the wonderful world of veena.

19 September 2012

channeling my inner history nerd.

During my recent stint in western Nepal, I had quite a lot of free time in the evenings, so I decided to use the time to scout out some good podcasts on iTunes. In the past I have mostly subscribed to news and sports podcasts, which can be very informative when you don't watch a lot of television, but which can become frustrating if they become backlogged. But I had never really even thought about looking at what other podcasts were available.

A few weeks ago, Dylan Perry told me of a podcast that Slate does called Lexicon Valley, so I decided to check it out. While it was downloading, I did a few random searches and eventually landed on one called Stuff You Missed in History Class that piqued my interest.

For those of you who don't know, I have long been fascinated by history. It was one of my favourite classes in school, and when it came time to choose an undergraduate major, I landed on History for the variety of courses that Rhodes offered on the subject. In my four years, I took classes on modern India, on Medieval Europe, on the slave trade, on the American South, and - my personal favourite - on African-Americans Through Sports [the only 8am class I never missed, if that tells you anything].

I have always enjoyed learning about people and events from the past, so when I found this particular podcast, I was immediately intrigued. I decided to download the most recent one, which happened to be about code-breaking during World War II [a subject that I have always been particularly fascinated by], and it was great: informative, entertaining, and to-the-point. One of the drawbacks to my history obsession is that often times history books are very long and boring and dry, taking hundreds and hundreds of pages to explain a basic story, so while I'm interested, I don't have the attention span. So a half-hour podcast was great.

The podcast dates back to 2008, so I have been slowly downloading and listening to the earlier ones, and it has been great. I have learned about Vlad the Impaler [ouch], the Code of Hamurabi, the Pied Pieper of Hamelin, and how a sunken Spanish treasure ship kind of led to the United States acquiring the Louisiana Purchase, amongst others.

So if you need some entertainment but also want to learn something new, this is a great podcast to listen to.

And my favourite part about iTunes podcasts? They're free.
woo pig.

[other recent favourite podcasts: TEDTalks (video), BBC Global News, This American Life, Slate's Daily Podcast, and Anderson Cooper360]

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