Pod Academy

An International podcast combining pop culture and academics

After 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu has been ousted as Israeli prime minister by a motley crew of far right, center, and leftist parties, who partnered with a Muslim conservative party to form an unprecedented coalition. How did this happen? And what's next? Omri Harel joins Gil Kidron to break it down and maybe celebrate.

What the hell could that be? A hoax? A Chinese futuristic technology? Space aliens? Gil and evolutionary biologist Dr. Rutger Vos discuss.

The Dutch have maintained a colonial presence in what is now Indonesia for over three centuries. What started out as swashbuckling adventures that are still sometimes viewed with chest-puffing pride gradually evolved into increasingly pervasive domination. The final chapters were only written in the mid-twentieth century and still cause lingering trauma. In this podcast, Gil and Rutger review three films that span the full period from the "Golden Age" spice trade beginnings propagandized in Admiral (2015), through the cash crop exploitation poignantly depicted in Max Havelaar (1976, after a highly influential novel from 1860), culminating in the bloody decolonization and war of independence in the current film De Oost (2021).

Humanity is on the brink of cloning itself in a lab. The technology works on non-human primates and other mammals but has not yet been applied to us - though gene editing using CRISPR already has, with the birth of two edited girls in China. Gil and Rutger watch three films around these topics and their applications: the classic thriller The Boys from Brazil (1978), nineties dystopian future in Gattaca (1997), and the claustrophobia of Moon (2009).

In the middle of an unprecedented political and constitutional crisis - and a pandemic - violence has once again broken out between Israel and HAMAS. Gil Kidron, who lives in Tel Aviv, experiences the exchanges of missiles firsthand, from a fortified room in his house. He interprets the current events as a cynical play to undermine the anti-Netanyahu coalition.

The story of New York City is in many ways the story of its waves of immigration between the 1600s and the early 20th century. And the stories of those immigrants are in many ways the story of Europe between the 1600s and the early 20th century. We'll explore the most interesting city in the world through Gangs of New York (Irish mid 19th century), Hester Street and Once Upon a Time in America (Jewish immigration in the turn of the 20th century), The Immigrant (Polish immigrants and the Ellis Island Experience) and The Godfather II (Italian immigration in the 20th century).

What was the natural environment of the Near East like 3,000 years ago? Did it drive the evolution of monotheistic religions? In this special, Gil and Rutger explore the biological and cultural diversity of the Levant in biblical times, in a cross-over episode with PodcastOfBiblicalProportions.com

Extra episode media are here: https://www.ourpodacademy.com/post/natural-history-of-the-bible 

For many decades, humans have lived with the alluring idea that it must be possible to design artificial intelligence systems that can advise us on the most critical life and death decisions we may have to take, in warfare, justice, or complex missions that push human boundaries. However, such systems can easily fail, resulting in flawed decisions or analysis paralysis. In this episode, we discuss three dystopian scenarios where expert systems failed to deliver on their promises.

Medieval music has left its DNA in most of the popular music today. It was a storytelling tool, whether to impart history, genealogy, or as a PR tool for nobles and knights. Our movies/shows are Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Witcher. Special guests: violinist Bridget Hall and campsite guitarist Shay Golan.

Developed from a funerary human sacrifice, gladiator gaming became a massive form of entertainment, intimidation and execution in the late republic and early Roman empire. With up to ten per cent of the empire's inhabitants being enslaved, training some of them to become deadly killers became a liability and gladiator uprisings started happening. In this episode, we discuss the historical context of these events and the political and religious perspectives behind the adoption of gladiator uprisings in propaganda up till this day. Gil and Rutger review the classics Spartacus (1960) and Ben-Hur (1959), the epic Gladiator (2000), and several surprise bonus movies. More visual content with this episode at: https://www.ourpodacademy.com/post/gladiators-rising

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