the best elucidation of the credit crisis i’ve seen so far (and other great podcasts this week)

1. This week’s episode of This American Life has the clearest explanation of the credit crisis I’ve seen: they talk with people in each step of the chain, from homeowners who took mortgages they couldn’t afford, to mortgage brokers, to the banks that bought those mortgages, and on up the chain through Wall Street and to the pool of global savings (they don’t actually talk to someone in the pool of global savings, but they talk to someone at the IMF about the pool).And it’s all in English, not Economese.

The radio program can be listened to on-line here. It’s the best hour I’ve spent this week.

2. The NPR Movies podcast for May 7 has a physicist explaining exactly which suspensions of disbelief are required to accept Iron Man and other superheroes.  You can skip straight to the story here.

3. The Moth podcast for May 9 tells the story of a young African-American woman who goes to work as a health assistant for a terminally ill Klansman. [This one has a little bit of strong language, but not more than you’d hear around town.]

4. This week’s EconTalk has Chris Anderson discussing his next book, all about “the idea that many delightful things in the world are increasingly free–internet-based email with infinite storage, on-line encyclopedias and even podcasts, to name just a few.”  Anderson is the author of The Long Tail and the editor of Wired magazine.  Here is an article by Anderson discussing the major points.

A good week for podcasts.

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