The Sleepwalkers Podcast Forces Your Eyes Wide Open

I’m about halfway through the Sleepwalkers podcast and loving it, though it’s quite terrifying. It’s is about the effect of AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology on all aspects of human life – from dating to health, creativity, deflecting potential terrorists, and more.

Hosted by Emmy and Peabody Award winner Oz Woloshyn and co-hosted by Karah Preiss, former host of The Huffington Post science show “Talk Nerdy To Me”, the podcast reveals the fundamental implications of AI and how we can leverage it without letting it take over completely.

Woloshyn interviews top tech executives, politicians and authors to unpack the advantages, challenges and surprises associated with today’s AI revolution.

Listen to the Sleepwalkers trailer and download all the episodes wherever you get your podcasts.

A Backlog of Books, Podcasts, TV, Movies, and Food

Well, the year is half over and I’ve set myself a new financial year resolution (though not related to finance) to keep on top of Very Good Things. Here are a few highlights since my last, long ago post in March:

BOOKS
Conversations with Friends
by Sally Rooney – her second book, Normal People, swept me away so I had to read her first book. I didn’t want it to end.
Becoming by Michelle Obama – this was a book club pick and wasn’t on my personal list to read but I loved it and became quite teary by the end to think who has taken their place in the White House.
Can’t wait to read Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, available in July in Australia.

PODCASTS
Clementine Ford on Wilosophy – she’s warm, open and intelligent and he really struggles with this interview but credit to him, he openly admits it.
Fresh Air with Terry Gross – the queen of interviews talks with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (13 May) and Christina Applegate (5 June).

TV
Chernobyl
– HBO’s five-part series is chilling.
The Letdown season 2 – the Barossa episode is hilarious.
Fleabag season 2 – just when I thought nothing could top the first season, along comes a second and it’s perfect. Waller-Bridge is also a writer on the brilliant Killing Eve.
Easy season 3 – I particularly loved the episodes about the couple who are navigating an open marriage.
I’m currently watching the second season of Big Little Lies and could possibly be enjoying it more than the first.

MOVIES
Free Solo – a documentary that will have you picking your jaw up off the floor.
Always Be My Maybe – after Chernobyl, light comedy was in order and this was funny, sweet and easy viewing. Worth watching just for Keanu.

FOOD
Everything on Fad Free Kitchen – a shameless plug for a site I do with my dietitian friend that’s all about quick and healthy food using versatile, everyday ingredients, but honestly, I rarely cook from anywhere else.
Kindred restaurant in Darlington – order the cabbage with pine nuts, currant, pecorino and buttermilk dressing to go with your pick of their excellent pastas.

Invisibilia Podcast Is Back With A Fifth Season And It’s Better Than Ever

One of my favourite podcasts, Invisibilia, is back with a fifth season and it’s so freaking good. Invisibilia – Latin for invisible things – fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently. It’s all about the unseeable forces that control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions.

Here’s how they describe the new season:

“This moment in our culture can feel fraught. From ‘fake news’ to the opioid crisis, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the future. So this season, Invisibilia helps you cure your pain, discern truth from fiction, friend from foe, and find your true love with conviction. It’s your very own Emotional Survival Guide, featuring stories about brave people fighting at the extremes: a weatherman battling a deadly tornado, teenagers dying of Facebook posts, a woman conducting a bizarre dating experiment and a man who cuts off his finger and feels…. nothing. We can’t make life easier, but we can help it make more sense!”

Listen to the trailer.

Listen to NPR’s Invisiblia podcast now and I highly recommend you go back and listen to them all.

The Dropout Podcast – The Downfall of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos

Fraudster tales have made for excellent entertainment recently. We watched aghast as Billy McFarland brazenly duped cashed up millennials in Fyre and when terrifying Dirty’ John Meehan swindled wealthy Debra Newell out of a good chunk of her funds.

The Dropout podcast tells another jaw-dropping story of greed and deception. It chronicles the downfall of Elizabeth Holmes and her company, Theranos. Dubbed “the next Steve Jobs”, Holmes set out to revolutionise the healthcare industry and in doing so, became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. But it all well very downhill as she gradually got outed as a fraud.

The extraordinary part of this story is who she took along for the ride. Some wealthy,  powerful and seemingly very smart people got behind Theranos. This account of how Elizabeth Holmes fooled them all takes the old adage of ‘fake it ’til you make it’ to a whole new level.

Episodes are released weekly.

Listen to The Dropout.

Post-Holiday Wrap-Up of Books, TV, Movies, Podcasts and Other Very Good Things

It’s February so there’s no denying the holidays are well and truly over. If you need a little distraction in your day, here are the best books, TV, movies, podcasts and other stuff I got stuck into over summer:

BOOKS
Normal People by Sally Rooney has been dubbed ‘a future classic’
Tin Man by Sarah Winman is about love, loss and loneliness
The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff is confronting, timely and beautifully written
Yuval Noah Harari has a knack for making sense of complex issues in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is not new but swept me away. Now an HBO show

TV
The Cry on ABC iView has tension to the max
Sex Education on Netflix will have you in stitches
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime is sweet and easy watching
Abducted in Plain Sight on Netflix is wild an almost unbelievable

MOVIES
The Wife on iTunes really should get Glenn Close her first Oscar
Private Life on Netflix is a raw and honest look at infertility struggles
First Man is the best kind of blockbuster
What We Did on Our Holiday on Netflix is seriously funny and the kids steal the show

PODCASTS
Believed covers how Larry Nassar got away with so much for so long. Beyond shocking.
The Daily is a news podcast powered by New York Times journalism. Stand out episodes are 16, 19 November and 4, 5, 10, 11 December

OTHER STUFF
I can’t shut up about how spectacular Lord Howe Island is
Peanut Butter Oat bars are simple, healthy and make the best snack
I loved reading this recent travel article on my hometown of Newcastle – get there now

Get Your Morning Dose of News with The Squiz Podcast

Want to stay in informed with what’s going on in the world but would prefer to avoid mindlessly scrolling and getting sidetracked on news sites? Get your weekday news hit with the Squiz Today podcast.

I’ve been a subscriber of The Squiz weekday email for a while but have recently switched to their podcast in an attempt to spend less time online (for some reason, ignoring people/family when you’re listening to something seems less offensive than being glued to a screen).

It’s a fact-filled run-down of what’s making news in Australia and around the world, with a teensy bit of analysis and an eye on what’s coming next. Each episode is around the seven-minute mark so can easily slip into your morning routine.

Get the Squiz Today podcast.

Silent Waves Podcast

I recently stumbled across the new Silent Waves podcast and after listening to the first one, devoured the following five episodes in a matter of days.

I am in awe of Raquel O’Brien for having not only the bravery to pull this podcast together, but for managing to get the rest of her family to speak up as well. It’s an important story and one that hopefully inspires others to speak out too.

Trigger warning: Sexual assault.

“Silent Waves tells one true story led by 25-year-old Raquel O’Brien, as she attempts to liberate herself from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and a father with a dark secret.

To do so, she has raw, brutally honest and open conversations with her family about the cataclysmic circumstances of their story for the first time… and all on tape.

What emerges is a larger story as her previously fractured family, emboldened by being interviewed, find the freedom to confront their conflicting versions of the events and reconcile with it and each other.”

Listen to Silent Waves now.

The Teacher’s Pet – A True Crime Podcast

The Teacher’s Pet is a true crime podcast from The Australian about the cold case of Lynete Dawson, who disappeared 36 years ago.

Journalist, Hedley Thomas, digs deep into the unsolved murder and shines a spotlight on Lyn’s husband, Chris. All evidence suggests he murdered her and while two coroners found this to be true, he has not been charged and denies killing his wife.

It’s a sordid and intriguing story with a creepy twin brother, inappropriate/illegal relationships with the Dawson’s teenage babysitter and other school girls, and so many people just turning a blind eye to what Lynete was going through before she disappeared.

I gave true crime podcasts a rest for a while because they tend to get a bit much but thanks to my friend EJ for getting me hooked on this one.

Listen to The Teacher’s Pet.

Very Good Things for a Rainy Long Weekend

How is it almost the middle of the year already? Here are my recent top picks for TV, books, podcasts and food. Very Good Things to get you through a rainy long weekend.

Watch
Killing Eve – when Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the writers, you have to watch it. View trailer, watch on ABC iView.
The Defiant Ones – history is made when two unexpected music moguls come together. A four-part documentary series about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Watch it on Netflix.
Sour Grapes – a fascinating documentary about fine wine fraud on a grand scale. Watch it on Netflix.
Atlanta season 2 – that ‘Teddy Perkins’ episode. Whoa. Watch it on SBS On Demand.

Read
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie – an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide.
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell – an astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined O’Farrell’s life.
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn – a page-turning thriller, the movie is already in development. Great holiday read.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – traces the intertwined fates of a picture-perfect family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

Listen (I’ve been in a bit of a podcast slump recently but my friend just gave me a bunch to get over it so stay tuned):
Revisionist History Season 3 – Burden of Proof (episode 2).
This American Life – #339 act one (Break-up) and Five Women.

Eat Out
Two restaurants I’ve revisited recently after years and they are still excellent, particularly if you’re after a cosy winter vibe – Alpha (Greek) in Sydney CBD with a stunning bar upstairs and Sagra (Italian) in Darlinghurst for perfect pasta.

Eat In
Curried Fish Pie from River Cottage.
Jill Dupleix’s Salmon in a Light Fragrant Broth. I like to up the spinach and chilli for a green hot hit.

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