Writer Olivia Laing explores the power and vulnerability of bodies

Writer Olivia Laing links the ideas of artists, thinkers, and political activists who made bodily autonomy and liberation their work in her book, Everybody. From renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, to musician Nina Simone and civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. The fourth in our series Body Language.

Why these women say it's time to embrace fat bodies

Fat acceptance is the idea that bodies come in all sizes and all bodies have equal value and deserve equal treatment. But socially, we remain deeply invested in diet and weight loss culture. Is it possible to get to a place where body size no longer matters?

She was told she had a 'face for Picasso.' Now, that stigma fuels her work

Disability rights activist and writer Ariel Henley grew up constantly navigating people's negative reactions to her facial disfigurement. Now she is reclaiming her narrative and speaking out to end the stigma of physical differences. Her new memoir is called A Face For Picasso.

Why the 'forever war' failed Afghans

Former Globe and Mail war correspondent Graeme Smith travels deep inside Taliban territory to catch a glimpse of their growing control over the country and uncovers what went wrong with the 'forever war' in his TVO documentary, Ghosts of Afghanistan.

Music on Mars: If you thought space was silent, take a closer listen

If you thought space was silent, think again. NASA's latest Mars rover carries an acoustic microphone. For the first time, anyone can hear the sound of the Martian wind. IDEAS tunes in to the sounds of space and the people working to make music from the beauty of the cosmos.

700 years on, Dante's Inferno still enthralls us

Dante Alighieri died 700 years ago this year. His enemies had him exiled, hoping he'd disappear from history. But instead he wrote a masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, making himself the hero of his own epic poem — and in so doing, attained literary immortality. This is a three-part series.

Novelists rework Shakespeare's King Lear to explore gender, power and inheritance

The familiar plot of Shakespeare’s King Lear is also the plot of many novels written for our own times. Nahlah Ayed speaks to novelists Preti Taneja and Jane Smiley who have reworked the Lear story. She’s also joined by Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino to explore what King Lear has to say to us today about gender, power, loyalty and inheritance.

Reimagining the face-to-face encounter in the time of COVID

Philosopher Emmanuel Levinas believed the face-to-face encounter was the beginning of our ethical obligation to each other. In the first episode of our series Body Language, IDEAS considers the changing meaning of the face during COVID and imagines new ethical relationships for an uncertain time.

'He's my angel. He gave me life': How two enemy soldiers saved each other's lives

An Iraqi soldier crawls off to die in a bunker. But he’s saved by an Iranian medic. Nearly 20 years later, and halfway around the world, they meet again in a breathtaking coincidence for another life-saving encounter.

From scavenger to household royalty: How dogs evolved from wolves to pampered pets

Scientists agree that dogs evolved from wolves and were the first domesticated animals. But exactly how that happened is hotly contested. IDEAS contributor Neil Sandell examines the theories and the evolution of the relationship between dogs and humans.

How to harness your own biases

It’s easy to admit to having biases, but much harder to pin down what they are, let alone figure out what to do about them. Nevertheless, documentary maker Tom Howell gives it his best shot.

These techno-utopians wanted to put scientists in charge — and their ideas still hold sway in Silicon Valley

Back in the first half of the 20th century, a group called Technocracy Incorporated wanted to reorganize society by putting scientists in charge. The movement flamed out, but its underlying message still appeals to many in Silicon Valley.

What you need to know about the looming zombie apocalypse

Zombies are shuffling, moaning metaphors for all our apocalyptic fears. In this documentary from 2015, journalists Garth Mullins and Lisa Hale revisit pop culture’s zombie obsession, and why it's so easy to imagine a future full of catastrophe and monsters.

Why apocalyptic thinking is here to stay

If 2021 makes you feel like the end is near, you’re not alone. But it might help to know that history shows people have always felt the end is near. This archive episode from 1998 looks at the longevity of apocalyptic thinking. 

Reframing Indigenous stories in joy: Jesse Wente

Writer and broadcaster Jesse Wente says that it's important to frame stories about Indigenous people in joy, even if those stories also contain other, darker emotions.

IDEAS schedule for September

Highlights: IDEAS launches Body Language — a series exploring what our bodies express and repress, both literally and symbolically; opposing soldiers during the Iran-Iraq war save each other’s lives; and we delve into Dante’s impossible feat of the imagination and his literary immortality.

Q & A |Ron Deibert revisits his 2020 Massey Lectures with tech experts

In his 2020 CBC Massey Lectures, Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society Ron Deibert surveyed the traps and dark corners of the internet and social media. Ron looks back at the questions he raised, in the company of the team of people who were commentators in the original series — and answers listener questions sent in.
CBC Massey Lectures

What happened to the promise of the internet? It's time for a reset, says Ron Deibert

In his 2020 CBC Massey Lectures, Citizen Lab founder and director Ron Deibert wants to get us thinking about how best to mitigate the harms of social media, and in doing so, construct a viable communications ecosystem that supports civil society and contributes to the betterment of the human condition (instead of the opposite). 

Belarusian poet reflects on memory, mass graves and resistance to Lukashenko

For nearly 27 years, citizens of Belarus have lived under the thumb of Alexander Lukashenko, who is considered Europe’s last dictator. In her poetry collection Music for the Dead and Resurrected, Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort explores collective memory, a history of both horror and joy, and how to memorialize those buried in mass graves.

Want to help save the planet? Hang onto your old smartphone

What we don’t see — because it is so carefully hidden from the public eye — is the ecological impact of our social media usage and the wasteful consumption loop we’re trapped in, as we’re pushed to constantly upgrade our devices and turn simple electronics and appliances into “smart” machines.

Digital authoritarianism: How technology designed to empower us was seized by autocrats

The initial vision of the internet was that it would empower individuals and expose the wrongdoings of state and corporate interests. But now the same technologies that had been used for public uprisings against oppressive governments are now being used by those governments against political demonstrators, whistleblowers and dissidents.

Why you can't quit social media

Everyone loves to hate social media, but there's a real reason it seems impossible to quit. And you might not like it.

Surveillance capitalism: Who is watching us online — and why?

The ads that personalize our internet browsing are obvious examples of how "attention merchants" vie for our data, but the more insidious actors are the ones we don't see. And unfortunately, our personal information is up for grabs with them as well.
2020 Massey Lectures

We need to reclaim our lives from our phones and 'reset,' says CBC Massey lecturer Ron Deibert

There's a problem with that device in your hand — your phone that makes you anxious when it's not near. Renowned tech expert Ron Deibert says that needs to change. The 2020 Massey lecturer suggests we need a 'reset' and in his first lecture, Deibert sketches out the layered problem — and how he sees a way forward.

Beware of Bitter Oranges: Modern lessons from a medieval thinker

Adam Smith may be known as 'The Father of Economics,' but 400 years before him, Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun was putting forward economic theories that are now taken for granted. IDEAS explores Ibn Khaldun's famous book, Muqaddimah and the lessons it has for us on the philosophy of history, economics, biology, sociology, and political theory.