The Long Arm of Ayn Rand: Why she still matters, Part 1

The intelligentsia mocked her writings and lampooned her philosophy, which she called Objectivism. But Ayn Rand's books, especially her two major works The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, continue to sell millions of copies. There are Ayn Rand think tanks, academies, even dating sites. And her influence on politics and popular culture are stronger than ever. Contributor Sandy Bourque outlines Rand's improbable rise to fame and influence, and the surprising Canadian connection, which helped secure her place in the history of ideas.

Turn it off: Music to drive you crazy

One sound invented two centuries ago was said to drive all those who heard it insane, even to to the point of suicide. Contributor Chris Brookes takes us into the astonishing history of the glass harp, from the parlour to the paranormal — and even to death metal — and shows how the sounds we create shape our understanding of the world.

The 1969 CBC Massey Lectures, "Time As History"

George Grant, philosopher, member of the Department of Religion at McMaster University, gives this year's Massey Lectures on the conception of time as history. He says the purpose of his talks is to talk about the word "history" as it's used about existence in time. He discusses the importance of the idea of history to modern Western civilization, the crises...

Lonely Together: The plight of urban isolation

There have never been as many cities across the world as there are right now, nor with such high populations. Yet urban loneliness is a virtual pandemic, and one with huge social, medical and financial consequences. Why are cities the new capitals of isolation?

Freeze: Rebecca Belmore's memorial to Neil Stonechild

Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore produced a piece called "Freeze: Stonechild Memorial" to commemorate the death of Neil Stonechild. This is Paul Kennedy in conversation with Belmore.

The 1970 CBC Massey Lectures - "Therefore Choose Life"

Harvard University biology professor Dr. George Wald discusses the need to build community amidst technological change, the "entirely secular religion" of science and says "know all you can, but do only what seems socially useful." Wald won the 1967 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology. ListenListen to Part 1 of Therefore, Choose Life Listen to Part 2 of Therefore, Choose...

The 1971 CBC Massey Lectures, "The Power of the Law"

James Corry explores the case for law and order.  Civil order is threatened if the law is not respected. But why should we respect it? Does it really merit obedience?Are we sometimes justified in disobeying the law?  James Corry thinks some disrespect for the law as a 'sanctified tablet' is healthy, but how much of it is tolerable? Is our...

The 1972 CBC Massey Lectures, "Inscape and Landscape"

By renowned Canadian Ecologist Pierre Dansereau.  "The science of ecology", writes Dansereau, "has much to contribute to the development of a new consciousness of our environment and the new rules of stewardship we must accept, if it can lend itself to a bold integration of environmental data and interpretation, and if it can bring the human impact within its scope. ...

The 1974 CBC Massey Lectures, "Nostalgia for the Absolute"

The decline of formal religious systems has left a moral and emotional emptiness in Western culture. George Steiner, internationally renowned thinker and scholar, examines the alternative "mythologies" of Marxism, Freudian psychology, Lévi-Straussian anthropology, and fads of irrationality.Nostalgia for the Absolute is published by House of Anansi. ListenListen to Part 1 of Nostalgia for the Absolute Listen to Part 2 of...

Tech's Moral Void

Lawyers and doctors have a code of ethics. Teachers have them. Even journalists have them. So why not the tech sector, the people who create and design our very modes of communication?

The 1975 CBC Massey Lectures - "Limits To Science"

J. Tuzo Wilson has been a chief exponent of the theory of continental drift, a subject of vigourous scientific controversy.  Two decades ago, the theory was almost universally rejected by geophysicists. It is now almost universally accepted and is the most important explanation we have about the history of earth's surface.J. Tuzo Wilson has written more than 100 scientific papers...

Guardians vs. Gardeners: Relocating wolves to help balance ecology

How much should humans try to “fix” nature? That question gets at the heart of our relationship with the entire natural world. Contributor Brad Badelt travels to isolated Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, where a controversial decision has been made to relocate wolves from the mainland to help sustain the island's dwindling pack. The world's leading wolf researchers and environmental thinkers debate that decision — and what our idea of wilderness means.

The Music of Matter: 150 years of the Periodic Table

The world, the universe, is a mess of molecules and muck. Within the chaos, though, a cosmic harmony plays the secret song of nature, and the music of matter. You just have to be able to read the music. Contributor Ian Wilkinson unravels the universal chords as the world honours the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev's creation of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements.

The Stolen Revolution: Iranian Women of 1979

After finally ousting the Shah, and just mere weeks after Ayatollah Khomeini took power, Iranian women marched to show their fury at the revolution, which now seemed to be turning against them. On the 40th anniversary of their protests, CBC Radio producer Donya Ziaee spoke to three Iranian women who were there — on the streets of Tehran, fighting to to turn the tide of history.

Dignity down the toilet: Public bathrooms as a human right

Public bathrooms are something we all need, yet they are a public amenity few of us talk about openly and that cities often get wrong. How should governments and businesses provide for this most basic bodily need and what does it mean for citizens when they have no place to go? IDEAS contributor Lezlie Lowe flushes out the answers on a road trip, with many bathroom breaks, across North America.

A Modest Proposal About Satire

Are our current politicians becoming satire-proof? Or has satire always merely preached to the choir? In search of answers Peter Brown looks to the classic satire of Juvenal, Swift and the Arab-speaking world, as well as prominent current practitioners including Armando Iannucci, creator of "Veep" and "The Death of Stalin".

Human Rights Under Attack: Gareth Peirce on The New Dark Age

For more than 40 years, Gareth Peirce has fought to expose miscarriages of justice and free the wrongfully accused. Based in London, she was instrumental in freeing members of the Guildford Four, who were falsely convicted of carrying out the IRA bombing of a British pub. More recently, she has been representing members of the new suspect community — Muslims falsely accused of being terrorists. Peirce warns eroding human rights under the guise of national security, is a profound attack on democracy.

The Enright Files: Conversations about jazz with Gary Giddins

Trying to capture in words the art, sounds and personalities of jazz music in lively prose that rings true is a rare feat of writing. Few have done it so well and for as long as Gary Giddins. He was a columnist for the Village Voice for more than 30 years and has won dozens of awards for his books and journalism. If a jazz artist is significant Giddins has written about him or her. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations with Gary Giddins about jazz.

War's Fatal Attraction: The Reith Lectures by Margaret MacMillan

We tend to think of war as a temporary breakdown, an interruption in our normally peaceful existence. But what if it isn't? What if it's an innate and inescapable aspect of humanity? In her BBC Reith Lectures, historian Margaret MacMillan ponders whether we're destined to fight, and explores our very complicated feelings about war.

Ideas for March 2019

Highlights this month include: "Guardians vs. Gardeners" (March 11) -- Brad Badelt travels to isolated Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, where a controversial decision has been made to relocate wolves from the mainland to help sustain the island's dwindling pack.

Neil Turok on the invention of innovation

"Innovation is actually built into our DNA. It's who we are. It's what makes us different". This is the provocative thesis of Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Our true evolution he argues, is the result of trial and error (with more error!) played out over centuries. In this public talk and subsequent interview with Paul Kennedy, Turok expands on what he means by innovation, and how embracing the concept can open doors for the betterment of humankind.

On the Move: Commuting, work, life

Seven years ago, a large group of interdisciplinary scholars from all parts of Canada (and beyond) started to examine issues connected with 'work-related mobility'. How are new technologies changing the nature of employment? Some people now find it desirable – or even necessary – to work from home. Others are expected to spend more time travelling to and from the workplace than they actually spend doing their job. How do these changes in the way we work affect every other aspect of 21st century life? As the project nears completion, participants approach conclusions.

The Restaurant: A Table Divided

There's a lot more happening at a restaurant than simply ordering from a menu and getting your food. Restaurants are sites of self-expression — spaces in which status and distinction are performed and lines between class, race, and gender are reflected and reinforced. Contributing producers Michelle Macklem and Zoe Tennant explore how we've gone from dining in to dining out, and what dining out reveals about our identities.

Slavery's long shadow: The impact of 200 years enslavement in Canada

Is there a connection between the enslavement of African-Canadians and their overwhelming presence in the criminal justice system today? The United Nations has sounded the alarm on anti-black racism in Canada, stating it can be traced back to slavery and its legacy. In Part 2 of his series on slavery in colonial Canada, Kyle G. Brown explores the long-lasting ramifications of one of humanity’s most iniquitous institutions.

Beyond Tragedy: The living history of Native America

In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Ojibwe writer David Treuer argues that both before and after contact was made with colonizing Europeans, Indigenous peoples have always found ways to adapt, and that's exactly what they're doing now.