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The Witness Trees

Pitts Lake, Nova Scotia.  Photograph by Dick Miller.

Pitts Lake, Nova Scotia. Photograph by Dick Miller.

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem Evangeline begins with the words "This is the forest primeval". Longfellow was talking about the rich Acadian forest, and was taking a little poetic license. In fact, settlers and boat-builders had already pillaged those forests. They were later altered again and again as the pulp and paper industry flourished. Some wonder whether those forests of 500 years ago can be regrown. Are our forests fiber mines or recreational playgrounds? Are they an economic engine or necessary for our environmental health? And are they essential, as some neuroscientific research is suggesting, to our mental well being? IDEAS contributor Dick Miller re-imagines the forest of the future.

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Fragile Freedoms - Vandana Shiva

Fragile Freedoms - Vandana Shiva

Physicist Vandana Shiva has become one of the world's leading environmental thinkers. In a lecture presented at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, she explores how "earth rights" are human rights. From the lecture series Fragile Freedoms: the Global Struggle for Human Rights.

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Bugs 'R Us

Bugs 'R Us

We are constantly at war with microbes -- SARS, MERS, E.coli, C.difficile -- filthy little organisms that threaten our health and safety. These pathogens can be deadly, but have we gone too far? Is eliminating our exposure to microbes actually bad for us? Microbiologist Dr. Brett Finlay argues that we're entering a golden era in our understanding of microbes, and that new technologies are giving us unprecedented insights into health and disease. This lecture was presented by the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies.

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Wachtel On The Arts - Stan Douglas

Wachtel On The Arts - Stan Douglas

Stan Douglas is both a cutting-edge contemporary art star, and a neighbourhood historian of his home city. From his downtown Vancouver studio, he makes new works of photography and video that look like something out of the city archive. Eleanor Wachtel talks to Stan Douglas about his work, and his latest project Helen Lawrence, a theatre piece, created in collaboration with television writer Chris Haddock.

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The Science of Shakespeare

The Science of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago this month, into a period when new ideas about the human body, the earth and the universe were threatening the old medieval worldview. Journalist and author Dan Falk examines the science of the Bard of Avon.

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The Next Big Thing Has Finally Arrived

The Next Big Thing Has Finally Arrived

For years, people proclaimed that the Internet was going to completely transform media. In 2013, it actually happened. That's the argument of The New York Times media columnist David Carr who delivers the 2013 Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. He argues that the campfires built by traditional media companies are going out and new methods of content creation and distribution are taking hold.

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Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

Twenty years after the first free elections in South Africa, the country still struggles with lawlessness, social equity, and the structures of civil society. But, across the bitter divides of race and class, many have begun to make their peace with each other: black and white, the privileged and those with little hope. From the documentary series The Long Walk to Freedom, which first aired in 2004, Philip Coulter tells the story of a massacre, and one woman's act of grace and reconciliation.

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Rwanda Reconciliation

Rwanda Reconciliation

The brutality and bloodshed of the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago was unfathomable. And whether we learned enough to prevent it from happening again is questionable. Rwandan musician Jean-Paul Samputu tells his story of heartbreaking loss and breathtaking reconciliation with the man who killed his family. Also in the program, Payam Akhavan -- first legal advisor to the prosecutor's office of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda at The Hague.

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Moby Doll

Moby Doll

Thanks to Herman Melville's Moby Dick, many thought that the only good whale was a dead whale. But in 1964, the curator of the Vancouver Aquarium decided to kill a whale and study it to learn more about this supposedly monstrous creature. A whale was harpooned off Saturna Island on British Columbia's west coast. But it didn't die. That's how the tale of Moby Doll began, the whale that changed the world, according to IDEAS contributor Mark Leiren-Young.

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The Enright Files - Drink

The Enright Files - Drink

We live in a culture that's awash in drink - enjoying, romanticizing and marketing the pleasures of alcohol. But countless millions of people have lost their families, their health and their dignity to alcohol. Michael Enright talks to two authors who have written about the bottle and the damage done: Ann Dowsett Johnston, author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, and Olivia Laing, author of The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink.

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To Heal A Sick Nation: Martin Luther King, Jr. and IDEAS (with videos)

To Heal A Sick Nation: Martin Luther King, Jr. and IDEAS (with videos)

By 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. saw his dream becoming "a nightmare". Criticised by black militants, rejected by white allies, and threatened with death as violence tore America apart, he delivered the Massey Lectures, produced by Janet Somerville. Now -- for the first time -- she reveals the behind-the-scenes story leading to King's message of hope. Conceived, researched and prepared by Montreal-based journalist, Stephen Smith.

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