Changing Batteries to Change the World

On an upcoming episode of Before You Leap, I’ll be talking with Steve LeVine, author of The Powerhouse, about the race to create improved battery technologies, especially for electric cars. Batteries may be the most boring-sounding subject for a podcast, but with the advent of solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies that rely on unreliable weather patterns, power storage becomes critical, and the U.S. and other governments are investing billions in hopes of capturing the battery revolution that will change the post-fossil fuel world. I’ll also talk with Stanford professor and Solutions Project co-founder Mark Jacobson, who has published plans for how the U.S. can be powered by 100% renewable wind, water and solar energy, to get his take on the energy storage issues. Keep posted here or on the CEH website for when we post the episode later in January.

Now, podcast summaries.

On Radio Lab, an earlier episode on “Guts” explored the microbiome and the history of stomach science, with science author Mary Roach. You can hear a longer talk with Mary on her book Gulp! on the CEH podcast Before You Leap.

On Judge John Hodgman, Blair wants her husband John barred from wearing tank tops, but John says he’s a sweaty guy and a tank works best on a summer weekend. I’m surprised the Judge did not use an obscure cultural reference from Brando in Streetcar (he does later get in a James Caan as Sonny in The Godfather reference), but his was much more obscure. John bought a tank top with Blair while on their honeymoon – did he wait to lock it down before he showed her this side of himself? John just wants some reasonable tank top goals — he doesn’t want to be a tank top guy. Bay Area folks can check out the show live (along with Jordan Jesse Go with Hodgman as guest) at SF Sketchfest (and submit your dispute now to be heard live by the Judge!).

On Roderick on the Line, you gotta stop and pay the man. John has received 25 boxes from listeners, but you’ll have to listen to his other show to find out what he got. John’s sad RV saga (including smoke pouring out the back while in the mountains, the top diamond-level AAA towing service that will rescue a downed airplane (but their service still sucks), an attempted rescue by a good Samaritan, Travis the amazing deer-hunting tow truck driver, a garage mechanic named Nacho, John plays the xmas card, and how music may still save the RV, honestly) explains why there was no episode last week.

On Stop Podcasting Yourself, guest Ryan Williams is a sportsman and a brunchman! He’s from Kamloops, the Tournament Capital of Canada (unless you’re from Brampton, the other Tournament Capital). You remember slamball? It’s fun until someone gets stuck in the hoop. Baby Margot took her first steps! Dave’s real topic: tacos. Fish taco – have you not heard our slangs? The sitcom versions of It’s a Wonderful Life – have you seen the Breaking Bad version? On “Overheards,”old guys on the bus who want you to know that they’re really motorcycle guys, plus lots more. And google Ryan Williams if you like gay porn models.

The David Steinberg Podcast has a quick preview of David’s interviews with upcoming guests Mel Brooks, Martin Short, and Eugene Levy. It will be the funniest 4-minute podcast you’ll hear this week.

On WTF. Bill Burr is back to talk about his new Netflix cartoon (aka  “animated series”) F is for Family, with an amazing cast including Laura Dern, Sam Rockwell, Justin Long and many other great actors. How Bill almost didn’t pitch the show. Bill gets notes from Netflix executives – the greatest notes ever!  Abd Bill was right about banks, even if he doesn’t understand his own mortgage. Plus, Marc reviews a big year for WTF, including conversations with Terri Gross, Sir Ian McKellen, President Obama (!), and of course Lorne Michaels – and picks his surprising most memorable interview of the year!

On The Moth, Lynnee Breedlove has a moving personal and political story on the movement for transsexual rights, and Jama Jack tells about being raised by her Christian family as the daughter of a Muslim father.

It’s Doug Loves Movies – or is it Charlie Rose, or Julian Loves Music? With guests Bobby Lee, Julian McCullough and Megan Neuringer. Trigger warning: jokes about rape, wife beating, and edibles. Doug Loves Musicals, Whose Tagline Is It, and the movies of Michael Keaton.

On Studio360, if you missed it when it first ran in 2013, this week catch the “American Icon” episode on Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over a Cuckooo’s Nest, which tells the story of the origin of the novel, Kesey’s fight with the filmmakers over the movie version, and Sherman  Alexei on the myth of the silent Indian. A must for any Kesey fan.

On Snap Judgment, a forest story from Glynn. This forest had a heart – but this forest was not her friend. Then, a search for a little girl lost in the desert, led by a woman who survived an abusive marriage but lost her own kids to her spouse. Her tracking skills kept her alive and gave her hope that she would see her kids again. And Don and Micki Pettit on being an astronaut, and an astronaut’s spouse. Do you talk about this being the world’s most dangerous job? Don lost some good friends in the Columba shuttle disaster, then when Don’s in re-entry, Micki wonders if this might be another damn landing that doesn’t work.

On Hidden Brain, doctors tell a promising violin student she can no longer play – hear how her Mom’s Julliard strategy propels her into a position as a White House adviser on social policy.

On Only a Game, basketball player Jeremy Lin on the high suicide rate near his home town of Palo Alto, CA. Also, two other sports podcasts worth catching this week: Dave Zirin’s Edge of Sports has a year-end review including clips from conversations with musician John Legend, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Orioles owner John Angelos, Concussion author Jeanne Marie Laskas, and lots more. Then on Slate’s Hang Up and Listen, hear the recently unearthed recording of basketball founder James Naismith describing the first-ever game, followed by a discussion with Naismith biographer Michael Zogry and Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff.

Plus, Amy Schumer, in a pre-Train Wreck interview just posted on The Moment. Amy hilariously rips the Foxwoods casino’s treatment of comedians!

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