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Spark from CBC Radio

Spark on CBC Radio One Nora Young helps you navigate your digital life by connecting you to fresh ideas in surprising ways.

Updated: Weekly
Download episodes from this podcast for: 3 months


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248: Machine ethics and autonomous cars. A robot code of ethics. The internet of needy things. Whole brain emulation.

Noah Goodall on machine ethics and autonomous cars. Laurel Riek on a robot code of ethics. Simone Rebaudengo on the internet of needy things. Anders Sandberg and Evan Thompson on brain emulation, computers, and the body. \n

Download 248: Machine ethics and autonomous cars. A robot code of ethics. The internet of needy things. Whole brain emulation.
[mp3 file: runs 00:53:59]


247: From lockup to startup. Secure your smartphone. Grow your own ink. Make change happen. Mindless efficiency.

Chris Redlitz and Kenyatta Leal on The Last Mile. Lynn Hargrove on securing our smartphones. Britt Wray on growing your own ink. Rashik Parmar on making change happen. Simon Head on mindless efficiency.

Download 247: From lockup to startup. Secure your smartphone. Grow your own ink. Make change happen. Mindless efficiency.
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246: Your personal cloud. Windows XPiry. Video game live-streaming. Designing for forever.

Clive Thompson on owning personal clouds. Dan Misener on the end of tech support for Windows XP. T.L Taylor on the rise of video game spectating. Garry Tan and Brewster Kahle on designing for forever on the internet.

Download 246: Your personal cloud. Windows XPiry. Video game live-streaming. Designing for forever.
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245: Crisis text lines for teens. Slow upload speeds. Audio games. Designing better data centres. The sound the cloud makes.

Bob Filbin and Ron White on crisis text lines for teens. Pete Nowak on Canada's upload speeds. JP Davidson on audio games. Zenon Radewych and Brewster Kahle on designing better data centres.

Download 245: Crisis text lines for teens. Slow upload speeds. Audio games. Designing better data centres. The sound the cloud makes.
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244: The Wikipedia gender gap. Innovation from scarcity.

Eszter Hargittai, Veronica Simmonds and Terry Costantino on the Wikipedia gender gap. Gautham Ramdurai and Navi Radjou on jugaad and scarcity innovation. Mat Honan on digital design for the developing world.

Download 244: The Wikipedia gender gap. Innovation from scarcity.
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243: Responsive art and architecture. Focus at will. Software carpentry. Physicists and computers. Social physics.

Dave Colangelo on art and responsive architecture. Rodolphe el-Khoury on responsive architecture. Will Henshall on Focus at will. Greg Wilson on software carpentry. Ben Davies on physicists and computers. Alex Pentland on social physics.

Download 243: Responsive art and architecture. Focus at will. Software carpentry. Physicists and computers. Social physics.
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242: Speech donors. Faster, better science research. The quantified self. The essential self.

Rupal Patel on speech donors. Sam Molyneux on faster scientific research. Josh Sharp and Nicholas Felton on the quantified self. Linda Stone on the essential self.

Download 242: Speech donors. Faster, better science research. The quantified self. The essential self.
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241: Cyborgs in pop culture. Robotic exoskeletons. Computers on Law and Order. Networked teens.

Matt Novak on RoboCop, cyborgs and us. Russ Angold on robotic exoskeletons for rehabilitation. Jeffrey Thompson on computers on Law and Order. danah boyd on the social lives of networked teens.

Download 241: Cyborgs in pop culture. Robotic exoskeletons. Computers on Law and Order. Networked teens.
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240: Techno-incompatibility. Romantimatic. Dating by design. Forgiveness. Letting go on social media. The quantified breakup. Technology for recovery.

Jesse Fox on techno-incompatibility. Greg Knauss on Romantimatic. Ayla Newhouse on dating by design. Tara Marshall on letting go. Charles Griswold on forgiveness. Lam Thuy Vo on the quantified breakup. Steve Whittaker on the technology for recovery.

Download 240: Techno-incompatibility. Romantimatic. Dating by design. Forgiveness. Letting go on social media. The quantified breakup. Technology for recovery.
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239: The anti-robot. Couples and tech use. Conservation drones. Music, memory, sleep. Quilting with code. Cheap genome mapping.

Jonathan Tippett on the anti-robot. Michelle Parise on limiting tech use in your relationship. Elizabeth Elliot on coding and quilting. Dan Wetmore on music, memory and sleep. Lian Pin Koh on conservation drones. Peter Chow-White on cheap genomes.

Download 239: The anti-robot. Couples and tech use. Conservation drones. Music, memory, sleep. Quilting with code. Cheap genome mapping.
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238: Net Neutrality. The Internet of Insecure and Not-Quite-Connected Things. The Bookless Library. The Most Beautiful Sound.

Barbara van Schewick on net neutrality. Ashley Eklof on the bookless library. Peter Bright on the internet of insecure things. Dan Misener on the internet of not-quite-connected things. Julian Treasure on the Most Beautiful Sound champion.

Download 238: Net Neutrality. The Internet of Insecure and Not-Quite-Connected Things. The Bookless Library. The Most Beautiful Sound.
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237: Connected Cars. Smart Homes. Solving the Password Problem. Playable Cities. Indie Tech.

Pete Nowak on tech trends at CES. Matt Novak on retro CES. Bob Burrows on connected cars. Dan Misener and Anil Somayaji on solving the password problem. Clare Reddington on the playable city. Aral Balkan on indie tech.

Download 237: Connected Cars. Smart Homes. Solving the Password Problem. Playable Cities. Indie Tech.
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236: Daily Rituals for Creativity. Make Your Life an Experiment. The Ancient History of Social Media.

Mason Currey on his book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Uri Gneezy on his book, The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life. Tom Standage on his book, Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years.

Download 236: Daily Rituals for Creativity. Make Your Life an Experiment. The Ancient History of Social Media.
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235: Digital Conversion at the Movies. Minecraft Education. Designing Physical Interfaces.

Jeff Knoll and Caetlin Benson-Allott on movie theatres and digital conversion. Julia Pagel and Cori Dussman on the appeal of Minecraft. Calvin Chu and Jared Spool on bringing physicality and tactility back to computer design.

Download 235: Digital Conversion at the Movies. Minecraft Education. Designing Physical Interfaces.
[mp3 file: runs 00:53:59]


Minecraft for Parents

Lots of adults play Minecraft, but the virtual construction video game seems to hold a particular fascination for kids. Educator and author Cori Dusmann has tips on what adults need to know to get their kids started.

Download Minecraft for Parents
[mp3 file: runs 00:12:17]


234: Online Shopping. Market Manipulation. Attracting Foreign Start-ups.

Ryan Calo on a future of digital market manipulation. Avi Goldfarb on why physical location still plays a major role in shopping. Boris Wertz on attract foreign entrepreneurs to Canada. Three hopeful applicants to the Canadian Start-up Visa Program.

Download 234: Online Shopping. Market Manipulation. Attracting Foreign Start-ups.
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233: Beauty and Brains. Beautiful Sound. Because Noun. 24-hour Music. Dramatizing the Internet. Photo Organization.

Gretchen McCulloch on internet speak. Jay Frank on music listening in a digital age. Molly Bullard on photo organizing. Zaira Cattaneo on beauty and brain stimulation. Julian Treasure on the most beautiful sound. Quinn Norton on dramatizing the internet.

Download 233: Beauty and Brains. Beautiful Sound. Because Noun. 24-hour Music. Dramatizing the Internet. Photo Organization.
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Startup Visa Panel

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

Download Startup Visa Panel
[mp3 file: runs 00:16:18]


Startup Visa 101

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

Download Startup Visa 101
[mp3 file: runs 00:13:07]


232: Training Your Brain for Happiness. Robot Torture. The pre-Digi Selfie. Privacy and the NSA. Status and Attention.

Aimee Morrison on the history of selfies. Alice Marwick on her book Status Update. Kate Darling on legally protecting robots from abuse. Rick Hanson on training your brain for happiness. Ron Deibert on privacy and the NSA.

Download 232: Training Your Brain for Happiness. Robot Torture. The pre-Digi Selfie. Privacy and the NSA. Status and Attention.
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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.

Download Status Update
[mp3 file: runs 00:16:19]


Beauty and the Brain

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 brain stimulation.

Download Beauty and the Brain
[mp3 file: runs 00:14:57]


Privacy, Security, and the NSA

It's been nearly 6 months since the first of Edward Snowden's leaks about surveillance by the NSA, with more to come on Canada's CSEC. We decided to check in again with Ron Deibert, author of Black Code, which has just come out in an expanded edition.

Download Privacy, Security, and the NSA
[mp3 file: runs 00:14:27]


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

Limor Shifman on the politics of memes. Yuri Suzuki on music, robots, and dyslexia. Bruce Mau Design in favour of paper. Ryan Carson on the no boss workplace. We Asked the Question: Boss/No Boss? Harry Brignull on the web's dirty secrets.

Download 231: Dirty Web Secrets. The Politics of Memes. In Favour of Paper. No More Bosses. Looks Like Music.
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Dinosaur Torture: Robot Ethics with Kate Darling

Is it OK to torture a robot? To lock a Roomba in the closet all day? To kick a Furby or decapitate a Pleo? Researcher Kate Darling thinks we might consider legally protecting robots from abuse in the same way we protect animals.

Download Dinosaur Torture: Robot Ethics with Kate Darling
[mp3 file: runs 00:12:05]


Dirty Little Secrets of Web Design

Harry Brignull decodes the tricks designers use to deceive web visitors.

Download Dirty Little Secrets of Web Design
[mp3 file: runs 00:13:04]


Memes in Digital Culture

Limor Shifman argues that internet memes are more than silly entertainment, they engage us politically. Here she explains the inner workings of the current crop of Rob Ford memes to host Nora Young.

Download Memes in Digital Culture
[mp3 file: runs 00:17:17]


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

Friedereke Eyssel and Soraya Chemaly on gender stereotypes and robots. Dan Misener on Facebook relationship analysis. Dan Whaley on open annotation. Heather Jackson on the history of marginalia. Emily Thompson on 1920s noise.

Download 230: Robot Gender Stereotypes. Facebook Relationship Analysis. Open Annotation. The History of Marginalia. How Noise Annoys.
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229: Link Rot. Image vs. Reality. Payphone Resurgence. Virtual Economies. God and Tech.

Kendra Albert on link rot.Jody Culham on image versus reality.Celine Legault, Caitlin Williams, Mark Thomas, and Peter Coombe on the resurgence of the payphone.Eyjo Gudmundsson on virtual economies.Jeremy Stolow on the ties between religion and tech.

Download 229: Link Rot. Image vs. Reality. Payphone Resurgence. Virtual Economies. God and Tech.
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Recreating the Sounds of the Roaring Twenties

Nora Young talks to Emily Thompson, a history professor at Princeton University, about her project "The Roaring Twenties." It brings together archival newsreel footage from 1926-1930 and citizens' noise complaints.

Download Recreating the Sounds of the Roaring Twenties
[mp3 file: runs 00:14:22]


213: Longevity, Integration, Disposal

Cliff Hacking on e-waste disposal in Canada. David Fleming on real estate and virtual staging. Julia Pagel on the Integrative Thinking technique in schools. Phil Gyford, Jason Scott, and Meg Ambrose on data longevity and web ephemerality.

Download 213: Longevity, Integration, Disposal
[mp3 file: runs 00:53:59]


Panel: e-books, public libraries, and artificial scarcity

Peter Rukavina, Jane Pyper, Carolyn Wood, and David O'Brien discuss e-book lending in public libraries.

Download Panel: e-books, public libraries, and artificial scarcity
[mp3 file: runs 00:39:02]


212: Get it, Keep it, Fix it

Brian Lam on getting good gadgets. Gina Trapani and Anil Dash on keeping your tech gadgets. Ian Urbina on what happens to our unwanted gadgets. Kyle Wiens on learning to fix your tech.

Download 212: Get it, Keep it, Fix it
[mp3 file: runs 00:53:59]


211: Smart Elevators, Design Fiction, Internet Centrism

Riding in smart, responsive elevators. Getting skeptical about the internet as a single, abstract force. And designing technologies that don't even exist yet!

Download 211: Smart Elevators, Design Fiction, Internet Centrism
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210: Surveillance, Sharing, Colour

David Murakami Wood on surveillance and tech. Roz Kavander on colour forecasting. Alice Marwick, Gary Flake, Stephanie Nolen, and Maciej Ceglowski on social sharing and the divide between public and private online.

Download 210: Surveillance, Sharing, Colour
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Brian Lam on The Wirecutter

A feature interview with Brian Lam about his website The Wirecutter, why he left Gizmodo, and what's wrong with tech writing in 2013.

Download Brian Lam on The Wirecutter
[mp3 file: runs 00:15:04]


209: Distraction, Willpower, Creative Coding

Elah Feder on outsourcing willpower. Francesca Gino on decision making and getting sidetracked. Diana Kimball and Seb Lee-Delisle on creative coding. Jeff Atwood on creating civil discourse online.

Download 209: Distraction, Willpower, Creative Coding
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208: Collaboration, Crowdwork, Wearable Computing

Kate Hartman on wearable computing. JP Davidson on crowdworking. Rachel Botsman, Will Johnston, Lili Carvalho, and April Rinne on collaborative consumption.

Download 208: Collaboration, Crowdwork, Wearable Computing
[mp3 file: runs 00:53:59]