Interesting Finds: Issue #14

Favorite podcasts, Weirdness of WikiHow and Interesting Sea Creatures

Each week, I curate the most curious content I find, and add a spotlight on portions I find most interesting.

This week is about my favorite podcasts, the weird world of WikiHow illustrations and interesting sea creatures.

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My Favorite Podcasts

Most people dread commutes to work, but for me, I always looked forward to them. In addition to getting lost in thought on the bus, one of my favorite things to do on my commutes is to listen to podcasts. To me, podcasts fit into my bus commuting lifestyle really well and afforded me more flexibility, with a greater breadth of content, than strictly reading on my Kindle.

Like most of you, the COVID-10 pandemic has forced me to work remote from home full time for the past 8 months. In the process, I lost all my baked in time for listening to podcasts. After a few months, I figured out the best way to listen to podcasts again was during day-to-day mundane tasks. I’ve never looked more forward to cleaning the bathrooms or raking leaves than I do now 😃.

My favorite podcasting app for the last few years has been Overcast, due to some of their clever features like voice boosting which enhances vocals, as well as normalizes volume between podcasts. However, their smartest feature is something aptly called “Smart Speed”:

Pick up extra speed without distortion with Smart Speed, which dynamically shortens silences in talk shows.

Conversations still sound so natural that you’ll forget it’s on — until you see how much extra time you’ve saved.

That said, I’m likely switching to Spotify for all my podcasts, due to their 3rd party integrations (e.g. Sonos) since it will make listening to podcasts much simpler than strictly relying on my phone.

I have about 25 different podcasts in my regular rotation, but here are 5 of my favorite podcasts that I always make time for:

  1. Planet money: Produced by NPR and described as “Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy.;’ Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at Planet Money.”. At 10-30 mins in length, it’s easy to consume an entire episode within 1-2 listening sessions for me.

  2. How I Built This: Another NPR podcast! Covers a different company each week and focuses on how the companies were built and created, including tech, children’s toys and fashion. The podcast is officially described by NPR as diving “into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built”.

  3. Acquired: Similar to How I Built This, but looks at companies with a very different, and deeper, viewpoint. They describe it as telling “the stories behind great companies more broadly, diving deep into the events and strategies that brought them to where they are today”. They’ve got a bias towards tech startup companies with some amazing episodes that give you incredible strategic insight into a given company, its competitors and strategy. My two recent favorites were on Twitter and Epic Games.

  4. You Are Not So Smart: Get smarter about a variety of topics originally started to “explore self delusion”. David McRaney, the creator, says “I used to forward sensational news stories without skepticism and think I was a smarty pants just because I did a little internet research. I didn’t know about confirmation bias and self-enhancing fallacies, and once I did, I felt very, very stupid. I still feel that way, but now I can make you feel that way too.”

  5. The Daily by NYT: Last but not least, this podcast by the New York Times is great at getting a quick overview of the day’s news. Each episode is less than 20 mins and is published 5 days a week (Mon-Fri).

Disney Vacations

One of the weirdest, and funniest, subreddits I’ve come to follow is one called “Disney Vacation”. It has nothing to do with Disney at all, but instead focused on making fun of the odd illustrations that often appear on WikiHow. The subreddit’s official description is:

This is not about actual vacations to Disneyland or Disneyworld.

It's for weird, terrible, terrifying or bad illustrations from WikiHow.

What the contributors do, is operate in reverse by finding hilarious illustrations on WikiHow, then create new captions for them. The results are often pure gold.

If you’re looking for a good laugh, I recommend you check the subreddit for yourself. One warning, while there is no nudity, some of the captions can be NSFW.

For your shared enjoyment, here are some of the recent posts that made me laugh:

Mikhail Parkhomenka

Mikhail is a visual artist based out of Moscow who shares a bunch of his work on Instagram. His work is absolutely stunning and highly recommend you check it out. Here is his most recent work from the end of October which had me absolutely mesmerized.

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like A… Boxer Crab??

Boxer Crabs are a type of small crab that have a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones. They hold a sea anemone in each hand that they swing for defense, like boxing gloves. In return, the anemones get carried around large distances which helps them capture more food with their tentacles.

The Pharaoh Cuttlefish

Sticking with the theme of tiny sea creatures, meet the Pharaoh Cuttlefish. These interesting little guys emulate the look of Hermit Crabs periodically as they approach prey. While it’s not completely understood why they do this, researchers suspect is to get as close as possible to prey since Hermit Crabs are bottom feeders that pose no threat to them.

Other Interesting Finds 🔎

  • 🦇 We’re 111 days until The Batman releases

  • 🐑 A Japanese company has created an injectable enzyme that allows wool to be peeled from sheep instead of shearing.

  • 🎵 Musician Nicholas Yen playing The Mandalorian theme song on a cello

  • 🦝 My personal nightmare

  • 🗣 John Kelly is now the latest person to publicly criticize Trump’s delay in transition to President-elect Biden and his team.