Tag Archives: Podcast

Sheldon Cooper Presents “Fun With Flags”: A YouTube Series of Podcasts

The other day I happened to be eating lunch and staring off out the window. While that may not seem important, it is. Most of the time, I like to be reading or doing something, while I’m eating. I completely understand that it’s probably better to not do this, but I often can’t help myself. Anyway, as I was sitting and just eating, an idea came to me. (Don’t you find that ideas come to you when you’re not thinking about them?) The idea, as the title of this post suggests, a web series from one of The Big Bang Theory’s main cast members: Sheldon Cooper.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the show (it’s quite funny), but a few times throughout the six seasons, Dr. Sheldon Cooper has led us on a journey through the wonderful world of vexillology: “scientific study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags or, by extension, any interest in flags in general.” Sheldon’s generally a pretty funny guy (not on purpose, that is, on purpose by the writers, but not by the character himself), so when he does these short podcasts on flags, it certainly provides a laugh or two. To date, there have been 5 instances of “Fun With Flags.”

In the first podcast, Sheldon and his, at the time, “girl who’s a friend, but is not my girlfriend,” Amy Farrah Fowler, introduce us to vexillology and tell us a bit about Oregon’s state flag.

Every time I watch this one, when Sheldon asks Amy about the white flag, I can’t help but laugh… “I’m submitting… to fun.”

In the second podcast, we learn about Bavaria.

In the third podcast, we learn a little bit about flags in Star Trek with Wil Wheaton.

In the fourth podcast, LeVar Burton replaces Wil Wheaton in attempting to teach us about flags in Star Trek.

In the fifth podcast, Penny (Sheldon’s across-the-hall neighbour),  helps teach us about Nebraska’s state flag.

The idea is that these podcasts could actually become an online series that supplements the show. They wouldn’t necessarily have to be every week or even every other week. The idea is that Dr. Sheldon Cooper could teach us about flags. This could be a big boon for CBS and The Big Bang Theory as I can’t imagine it not being a hit with fans of the show. Plus, there’s the whole social media aspect to it. That is, these clips would undoubtedly be shared vehemently across many networks.

Maybe I’m way off, but my guess is that this could really be a creative way for the show to engage viewers on a medium other than the TV. There could even be “special guests” (i.e. other cast members or noted vexillologists [are there any?]).

If you’re an executive at CBS and you’re reading this, I’d encourage you to get the marketing team on this and see if they think that there are enough people to warrant this kind of endeavour. I understand that there’d still be some cost to it (paying Jim Parsons, the film crew, the editing team, etc.), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’d be profitable.

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For those of you who think that I may be a bit biased because I like these online learning formats (John Green, Hank Green, ASAPScience, Michael Sandel, etc.), I’d encourage you to take a look at some of the number of followers of these accounts. The Crash Course has almost 1,000,000 subscribers. AsapSCIENCE has almost 1.5 million subscribers. MinutePhysics has almost 2 million subscribers. Consistently, the videos that these users upload obtain views in the hundreds of thousands.

One final note — Mental Floss. They’ve, in a sense, tested the market as they already have a “Fun With Flags” kind of series. They’re up to episode 17. Here’s a link to the first.

 

What’s On My iPod: Lectures/Podcasts From A Road Trip, Ottawa to DC, Part 4

: Songs, LA to DC
: Lectures, LA to DC
: Podcasts, LA to DC

In the first three parts of this series, I wrote about what was on my iPod for the trip from LA to DC (by car). More recently, I drove from Ottawa to DC, which allowed me to listen to a number of new podcasts and lectures. In this post, I’ll go over the lectures/podcasts and some of the knowledge I gleaned from them.

I had two podcasts. One of them was from the :

Chicago Booth Podcast: Should Executive Pay Be Regulated? (12/02/2009) – I thought I would start with one of the most interesting tracks I listened to on the trip. Given that I’m about to start an MBA, I thought it would be prudent of me to learn about this topic (executive pay). I will say, I was quite surprised to hear the statistics that the speaker, , offered on the topic. While he raised the point about athletes who make (equal or more) money than the CEOs, the surprising fact was that executive pay (now) is actually down in relation to executive pay from the ’80s. And maybe more poignant, executives make less money than athletes and entertainers.

The second podcast was from :

Nassim Taleb on Living with Black Swans (04/13/2011)  has written a number of articles and books, and is affiliated with some very prestigious institutions. He has so many important things to say, but I think the thing that I found the most transferable was the problem with specialization. He didn’t actually put it this way, but this is how I’m interpreting it. In particular, he talks about how important it is to — in an effort to account for randomness and variability — diversify. If you’re investing, don’t invest in just one company. Don’t invest in just one industry. Don’t invest in just one kind of investment. Or… we could relate it to business, specifically, I’m reminded of the book , by Kevin Maney. In Maney’s book, among other things, he talks about those times within an industry where companies are “blind-sided” by some sort of innovation (example: think about cameras 20 years ago and now how cell phones have revolutionized the way we take pictures). Taleb would argue the importance of guarding against a , which from our example, would be cell phones with cameras.

The remaining 6 tracks were all lectures I downloaded through . If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it! The first lecture I listened to came courtesy of the  called:

What’s the Point of Economics? – The text from the website: “Evan Davis, BBC Today presenter, outlines five things everyone should know about economics, Mike Kitson looks at the relevance of economics to everyday life and Professor Willy Brown describes the growing impact of the minimum wage over its first ten years.”

There were two lectures I listened to that came from a class at  on Game Theory. I didn’t have the time to listen to every lecture from the course, so I picked two of the higher rated lectures:

02 – Putting Yourselves Into Other People’s Shoes and 03 – Iterative Deletion and the Median-Voter Theorem – I found these lectures highly informative. The first (or should I say second?) lecture gave a really good example of how important it is to put yourself into other people’s shoes. This example is related to how another person would approach a game (the same one that you’re playing) and exemplifies the importance of knowing your “opponent.” Like in one of the podcast, this lesson is very transferable to other parts of life. In the second (or third) lecture,  does a great job of explaining the median-voter theorem, and more importantly, uses the example of political positions to make the theorem more accessible to the students.

The last three lectures I listened to all came from :

Hire the Right People, Carlos Brito – This was an interesting talk, especially because it came from someone I usually wouldn’t necessarily voluntarily hear from. is the CEO of Anheuser-Busch and he has some intriguing ideas that he has put into practice in many of his offices. He thinks that separate offices foster LESS work. In fact, he talks about how, in his experience, having no walls has actually made work easier and motivated people to do more work. It’s his opinion that offices are for people who want to hide and do no work. With the open concept office, he explains how meetings are much “shorter;” 2- or 5-minute meetings can happen much quicker without having to “schedule” everything.

Dave Blakely on Fostering Innovation – From the description of this lecture’s : “In this talk, Dave Blakely presents a set of principles for successful innovation, regardless of an organization’s size, type or location. The heart of any innovation agenda is a carefully chosen interdisciplinary team, typically including members with backgrounds in technology, business, and other relevant industry-specific knowledge. Creative leaps can be inspired by empathetic human research, and insights are distilled in synthesis sessions. Techniques such as brainstorming can help teams to direct their creativity, and prototypes can be used to improve visualization and mitigate risk.”

Changing Behavior and Changing Policies –  runs the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University. To get a better idea of Fogg’s perspective on behavior, I would say (listen to this talk, as it’s only 20 minutes or so), or check out his site: .

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I don’t have any “planned” long trips on the horizon, but I am considering integrating podcasts and iTunes U lectures to daily life. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments, via email, or even on .