You're tired of listening to the same terrible radio show every morning in your car. You've heard that new song so many times through your headphones this week that you've decided you don't like it, after all. How many times can you sing along to "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the way to work before you realize, horrified, that you're just not as talented as Freddy Mercury?

The internet is brimming with podcasts that are diverse, packed with information and ready to cure your commute. But instead of killing time with an episode of Serial or listening to the same stats you've already watched on EPSN with breakfast, try learning something new. Podcasts are like reading articles and essays—even books—without taking your eyes off of the road or carrying an extra stack of paper in your bag. In this article, find some of the best podcasts to feed your brain.

RadioLab


Let the hosts of WNYC's Radiolab guide you through stories and investigations about everything in the world, from truth to CRISPR to Alzheimer's. Weekly 45-minute episodes explore a theme through interviews, stories and jokes that make serious news fun and turn history into fascinating narratives. This is your general knowledge story series where you can learn about anything from some people who simply enjoy talking about it.

Listen here.

The Inquiry

Every week on The Inquiry, a BBC World Service podcast, the hosts talk to "expert witnesses" about thoughtful, relevant issues. "Who Gets to Have Their Own Country," the team asked after Catalan's announcement that the region would hold a referendum for independence from Spain. Other recent episodes include "Are Videogames a Waste of Time?" and "What Can We Do With Our Dead?" For a concise but deeply investigated lesson on the context and implications of current events, and for a great alternative to the rapid fire daily news headlines, The Inquiry is your perfect morning fix.

Listen here.

Planet Money

NPR's Planet Money will keep you informed on the economy and all of its trends, developments and historical context. Hear from Tom Burrell and learn about his industry-changing work in advertising. Discover the similarities between fake news stories in Ukraine and the U.S. In under thirty minutes, you'll discover something you probably didn't know through fascinating interviews with experts in the field and the people who were there.

Further quench your thirst for first-hand knowledge with the TED Talks Daily Podcast that features a new talk every weekday.

Listen to Planet Money here.

More or Less: Behind the Stats

The weekly BBC Radio 4 podcast, More or Less, digs into a current event and the statistics being reported about it. Their most recent episode cleared up the confusion surrounding so-called 500-year storms and how they can happen twice in a decade, or even twice in a year. They've explored fantasy football, the gender ratio in Sweden and, of course, election numbers. Tim Harford hosts this math-based show that takes listeners far away from scary math and into discussions about the real-world implications of these numbers.

Listen here.

StarTalk Radio

Neil deGrasse Tyson answers the biggest questions in the universe and also tackles practical science innovations in his weekly podcast, StarTalk Radio. From dark matter to NFL training and nutrition, Tyson and his frequent cohost, Chuck Nice, have a lot of fun talking about modern science with scientists, actors, comedians, musicians and various other guests. Learn about hip hop with Logic or basketball with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

For more guest appearances by Bill Nye, check out the StarTalk All-Stars companion podcast.

Listen to StarTalk Radio here.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Admit it: you only say you don't like history because you resented all of the name and date memorization in high school. But real history isn't about a list of events; it's about the stories. Enter Hardcore History, an epic history podcast hosted by Dan Carlin. The shows come out every few months but they're often closer to six hours than three, so you'll have plenty to listen to before you're stuck waiting for the next episode (plus, if you're starting now, you already have sixty episodes to catch up on). This is the dramatic storytelling you've been waiting for in a history class.

Listen here.

Song Exploder

If your business (or your passion) is music, Song Exploder is the deepest dive into new music available. Instead of listening to that song again, listen to its artist break it down part by part, track by track as they tell the story of its creation. In close to a half hour, you'll discover the process and inspiration behind one song and hear its isolated vocals or that one sound effect near the middle that came to the songwriter in a dream or whatever its story is. Previous artists include U2, St. Vincent, Gorillaz, Metallica, Joey Bada$ and Weezer, whom Hrishikesh Hirway interviews before editing out his parts. What's left is the story of a song told by its artist directly to their fans.

Listen here.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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