There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sex and the City 2 more than 50 times or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade employed a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant delight. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the high levels of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you are able to learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions of sorrow when his daddy died to how upsetting Sara Pascoe observes it when people attain clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Malcolm
Journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell. Photo: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest automobile recollects in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the incorrect pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells run, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar province. The New Yorker novelist often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place wholly. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 times by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell appeared back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic penalty for the car maker. The conclusion after we listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a car that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain automobiles were having a brain malfunction that meant the latter are physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst selections for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as narratives about the origins of the inflatable humen they have outside automobile traders in the US, and why they used to publicize missing children on milk cartons, you can learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a beer at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the road. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential candidate to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to show a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante novels. EVB

My
The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one way of motivating your marketings force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans sales supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental labyrinth. The superstar of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional sales meeting has just as much potential for naked fun as a business trip to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life is a possibility unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal eyelid; never read erotic fiction written by your papa. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colourful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinemas, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the cinema. The best bits were the details of the logistical difficulties of inducing Brno, from how a redneck fighting crowd were deceived into watching a homoerotic cavort to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sex machine in a hotel room.( He had a auto waiting outside with the engine running .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples mothers were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix
Alix Fox looks into peoples sexuality lives. Photograph: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sexuality with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sexuality is not always altogether straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a man paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effects her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have infants is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meats beef, lamb, pork and chicken is disintegrating after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of livestock can kick through a ships hull after simply one month of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

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Dont set this cow in your ships hull. Photo: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberties( Like puppies, John, we love our own, but we get genuinely vexed when other people civil liberties keep shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savour like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent suit for not being immediately killed and slow-cooked) often constructed the present the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own depict on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke running a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the death penalty in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a build with a banner that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who looks a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the narcotics used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of death. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters investigated those three little words from the US constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively building homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders term for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications adviser ought to scream wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers electoral campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election storms, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world works and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of the election attained 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and stimulate their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its genuinely time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to refute crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement demonstrate. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams went where two black girls have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white daughters, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see pretty females up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sex, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin smells just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently indicates, people with whom they have had sexuality ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, revealed the reason she can no longer feed capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck concealing You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: supposes? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with each other. LH

Sex
There is such a this as too much SatC2 I mean, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sex and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of period, attempt and fund, especially fund, went into making this film, tells Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 periods for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is crying out for the kind of dialogue that induced the TV series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch list. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast preoccupation, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering tale recaps, whodunnit theories and criticisms of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention excavating deep down into Reddit rabbit pits about the two cases covered in so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys response to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a wrong turning somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder friend before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of CDs to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who employed many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he just wants his CDs back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was basically a piece of investigative journalism, its format proved that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its sort. Gimlet Media, a specialist podcasting company, emerged around the same hour as that NPR made and proved its ambitions in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The story flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers incorporate back in local communities and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes rage and has the air of a human on the leading edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck are the most reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you are able to learnt more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are welcome, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the way .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other leading podcast platforms .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

MI5 chief: Kremlin is ‘chief protagonist’ in campaign to undermine west

Andrew Parker accuses Russian nation of interfering in elections, cyber-attacks, disinformation and criminal thuggery

The Russian government is the” chief protagonist” in a campaign aimed at undermining western democracies, the head of the UK intelligence agency MI5, Andrew Parker, has said.

Speaking in Berlin on Monday, Parker listed a series of what he referred to as aggressive actions by Russia, including interference in elections, cyber-attacks, disinformation and criminal thuggery.

He drew a distinction between the Russian government and Russian people.” The chief protagonist among these hostile actors today is the Russian government. Notice I do not tell Russia. The UK has the utmost appreciation and respect for the people of Russia. For their proud culture and long history.

Timeline

Poisoned umbrellas and polonium: Russian-linked UK deaths

September 1978

Georgi Markov

In one of the most chilling episodes of the cold war, the Bulgarian protester was poisoned with a specially adapted umbrella on Waterloo Bridge. As he waited for a bus, Markov felt a sharp pricking in his leg. The opponent activist, who was an irritant to the communist government of Bulgaria, died 3 days later. A deadly pellet containing ricin was found in his skin. His unknown assassin is thought to have been from the secret services in Bulgaria.

November 2006

Alexander Litvinenko

The fatal poisoning of the former FSB officer sparked an international incident. Litvinenko fell ill after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium. He satisfied his killers in a bar of the Millennium hotel in Mayfair. The pair were Andrei Lugovoi- a former KGB officer turned businessman, who is now a deputy in Russia’s state Duma- and Dmitry Kovtun, a childhood friend of Lugovoi’s from a Soviet military household. Putin denied all involvement and refused to extradite either of the killers.

March 2012

German Gorbuntsov

The exiled Russian banker survived an attempt on his life as he got out of a taxi in east London. He was shot four times with a silenced handgun. He had been involved in a bitter dispute with two former business partners.

November 2012

Alexander Perepilichnyy

The businessman collapsed while operating near his home in Surrey. Tracings of a chemical that can be found in the poison plant gelsemium were later found in his stomach. Before his death, Perepilichnyy was helping functional specialists investment firm uncover a $230 m Russian money-laundering operation, a pre-inquest hearing was told. Hermitage Capital Management claimed that Perepilichnyy could have been deliberately killed for helping it uncover the scam involving Russian officials. He may have feed a popular Russian dish containing the herb sorrel on the day of his death, which could have been poisoned.

March 2013

Boris Berezovsky

The exiled billionaire was found hanged in an apparent suicide after he had expended more than decade waging a high-profile media battle against his one-time protege Putin. A coroner recorded an open verdict after hearing conflicting expert evidence about the style he died. A pathologist who conducted a postmortem examination on the businessman’s body said he could not rule in murder.

December 2014

Scot Young

An associate of Berezovsky whom he helped to launder fund, he was found impaled on railings after he fell from a fourth-floor flat in central London. A coroner ruled that there was insufficient evidence of suicide. But Young, who was sent to prison in January 2013 for repeatedly refusing to disclose his finances during a divorce row, told his partner he was going to jump out of the window moments before he was found.

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