Tarot and Engaging Magical Thinking

I may be a science student, but every once in a while I find myself itching to do a tarot card reading. I’m sure my colleagues would consider this habit highly irrational, but I find some value in it, though maybe not for the same reasons other readers draw them.

I was introduced to tarot by my stepmother, a very wise, fiercely intelligent lady who’s absolutely brilliant at card readings. I attribute most of her skill to her ability to read people quickly and accurately (by their words, actions, body language). I think she also deduces their current or past problems as well as ways to improve their lives prior to and during the reading. As I understand it, the cards are a means to draw attention to these elements, discuss them, and give advice without appearing too much like Sherlock.

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Podcast Favorites 2015

I listened to a lot of podcasts this year. I never really though of myself as a podcast person, but after I tried out a few of them, I fell in love with the format. I could listen to a podcast while cleaning or cooking or while doing mostly mindless computer tasks (like formatting). They kept me awake through the work and I rarely got distracted. As bonus points, I could even use them to study, since certain universities offer podcast versions of their open source courses.

(I’ve even found myself listening to the rhythm and timbre of people’s voices and thinking, “They would make awesome podcast hosts.”)

Which podcasts? Here’s a handy list:

  1. Welcome to Night Vale: A quirky, highly entertaining horror comedy with a touch of modern romance. I personally love how it celebrates the weird and wonderful in every episode. (New one today!)
  2. RadioLab: Produced by WNYC, this show is like a series of mini-documentaries about scientific and philosophical concepts. I love the sounds — music and thematic — that accentuate every episode.
  3. Nocturne: Vanessa Lowe’s show is still in its infancy, but it’s well-produced and explores the intersection of people and the late night/early hours of each day. As a combination night owl and lark, I find the premise of the show extremely fascinating.
  4. Hardcore History: Dan Carlin is a great storyteller and even better historian. He offers free shows on iTunes, but after you binge-listen to all of them (ahem, not naming any names here), you’ll have to pay if you want to listen to his past shows.
  5. StarTalk: Neil deGrasse Tyson’s podcast is very entertaining, as long as you don’t mind the commercials interspacing the material. He covers primarily scientific concepts related to astronomy and so on, but he also gets into pop culture as well.
  6. The Tim Ferris Show: For the business-inclined listener, Tim Ferris covers a lot of material on modern business basics for entrepreneurs and frequently interviews entrepreneurial people on how they became successful.

Happy listening!

– Cinnia