Podcast recommendation: The New York Times' 10-part dive into ISIS, 'Caliphate'

Podcast recommendation: The New York Times' 10-part dive into ISIS, 'Caliphate'

The New York Times has just concluded its 10-part narrative podcast, Caliphate (Apple Podcasts / Overcast), which follows reporter Rukmini Callimachi as she investigates and reports on the Islamic State. Callimachi is the primary reporter here, and along with reporter and producer Andy Mills, they tell a story that begins by trying to answer the question of, "Who are we really fighting?"

While the series begins with that mission statement, it's easy to think while listening that Callimachi and Mills veer off-script at some point. The first part of the series is driven by an ISIS source that the pair travel to Canada to interview; this conversation then gives way to a trip to Iraq, during which they cover the defeat of ISIS in Mosul. They find a briefcase with documents that reveal how self-sufficient ISIS has become, and learn about the insanely real extent to which ISIS is capable of actually governing people. They interview an ISIS official who was captured in the prison where he's held, and interview a girl who is returned to her family after years spent in captivity of ISIS.

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Two short, binge-worthy podcasts

Two short, binge-worthy podcasts

Two weeks ago I started listening to podcasts somewhere between 1.1x speed and 1.4x speed. Depending on the host, the music, and the style of the show, listening on enhanced playback makes surprisingly little difference compared to "normal"-paced playback. It takes you a while to get used to some mostly infrequent, semi-chipmunk voices -- then you're used to it.

One thing that isn't the same? The amount of time it takes to get through your podcast queue, obviously. Playing a 60-minute episode at only 1.1x speed saves you more than five minutes and will almost certainly not bother you while listening. If you're listening to something with slow talkers, and you're playing closer to 1.4x speed, you can fit two 30-minute episodes into your 45-minute, door-to-door commute. Playing John and Merlin at 1.3x speed on Reconcilable Differences saves you 30 minutes in a two-hour episode. This leaves a lot more room for activities. I recommend Overcast, per usual, as a podcast player.

Since I more or less cleared through my queue for the first time in a while, I finally got around to downloading the two branded podcasts that Gimlet Creative has put together. One is called Open For Business, which is for eBay, and the other is called DTR, branded by Tinder. I haven't paid any attention to these shows despite the fact that I listen to almost every Gimlet podcast without fail -- despite my own knowledge that I greatly enjoy Gimlet's style and trust their output.

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Podcast rec: Celebration Rock with Steven Hyden

Podcast rec: Celebration Rock with Steven Hyden

I subscribed to Steven Hyden's new podcast, Celebration Rock, when he had Modern Baseball on the show a while back to talk about their new album and life at large. At the time, I'd just watched the documentary that Modern Baseball had released, and Hyden's interview with the band was an interesting follow-up that shed some more light on some of the topics that short documentary touched on. 

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The Incomparable's 'Star Wars' Saga

The Incomparable's 'Star Wars' Saga

Over the past several weeks, I've managed to sneak in listens to old episodes of The Incomparable amongst my regular podcast listening. There's been a reason for my foray into significantly old episodes (two of these date back more than four years) -- Snell & Co. have done a two-part episode for every single Star Wars film to date. They've been a wonderful listen as I continue to await my first showing of The Force Awakens

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Starting a dang podcast: Sorry!

Starting a dang podcast: Sorry!

My idea is this. You subscribe to the one Sorry, Internet. podcast feed -- and within that feed, I publish several different "series." Each series is denoted by a catalog prefix and number, so when a new episode is pushed, you know what it is just by looking at the name.

SRY-000: An Introduction To The Podcast
CFB-000: Origin Stories & Apocalypse Iowa

Follow me here. SRY-000 and CFB-000 are the catalog numbers for these two episodes. The SRY series is going to be me or me and guest, very short and sweet episodes, talking or ranting about something random. The CFB series is me and my friends Andy and Pat, talking about college football. The first episode of that one might interest people who aren't even fans of college football -- it comes from a more emotional / personal standpoints for the most part.

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