some get drawn in by the style of humour. While there are no actual statistics to go by, it would be a fair estimation to say that only a small percentage of listeners are under the age of 18. It is really aimed more towards the college age set, and as far as gender goes – well, good humour transcends race and gender.

    Would you ‘poo-poo’ a soccer hooligan or someone who collects Beatles memorabilia, and say that their fanboyhood is a transient state? Nobody Likes Onions may not be at the top of the culture pyramid, but it doesnt mean people – all types of people – can’t be legitimately interested in it,not just fleetingly.

    The people who comment are just reacting to what they think are unfair and unnecessary negative comments against Nobody Likes Onions. Your replies have only served to supply them with more fodder.

  25. #25 Martin R
    April 15, 2008

    Would you ‘poo-poo’ a soccer hooligan or someone who collects Beatles memorabilia, and say that their fanboyhood is a transient state?

    I’d “poo-poo” them and see it as highly regrettable that it wasn’t transient in their case. Sorry bastards.

    Football hooligans are universally known as asshats because they attack people who don’t share their obsession with a certain team. See the parallel?

  26. #26 blue collar scientist
    April 15, 2008

    NLORules: From your comments it is very obvious that you are indeed blue collar.

    I am… devastated…. I might have to go cry now.

    NLORules: The “video that blasts loud noise” does not blast loud noise, it is actually fairly quite…

    Yes, it is. Fairly quite indeed. Whatever that means.

    Martin: Football hooligans are universally known as asshats because they attack people who don’t share their obsession with a certain team. See the parallel?

    On the off chance that these comments have IP addresses in the United States, it might be worth noting that we don’t have much football hooliganism here; we used to have the Ku Klux Klan, who would go around attacking, intimidating, and killing black people. A lot, but not all, of this hostility has been redirected into brand loyalty since the days of the civil rights movement around the time I was born. I’ll leave it to you to connect the dots….

  27. #27 3D-MOVIES-FROM-SPACE
    April 15, 2008

    HI! I Like ice cream a lot! My favorite flavor is cookie dough!

  28. #28 waywardcats
    April 15, 2008

    For Tuesday, April 15th the top podcast according to iTunes are:

    #1 Oprah and Eckhart’s A New Earth
    #2 This American Life
    #3 Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (NPR)
    #4 Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil
    #5 Best of YouTube (video)
    #6 Fresh Air (NPR)
    #7 Comedy Central: Stand-Up (video)
    #8 NPR: Car Talk
    #9 The Economist
    #10 Real Time with Bill Maher
    #12 BBC World Service Global News
    #13 NPR Science Friday
    #14 The Onion Radio News
    #15 Discovery Channel (video)
    #16 VH1 Best Week Ever (video)

    So excluding the video podcasts you should have the top eleven there. All of these are fairly quite, I presume.

  29. #29 Martin R
    April 15, 2008

    Thanks! This list is dominated by the MSM. But it should reflect pretty accurately what mp3 files many Anglophone people are listening to. It seems that the most popular podcasts aren’t podcasts in the usual sense of the word.

  30. #30 waywardcats
    April 15, 2008

    That’s right, and as far as I can see in iTunes, there is no way of separating the independent podcasts from the main stream media casts of radio or tv shows.

    More disturbing though, when I looked at the top Science & Medicine podcasts today Expelled the podcast from Premise media shows up at #20. It’s old though, from 2007. Still, it shouldn’t be classified as science, imho.

  31. #31 HollywoodAdam
    April 15, 2008

    You know a lot of times people try to post pictures of themselves where they look, you know, good. Like maybe they go back a couple of years for the photo or angle or light it to hide some of their unfortunate features.

    Are you availing yourself of these techniques already?

  32. #32 TJ
    April 15, 2008

    “On the off chance that these comments have IP addresses in the United States, it might be worth noting that we don’t have much football hooliganism here; we used to have the Ku Klux Klan, who would go around attacking, intimidating, and killing black people. A lot, but not all, of this hostility has been redirected into brand loyalty since the days of the civil rights movement around the time I was born. I’ll leave it to you to connect the dots….”

    (0) There are some guys leaving intimidating comments on this blog.
    (1) There was a group of people that intimidated people: the KKK.
    (2) It seems anecdotally that racial hostility has been redirected into brand loyalty.
    (3) Connect the dots…

    The way you’re positioning things suggests that brand loyalty replaced racial hostility as such hostility diminished. The unstated major premise you make ((0)) suggests that the users hostilely commenting on this blog would have been KKK members in the past.

    However, there is insufficient reason to make any claimed connection between brand loyalty and racial hostility. At face value, this is largely a gut-feeling or truthy proposition, supported by an anecdotal trend of behavior. As I might tell one of the students I tutor: “It’s a Hallmark thesis–incoherent, emotional bullshit.” It is false to assume that brand loyalty replaced racial hostility because such hostility still exists today in the US: the debate over immigration, prejudice against people of muslim or middle eastern ethnicity, along with the traditional racism of yesteryear. In fact, one could argue that there is plenty of hostility to be had if you include the civil rights battles being fought by gay couples, and there are KKK alternatives in each of these battles. If anything, even if the KKK lost ground after the 1960′s, there are still hate groups, many of them (West Borough Baptist Church) acting to fill certain niches. Moreover, the premise of “replacement” predicts a complementary distribution of racists and people who are passionate about brands; we would expect that there is no racist who will argue that Fords are better than Chevys and conversely that there is no person who is loyal to Ford vehicles and is also racist. It’s patently absurd to even make such a claim!

    In other words, “scientist”, your argument is just as good as the argument that evolution and the holocaust were related.

  33. #33 bubbachilles
    April 15, 2008

    As a person who is a good deal older than a teenager, and one with a few scientific credentials of my own, I feel I must defend my favorite podcast. Nobody Likes Onions, is, in my opinion, one of the most creative, intelligent, rational and well-produced programs on any medium. It is the only thing that I listen to regularly and just about the only thing that I replay. There are episodes that I have heard at least twenty times.
    And don’t think the program is just about Racism, Jew-baiting, Obscenity and mocking other people’s misfortunes…they also talk about poker.
    That was a joke.
    Seriously, the show is hilarious, though-provoking, good-hearted in a Tourette’s syndrome karaoke night sort of way, and the shows hosts have a no-bullshit, deep-seated skepticism and innate generosity of spirit that makes their show deserving of the fanatic adulation showered on it by the thousands of fans that download it two or three times a week. As well as the hundred or so die-hard shock troops that are currently leaping on you from the depths of the internet. I do not apologize for them: They are the NLO Faggots; that’s what they do.
    The show’s co-hosts include a Hispanic, an African American (Allegedly), a homosexual male (in the worst way)and a Jew. It’s a rainbow coalition of bitter sarcastic social commentary, and it’s all played for laughs and it’s the funniest thing out there.
    Why not listen to a few of the past episodes? select at random, or pick the titles that seem like they might appeal to you. Give it a listen. The fan base is as diverse as that of anything I’ve ever been part of. We’ve got doctors, lawyers, teachers, entertainers, active members representing all races ages, nationalities and social backgrounds. Come to our forums. Join in the fun. Of course we’ll rip you a new asshole, but that’s just part of the fun. Yeah, there’s a lot of juvenile silliness, but take it from a Forty-something Neurobiologist, There’s room for everybody.
    Protocol demands that I close by calling you a stuffed shirt and impugning your mother’s honor, but we’ll take that as read.

  34. #34 Mantecanaut
    April 18, 2008

    Hi Martin.I also needed some new podcasts recently and listened to a few of the top ten at podcast alley. Agreed…they were god-awful, with Keith and some girl winning the prize as most difficult to get through.
    But ironically, I was listening to NLO just about to turn the crap off when they mentioned your site, so I popped over and actually found some good podcasts…so it sort of turned out ok! Except for the time I lost listening to those teenage americans (they all seem to want to be shock-jocks these days)

    Cheers!

  35. #35 Martin R
    April 18, 2008

    Haha, they’re actually driving traffic here on the show!? How kind of them!

    Jeff over at Blue-Collar Scientist tells me he’s also gotten a traffic spike out of the NLO kids.

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