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The Baader-Meinhof Podcast

Updated 2 days ago

Society & Culture
History
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Devoted to--yet unaffiliated with--the Baader-Meinhof Gang

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Devoted to--yet unaffiliated with--the Baader-Meinhof Gang

iTunes Ratings

18 Ratings
Average Ratings
14
3
1
0
0

Great subject

By Seized Up - Oct 29 2015
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…just get out of the way! Yes you know plenty on the issues but let the interviewees put in a word or two once in a while.

Outstanding.

By Grant_TB - Jun 14 2015
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The best cast on this compelling subject.

iTunes Ratings

18 Ratings
Average Ratings
14
3
1
0
0

Great subject

By Seized Up - Oct 29 2015
Read more
…just get out of the way! Yes you know plenty on the issues but let the interviewees put in a word or two once in a while.

Outstanding.

By Grant_TB - Jun 14 2015
Read more
The best cast on this compelling subject.

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of The Baader-Meinhof Podcast

The Baader-Meinhof Podcast

Latest release on Mar 06, 2015

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 2 days ago

Rank #1: It was 40 Years Ago Today… The Birth of Baader-Meinhof

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Forty years ago today Ulrike Meinhof helped break Andreas Baader from police custody, giving birth to the Baader-Meinhof Gang.

May 16 2010

12mins

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Rank #2: Science of Poker

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David Chesworth Interview – The Science of Poker

Last week, a federal judge in Brooklyn overturned the indictment of a Staten Island man who ran poker games in the back room of a warehouse, on the grounds that poker is a game of skill, not chance — and hence, such games cannot be prosecuted under federal laws prohibiting illegal gambling businesses.

It’s just the latest sally in the ongoing debate over poker that’s been raging for more than 150 years. And it comes on the heels of a ruling last year by the Justice Department that 1962’s Wire Act applied only to sports betting, not poker. This is kind of ironic, since the Justice Department also shut down online poker in the spring of 2011, charging the men behind the three most popular online sites with fraud and money laundering.

Clearly, the issue is far from resolved, but John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Player’s Alliance, is encouraged by the latest ruling by Judge Jack B. Weinstein. “Today’s federal court ruling is a major victory for the game of poker and the millions of Americans who enjoy playing it,” he said in a statement. (The alliance is dedicated to decriminalizing poker.)  Find the best tables at Pkv Games.

But wait! Via @Chemjobber on Twitter, I learned of a spanking new study by German researchers concluding that winning at poker is basically all about luck. They recruited 300 poker players, half self-defined “experts” and half “average,” sat them down at tables of six, evenly divided between expert and average players, and then had them all play 60 hands of Texas Hold ‘Em. Oh, and they fixed the deals, the better to measure the effects of luck.

Their conclusion, per Neuroskeptic: “Luck, rather than skill, was key in determining final balance, with experts taking no more, on average, than novices. Experts did play differently, on various measures, and seemed better able to cope with bad luck, losing less; but they also won less when given good cards.”

So are the German researchers correct that poker should thus be classified as gambling? Not necessarily. A 2008 study concluded that poker is a skill — students who received some basic pointers performed better while playing 1000 hands of poker than those who received no training at all. Still other studies support the German conclusion. Who are we to believe?

Neuroskeptic rightly points out a major flaw in the 2012 study, namely, the classification of “expert” players was based on self-reports. I would argue further that playing a mere 60 or 1000 hands of poker is an insufficient sample size, given the statistical complexities of the game. There are 52 cards, with more than 2.5 million possible five-card combinations. Texas Hold ‘Em uses seven cards so there are around 133 million combinations. Plus, you know, fixing the deals really messes with those probabilities.

Compare this to the sample size of the expert witness cited by Judge Weinstein in his massive 120-page ruling. Randal D. Heeb is an economist and statistician (and avid poker player) who analyzed 415 million hands online of no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em and found that the skill of a player “had a statistically significant effect on the amount of money won or lost.”

The many mathematicians and physicists who are aficionados of poker would agree with Heeb. I wrote a feature for Discover in November 2010 on poker-playing physicists, which included the Time Lord (a.k.a. Caltech physicist Sean Carroll, a.k.a. my Better Half), as well as string theorist Jeff Harvey, particle physicists Michael Binger and Marcel Vonk (both of whom have done extremely well on the professional circuit), and a former grad student of Harvey’s named Eduard Antonyan. It spawned an NPR piece for good measure. And I gathered all the material cut from the article into a massive blog post, which dealt explicitly with this question of whether poker is a game of chance or skill.

If poker is a game of chance, and hence gambling, why do physicists love it so much? Physicists hate to gamble. “I don’t like gambling at all,” Antonyan told me. “I don’t enjoy it and there’s nothing in it for me to compensate for the clear negative EV decision of gambling.”

Harvey’s not a fan, either: “Personally I don’t like to gamble on games where the house has the odds, but I’m not critical of people who do.” And while the Time Lord gamely learned craps with me while I was writing The Calculus Diaries (it was research, people!), he hasn’t been tempted to play craps since.

Binger doesn’t mind gambling, per se, but he learned the pitfalls of blackjack as an undergraduate, when he wrote a computer program to beat the game through card-counting (or, as the casinos like to call it, “cheating”) for his senior project. Then he tried to put his strategy into practice. He lost a pile of cash playing blackjack on an ill-fated trip to Reno, and was barred from six casinos in one day for card-counting in a desperate attempt to recoup his losses. “I realized I wasn’t going to get rich playing blackjack,” he recalled.

But poker was different: as he studied the game and pondered the underlying mathematics, Binger realized that poker could be a “beatable game.”

Aug 06 2010

10mins

Play

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Rank #3: On the Arrest of Verena Becker

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The April 2010 arrest of Verena Becker puts the Baader-Meinhof Group back in the news.

Apr 08 2010

13mins

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Rank #4: Urban Guerrilla Bommi Baumann Interview

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Interview with former West German Urban Guerrilla Michael “Bommi” Baumann. Pay attention to the moment when Richard realizes that this is the man who build the bombs that could have killed his parents.

May 05 2010

1hr 11mins

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Rank #5: Fritz Teufel is Dead

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Fritz Teuful, co-founder of Kommune 1, clown prince of the Berlin student movement, and inspiration of the Baader-Meinhof Gang, died this week at 67.

Jul 11 2010

11mins

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Rank #6: How Heated Rhetoric Helped Give Birth to Baader-Meinhof

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The deadly Arizona shooting offers interesting and tragic parallels to the heated environment and rhetoric that helped give birth to the era of the Baader-Meinhof Gang.

Jan 20 2011

15mins

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Rank #7: Carl Tighe on the Springer Press and Heinrich Böll

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An interview with noted UK author and professor Carl Tighe on the conservative Springer Press (the hated enemy of the Baader-Meinhof Group) and the Springer Press’ relationship with Heinrich Böll.

Dec 12 2011

38mins

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Rank #8: The Return of the Red Army Faction?

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A recent wave of leftist bombings in Berlin leaves Richard Huffman wondering if we are returning the the days of the Baader-Meinhof Gang.

Oct 11 2011

15mins

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Rank #9: The Strange Saga of Ulrike Meinhof’s Brain

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The strange saga of Ulrike Meinhof’s brain. How the brain of the world’s most famous terrorist ended up sitting on a doctor’s shelf for 25 years, and what we learned from it.

Nov 03 2011

11mins

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Rank #10: The Politics of Burying Terrorists

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We compare how the US buried bin Laden with how the bodies of Ensslin, Raspe, and Baader were buried.

Aug 03 2011

22mins

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Rank #11: Siegfried Haag: Lawyer, Terrorist

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Publicly, Siegfried Haag was a lawyer for the Red Army Faction. But secretly he was the de facto head of the terrorist organization, planning violent actions across the Federal Republic.

Jul 20 2010

10mins

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Rank #12: Robert Storr, Dean of Yale Art School

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Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale Graduate school of Art and formerly of the Museum of Modern Art, discusses his acquisition of Gerhard Richter’s famous cycle of Baader-Meinhof-inspired paintings for MoMA.

Jul 06 2010

19mins

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Rank #13: Trading Terrorists for Hostages

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What happens when you decide to trade imprisoned terrorists for hostages? What message do you send to other terrorists?

Nov 13 2011

18mins

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Rank #14: Three Books that Fomented Revolution

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Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man; Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, Carlos Marighella’s Mini-Manual of the Urban Guerrilla. Three books that helped kickstart the Baader-Meinhof Group’s attempted revolution.

Oct 30 2011

16mins

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Rank #15: Logorama Creators Interview

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An interview with two of the directors of the sublime and wonderful Oscar-winning cartoon Logorama.

Apr 24 2010

32mins

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