The best new podcasts for the week of August 17, 2019

The best new podcasts for the week of August 17, 2019: Eater's Digest and more

The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Washing dishes, going for a run, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s simply impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.

Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your toe into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about the Mueller report, bloody nobles, libraries, and Margaret Cho.

Tech podcast

Land of the Giants 

Land of the Giants Podcast

Why should I listen? With 100 million Prime subscribers, Amazon has a lot of sway over people — especially as they increasingly move into homes with everything from speakers to microwaves.        

How many episodes are there and how long are they? It’s a seven-episode series, between around 34 and 41 minutes.

Describe it in one word: Looming.

The title of my interview with Joshua McNichols, one of the hosts of Prime(d), was “the podcast Amazon probably doesn’t want you to listen to.” The retailer probably isn’t thrilled about Land of the Giants, either.

In the first season of this new podcast, Jason Del Rey examines Amazon from a number of angles, including why it’s so hard — psychologically — to quit Prime, the company’s subscription service. Del Rey speaks with people who worked on the project, as well as futurists and other experts to get a sense of where Amazon might be going in the future. For example, what if Alexa starts listening for not just what you say but how you say it; if your smart speaker thinks you have a cold, will you start getting ads for tissues and meds? Future seasons will cover other huge tech companies, like Google and Facebook.

Science podcast

Medical Mysteries

Medical Mysteries Podcast

Why should I listen? As far as medicine has come, doctors still don’t always have all the answers.         

How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first two episodes are about an hour each.

Describe it in one word: Diagnostic.

The story of Joseph Merrick is famous, even if you don’t know his name. It’s also famously tragic, as shown in the film The Elephant Man, based upon his life. “That movie took something from me,” Kumail Nanjiani once said. “Like, I think I lost the ability to smell rain during that movie.”

The first two episodes of the new podcast Medical Mysteries discuss Merrick’s life and many maladies. While the film was largely based on the memoirs of Frederick Treves, Merrick’s doctor, the podcast brings a more modern perspective based on the medical advancements that have been made over the decades. Hosts Molly Brandenburg and Richard Rossner offer some speculation over Merrick’s death, before walking through a few possible diagnoses for his condition. Upcoming episodes will cover a girl with a water allergy and a man who doesn’t age.

Food podcast

Eater’s Digest

Eater's Digest Podcast

Why should I listen? Food makes the world go ‘round.           

How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first couple are 36 and 44 minutes.

Describe it in one word: Chewy.

Once it snowed in Portland, Oregon, so I put on my snow boots and trudged through the ¼-inch dusting to Pok Pok. The restaurant was busy but not full (snow is pretty unusual in Portland), and thus it was the only time I’ve been there without having to wait in a ridiculously long line.

In the first episode of Eater’s Digest, Amanda Kludt and Daniel Geneen trade tips and tricks for getting into similarly popular restaurants. The pair test out Kludt’s theory that hot spots in New York City’s rich neighborhoods will have shorter waits in the sweltering heat of August when the wealthy take off for the Hamptons. At the end of each episode, they talk about the biggest food news of the week, like how Grubhub was billing restaurants when customers would place an order after finding the phone number through Yelp.

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