In no particular order, here are 19 things I learned from podcasts over the past year.
1) It’s been much ridiculed, but the idea of “duck and cover” is actually sound advice for a nuclear explosion.The assumption towards the end of the cold war was that it would be silly to prepare at all for a widespread nuclear war because of how completely devastating it would be. The modern fear isn’t from Russia though, but from countries like North Korea where the attack would be small scale enough that learning how to survive makes sense.
2) The future of democracy is uncertain in many countries that don’t have strong institutions, including Brazil. The pendulum between authoritarianism and democracy has been swinging towards democracy in Brazil over the past three decades, but the recently elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, has made the future uncertain. The main worry is that Brazil’s democratic institutions are too new and don’t have the necessary strong foundation to ward off moves towards authoritarianism.
3) Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos perfected the Jobs-esque reality-distortion field to an unbelievable degree. Even if you know the basic story of Theranos, you might be as surprised as I was at how brazen they were with their fake-it-till-you-make-it mentality and for how long people bought into it. Employees were quitting in protest a full nine years before the unraveling began, but investors loved the story of the company and its founder too much to…