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Best Things I Heard This Week (Week 17, 2024)

Rose pink over-the-ear headphones rest against a color-blocked background. The left half of the background is the same rosy pink as the headphones. The right half is mint green.

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

This week's podcast roundup includes episodes about endowments and student protests; campus free speech; how memories are made and modified; and how abortion became a partisan issue.

Endowment Funds Are Complicated. Here’s What That Means for Student Protesters.
A quick, 14-minute explanation about why demands for universities to divest from companies that have contracts with Israel or hold Israeli sovereign debt won't be met. Hint: universities no longer invest directly. They invest in mutual funds and use external managers.
Columbia’s free-speech fight
Vox' Today, Explained podcast interviews the news editor of Columbia University's Daily Spectator about the ongoing protests on CU's campus. They they interview the president of the American Association of University Professors about the reactions from university administrators and what it means for free speech on college campuses.
When privatisation fails: Why is the water industry drowning in debt?
Thames Water Utilities, Ltd. serves the United Kingdom. Financially, it's on the brink. The Rest is Money, a podcast from the UK, takes a look at how the company got to this place. Spoiler alert: it starts with Margaret Thatcher. Also see: this 2022 opinion column from The Guardian about the privatization scheme.
Memory and Forgetting
Radiolab re-released and updated this 2007 episode. It explains what memories actually are, and how a little bit of tinkering can mess with them.
Making Abortion Partisan
This bonus episode of Landslide from NPR and WFAE traces the political shift from abortion as a contentious, but non-partisan issue to one with sharp splits along party lines.