Newsletter #6 – Tune in for English

Last time Dima and Viacheslav discussed their favorite resources that help keep their English language gears oiled. We figured you would want more details and asked them to recommend specific podcasts, episodes, TED talks and speakers. Now on to the Biweekly hosts.

Dima about podcasts

Podcasts are very different and question “which podcast should I listen?” is very similar to “which film should I watch?”. The answer to both is “it depends on what you like.” Apart from my universal recommendation of TED radio hour, I’ll highlight three podcasts different in style and topics covered, which can help you get started. Let’s go!

  • My current favorite for those interested in a bigger picture of technology’s impact of the world – Exponent. Ben Thompson of Stratechery and James Allworth discuss major events in IT business and analyze their causes and implications for the future.

  • If you are a geek and are interested in a “talk show” type of thing, the Accidental Tech Podcast can be a great companion for your commutes. It is long – around 2 hours – but it is worth it. Especially, if you like to hear smart people like you and me talk about recent developments in hi-tech (with a certain bias towards Apple-related things, however).

  • Causality – podcast about engineering. Once a month John Chidgey sits down to analyze causes and draw valuable lessons from technological disasters, like train crash in Amigasaki and the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion.

Viacheslav about TED

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. And that is 100% true – watching TED videos you’ll learn lots (I means, LOTS) if new things and entertain yourself with unusual ideas and unusual, sometimes even weird, performances.

  • In TED crown of resources there is a little know hidden jewel – TED-Ed. TED-Ed has short and fun video lectures for nearly every subject you can imagine. One of the least known functions of TED is a page filled with small educational video lessons on every subject you can possibly imagine. For example, check out this piece about the ethical dilemma self-driving cars and their developers will have to face.

  • Do not underestimate power of search and free exploration on TED. If you got spare 10 minutes – enter just a couple of letters into TED’s search box. You’ll certainly find an interesting TED or TEDx talk on quite rare or unconventional subjects.

  • TED also has a great blog. It is a great addition to the talks and will give even more ideas worth spreading. Not surprisingly one of the trending posts there is about… podcasts. TED staff picked their favorite podcasts so you can completely forego Dima’s suggestions and listen to what real smart people advice.

Idiom of the week

On the podcast 99% Invisible (one of the recommended by TED staff) in episode #221 Roman Mars tells mistereous and fascinating story of “Legionnaires’ desease”.

In the public health community, the story of Legionnaires’ has turned into a poster-child for the power of epidemiology.

Check out how this sounded in the podcast itself.

Poster-child is (as suggested by Merriam-Webster a child who has a particular disease and is shown in posters to raise money to help fight that disease, or a person having a public image that is identified with something. Even Wikipedia has an article about poster-child.

Next on Biweekly

Next time Dima and Viacheslav are going to talk about building vocabulary.


Stay tuned!