Most of these free audio or video digital broadcasts let you "subscribe" so that they can be synched directly to your mp3 player. Every time your media player (such as iTunes) opens, it automatically checks your subscribed podcasts for the latest episodes. It's easy, quick and hugely rewarding to jump on the podcast bandwagon. Here are five of our favourites: This American Life You don't have to be American to enjoy this podcast from Chicago Public Radio. The show chooses a theme each week then runs three or four stories around it. It's simple but effective: the stories are sometimes sad, sometimes funny, but always real. Our favourites include the one about a war-zone vending machine stocker and the story of a 10-year-old who unknowingly becomes pen-pals with Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.
Grammar Girl This weekly five-minute show hosted by the cutely named Mignon Fogarty is sure to whip your writing into shape. Fogarty tackles spelling, word choice and punctuation with gentle flair. But she also seeks out answers to the finicky evolution of language, like whether a Twitter member should say, "I Twitter," or "I tweet." Five minutes well spent. Hardcore History Edgy podcast personality Dan Carlin examines history with a critical eye. The amateur historian is better known as a political commentator, but he applies the same investigative approach to mainstream history. By discussing the past with world-class historians, contemplating the modern-day relevance of subjects such as slavery, and comparing dictators in theoretical face-offs, he really knows how to liven up textbook history.
Stuff You Should Know Presented by cheerful duo Chuck and Josh, this look into seemingly random details in life will make you wonder why you never asked yourself about them before, like how things such as propaganda, organic produce and the supposed sixth sense of animals work. Each episode gets to the heart of the matter in 30 minutes or less, so you can educate your colleagues next time they're wondering what causes rigor mortis.
TEDTalks The annual Technology, Entertainment, Design conference in California hosts brilliant minds from around the world. Innovative speakers are challenged to give a life-changing presentation in 18 minutes or less. The results are both wildly entertaining and surprisingly ingenious, on subjects ranging from professional success and relationships to spaghetti sauce and the intelligence of birds. Julia Shew
That's right - a Cold playlist (not a Coldplay playlist). We're looking for your suggestions for songs to help you stay cool in the summer months. E-mail your suggestions to @email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips from Dr Charles Jones from the California Chiropractic Centre in Dubai, on how to avoid spinal aches and pains. Most of us sit around far too much - working, that is. We are not designed to sit still for long periods of time, which is why after a day in the office we often have a sore neck, back and/or shoulders. Here are some tips from Dr Charles Jones (above) of the California Chiropractic Centre in Dubai, on how to avoid such problems: 1. Do not cross your ankles or your legs as this unbalances your pelvis, which leads to spinal misalignment. 2. Don't keep your feet flat on the floor. Use a footrest some of the time, or move your feet around often. 3. Don't slump. Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. 4. Keep your elbows at right angles to your body and parallel to the floor. 5. Take frequent "stretching" breaks - 10 minutes every hour and 30-second micro-breaks every 10 minutes. 6. Move around as much as you can: adjust your hips, lift your arms and subtly alter your position throughout the day. 7. Hold up your head slightly so that it is roughly perpendicular to the floor. 8. Lean back slightly to ease pressure on the pelvis. The chair back should support your shoulders and lower back. A lumbar support in your chair is critical. 9. The keyboard should be positioned below elbow level. Avoid wrist rests and keyboard supports. Place the mouse on the same level and close to the keyboard so you don't have to stretch. 10. Drink three litres of water a day. Dehydration causes cramping and muscle spasm.