This Week on Ideas

Monday, March 19
Coal is dirty, toxic, abundant and cheap. Mining it disfigures the earth. Using it for fuel or electricity generation is unsustainable. Burning it emits deadly pollutants and greenhouse gases, and is the major cause of global warming. Right? In this new two-part series, Max Allen talks with environmentalists and energy scientists about why much conventional wisdom about coal in the 21st century is just plain wrong.

Tuesday, March 20
WACHTEL ON THE ARTS - Olafur Eliasson

Eleanor Wachtel, host of Writers & Company, talks to artist Olafur Eliasson. In works exhibited around the world, Eliasson has created rainbows, waterfalls, mist and smoke - stretching the phrase "mixed media" beyond materials to include the immaterial: things like air temperature, a trick of the light. In 2003, Eliasson appeared to capture the sun inside the huge Turbine Hall at Britain's Tate Modern museum. The piece, which he called The Weather Project, was part optical illusion, part social happening. It attracted 2-million visitors, many of whom lay down on their backs and basked in the uncanny orange glow. 

Wednesday, March 21
Autism is a complex disorder. There is controversy over its causes and symptoms - even how to define it. But one thing has been clear since the term first came into use in 1911.  People on the spectrum view the world in a unique way.  That leads to the question we are exploring: what is the experience of the Divine for the autistic mind?

Thursday, March 22
george-macmartin-big-canoe-.jpgGEORGE MACMARTIN'S BIG CANOE TRIP
In 1905, George MacMartin, Treaty Commissioner for Ontario, accompanied by federal commissioners and native guides, journeyed through rapids and hiked through the wilds to meet with First Nations leaders. The result was James Bay Treaty Nine. The treaty put northern Ontario into Canadian hands, but First Nations' tradition is clear: their leaders agreed to share the land, not give it away. Historian Christopher Moore explores what the long lost diary of George MacMartin reveals and what it means today.

Friday, March 23
Nowadays, wearing fashionable furs seems somewhat politically incorrect. But pelts and hides from beavers, raccoons and buffalo, and other animals, helped carve out the European settlement of North America. Eric Jay Dolin tells us how the fur trade settled Canada and the United States.
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