202: Selling, Thriving, Developing

For our first new Spark of the new year, we'd like to provide you with a little inspiration. What if we compared the growth of... Read More »


203: Carnivals, Court Tweets, Supermechanical

This week on Spark - How mobile tech is changing the culture of carnies, what tech it takes to make the circus seem seamless, how... Read More »


204: Timekeeping, Testbeds, Speed

This week on Spark - Tried, Testbed and True. Why we should brand Canada a testbed for technology in order to get our hands on... Read More »


Repeat - Spark 174 from March 2012

This week, a repeat of a special episode from March 2012 - Spark 174 - Aboriginal Futures co-hosted by CBC TV's Duncan McCue. Duncan returns...

Online Dating Data

Next week, Spark takes a look at the changing nature of dating, courtship, and love in the 21st Century. Confounding texts, crafting perfect online profiles,...


Crowdsourcing for Safe Elections

This week on Spark, we're going to look at a big trend that's been bubbling up for the last while: crisis mapping. Getting regular people...


The History of Dating and Tech

As part of our look at dating in a digital age, we wanted to look back at the history of dating and new technology. Is...


205: MOOCs, Crowdsourcing, Crisis Mapping

This week on Spark - Digging Deeper. A closer look at stories that had a lot of buzz when they hit the news - but... Read More »


Divorced and Dating in the Digital Age

Michelle here. Still working on our Dating In the 21st C show for next week. Besides the fact that we're thinking about it, there's been...


206: Dating in the 21st C

This week on Spark - We take a look at the changing nature of dating, courtship, and love today. Confounding texts, crafting perfect online profiles,... Read More »


207: Implants, Cyborgs, Cellphones

This week on Spark - My Cyborg My Self. As implanted medical devices become more commonplace, they're bringing up lots of issues, especially around... Read More »


Discourse Online

We've all had this experience on websites with lots of community content: witnessing - or being the victim of - bad behaviour. Whether it's trolling,...


Repeat - Spark 177 from March 2012

This week, a repeat of one of our favourite episodes from last March - Spark 177: Humans Hurting Robots, Loveable User Interfaces, and the Robot...

Getting Sidetracked

Do you think you're good at making decisions? Are you able to come up with a goal, and make the choices to realize that goal?... Read More »


208: Collaboration, Crowdwork, Wearable Computing

This week on Spark - We look at the digital layer, between us and the world around us. The internet is always there, informing the... Read More »


The Wirecutter

Shopping for gadgets can be crazy-making. If you're in the market for a new camera, or monitor, or TV, there's no shortage of ways to... Read More »


209: Distraction, Willpower, Creative Coding

This week on Spark - Getting things done! Can you outsource your willpower? Is there a way to make a plan and stick to it?... Read More »


210: Surveillance, Sharing, Colour

This week on Spark - We question the modern compulsion to share all the details of our lives with others. A look at surveillance concerns... Read More »


211: Smart Elevators, Design Fiction, Internet Centrism

This week on Spark - Riding in smart, responsive elevators. Getting skeptical about the internet as a single, abstract force. And designing technologies that don't... Read More »


212: Get it, Keep it, Fix it

This week on Spark - Gadgets, and the endless cycle of upgrading to the latest shiny toy. How can we be more thoughtful about our... Read More »


E-book Lending in Libraries

In many different ways, electronic books are different from their paper counterparts. But as Peter Rukavina (Hacker in Residence at the University of PEI Library)... Read More »


Repeat - Spark 185 from June 2012

This week, a repeat of one of our favourite episodes from last June - Spark 185: Robot Pebbles, the Loyalty Leap, and Online Hoaxes. Click...

213: Longevity, Integration, Disposal

This week on Spark - What happens to our digital stuff when web services shutdown? We take a look at data longevity online. Also, virtually... Read More »


Twitter #music

Earlier today, Twitter launched its new #music service, which aims to help you find and listen to music, based on artists you follow, and what... Read More »


214: Listen, Touch, Command

This week on Spark: touch, voice, gesture, sound - bringing the senses back into tech. An online audio resurgence, the deep dark history of the... Read More »


What noise, thanks to modern tech, really annoys you?

Hey, Michelle here. It's pet peeve time, and we need your help. In a few days we're going to interview Mike Goldsmith about his book...

The Human Face of Big Data

Rick Smolan says that Big Data is like "watching the world come alive and develop a nervous system. It's unlike anything we've ever seen before."... Read More »


The History of Noise

Mike Goldsmith, in his book Discord: The Story of Noise, paints an historical picture of how and why external noise annoys us so MUCH. Mike...


215: Limits of Crowdsourcing, E-Library Letdown, The Story of Noise, What Modern Noise Annoys You?

This week on Spark - The use of crowdsourcing in trying to find the perpetrators of the Boston bombings resulted in an online witch-hunt. This... Read More »


Big Data: A Revolution

According to Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, big data is "so fundamental a change... that it is important not just for every business, for every organization, for every...


216: Texting, Over-the-top Messaging, Race and Online Dating, Preserving Virtual Worlds, Emulation and Preservation of Video Games

This week on Spark - Preserving the experience of video games. When online dating preferences tip over into racism. And, free texting apps know... Read More »


What's the most unexpected friend suggestion you've been given by a social media network?

Hey! Michelle here. A little while ago on Facebook, I got a pretty funny recommendation. It said People You May Know, and below it was... Read More »

217: Estrangement Online, Unexpected Friend Suggestions, Communication Tech and Identity, 3D Scanning and Printing, Piracy and Copyright Law

This week on Spark - Social media is great for staying in touch, but what happens when you don't want to be in touch? And,... Read More »


Repeat - Spark 186 from June 2012

This week, a repeat of one of our favourite episodes from last June - Spark 186: Attentive computing, digital fabrication, Good Products Bad Products,...

218: Big Data, Small Data, Datification, Corellation versus Causation, Stock Market Trading, Health Informatics, Open Knowledge

This week on Spark - "Big Data" is a huge buzzword right now. But how do you explain this technological trend in a way that... Read More »


Internet Linguistics

As an academic, linguist, broadcaster, editor, and author (over 120 books!), David Crystal has had a pretty amazing career. He also developed the field of...


219: Data Harvesting and Video Games, The Battle for Cyberspace, Cooking and Science, Employees Eating Together, Molecules and Wine

This week on Spark - The finer delights of food, wine, and chemistry. Why one scientist is ditching tradition and hacking the kitchen, and... Read More »


Black Code

Ron Deibert is the director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and the author of...


220: Aphorism, Fragment and Tweet. Internet Linguistics. Service Design. Visual Effects and Perception. Tom Green Versus the Web.

This week on Spark - Has the internet ruined language? No! Brevity is the soul of wit, man! Also, how to design services the way... Read More »


Rise of the Robots: The Automated Workforce

Martin Ford is the author of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future. In it, he looks at...


The Modern-day Homestead

Ben Falk is the founder of Whole Systems Design, a company predicated on modern-day homesteading - planning self-sustaining plots of land to both live and...


221: The Future of Work. Workplace Science. Rethinking Recruiting and the Resume. The Automated Workforce. Live/work Homestead Design. The Information Economy.

This week on Spark - a look at the future of work. We'll explore which careers may one day be automated, check out some... Read More »


222: Achieving work-life balance on vacation. Tech lessons from Hutterites and the Amish. Conflict minerals in our tech devices.

This week on Spark - bringing attention and intention to our tech. Tips for managing work-life balance this summer. Two plans to make tech that... Read More »


Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined

Scott Barry Kaufman is a cognitive psychologist at New York University. His new book is called Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. In it, he critiques the idea... Read More »


Spark's Summer Plans 2013

The final episode of Spark's sixth season aired in June. Thanks for being part of Spark this season! We'll be back with new episodes after... Read More »


Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and he's been on Spark several times before. His new book is called...


The Digital Skills Divide

Anabel Quan-Haase is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University. She's also the Director of The Sociodigital Lab....


Re-learning Learning - The first episode of Spark Season 7!

Spark Senior Producer Michelle here. Just wanted to let you know that the Spark team has brushed the sand off of our feet, and returned...

Falling in love with A.I

The new Spike Jonze movie, Her, comes out later this year. It's all about a man who develops feelings for his operating system (played by... Read More »


Inequality and Digital Engagement

To go along with our upcoming Re-learning Learning episode, Nora interviewed Laura Robinson, who we heard about when we spoke to Anabel Quan-Haase. Laura is...


223: Flipping the Classroom. The Digital Skills Divide. Inequality and Digital Engagement. Laptop Distractibility. Redefining Intelligence.

This week on Spark - Re-learning Learning. Flipping the classroom, bridging the digital divide, laptop distractibility in the classroom, and challenging the traditional measure of... Read More »


224: Nourishing online community. Designing workplace culture. The NSA, surveillance, and you. Serendipity and global connection.

This week on Spark - Why it's still as important as ever to build and nourish community online. Designing workplace culture to foster innovation. The... Read More »


Always-on Videoconferencing

Perch is a Vancouver-based company that recently released an iOS app for "always-on video communication." Nora Young interviewed CEO Danny Robinson about Perch, using Perch.... Read More »


Autonomous Cars

Today Nora spoke with Ryan Chin, the managing director of the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. Spark is looking at autonomous cars...


225: Autonomous cars and the future of cities. Always-on video communication. Ambient sound in the workplace.

This week on Spark - Everyone's breathlessly talking about autonomous cars. We get beyond the hype for a look at what they would mean for... Read More »


Breaking Bad...Technology

Hi there. Nora here. The other day, I was putting away my pasta machine. It's a manual device that's probably about 15 years old by... Read More »

We asked the question: Built to last

The broader Spark community shares tools they expect will outlive them.... Read More »

A Glitch Art Primer

A short introduction to glitch art, as featured on Spark 226.... Read More »

226: Falling in love with artificial intelligence. Context-aware computing and common ground. Soldiers and robots. The beauty of glitch art.

This week on Spark - getting emotional...about tech. As we move into a future of artificial intelligence designed to appeal to human feelings and foibles,... Read More »


In Plane Sight

A well made tool is a beautiful thing that can last a lifetime or more. But does that kind of craftsmanship have anything to teach...

What does data taste like?

Coming up on Spark 227, contributor Alison Broverman visits the Bev Lab to taste a few tweet-based beverages. Here's a sneak peek: Have you ever... Read More »

227: Tasting Data. Smart Cities. Craft and Design. Facts on Fax.

This week on Spark - We find out what data tastes like, take a look at what older technologies have to teach us about our... Read More »


Against the Smart City

Adam Greenfield believes there is a "deep conceptual problem with the smart city at virtually every level."... Read More »


Comparing robot hairstyles

What does a robot's hairstyle have to do with the types of jobs people think it can do? A lot.... Read More »

Repeat - Spark 210 from March 2013

This week, a repeat of one of our favourite episodes from earlier this year - Spark 210: Surveillance, Sharing, Colour. Click here for the original...

Link Rot at the Supreme Court

There's something rotten at the U.S. Supreme Court.... Read More »


5 Privacy-Enhancing Tips from Canada's Leading Tech Minds

Want to improve your online privacy? During last weekend's Privacy and Access 20/20 conference in Vancouver, we asked five of Canada's leading privacy thinkers to... Read More »

228: The future of privacy. Surveillance society. Mobile security. Genome identification.

This week on Spark - The BC Privacy Commissioner recently hosted a fascinating conference all about the future of privacy, and Spark was there. From... Read More »


Religion, Spirituality, Magic...and Technology

Recently, I talked to Jeremy Stolow. He is a media historian at Concordia University, and editor of the book, Deus In Machina: Religion, Technology, and...


Spoooooky Spark!

Wondering what we're up to at Spark this week? A little...scared, even? Well, we're working on stories about rotting links, phantom economies, treacherous images, bringing...

Recreating the Sounds of the Roaring Twenties

I just interviewed Emily Thompson, a history professor at Princeton University. Emily researches the cultural history of sound, and how our acoustic environment has changed...


229: Link Rot. Image vs. Reality. Payphone Resurgence. Virtual Economies. God and Tech.

This week, a spoooky Spark - Rotting links, phantom economies, treacherous images, bringing the payphone back from the dead! And sĂ©ances. A whole lot on... Read More »


230: Robot Gender Stereotypes. Facebook Relationship Analysis. Open Annotation. The History of Marginalia. How Noise Annoys.

This week on Spark - A look at the history of marginalia, and a movement to annotate anything on the web. Democracy? Free for all?... Read More »


In Memory of Clifford Nass

We were saddened to learn that Clifford Nass passed away over the weekend due to a heart attack. He was a professor of communication and...

#InADrunkenStupor - The Politics of Memes

Rob Ford has gone viral. As the fallout from the Toronto mayor's admission to smoking crack continues, social media have been full of riffs on his... Read More »

Dirty Little Secrets of Web Design

Have you ever accidentally made a purchase at a website? Or maybe you signed up for a service online and then found it almost impossible... Read More »

Is it OK to torture a robot?

Here in Canada, we've decided that it's unacceptable to abuse or torture animals. Each province and territory has animal protection laws on the books. But... Read More »

Spark 231

In Favour of Paper. Dirty Web Secrets. The Politics of Memes. No More Bosses. Looks Like Music.... Read More »


Would your workplace be better or worse without bosses?

Hey, Michelle here. On this week's show we're going to be talking to Ryan Carson, Founder and CEO of Treehouse, about why they decided to...

The No-Boss Boss

Ryan Carson is the Co-founder and CEO of Treehouse, a technology education start-up that was launched in 2011. In the Spring, the company decided to...


Dirty Web Secrets

Ever had a frustrating experience trying to find something on a website? You probably blamed yourself, but user experience designer Harry Brignull says the real... Read More »


Six Tips for Going Viral

Whether you're a journalist, a marketer, a musician, or an individual who's really into social media, lots of us want to create content that can...


We Asked the Question: Boss/No Boss

After our interview with Ryan Carson about his no-manager workplace, we conducted a poll and asked the broader Spark community the question: Would your workplace... Read More »


The No Boss Workplace

Ryan Carson, Founder and CEO of Treehouse, explains why his company decided to switch to a "no manager" structure, and how the change has been... Read More »


In Favour of Paper

Bruce Mau Design is a young, hip, digitally savvy agency. And yet, everywhere you look in their downtown Toronto office space, you see paper. With... Read More »


Making Music With Tiny Robot Cars

How do you make music if you can't read musical notation? With the help of robots. London-based artist and sound designer Yuri Suzuki explains the... Read More »

Meaning in Memes with Limor Shifman

In her book "Memes in Digital Culture", Limor Shifman argues that memes are more than just silly entertainment - they engage us politically, and they... Read More »


Bye-bye Batteries

Imagine a cell phone that never needs to be charged. We're not there yet, but researchers like Joshua Smith are working on a new breed... Read More »


The Legacy of Viridian Design, 5 Years Later

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the end of the Viridian Design movement.... Read More »


Black Code: Interview and Contest

When Spark interviewed Ron Deibert back in late May, about his book, Black Code we talked about espionage, and the growing role of governments in... Read More »


Beauty and the Brain

A little zap to the brain may improve the way you feel about a picture. Neurologist Zaira Cattaneo is the co-author of a new study...


Full Interview: Status Update

Some of us pay close attention to where the food we eat is grown. Or where the clothes we wear are made. But what about... Read More »


My Selfie, Myself

Can a selfie reveal something more about ourselves than just vanity? One researcher says yes.... Read More »

Spark 232

Training Your Brain for Happiness. Robot Torture. The pre-Digi Selfie. Privacy and the NSA. Status and Attention.... Read More »


Black Code

Back in May, when Nora interviewed Ron Deibert about his book, Black Code, he talked about espionage, and the growing role of governments in shaping... Read More »


Hardwiring Happiness

Can you train your brain for happiness? Our brains are wired to remember negative experiences more than positive ones, but neuropsychologist Rick Hanson argues that... Read More »


Robot Torture

Is it OK to torture a robot? To lock a Roomba in the closet all day? To kick a Furby or decapitate a Pleo? Kate... Read More »


Status Update

In her new book Status Update, Alice Marwick explains how the culture of Silicon Valley impacts the social media we use every day.... Read More »


The pre-Digi Selfie

In light of this week's news that "selfie" was named by Oxford Dictionaries e as their international Word of the Year, we speak with Aimee... Read More »


What's It Like to Apply for a Canadian Start-Up Visa?

Earlier this year, then-Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney officially launched the Start-Up Visa Program, offering permanent residency to qualifying entrepreneurs from around the world.... Read More »

Boris Wertz on the Canadian Start-Up Visa Program

Earlier this year, the Canadian government officially launched the Start-Up Visa Program, offering permanent residency to qualifying entrepreneurs from around the world. One of the... Read More »


Full Startup Visa Panel

Canada has a brand-new startup visa program designed to attract foreign tech entrepreneurs. Nora talks to three entrepreneurs who are going through the application process.... Read More »


Spark 233

Beauty and Brains. Beautiful Sound. Because Noun. 24-hour Music. Dramatizing the Internet. Photo Organization.... Read More »


Dramatizing the Internet

Trying to make action out of the things we do online can be difficult to do on the page or on the screen. Quinn Norton... Read More »


Beautiful Sound

Spark's favourite sound expert Julian Treasure is one of the judges for the Most Beautiful Sound in the World competition. The author of Sound Business... Read More »


Beauty and Brains

A little zap to the brain may improve the way you feel aesthetically about a picture. Zaira Cattaneo on enhancing the experience of beauty through... Read More »


24-hour Music

And you thought the "Thriller" video was long! Pharrell Williams has released a 24 hour long video for the song Happy. Music biz insider Jay... Read More »


Because Internet

Gretchen McCulloch is a linguist who has thought a lot about the evolution of internet-y language. She tells us about the origins of internet-speak, and... Read More »


Photo Organization

Digital photography has left us with a deluge of photos we can't possibly organize in a meaningful way. Molly Bullard is a full-time photo organizer... Read More »


How much of your holiday shopping are you doing online and why?

Michelle here. I don't know about you, but even thinking about shopping for gifts for my family and friends gets me feeling edgy. The crowds,...

Spark 234

Online Shopping. Market Manipulation. Attracting Foreign Start-ups.... Read More »


Immigrating for Funding

Three tech entrepreneurs want permanent resident status in Canada, and have applied to the brand new Start-up Visa program.... Read More »


Attracting Foreign Start-ups

Investor Boris Wertz explains the Canadian Start-up Visa program, which is designed to attract foreign entrepreneurs to create Canadian businesses and jobs.... Read More »


We Asked the Question: Online Shopping

Spark producer Michelle Parise asks the broader Spark community: How much of your holiday shopping are you doing online and why?... Read More »


Retail vs. Online Shopping

Find yourself rushing around doing lots of holiday shopping these days? Wait a sec. Wasn't the internet supposed to change all that? Although almost any... Read More »


Digital Market Manipulation

Shopping online this holiday season? Ryan Calo on a future of 'digital market manipulation', where emerging technologies may make it possible to market based the... Read More »


Bonus: Another Encore for Encore Cinemas

For many independent theatres, the costly conversion from 35mm to digital projectors has been a struggle.... Read More »


Bonus: Digital Conversion & Community Cinema

How will the digital conversion of cinemas change our movie-going experience?... Read More »


Giveaway: Minecraft for Parents

Minecraft, the wildly popular game for adults and children, lets users construct things out of virtual objects. It has earned praise for its potential as... Read More »


Hands-on Interaction

In a world of touchscreens, Calvin Chu wants to bring the physical back to everyday computing with Palette. Usability expert Jared Spool thinks it's about... Read More »


Minecraft Education

School kids are playing the extremely popular video game Minecraft in the classroom. And not during free-time. This, is school work. Julia Pagel spends time... Read More »


The Downside of Digital Conversion

What are we losing with the digital conversion of movie theatres? Caetlin Benson-Allott argues it's more than just an aesthetic change, it also threatens the... Read More »


Back for an Encore

It's like something out of a movie. After a successful last ditch effort to find investors and raise money, the independent Encore Cinema in Oakville,... Read More »


Spark 235

Digital Conversion at the Movies. Minecraft Education. Designing Physical Interfaces.... Read More »


7 Magic Words for Getting the Best Price

Looking for the best prices possible? According to behavioral economist Uri Gneezy, using 7 special words can make all the difference.... Read More »

Work-life Balance

Linda Duxbury has been studying work-life balance in Canada for decades. We talk about how that balance has been significantly altered now that we live... Read More »


Conflict Minerals

A look at the minerals used in our tech gadgets, sometimes called "conflict minerals" depending on how and where they were mined. MP Paul Dewar,... Read More »


Not so Anti-technolgy

Tech guru Kevin Kelly on what we can learn from the Amish approach to technology, which is less anti-tech and more mindful than we may... Read More »


Ask A Hutterite

Kenny Wollmann, who writes the "Ask A Hutterite" blog, with an insider's perspective on the Hutterite approach to technology.... Read More »


Rural Futures

Ben Falk on modern-day homesteading - planning self-sustaining plots of land to both live and work on.... Read More »


Who Owns the Future?

In his book Who Owns the Future?, Jaron Lanier argues that our digital economy is stamping out middle class jobs, and he has solutions for... Read More »


The Automated Workforce

Martin Ford, author of the book The Lights in the Tunnel with a look at how the free market would function in a future where... Read More »


The New Resume

Christopher Kennedy thinks the traditional resume is no longer an effective tool for showing off who you are and the work you do, now that... Read More »


Workforce Science

Vivienne Ming of Gild, on the new field of workforce science, and using big data in place of traditional hiring methods to shape the future... Read More »


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