Ideas for July 2017

Highlights this month include: "The Wire: The Impact of Electricity on Music" (July 6, 13, 20, 27 and continues in August) -- an award-winning series that tells the story of how electricity changed music in the 20th century; and encore presentations of many of our other award-winning programs: "The Shadow of Charm City" (July 7); "American Fascism: It can't happen here? (July 14); "All in the Family: Understanding the causes & consequences of trauma (July 21) & "No Man's Land" (July 28).

Monday, July 3
RETURN OF THE MICHIF BOY: Confronting Métis trauma
PhD student Jesse Thistle was once a high school drop-out who spent more than a decade in and out of homeless shelters, consumed by drug and alcohol addiction. By reconnecting with his birth mother and spending time with his Métis elders he came to understand the effects of intergenerational trauma. His award-winning historical research shines a light on the struggles and the resilience of Métis 'road-side allowance' communities in northern Saskatchewan.
Tuesday, July 4
A French aristocrat named Alexis de Tocqueville published the two volumes of Democracy in America in 1835 and 1840. IDEAS celebrated the sesquicentennial with a series about American democracy. We revisit that series, which features new interviews and insights, to consider the health of "democracy in America" today. Part 2 airs Tuesday, July 11.
Wednesday, July 5
CRACKING OUR MORAL CODE: How we decide what's right and wrong
We all have a moral code -- a clear sense of what is right and what is wrong. But the reasons why we make certain decisions can quickly get fuzzy. Producer John Chipman explores why some people stick to their moral codes more stringently than others, and delves into the latest neuroimaging research to find out what it can tell us about what guides our moral decisions.
Thursday, July 6
THE WIRE: Hallo, Hallo
The arrival of public electricity on the eve of the 20th century transformed virtually every aspect of daily life - not least of all, the experience of music. We begin our journey on The Wire with a reflection on how it has changed the way we think of the human voice, the way we communicate sound to large groups of people, and the way we now take for granted that sound is something that can be preserved, stored and heard again
Friday, July 7
In a bid to instill civic pride forty years ago, Baltimore was officially named "Charm City". Today, some call Baltimore a war zone - over 300 homicides per year amid 16,000 vacant homes. And the death of an African American man in police custody in 2015 sparked the worst urban riots since the 1960's. IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell takes us inside America's great racial divide.

Monday, July 10
New scientific tools are opening windows into what goes on inside another person's mind. People who'd once have been judged 'vegetative' or 'lacking awareness', might now be able to show they're 'still there', and ultimately communicate with the outside world through a brain scan. Philosophy PhD student Andrew Peterson is embedded with scientists at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University and considers the ethical and moral questions emerging from this cutting edge research.
Tuesday, July 11
A French aristocrat named Alexis de Tocqueville published the two volumes of Democracy in America in 1835 and 1840. IDEAS celebrated the sesquicentennial with a series about American democracy. We revisit that series, which features new interviews and insights, to consider the health of "democracy in America" today.

Wednesday, July 12
DOWNLOADING DECISION: Could machines make better decisions for us?
Humans like to let others make decisions for them. But what happens when those decisions are made by machines or artificial intelligence? Can we trust them to make the right choices? Contributor Scott Lilwall explores how we might program robots to make ethical choices. Assuming, of course, we can ever figure out just how humans make those same choices.

Thursday, July 13
Electricity refined the way sounds were captured in time - adding a new dimension of fidelity to the acoustic phonograph. The invention of magnetic recording tape represented a quantum leap forward in audio technology. For the first time, thanks to tape, sound could be manipulated.  What had been the representation of a singular moment in time became a malleable moment in space.  It was the change of the sound. Featuring the voices of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Les Paul, Steve Reich
Friday, July 14
AMERICAN FASCISM: It can't happen here?
Donald Trump has been called a buffoon, an entertainer, a circus clown. He's also been called a fascist. What did his campaign, and the voters it mobilized, have in common with Fascism, not only in Europe but in America's own dark past? 

Monday, July 17
Evolutionary anthropologist and University of Toronto PhD student Iulia Badescu spent 11 months camped out in a Ugandan jungle to observe baby chimpanzees and their parents -- and babysitters! She was surprised to find there's a much wider range of childcare styles than have previously been documented. Some chimps weaned earlier than others. Mothers took advantage of babysitting offers from other members of the community, including adult males, who might traditionally be considered a threat. Her observations shifted her gaze towards scientists themselves, and how they tend to filter what they see based on their own cultural assumptions. She turns to philosophers Nietzsche and Derrida who encourage her to examine the strengths and limitations of science, including her own research.
Tuesday, July 18
The election of Donald Trump has ignited talk that we're now living in a "post-truth" era. But are we? Where does the idea that the truth no longer exists come from? Or the notion that the truth doesn't matter anymore? Host Paul Kennedy talks to thinkers who argue that the story began years earlier, with a kind of collective identity crisis: authoritarianism can become attractive when you no longer remember who you are.
Wednesday, July 19
In his book Homo Deus, Yuval Harari argues that humankind is on the verge of transforming itself: advances creating networked intelligences will surpass our own in speed, capability and impact. But where will this leave us? Will we be enslaved by algorithms we can scarcely understand? Or will we incorporate these advances and become like gods? He joins host Paul Kennedy in conversation.
Thursday, July 20
THE WIRE: Going Electric
Using resonators, horn attachments, new strings and new materials, people had always been trying to make the quiet and humble guitar louder. Electricity finally did the trick. From early jazz to the age of the rockstar, each new innovation expanded the electric guitar's world of sound and cemented its status as one of the iconic symbols of the 20th century. Featuring the voice of Les Paul.
Friday, July 21
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Understanding the causes & consequences of trauma
Trauma is not a story about the past -- it lives in the present: in both the mind and body. Left untreated, it has no expiration date, whether it's trauma arising from childhood abuse or PTSD suffered as an adult. In recent years we've heard a lot about how resilience and character can mitigate the effects of trauma. Mary O'Connell looks at case studies that provide insights they may contain for deepening our understanding of the causes and consequences of trauma.


Monday, July 24
THE DANGEROUS GAME: Gamergate and the "alt-right"
Emma Vossen's love of gaming started when she was a kid growing up in small-town Ontario. Now as a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo Games Institute, she looks to gamer culture as a microcosm of how sexism is seeded and replicated within broader society, and she draws connections between gamer culture and the rise of the political extreme right.
Tuesday, July 25
In his 1989 essay The End of History? American thinker Francis Fukuyama suggested that Western liberal democracy was the endpoint of our political evolution, the best and final system to emerge after thousands of years of trial and error. Fukuyama seems to have been wrong: our recent history -- filled with terrorism and war, rising inequity and the mass flight of populations -- suggests that we've failed to create any sort of global formula for lasting peace and social equity. In the 2016 CBC Massey Lectures, Jennifer Welsh explores how pronouncements about the "end of history" may have been premature.

Wednesday, July 26
WORLD ON FIRE: What wildfires teach us about living in forests and a challenging climate
They're bigger, faster and hotter than before, torching more of our world: Wildfires, like those now ravaging the interior of British Columbia, the one that ripped through Fort McMurray in May 2016, or through Slave Lake, Alberta in 2011, levelling a third of that community. What's fuelling this increase in fire power? Adrienne Lamb explores the factors altering how we have to live with wildfire. New technology and new ways to think about fire and its behaviour could save lives.

Thursday, July 27
THE WIRE: Good vibations
Scientists like Helmholtz and Hertz explored the electrical essence of sound waves. Inventors like Canadian physicist Hugh LeCaine and Russian spy Leon Theremin extended that exploration to a new breed of electronic instruments. But it wasn't until Bob Moog came along and invented the synthesizer that the sound of electricity started to become a household sound in the music of rock bands. Featuring the voice of Bob Moog.
Friday, July 28
On the outskirts of Calais there's a ramshackle city of tents and plywood huts, home for thousands of refugees and migrants - Lebanese, Syrian, Afghan, Pakistani - from all over, the world. Just across the beach is the English Channel, and they all wait to cross it, to get to Britain and start a new life. They don't want to be in France, and the French for the most part don't want them. So they're stuck: they can't go forward, and they can't go back. Philip Coulter visits a city of dreams and lost hopes to ask the question: what do we owe our neighbour? Part 2 airs Friday, August 4.

Monday, July 31
UNDOING LINGUICIDE: Reviving aboriginal languages
​Lorena Fontaine is battling to revive aboriginal languages -- languages that have been quashed and brought to the brink of extinction by Canada's residential school system. She is completing her PhD at the University of Manitoba, and argues that Canadian Indigenous communities have a legal right to the survival of language. For her, it's a race against time that must not be lost. 


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