Bingeworthy Podcasts

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The Trojan Horse Affair

A mysterious letter uncovers an Islamist conspiracy to infiltrate schools in Birmingham, UK. The story becomes a national scandal, with wide-ranging consequences. That was in 2014. A new investigation by Serial Productions (of the famous Serial podcast — now part of The New York Times) takes another look at that letter and everything it set in motion. Something just seems off. (Along with a lot of praise, the series has been criticised for being biased and one-sided in its reporting. I can see where this is coming from, but I think one strength of the series is that it makes bias and its reporting part of the story.)

From Weekly Filet #383, in February 2022.

Sul Sul — the story of the Simlish language

Remember Sims, that computer game from the early 2000s that let you create virtual human beings and follow their everyday lives? Here’s a podcast episode on one aspect of the game I wasn’t aware of: Sims had their own made-up language, which soon turned into a phenomenon of its own, with pop songs being re-recorded in Simlish. What makes it especially interesting: Nobody has control over the rules of the language, it’s «a language from no one for everyone».

From Weekly Filet #379, in January 2022.

What Is The Future Of Gender?

It’s progress that in more and more contexts, people can opt out of stating their gender, or are given options beyond the traditional male/female dichotomy. But why do so many forms and documents ask for a gender in the first place? Good food for thought from a (somewhat older) episode of the Flash Forward podcast.

From Weekly Filet #372, in November 2021.

The Facebook Files

In a way, Facebook with its 3 billion users has simply become a reflection of the worst in humanity. Then again, as this podcast series based on a leak of internal documents shows, even when its executives know how to address certain issues, they often choose not to. Every episode is worth listening to, but if you only have time for one episode, try #3: How Facebook is being used as a platform for human trafficking and how it makes money along the way. now. (There might be a popup telling you that you need to subscribe, but you can just close it. Alternatively, you can listen to the podcast on Spotify)

From Weekly Filet #363, in September 2021.

Edith! — The Untold True-ish Story Of America’s Secret First Female President

On a lighter note: This is the perfect podcast to listen to while you’re doing other things. Based on true events — with a bit of added spice, humour and imagination — it tells the story of Edith Wilson, «the first female President of the United States». When President Woodrow Wilson suffers a severe stroke, the first lady, Edith, starts running the country. Fun and bingeworthy.

From Weekly Filet #357, in August 2021.

Delivery Wars

Even if you tried really hard, it was almost impossible to get through this pandemic without increased reliance on food delivery (your Friday delivery of a delicious Filet not included). The Land of the Giants podcast which I have recommended before, has just completed a super interesting miniseries of 6 episodes on the food delivery industry — you’ll learn about early movers, shady tactics, cloud kitchens, and why even in 2020, none of the big players made a profit. now. (the overview page is a bit confusing — you can start with the trailer, called «Delivery Wars», or the first episode, «The Cost of Convenience»).

From Weekly Filet #356, in July 2021.

Mission: ImPASTAble

One man’s quest to invent the perfect pasta shape. What makes a pasta shape perfect, you ask? It scores high on all relevant criteria, 1. sauceability, 2. forkability and 3. toothsinkability. Spans over five episodes, 30 minutes each, scores high on bingeability. Start listening now.

From Weekly Filet #341, in April 2021.

Land of the Giants: The Google Empire

After going deep on Amazon and Netflix, season 3 of the Land of the Giants podcast is all about Google. Learn how Google became an arbiter of human knowledge and arguably the most powerful tech giant of all, from its academic beginnings to the latest controversies

From Weekly Filet #340, in March 2021.

The Apology Line

Among all first world problems, this surely ranks among the worst: You discover a great new show, binge on it…only to realise that the last episode isn’t available yet. Happened to me with the podcast The Apology Line this week — couldn’t wait for the finale. Lucky you: All episodes are now available. Is it worth it? I’ll say this: I listen to a lot of podcasts, and never since the first season of Serial has one gripped me as much as this one. Listen to the trailer and prepare to get hooked.

From Weekly Filet #335, in February 2021.

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