How Osama bin Laden turned from the son of a billionaire to the number one enemy

How Osama bin Laden turned from the son of a billionaire to the number one enemy

hWelcome! Alexei is absent this week, so I will once again fill in the roommate’s recommendations for the week.

This week saw the release of If Books Can Kill, a new show of Michael Hobbs, formerly You Wrong About, and 5-4 Peter Shamshiri. The show delves into “the best-selling airports that have captured our hearts and ravaged our minds.” The first episode is about Freakonomics, and whether the data in the 2005 book definitely supports the trends — about crime, race, and more — that claim it.

It’s not Hobbes’ first foray into the “debunking culture” sub-genre. In addition to you are wrong, it also hosts the maintenance phase, on health related misinformation. It’s, personally, one of my favorite types of audio series; British “tech pessimist” podcast Trashfuture is your go-to for start-up-themed tales of misunderstanding and weirdness.

What do I like about this podcast so much? In addition to attracting sarcasm (hello!), I think it’s a fact that incubators of “debunking culture” often take place in real life where a lot of podcast comedy takes place, blending analysis with chat and politics with real life. However, falling hard down a rabbit hole of any kind – even if you’re far from the conspiracy theorist – is always a risk, so I’m glad if Books Can Kill would have gone into a weekly release schedule rather than rolling out the series all at once. Books, happily, can’t kill—and neither can podcasts—but they certainly can cloud your mind if you unpack them.

Read on for a variety of picks this week—including a new series on bin Laden’s rise to shame—and five of the best podcasts to get you green and connected to nature.

Hannah J Davis
Deputy newsletter editor

Picks of the week

William Shakespeare, Theme Where There Is Will. Photo: Classic Image / Alami

The Real Spies: The Bin Laden Files
Weekly episodes are widely available
Sophia DiMartino tells the compelling story of Osama bin Laden with real insight into the notorious character’s life and motives. Peter Bergen is among the experts valuing a glimpse into bin Laden’s human side, describing how the reticent and dangerous teenager grew up to be a confident leader. The first episode traces his first declaration of war on the United States, which the world has largely ignored. Hannah Verder

Uncharted brain: decoding dementia
Widely available, all episodes
Available from wednesday
Although there are a lot of people with dementia, the exact cause and how it works in the brain remain woefully undiscovered. Paul Kevini and Gemma Weir of The Conversation dissect the latest research, listen to affected families, and find a glimmer of hope in this vital investigation of this cruel disease. HV

Where There Is a Will: Finding Shakespeare
Weekly episodes are widely available

The idea that Shakespeare might be American is enough to make Brits spit out their passion, but Barry Edelstein and M. Weinstein touch on the idea here. With much love for the poet, they meet obsessed teens, find his prison plays and see how his attitude toward sex can help people today. HV

Weekly episodes are widely available

The stripping of live TV certainly gave Jordan Gray a shot of hype, but the beloved comedian who pisses off Ofcom deserves every bit of it. In this charisma-filled podcast, you answer questions big and small about nuclear war, soup and happiness with guests like Nish Kumar and Sophie Docker. HV

Morning light operation
Episodes widely available every week starting Monday

When the nuclear-powered Soviet satellite Cosmos 954 fell to Earth in 1978, it scattered radioactive debris across the Denny, Metis and Inuit in Canada. Was it an accident or designed to create a danger? CBC’s Dëneze Nakehk’o, who grew up in the Northwest Territories, is in an ideal position to describe the long-term effects on the region. HV

There is a podcast for that

Jupiter Artland Sculpture Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Forum curator, Gemma Kearney, appears on the nature podcast A Life More Wild.
Jupiter Artland Sculpture Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland. Forum curator, Gemma Kearney, appears on the nature podcast A Life More Wild. Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

This week, Hana Verder picks five of the best Podcast for nature loversFrom showing you everything you need to know about bees to exploring who really has access to green spaces.

Tree blossoms and burning cars
Talia Randall grew up on a city council estate on “the road with the most burning cars in London”, where green spaces were hard to find. In this podcast, you look at gardeners who reject the relaxed, rustic mores of the most radical places. How do class, race, and status relate to our access to nature? And can deep mulch really improve mental health? Randall’s easy-going style makes the idea of ​​enjoying green spaces—often run by old white men—affordable, though her guests detail some of the racial abuse they’ve been subjected to.

watery land
The sound of tar rumbling sounded like someone had just set up a drum machine in the background. It’s just one of the many bird sounds from this podcast from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Britain that celebrates nature close to home. Indeed, it is time for wetlands to receive the respect they deserve; Although it covers only 6% of the planet, nearly half of the world’s wildlife depends on it, and if used properly it can help the climate as well as people’s well-being. Of course there’s wild swimming too, as Savannah Miller has dabbled in the trend.

More wild life
If you’re miles away from the tranquility of forests or crystal caves, let the celebs do the work for you. A tweet and a breath of fresh air are never far away in this atmospheric podcast, and they are at their best when guests are really immersed in the topic. Gemma Cairney is one of the finest and most illustrious of the characters, speaking of her role as a “resident thinker” in Scotland’s Jupiter Artland Park. When she’s not confined to her kidneys, she’s healing herself in the fresh air—and her joy is hard to resist.

Going wild with Dr. Ray Wayne Grant
Wildlife ecologist Dr. Ray Wayne Grant is the kind of woman who would go to Panama to track a jaguar with a young child, smashing every barrier known to the black female who is often told she “doesn’t look like a scientist.” method. You go hunting for big hitters in nature, hang out with the Maasai, look at lemurs in Madagascar, and get close to hyenas in Kenya. What really sets Wynn-Grant apart is what happens when human life meets nature, as she and her team study animals in their natural habitat.

Queen Bee with Jane Horrocks and Esther Coles
Is there anything more comfortable and healthy than listening to a famous person learn how to keep bees? What started as an insurance chat, has moved on to a more hands-on exploration of assignments and beehives, complete with striped bees, bonnie bees, and brave bees. Horrocks, Coles, and their guests celebrate the little moments nature can bring, from the miracle of honey to the joy of singing to a dog. Listening to this podcast is like making nature a cup of tea and reminding you how easy it is to live together.

Why don’t you try…

  • More spooky paranormal activities at The Witch Farm, from Battersea Poltergeist creator Danny Robbins.

  • From handshakes to procrastination, anthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi explores our ingrained habits and ways of being in Why We Do It?

  • Santigold does a pop podcast, featuring people he’s met including Idris Elba and Questlove in Noble Champions.

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