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Decoder Ring

Slate Podcasts

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Decoder Ring is the show about cracking cultural mysteries. In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters.
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The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

Mark Linsenmayer, Wes Alwan, Seth Paskin, Dylan Casey

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The Partially Examined Life is a podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com. We also featu ...
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On Slate's Spoiler Specials, Slate critics, such as Dana Stevens and Willa Paskin, discuss new movies and TV shows in spoiler-filled detail. We dissect twist endings, plot holes, and other secrets you won't read in reviews. WARNING: This podcast contains spoilers (duh).
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Welcome to the Stillhouse Podcast - the show that celebrates all things dark spirits. Join our host Becky Paskin, award-winning dark spirits expert, and as she will meet the greatest voices in the industry to debunk the myths around dark spirits, and showcase the exciting opportunities the dark spirits drinks category represents. Whether it’s how to have the perfect first taste, finding the best mixer, or learning to appreciate the craft behind the beverage, this podcast will help you explor ...
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A window to whisky. A podcast is for everyone who wants to like whisky, already loves whisky or generally enjoys the drinks industry. Informal conversations with industry leaders about whisky, the spirits business and making whisky more approachable for everyone. Hosted by Cotswolds Distillery’s Global Whisky Ambassador, Rob Patchett. Produced by Cotswolds Distillery.
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Real event planners & the UK’s top suppliers share their tips and tricks for surviving and thriving in this one of a kind industry. Hosted by Gavin Alexander the creative director from the award winning team at Gavsy Media.Each episode will have a special guest from the UK’s leading event specialists, and in turn they have invited two event friends along to join the chat.You'll hear guests share their secrets on how to create a successful event, the do’s and do not’s of organising parties, t ...
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A fat suit is a custom-made costume with one goal: to make an actor appear fat without them actually having to be fat. It’s typically a unitard filled with mattress foam and other wiggly, jiggly bits—but it’s also so much more than that, an embodiment of all our cultural hang-ups about fatness. In today’s episode we’re going to consider the fat sui…
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Mark and Wes read through and discuss the first couple of pages of ch. 19, "Fathoming Life," following up on ep. 341. How does Daoism compare to Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Existentialism? How can being a Daoist sage keep one from harm? How is a really effective cicada catcher such a sage? Get more on Zhuangzi at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Sign …
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Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al look at pop music and the idea of genre. Beyoncé is beloved enough that she can do whatever she wants to musically, but the response to her Cowboy Carter album among country music listeners has been pretty critical. Is it real country, and what is it to even ask that question? Is gate-keeping about your favorite gen…
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Mark, Dylan, Seth, and Theo Brooks discuss the Zhuangzi (ca. 325 BCE) UNSW Sydney prof. Karyn, co-author of the History of Philosophy Podcast Chinese series. We talk through Daoist advice about virtue, political action, perspectivism, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes an…
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The Hitchhikers and Appetizers co-host joins Mark and Bill to talk about cultural relativism. We talk about foreign-ness, what parts of ethics seem to apply to all cultures, the Museum of Soup, pushing back tactfully in a scene, and more. In my culture, listening to this episode while in a work meeting is polite. Mark philosophizes at partiallyexam…
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The jalapeño is the workhorse of hot peppers. They’re sold fresh, canned, pickled, in hot sauces, salsas, smoked into chipotles, and they outsell all other hot peppers in the United States. These everyday chilies are a scientific and sociological marvel, and tell a complicated story about Mexican food and American palates. In today’s episode, we me…
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Concluding on The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism (2002) with guest Chris Heath. Are we OK with the metaphysical necessity of natural laws? How do Ellis' mind-independent fundamental objects in the world relate to higher level things, whether biological species or human nature or even things like colors? Get more at partiallye…
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Singer-songwriter Lynn has released 10 albums since 2001. We discuss the title track (and listen at the end to "I Waited Too Long") from High Tide (2024), "11:11" from Rise of the Fall (2017), and "Drugstore" from Crossing Frequencies (2001). Intro: "City Life" from Sugar on the Floor (2011). Hear more at lynndrury.com. Hear more Nakedly Examined M…
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We’re bringing you an episode of The Last Archive from our friends at Pushkin Industries. In this episode: an exploration of early artificial intelligence, the story of the composer Raymond Scott’s lifelong quest to build an automatic songwriting machine, and what it means for our own AI-addled, ChatGPT. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega…
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Continuing on The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism. Ellis' essentialism about physics and chemistry says that, for example, atoms of various elements are truly and unambiguously different and behave in ways that make them what they are. What does this entail? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.co…
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The incredible post-Seinfeld improvised sit-com Curb Your Enthusiasm has had its finale, and so Mark, Lawrence, Sarah and Al reflect on its format, its characters, its way of exploring puzzles of modern manners, its treatment of race and gender, and more. Was it too repetitive? Did it get too contrived? For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus…
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Pop culture is full of fictional bands singing songs purpose-made to capture a moment, a sound. This music doesn’t organically emerge from a scene or genre, hoping to find an audience. Instead it fulfills an assignment: it needs to be 1960s folk music, 1970s guitar rock, 80s hair metal, 90s gangsta rap, and on and on. In this episode, we’re going t…
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Your four hosts plus book editor Chris Sunami reflect on doing the podcast for 15 years and making the new book, which you should order on April 25. Plus, the three rules, future ambitions, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get a $1…
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Continuing on The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism (2002) with guest Chris Heath. We get further into the text about metaphysical realism, criteria for a natural kind, properties vs. predicates, and much more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonu…
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When we write, how much is planned vs. improvised? How much is inspirational vs. double-or-triple checked? How does this factor weigh into how much music we release, how eclectic our sound is, and how well we improvise with others? This discussion features three returning guests: Roger Joseph Manning Jr. was the keyboardist/singer for Jellyfish and…
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David is co-host of the excellent Overthink podcast, popular among the young people today, and so we have him monologue to children as an anti (?) drug speaker. How can drugs change us, our sense of self, and the ways we see the world? Can some drugs be considered "natural"? Also, legally defensible drug use at work, and Nancy Reagan the Heel. Mark…
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Magazines have fallen on hard times – especially the weekly news, fashion, and celebrity mags that once dominated newsstands. The revenue from magazine racks has plummeted in recent years, and many magazines have stopped appearing in print or shut down altogether. And yet, there is something growing in the checkout aisle: one-off publications, each…
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On The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism (2002). What kind of metaphysics underlies chemistry and physics? Ellis argues that items such as chemical elements and physical particles have essences, and that these essential properties determine their behavior, which is characterized by scientific laws. Thus, these laws are necessary…
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To conclude our discussion of Aristotle's Metaphysics, we finish discussing potency by talking about the potential to learn (the Meno problem), the metaphysical priority of the actual over the merely potential, and how the Unmoved Mover motivates all primary beings to strive toward their full actualization. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Vi…
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In 1986, Andrew Wyeth was the most famous painter in America. He was a household name, on the cover of magazines and tapped to paint presidents. And then he revealed a secret cache of 240 pieces of artwork, many provocative, all featuring the same nude female model. This collection, called The Helga Pictures, had been completed over 15 years and hi…
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We read portions of books 9 (Theta) and 12 (Lambda) of Aristotle's Metaphysics, first on "being-at-work" (actuality) vs. mere potency, then on Aristotle's famous argument for the existence of God. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsors: Get a $1/m…
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Mark, Seth, and Dylan are joined by the editor of our new book (see partiallyexaminedlife.com/book) to talk a bit about his background, meeting celebrities (or being met qua celebrity) and more generally how a writer or performer's real personality relates to their work, various things we're reading and watching, scientists' attitudes towards philo…
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Continuing on Aristotle's Metaphysics, Book 7 (Zeta), on essences and what sorts of things have them. Contrasting with Plato, Aristotle believes that some changing, visible things have forms. How do they get them? Well, they're received from some previous thing that has a comparable form, e.g. a child from its parents, or perhaps a form could come …
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Like a manager or an agent or a publicist, a stylist has become a kind of must-have accessory for well-dressed, A-list celebrities. It’s just expected that they will have hired someone to select the clothes they’ll wear at public appearances. But this was not always the case. In today’s episode, Avery Trufelman, host of Articles of Interest, will g…
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Continuing for our third session on Aristotle's Metaphysics, now covering Book 7 (Zeta). What exactly is the type of being that is the chief reason why we call anything being? Aristotle says its the substantial form present in an individual animal or plant. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-fre…
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