Sunday, November 20, 2016

CBC Radio Archive (Part1)

Enemies and Angels

CBC Radio, Ideas, December 2014

When Najah Aboud got wounded during the Iran-Iraq war, he crawled into a bunker to die. It was there that the Iraqi soldier was found by Iranian medic, Zahed Haftlang. Zahed made a split-second decision: to save his enemy's life. So he risked his own -- twice -- to get Najah to a field hospital. Neither man knew that nearly twenty years later, and on the other side of the world, a breathtaking coincidence would reunite them in another life-saving encounter.

Ideas from the Trenches - Just Trying to Help (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2015

Producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic meet recent Western University PhD graduate Marylynn Steckley. She spent six years in Haiti, learning about the effects of slavery, colonialism and racism, and finding inspiration in an emerging peasant movement.

Anton Allahar - Professor of Sociology at Western University specializing in ethnic and racial relations, globalization, democracy and Caribbean Studies.

Kysseline Cherestal - Lawyer and senior policy analyst with ActionAID USA. She and her team interviewed more than 150 displaced farmers in the Caracol region of Haiti. Here's a link to their reports: Land for Haiti.

Harry Nicolas - director of Kore Pwodiksyon Lokal (advocacy group for local production in Haiti), songwriter, and star of several TV commercials.

Yasmine Shamsie - Professor of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University, specializing in democracy-building and economic development programs of international actors (governments and international organizations) in Central America and the Caribbean.

The Enright Files - The Prime Ministers

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2015

As the federal election campaign winds on, we bring you a series of Michael Enright's interviews with former prime ministers, related to the issues that defined their tenure. You'll hear from Brian Mulroney, John Turner, Kim Campbell, Joe Clark and Jean Chretien.

Similes and Science

CBC Radio, Ideas, Part1, Part2, September 2015

The Big Bang, string theory, black holes. Theoretical physics may conjure up complicated equations filling up several blackboards. But central to the quest of understanding the universe is the role that the imagination plays. And that means the creation of images through simile and metaphor -- usually the purview of novelists and poets. Four prominent physicists join host Paul Kennedy in conversation about the vitality and centrality of the scientific imagination.

It's The Economists, Stupid (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2015

As a group, economists don't have a great track record: they largely failed to predict the oil crisis of the 1970's, the dot-com bubble, the U.S. housing collapse. Even the O.E.C.D. admits its forecasts have been way off. One of its staffers even conceded: "maybe we suffer from group think". Little wonder that economics has been known as "the dismal science" since the 19th century.

Feminist economist Julie Nelson believes most economists no longer represent the public good because they're operating out of self-importance and greed. "You can find economists shilling for all kinds of groups. If they're not consciously shilling, they're incredibly careerist." The University of Massachusetts Department Chair and Economics professor thinks the media obsession with the state of financial markets doesn't tell us how we're doing as a society. "Maybe we should be asking, who's eating and who's not."

Richard Denniss concurs. He's Chief Economist for the independent think tank, The Australia Institute, and calls himself a "whistle-blower economist". He believes we've come to view markets as gods. "The market does this, the market does that… as if it's something magical. It's really just a small group of people with a lot of money who are gambling on making more."

Source Codes and Biology (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2015

Way back in the 5th century BC, Herodotus wrote about a fountain with extraordinary powers: a fountain of youth. At Moses Znaimer's ideacity Conference, held this past June in Toronto, doctors and scientists talked about the very latest research into longevity. Forget healing waters, now it's all about genetics, stem cells and yes, what's on your plate.

Crossing the Line

CBC Radio, Ideas, August 2015

When does a joke go too far and actually cross 'the line'? And what defines the line: individual taste, or social convention? Writer and performer Mark Leiren-Young knows something about drawing, and stepping over, the line. He won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour in 2009, and delivered the 2014 Harvey Stevenson Southam Lecture at the University of Victoria on this very subject. This episode features excerpts from that talk and his conversation with host Paul Kennedy.

Visions of Fire

CBC Radio, Ideas, Part1, Part2, July 2015

Ideas about fire, domesticated and wild, past and present, bringer of life and death and life again. Exceedingly rare in some places and times, fire appears in the mind as a deity: the blazing Shiva, the glowing Vesta, the burning bush. Every living creature depends on fire. And though fire spread civilization through the world, combustion now seems to signal... ruin. This "fire opera" by Max Allen features fire historian Stephen Pyne with a chorus of fire enthusiasts and fire fighters.

The Wonder of the World: Frederick II

CBC Radio, Ideas, Part1, Part2, July 2015

He was a monarch like no other: he was a poet, a lover of science, and in his court multicultural collaboration and innovation were a matter of policy. Muslim, Jewish and Christians courtiers formed what some historians have claimed was the first modern bureaucracy -- some have even called him the first European leader. Damiano Pietropaolo situates the life of Frederick II in his own day and highlights his achievements against the backdrop of an increasingly fragile and fractious Europe in our own day.

Who Wrote Shakespeare's Plays?

CBC Radio, Ideas, July 2015

Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, conducts the trial of the century. An all-star cast of lawyers (and a few actors) examine the evidence about the Man from Stratford. It's an age-old question: did Shakespeare write the plays he's credited for? And if not him -- then who?

The Myth of the Secular (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, July 2015

In modern Western societies a powerful ideology divided the world into two opposed domains, the religious and the secular. Religion was private; the secular was public and political. As societies modernized, they would become more secular, and religion would gradually lose its remaining public significance. Until quite recently this was the story told in Western social thought. But it no longer seems to fit. Religion, far from fading, has grown ever stronger. And modernization has developed along different lines in different societies

The Myth of the Secular is a 7-part series presented by David Cayley, originally broadcast on IDEAS in 2012. Theologians, anthropologists, sociologists and political philosophers talk about why the old map of the religious and the secular no longer fits the territory. And about how it might be redrawn. The series airs on consecutive Thursdays through July and early August.

Rethinking Secularism, edited by Craig Calhoun, Mark Juergensmeyer, and Jonathan Vanantwerpen, is published by Oxford University Press, 2011.

Who Started the War of 1812?

CBC Radio, Ideas, July 2015

Two hundred years ago, the relatively new Republic of the United States of America declared war upon the well-established British Empire. All the British colonies in North America were automatically implicated and equally involved in the conflict - even though they wouldn't begin to form the Dominion of Canada for another 55 years. The future "Canada" quickly become the major battlefield of this war, as well as the biggest potential prize.

Scaling the Heights

CBC Radio, Ideas, July 2015

The famous confrontation at Queenston Heights, in Upper Canada, on October 13th, 1812, was the most important battle in the opening months of the War of 1812, and the first to take place on Canadian soil. American forces significantly outnumbered a coalition of British regulars, Canadian militia and Aboriginal warriors that was commanded by Major-General Isaac Brock. After twelve hours of confused and bloody skirmishes, US forces retreated back across the Niagara River. Brock was killed, but military momentum was gained. Scaling the Heights is part of ongoing IDEAS coverage commemorating the bicentennial of the war.

Selkirk's Grant

CBC Radio, Ideas, July 2015

The War of 1812 wasn't the only important event that year in nascent Canada. That fall, the Earl of Selkirk established a small colony in what would become southern Manitoba. IDEAS host Paul Kennedy tells the story of how that tiny settlement changed Canada, introducing new ideas of what the west could be, including an early version of a multicultural Canada.

York In Flames

CBC Radio, Ideas, July 2015

Two hundred years ago, on April 27th, 1813, an invading American army attacked the muddy little town of York - which is now Toronto - and burned down both the Governor's mansion, and the first Parliament Buildings of Upper Canada. Casualties were heavy on both sides, but it was obvious from the beginning that the British were outnumbered, and the invaders would claim their first victory in the continental conflict. Paul Kennedy revisits the battleground, as part of IDEAS continuing coverage of the War of 1812 bicentennial.

O Say, Can You See?

CBC Radio, Ideas, July 2015

Exactly 200 years ago, during the last half of August and the first half of September, a relatively young American Republic was engaged in all-out warfare against the mighty British Empire. This is the bicentennial of what came to be called the Chesapeake Campaign. It involved some of the more 'tragic'--as well as some of the more 'comic'--events, of the entire tragicomic War of 1812. British troops famously burned the White House, in Washington, after sitting down in the executive dining room, and eating a dinner that had been prepared for President James Madison. Three weeks later, American defenders miraculously survived the brutal British bombardment of Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, which inspired a little-known lawyer named Francis Scott Key to pen a patriotic poem that long afterwards became the US national anthem.

The Battle of New Orleans

CBC Radio, Ideas, August 2015

The concluding episode of IDEAS' commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 takes us 'down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico', for the Battle of New Orleans. IDEAS host Paul Kennedy considers one of the most celebrated (and misunderstood) battles of a much misunderstood war.

Imprisoned by Profit: Media & Democracy (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2016

Touring ten drought-stricken states in India transformed the acclaimed journalist Palagummi Sainath - showing him a devastating situation mostly ignored by his fellow journalists. "I felt that if the Indian Press was covering the top 5 percent, I should cover the bottom percent." He also believes the media around the world is, for the most part, imprisoned by profiteering and political constraints. A conversation with Saint Francis Xavier University's Coady Chair in Social Justice for 2015, along with excerpts from Palagummi Sainath's lecture, Media and Democracy.

Humor in Ancient Rome

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2016

Mary Beard is a world-renowned classicist who teaches at Cambridge University, the writer of the eclectic blog A Don's Life and the author of Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling and Cracking Up. She is also a prominent feminist who does not back away from public battles. Paul Kennedy in conversation with the fascinating and funny scholar.

I didn't care much about the humor or Rome, but Mary Beard herself is fascinating, especially with respect to her feminism.

The 2016 Killam Prize

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2016

Elizabeth Edwards for Engineering in Anaerobic Biotechnology investigated decomposition of pollution in soil.

Daniel Trefler for Social Sciences is researching the social and economic history of Medieval Venice and looking for lessons that can be applied today.

Axel Becke for Natural Sciences takes an intuitive approach to theoretical chemistry. Published relatively few but highly cited papers. Developed density functional theory. Awesome was of envisioning the universe.

Steven Narod for Health Sciences is one of the world's foremost breast cancer and argues that we have some of the basics wrong. Like the belief that early detection via mammogram results in better outcome. He also points out some shocking stats like certain treatments will delay recurrence, but not delay death.

The Discovery of The Empty Space

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2016

A story, actors, and an audience. That's all you really need for a theatre performance. It's nice to have lighting and costumes and sets too, but - a director? What exactly does a director do? The four Shakespeare directors from last season's Stratford Festival -- Antoni Cimolino, John Caird, Chris Abraham and Scott Wentworth -- get together to talk about the art and craft of interpreting a play and putting it on the stage.

Undoing Linguicide

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2016

Lorena Fontaine is battling to revive aboriginal languages -- languages that have been quashed and brought to the brink of extinction by Canada's residential school system. She is completing her PhD at the University of Manitoba, and argues that Canadian indigenous communities have a legal right to the survival of language. For her, it's a race against time that must not be lost.

This is an interesting problem. At first I didn't support the effort. But the later arguments show that for relatively low cost and effort, most languages can be saved. It seems like there is value in that diversity.

Talking Philosophy: War and Peace (important)

Part 1, Part 2, CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2016

We all know that 'war is hell' but does this mean that peace -- at any price -- will do? Philosophers Michael Blake, Simone Chambers, Arthur Ripstein and IDEAS Executive Producer Greg Kelly grapple with the nature, the rules, and the challenges of war and peace, yesterday and today.

The End of Capitalism? (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2016

As a reporter, Paul Mason visited many conflict zones. "In each case," he writes in Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, "the struggle for justice collided with the real power that runs the world." In conversation with host Paul Kennedy, one of Britain's most outspoken critics of neoliberalism explains why he is optimistic that technology and our changing relationship with the state may create societies that are healthier and more just.

The Enright Files - Income Inequality (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2016

It's hard to get economists to agree on anything, but there are few economic issues more divisive than income inequality. It's become perhaps the defining economic issue of our times, but economists argue about whether income inequality is really getting worse, whether it's unjust and whether it's all that undesirable. Michael Enright revisits some interviews about how pronounced income inequality has become and what, if anything, can and should be done about it.

The Bugle and The Passing Bell

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, CBC Radio, Ideas, June 2015

Stories from those who lived to tell them. This series draws on the testimony of 200 Canadians who fought in WW1, recorded by CBC Radio in 1964. The men's stories are supplemented by letters, war diaries, military reports and poetry. In this episode: Who were the men who rushed to sign up? And how did they feel as they left Canada with their guns and horses to fight the army of the German Kaiser? It was a rough journey to war; filthy troopships and months in rain-soaked tents in England but by January 1915 they were in France in makeshift trenches and taking their first casualties.

Beautiful documentary. The original audio has a strong effect. It's crazy the pro-war and nationalistic beliefs people held.

Miss Understanding and Miss Behaviour

CBC Radio, Ideas, June 2015

Is drag a mockery of femininity, an earnest tribute, or something else entirely? Willow Yamauchi, a drag queen's daughter, unpacks her father's gowns, secrets, and illusions, and works through his little black book to find his answers - and her own.

Great program. Very interesting insight into our past. I was shocked by how restrictive our laws were.

Much Ado About Magna Carta

Part 1, Part 2, CBC Radio, Ideas, June 2015

This has some interesting stuff. The comments from the panel are worthwhile, but the program overall belabors the issue a bit much.

Who Owns Ancient Art?

Part 1, Part 2, CBC Radio, Ideas, June 2015

When the Taliban and ISIS destroy ancient artifacts, the world responds with outrage. But where should that outrage lead: taking ancient art out of the country of origin? Or would that amount to what some have called neo-colonialism and cultural genocide? Just who owns ancient art? That's the central question that Paul Kennedy explores in this two-part series, produced by contributor Anik See.

Very interesting stuff. Although I think I'm firmly on the side of allowing artifacts to exit their country of origin.

Science Under Siege (important)

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, CBC Radio, Ideas, June 2015

Are we living through an Anti-Scientific Revolution? Scientists around the world are increasingly restricted in what they can research, publish and say -- constrained by belief and ideology from all sides. Historically, science has always had a thorny relationship with institutions of power. But what happens to societies which turn their backs on curiosity-driven research? And how can science lift the siege? CBC Radio producer Mary Lynk looks for some answers in this three-part series.

Great work. Although it's not clear what's to be done about it.

Brother West

CBC Radio, Ideas, June 2015

In a Winnipeg lecture and in a later conversation with Paul Kennedy, political activist, author, provocative intellectual and self-described 'jazz man of ideas', Cornel West talks about righteous anger and the fight for social justice, the lack of integrity in American political office, and his passion for John Coltrane.

This put me in a strange position because I'm inclined to reject religious perspectives because they are founded in factual error, but it's hard to disagree with Brother West's perspective on how we should live our lives.

The Enright Files - John Cleese/Dick Cavett

CBC Radio, Ideas, June 2015

Michael Enright revisits interviews with two of the funniest people in show business: Monty Python's John Cleese and legendary talk show host Dick Cavett.

Great program. Both men have vast life experience and deep insight into human nature.

Deep Down Dark

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

Thirty-three Chilean miners were trapped underground for sixty-nine days, before being rescued, back in 2010. During their hot and hellish underground imprisonment, they agreed to share their story with only one writer. Pulitzer-Prize winner Hector Tobar describes their collective experience, in conversation with Paul Kennedy.

Interesting life experience.

Vestigial Tale

Part 1, Part 2, CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

Analysing stories is usually territory claimed by writers, critics, and university scholars. But recently, evolutionary psychologists have begun to look at the human propensity for storytelling from a scientific perspective. Why are we humans such suckers for a good story? Literary critics find the answer in story structure, characters, and plotlines. The literary Darwinists find the answer in evolution.

Interesting perspective, but the most intriguing part of this production was how the traditional scholars wanted evolutionists to keep out of their domain.

Fire and Blood: The Paris Commune of 1871

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

After years of political turmoil, the citizens of Paris rose up against the government and declared independence. The Paris Commune of 1871 was a model for the revolutions of the 20th century- freedom, liberty, equality, were the cries.

Interesting history of which I was unaware.

Shame on You(Tube) (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, June 2015

Very interesting discussion of the role of shame in history and present culture. It seems to be a powerful and useful and sometimes misused tool.

Participants: Christopher Boehm, Gregory Brown, Joseph Burgo, Erica Perry, Jennifer Jacquet, Jon Ronson. Also introduced me to

Dante: Poet of the Impossible

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

Actually, I didn't like this one very much.

The Shape of Things to Come

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) was the illegitimate son of a disgraced Anglo-Irish aristocrat, was a star student at Oxford, spent four years as an archaeologist in Syria, and became one of the great mythic heroes of World War One.

Interesting historical discussion.

Wachtel On The Arts - Crystal Pite

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

Eleanor Wachtel talks to Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite. She's been called a "dance genius" for her risky, imaginative, and emotionally compelling work.

There's a tension between perfect control and wild recklessness in Crystal Pite's works such as Dark Matters, The You Show, and Tempest, Replica. She produces work for the most prestigious dance companies, like the Netherlands Dance Theatre, New York's Cedar Lake, and London's Sadler's Wells. Her own company, Kidd Pivot, is based in Vancouver.

Interesting insight into the world of dance.

The 2015 Killam Prize

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

David Bentley for humanities. Vijay Bhargava for engineering. Victoria Kaspi for neutron stars. Donald Savoie for politics. Lorne Tyrrell for health sciences.

Victoria Kaspi was especially interesting because of her experience in a gender unbalanced environment. Great outlook.

Why Money Isn't Everything (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

The world over, alternative currencies are helping societies solve key issues. In Japan, volunteers earn redeemable friendship tokens when they care for the elderly. In Brazil, one city's garbage crisis disappeared when it gave people bus tokens for their trash. We're also hearing about Toronto's tool library and workshop space. Sheetal Lodhia explores how healthy communities can be built without money.

Full of great ideas and examples of alternate systems. The garbage currency in Curitiba, Brazil is a great example. Also a speaker argues that our global monetary funds were created and are for the benefit of the banks, not the citizens.

Literary Amphibium - Nancy Huston

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

Winner of the Blue Metropolis Grand Literary Prize Nancy Huston is interviewed before an audience in Montreal by Paul Kennedy.

Incredibly well spoken woman. Full of beautiful ideas in insight into life.

The Monster At The End

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

In a lecture given at the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and in interview with Paul Kennedy, novelist Lynn Coady explores what happens if we separate the idea of 'the book' from the experience they've traditionally provided.

She makes several excellent points, such as: poetry is a valued part of the human condition that will never go away, yet now, as always, most people don't regularly read poetry. The book (in its traditional paper form) she says, will likewise remain with us, although it's dominance may recede.

Life in the Public Square

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

Randy Boyagoda of Ryerson University has written the biography of Richard John Neuhaus. He talks to host Paul Kennedy about it. They're later joined by Catholic thinker Michael W. Higgins and historian of religion, Molly Worthen from the University of North Carolina.

I'm not in the habit of taking religious discussion seriously, but all three guests are both clear thinkers and excellent at articulating their ideas. We need more people like them.

Israeli-Palestinian Relations (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2015

In this episode, Michael Enright revisits recent conversations with two of Haaretz's most influential columnists: Ari Shavit, the author of the acclaimed book, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, and the award-winning, but highly polarizing Gideon Levy.

All three are obviously very well informed on the subject. Covers a lot of interesting ground. Ari Shavit has written what appears to be an honest and insightful look into present and future Israel. Gideon Levy is an Israeli journalist who has championed the cause of the palestinians.

Gelber Prize - Serhii Plokhy

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2015

Serhii Plokhy won the Lionel Gelber Prize for his book The Last Empire - The Final Days of the Soviet Union. Now at Harvard, Serhii grew up in the USSR and was taught that socialism could never fail. He joins host Paul Kennedy in conversation to explain how and why the seemingly impossible happened.

Very interesting insight into what was going on behind the scenes in the Gorbachev era.

Memories of the US Civil Rights Movement (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, March 2015

Michael Enright speaks with Congressman John Lewis, former leader of the civil rights movement and Toronto filmmaker Paul Saltzman. Lewis recalls the march in Selma, and the beatings he received. Saltzman tells of going to Mississippi in the 1960s and more than four decades later, interviewing a KKK member who assaulted him back then.

Saltzman recalls: "People had been killed for trying to register to vote. The system was so interlocked to prevent blacks from voting, that if you tried to register to vote, and you had a mortgage at the bank, your mortgage would be called. If you had a job, you'd be fired."

A History of Violence (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, July 2015

Psychologist Jordan Peterson gave a talk at the Stratford Festival about the human thirst for atrocity. He talks of Eric Harris, a columbine killer, who construed himself as an admirable rebel when he was in fact a momentary embodiment of the eternal desire to obliterate everything.

Learning to Lead

CBC Radio, Ideas, March 2015

Situated on the extreme southern tip of Vancouver Island, Pearson College brings together students from nearly ninety countries, to prepare them for future leadership roles in fields like human rights, international relations, business, law and science. Dr. Joe MacInnis profiles a place where education is a "force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future."

Sex and the Sisterhood (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, March 2015

Leonore Tiefer thinks the media and the pharmaceutical industry are reshaping the way we think about our bodies, and how we practise sex. In her book, Sex is Not a Natural Act, she describes the consequences of living in a hypersexualized culture. Orgasm is something we can count so we become obsessed, losing sight of intimacy, sensuality and pleasure.

Underground Rome

CBC Radio, Ideas, March 2015

Broadcaster Megan Williams goes underground in the city that was once known Caput Mundi - the capital of the world. Williams uncovers the quiet secrets it continues to offer up, the questions that hang unsolved, and dramatic challenges the city’s underground past poses for the present. Delving into Rome’s past by venturing into what lies below it.

Disposable Youth (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, August 2015

The Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest at McMaster University, Henry Giroux, says the current punitive attitude against youth is component war that disproportionately affects poor white and minority youth.

His research tells us that over a three-year period in America, 200 children were hit with stun guns, or tasers. Five of them died. Zero tolerance policies have encouraged police harassment, school suspensions and arrests. Professor Giroux calls this development "punishment creep".

In his books, Disposable Youth and The Violence of Organized Forgetting, Henry Giroux also explores a campaign where digital space is so corporatized that it de-politicizes the young. Massive student debt has financially incarcerated them while their unemployment rate surges.

Three Life-Changing Ideas (good models)

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2015

Lee Kuan Yew, who died last month, was the father of Singapore, once a sleepy outpost in Southeast Asia that under his leadership became a rich and well-governed, if autocratic, country.

Farouk al-Kasim is the Iraqi geologist who guided Norway's oil industry - and the sovereign wealth fund at the heart of Norway's long-term prosperity.

Muhammad Yunus is the Nobel Peace Prize-winning economics professor who started the microfinance movement that lifted millions of women in the developing world out of poverty.

Once Upon A Planet

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2015

Recently, astronomers have discovered hundreds of planets far beyond our solar system. Is there life on those planets, too? Stephen Humphrey explores the new technology that has let us discover these planets and our need to know that we're not alone in the cosmos.

The New Russian Front (important)

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2015

In a Munk Debate, journalist Vladimir Pozner and historian Stephen Cohen argue for engagement with Russia, while political dissident Garry Kasparov and journalist Anne Applebaum contend that isolation is the only workable policy.

Both sides were very strong, and raised many non-obvious issues.

Single Personality Disorder

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 2015

An april fools prank covers this fake disorder, however it convincingly illustrates how our model for the mind should envision the person as the epiphenomena of many competing mental processes, with no clear director.

Why We Obey

CBC Radio, Ideas, August 2015

PhD candidate, Serbulent Turan, an emerging political scientist at the University of British Columbia is asking why people willingly put up with oppression and -- on the flip side -- what's needed to spark a revolution.

Interesting stuff, especially the parts with Steven Lukes - Political and social theorist at New York University. Author of Power: A Radical View (1974). Unfortunately no clear conclusion is presented by Serbulent Turan.

Consent to Harm

CBC Radio, Ideas, January 2015

When it comes to risk of bodily harm, what we are allowed to consent to is fraught territory. The general rule of thumb is that it's okay if a person exposes themselves to risk for a greater social good. But where does a society draw the line? IDEAS producer Nicola Luksic visits a boxing club and a body modification artist to ask how much agency we truly have over our own bodies.

"Yes means yes. No means no." Giving consent seems straightforward. But what we're allowed to consent to is actually deeply fraught territory. And it gets especially fraught when the question of sex enters the equation. The general rule of thumb under the eyes of the law is that a person cannot consent to harm. IDEAS producer Nicola Luksic zeroes in on consent in BDSM and sex work to examine when and why the law intervenes.

Interesting discussion of law, but not much detail on ethics or on the nature of consent and free will in abstract.

You Are Here

CBC Radio, Ideas, February 2015

IDEAS producer Dave Redel explores new ideas about why some people are wizards at navigation, while others get completely lost. Giuseppe Iaria, cognitive neuroscientist in the Department of Psychology, University of Calgary. Paul Dudchenko, University of Stirling, Scotland, author of Why People Get Lost: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Spatial Cognition. Jennifer Groh, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, author of Making Space, How the Brain Knows Where Things Are. Ted Slone & Ford Burles, graduate students in psychology at the University of Calgary, working with Giuseppe Iaria.

Interesting look into the brain science of way-finding.

The Next Big Thing Has Finally Arrived

CBC Radio, Ideas, February 2015

New York Times media columnist David Carr died suddenly yesterday, on the floor of the newsroom, at the age of 58. In 2013, Mr. Carr delivered the Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism. We're repeating that lecture today, in memory of David Carr.

Hilarious guy. Some good insights into how modern tech is effecting our behaviour.

Force of Habit

CBC Radio, Ideas, February 2015

Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic meet Kristin Rodier -- a newly minted philosophy PhD at the University of Alberta. She studies how we think about habit. Habits are normally understood as either virtue or vice, but as a philosopher she looks at what happens when those habits are disrupted with an eye to social change.

An interesting discussion, but no clear conclusion. It seems that what Kristin is looking for is probably there and probably worth finding, but that she hasn't articulated it yet.

The Trouble with Tolerance (demands action)

CBC Radio, Ideas, February 2015

Is Canada too tolerant for its own good? Should we tolerate intolerant people? Michael Blake, Genevieve Chornenki, Sunny Yi and producer Sara Wolch tackle the nature and meaning of tolerance in our diverse and seemingly tolerant society.

This series was suburb. Michael Blake is my new favourite philosopher. His ideas are incredibly well formed and articulated.

Death Becomes Us

CBC Radio, Ideas, May 2014

IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell explores the diverging trends in how western culture deals with death.

Excellent program. Covers a lot of interesting territory, but is fairly spiritually based, not much insight into the mind of an atheist.

Hit Delete

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2014

Dick Miller delves into the science and the ethics of memory deletion. It could mean a cure for PTSD but at what cost to the individual and society?

Good insight into PTSD, but not much technical detail on the brain.

Includes: Dr. Sheena Josselyn, at The Research Institute of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Dr. Karim Nader, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at McGill University, Dr. Albert Wong, from the Neuroscience Department at the University of Toronto, Dr. Ruth Lanius, Professor of Psychiatry at t the University of Western Ontario.

Beyond Human Rights

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2014

Payam Akhavan teaches international law at McGill University and has worked in and appeared at international courts in The Hague. In the 2014 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture, he argues that we need to build an international system based on empathy in order to preserve human dignity.

Very well spoken, but no clear call to action for the layman.

Recognizing Grey

CBC Radio, Ideas, November 2014

Director, author, actress and journalist Nelofer Pazira grew up in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, fled first to Pakistan, and eventually to New Brunswick. She peels back the layers of the Western media's simplified black-and-white coverage of the Middle East in the 2014 Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism.

Beautiful insight. Should be required reading for all policy makers.

The Sharing Economy

CBC Radio, Ideas, December 2014

From AirBnB and Uber to tool libraries and swapping fairs, we're now selling, bartering, and sharing things with each other on an unprecedented scale, thanks to new technologies. Anne Wright-Howard examines how this new economic model challenges 20th century notions of ownership, commerce, government regulation, wealth and personal identity.

Great introduction to the concept of the sharing economy.

The Sharing Economy and the Public Good

CBC Radio, Ideas, December 2014

In partnership with The Munk School of Global Affairs, Jeremy Rifkin, author of "The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism" along with Bob Rae and Anita M. McGahan, discuss and debate the future economy and how we'll get there.

Very exciting stuff. Perhaps a little over-optimistic, but it's worth aiming for, I think.

Last Rights (demands action)

CBC Radio, Ideas, January 2015

Peter Singer teaches bioethics at Princeton University and is also a Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Singer is most known for his reasoned but contentious stands on the individual's right to die, on abortion, and on animal liberation. Peter Singer came to Halifax in November of 2014 to deliver the Sir Graham Day Lecture in Ethics, Morality and the Law at Dalhousie University.

Excellent discussion of a person's right to die. Even better argument for kindness and charity in general. Great thought experiment about helping others in need.


CBC Radio, Ideas, January 2015

Yuval Noah Harari, still just in his thirties wrote an excellent short book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. "We have advanced from canoes to galleys to steamships to space shuttles. We are more powerful than ever before but with little idea what to do with all that power. We are accountable to no one. We are consequently wreaking havoc on our fellow animals and on the surrounding ecosystem, seeking little more than our own comfort and amusement yet never finding satisfaction. Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don't know what they want?"

Very interesting guy. Interesting predictions about our future. Should definitely read his book.

War is a drug

CBC Radio, Ideas, February 2015

As a correspondent for The New York Times - and other publications - activist and ordained Presbyterian Minister Christopher Hedges has covered wars all over the world. In 2002, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for his work on global terrorism.

Interesting guy. Good in conversation, but his prepared presentation is way too preachy -- all claim, no argument.

C.S. Lewis and The Inklings

CBC Radio, Ideas, October 2013

C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Owen Barfield and Charles Williams were the core of The Inklings literary group at Oxford University. This broadcast focuses mainly on C.S. Lewis and his religious views, but also gives insight into the effect of WW1 on Tolkien and Lewis. Interesting but not superb.

Machiavelli: The Prince of Paradox

CBC Radio, Ideas, November 2013

Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1513. The accepted view is that he was a philosopher telling politicians to push morality out of way. However on closer inspection he may have been a satirist with a keen eye on the excesses of power. Interesting but not superb.

Stuffed (demands action)

CBC Radio, Ideas, December 2013
Expanded to: Fat and Sugar Part1, Part2, June 2016

This excellent program by Jill Eisen presents a historical view of obesity in North America. Apparently our reduction in activity (calories burned) mostly happened before the 1950s and doesn't correlate with our surge in obesity which began in the 1980s. There is some tragic description of how government intervention, namely the subsidy of grain, and the war on fat has been one of the major causes of obesity. There are also some interesting scientific claims: the combination of refined carbs and fat causes an insulin spike which causes the fat to be stored rather than consumed; the consumption of drink calories has no impact on our consumption of food calories and thus is a major contributor to obesity; the cultural shift away from eating at the table as a family results in a food environment the support obesity.

The Degrowth Paradigm

CBC Radio, Ideas, December 2013

The degrowth movement is a relatively new contender in the economic and political debates that swirl around humanity's future. Degrowthers believe we need a more modest and sane alternative to the constant pressures of expansion that are destroying the ecological basis of our existence. Author and essayist Richard Swift explores the degrowth alternative, in theory and in practice. Very interesting stuff, but still lacking the coherence to become mainstream.

Paul Salopek, year 2 of his 7-year historical walking tour

CBC Radio, The Current, December 10th 2014

In this interview with Paul Salopek he shares some important insights, one being that people (and our garbage) are now virtually everywhere.

War on Drugs

CBC Radio, The Current, March 24th 2010

Dr. Evan Wood explains how the war on drugs has been a complete failure and actually leads to increased drug related violence.

I listened to these on the drive to/from Huntsville. All worth while. Some superb.

Bioinvasion: Attack of the Alien Species!

CBC Radio, Ideas, April 1st 2014 (podcast)

Barbara Nichol examines the phenomenon of invasive species. Argues that our view is too human-centric and that in most cases we shouldn't interfere.

The Sorrows of Empire (demands action)

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 11th 2014 (podcast)

Revisits an ten year old interview with Chalmers Johnson who suggested that failure in Iraq could mark the beginning of the end of the American Empire. Absolutely mind blowing. Through the lens of history it's clear that the USA has been an imperialistic force and is now in sharp decline.

Too Dumb for Democracy (demands action)

CBC Radio, Ideas, October 2nd 2014 (podcast)

David Moscrop argues that modern democracy isn't built right for our brains. Excellent program, including an aside with stats about men interrupting women in group conversations and disproportionate mail voice-time in group discussions. Like so many things, it seems the the trouble with our poor fit for democracy can be solved by a better design, for example: canadian question period should not be televised, campaign ads should be voice/face/text only with no music or sound effects allowed.

Dissolving Borders

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 17th 2014 (podcast)

Diane Francis speaks about what the world will look like in seven years. Has some great insights into the impact of new tech, including AI. Also explores a tangent about the history and future of the nation state. Proposes a future world government that I would support.

Julie Taymor

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 16th 2014 (podcast)

Eleanor Wacthel interviews Julie Taymor about her career (theatre, film, broadway, shakespeare, titus, midsummer). I love her views on the arts and on Shakespeare.

Genetic Genius

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 25th 2014 (podcast)

Lap-Chee Tsui talks about his background and how he came to identify the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. Interesting story and a good example of how poorly school marks measure student knowledge and ability.

Claiming Space (demands action)

CBC Radio, Ideas, October 7th 2014 (podcast)

Megan Williams explores how the conception and design of public space profoundly affects the lives of women. Has some disturbing content regarding violence against women, but suggests that with appropriate design we can vastly improve the situation.

The Public God

CBC Radio, Ideas, October 6th 2014 (podcast)

Michael Enright leads a panel discussing how far society should go to accommodate everyone's religious rights and what happens when religious convictions collide with the general public interest. Really good stuff. Well balanced.

Moses Znaimer's ideacity Conference - Remaking Ourselves

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2014

Alan Young, is a professor of law, and co-founder and director of the Innocence Project at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Great discussion about what's wrong with the North American justice system.

Irwin Cotler, is a long time human rights advocate and the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal. He served as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General from 2003 to 2006. This one was a bit preachy. No a clear call to action.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a former Orthodox Rabbi at Oxford University, a television and radio host and the author of 30 books. He's also been dubbed "America's Rabbi" and is the founder of This World: The Values Network, an international organization dedicated to advancing universal Jewish values in the media and culture. Great discussion of sexual relations.

Moses Znaimer's ideacity Conference - Extending Ourselves

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2014

Rasmus Ankersen, author of The Gold Mine Effect: Crack the Secrets of High Performance. Interesting discussion on how to train outstanding athletes.

Janette & Alan Murray, who ran 365 marathons in 365 consecutive days around the coast of Australia. Incredible story.

Stephen Koch, pioneer of Snowboard Mountaineering. Tells the story of being caught in an avalanche.

Jean-Guy Sauriol, who turned 60 while rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Great story.

Moses Znaimer's ideacity Conference - Augmenting Ourselves

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2014

Ariel Garten, speaking about thought-controlled computing. She has studied neuroscience, displayed work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, designed fashion, practiced psychotherapy, and is co-founder and CEO of InteraXon Inc. This is mostly fluff.

Todd Reichert & Cameron Robertson, co-founders of AeroVelo Inc, and winners of the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize for developing a working human-powered helicopter. Interesting story about design within limitations, but no follow-on application.

Dr. Elena Polyakova, Chief Operating Officer at Graphene 3D Labs. Incredible discussion of the future of super materials.

Dr. Bradley Edwards, talking about the Space Elevator. He is a physicist and co-founder of Plasma X, a company pushing the production and application of carbon nanotubes. Incredible discussion of the future of super materials.

Moses Znaimer's ideacity Conference - Inside Ourselves

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2014

Dr. Hendrik Poinar, Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair in Paleogenetics at McMaster University. Interesting historical discussion of how pathogens have changed us. No obvious application.

Tanya Jones, CEO & co-founder of Arigos, in California, a start-up company working on long-term banking of organs. Exciting discussion of the near term possibility of an Organ Bank and its implication son longevity and self preservation.

Dr. Michael Fossel, author of Reversing Human Aging (1996), co-author of The Immortality Edge (2011) and author of Telomerase Therapy (2014). Incredible discussion on the possibility of preventing the negative effects of aging.

Moses Znaimer's ideacity Conference - Beyond Ourselves

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 2014

Robert Young Pelton, author, journalist and documentary filmmaker. Pelton's journalistic work usually consists of conflict reporting and interviews with military and political figures in war zones. Important description of war in our era.

Peter Laufer, independent journalist, broadcaster and documentary filmmaker working in traditional and new media. He is the James Wallace Chair in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Great discussion of the current threats to the habitat of butterflies and the ingenious actions people are taking to protect them, such as planting fast growth forests in already logged foothill areas in an attempt to redirect the lumber poachers to this easier crop.

Matt Ridley, 5th Viscount Ridley, DL, FRSL, FMedSci, known commonly as Matt Ridley, is a British journalist who has written several popular science books. He is also a businessman and a Conservative member of the House of Lords. A very uplifting discussion of how things have in fact very much improved over the last hundred years and how we may successfully adapt to a climate changed world.

NATO meets in Wales to discuss Russia's role in Ukraine

CBC Radio, As It Happens, September 4th 2014

Seumas Milne of The Guardian gave the most honest and coherent description of the conflict that I've heard yet.

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

CBC Radio, The Current, April 17th 2012

I caught part of this while driving home. Very thought provoking.

The Morbid Age

CBC Radio, Ideas, August 24th 2010

I haven't heard it all yet, but it sounds great. It's a Discussion with historian Richard Overy who authored a book about Britain between World War One and Two

Minding Memory

CBC Radio, Ideas, September 3rd, 2010

Marilyn Powell interviews Endel Tulving. This is a fascinating discussion of mind and memory.

Wise Guys

CBC Radio, Ideas, March 22nd, 2010

Yvonne Gall explores the world of the urban crow. Crows can reason, solve problems, and have long memories.

Related Book: In The Company of Crows and Ravens. John M. Marzluff and Tony Angell. Yale University Press, 2005.

Song: Crow’s Lament by Sarah MacDougall

Older Parents/Egg Freezing

CBC Radio, The Current, October 21st 2010

LifeQuest Centre for Reproductive Medicine will freeze the eggs of women who are fertile, but don't want to have a baby just yet. According to Health Canada:

  • 91% of 30 year old women are fertile.
  • 77% of 35 year old women are fertile.
  • 53% of 40 year old women are fertile.

But when it comes to fertility, the age of a woman's eggs is more important than the age of her uterus. Carolyn Lawrence is President and CEO of Women of Influence Inc., which is an event and media organization dedicated to connecting and developing professional women in canada. She comments on the issue.

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