Ideas

 
 

Ideas

Ideas is CBC Radio's program of contemporary thought.

Updated: Daily
Download episodes from this podcast for: 3 months
Visit Show Site: http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/

All podcast episodes

Use the links below to download a file.

Confronting the Disinformation Age

Fake news. Foreign meddling. Fraud. Deliberate deception: the list goes on. And we consume all of it, sometimes not knowing the source or what is truth. What can we do to confront the epidemic of disinformation? A recent panel discussion presented at Simon Fraser University's Public Square Community Summit examines what can we do to confront the epidemic of disinformation?  

Download Confronting the Disinformation Age
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How good can we really be without God?

Is atheism getting too big for its britches? And why is that a problem? Christian Smith is Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. In his new book "Atheist Overreach: What Atheism Can't Deliver", he argues that contemporary atheists are making claims that are "neither rationally defensible nor realistic".

Download How good can we really be without God?
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Finding meaning in the universe with astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, Part 1

Hubert Reeves is one of the world's foremost experts on the Big Bang and the origins of time. He lives in France, where the acclaimed astrophysicist has the status of a rock star. In Quebec, where he was born, he is called their Einstein. And yet he's largely unknown in the English-speaking world. Not only is he a brilliant cosmologist; he's also a riveting storyteller and popularizer of science. Not to explain the complex, he says, is undemocratic. Hubert Reeves is now 86, and speaks with producer Mary Lynk at his country home in Burgundy, outdoors and under the stars.

Download Finding meaning in the universe with astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, Part 1
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Exploring the eighth continent with Canopy Meg

Trees and forests could hold the key to the survival of life on our planet. Meg Lowman started climbing trees when she was still a painfully shy primary school student, in a small town in upstate New York. They became her closest companions whenever her human classmates started bullying her. She eventually became a pioneer of canopy science, and created a system of forest walkways that now extends around the world. She's been hailed as "Einstein of the Treetops", but is better known by the nickname, Canopy Meg. Paul Kennedy visited the self-described "arbonaut" in person to ask her whether trees can save the world.

Download Exploring the eighth continent with Canopy Meg
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The Dangers of Denialism

"Denial is about hiding from the truth. Denialism builds a 'new and better' truth." Keith Kahn-Harris, a researcher and lecturer at the University of London, says the challenge of confronting denialism is that denialists don't see themselves as rejecters of truth. They see themselves as having the actual truth, one that the rest of us can't see or accept. Keith Kahn-Harris in conversation with IDEAS producer Naheed Mustafa.

Download The Dangers of Denialism
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The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: 100 years later

It was the biggest labour action in Canadian history: on May 15, 1919, over 35,000 workers took to the streets of Winnipeg for six weeks. It began peacefully and passionately; it ended in lethal violence, and disagreement over what it meant. Contributor Tom Jokinen in Winnipeg talks to experts on how the strike happened, why it occurred in Winnipeg - and through the use of archival tape, brings us the voices of people who were right there, on the streets, and on strike.

Download The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: 100 years later
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Cata$trophe: Adam Tooze tells the real story of the 2008 financial meltdown

Historian Adam Tooze wrote Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World as the decade was unfolding. The giant waves from the crash of 2008 are still hitting shore, both politically and economically. The 2019 Gelber Prize-winner talks with Peter Armstrong, CBC's Senior Business Correspondent, about how what happened on Wall Street was just the start, and how flaws in the globalized banking system came to affect regions, nations, and individual lives.

Download Cata$trophe: Adam Tooze tells the real story of the 2008 financial meltdown
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Old Masters: Decoding prehistoric art with Jean Clottes

The songs and stories of prehistoric humans are gone. All that remains of their culture is their art. It's the one thing that can bridge the vast, silent chasm of time between then and now. IDEAS contributor Neil Sandell introduces us to the French archaeologist Jean Clottes, a man who's devoted his lifetime trying to decipher the rich, enigmatic world of cave art.

Download Old Masters: Decoding prehistoric art with Jean Clottes
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Things fall apart: The origins and future of American democracy

Harvard historian James Kloppenberg traces the long and tortuous tradition of American liberal democracy. He argues that the United States has arrived at such a precarious place in its political evolution that the very conditions that make democracy possible are under threat.

Download Things fall apart: The origins and future of American democracy
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Remembering Jean Vanier: The Rabbit and the Giraffe, Part 2

"Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world." Jean Vanier, who founded the l'Arche movement in 1963 for people with profound disabilities, quickly learned that "normal" people have much to learn about being human by watching those we perceive as weak. Jean Vanier died today in France at the age of 91. IDEAS pays tribute to Jean Vanier with this encore presentation of documentary series by producer Philip Coulter.

Download Remembering Jean Vanier: The Rabbit and the Giraffe, Part 2
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Remembering Jean Vanier: The Rabbit and the Giraffe, Part 1

"Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world." Jean Vanier, who founded the l'Arche movement in 1963 for people with profound disabilities, quickly learned that "normal" people have much to learn about being human by watching those we perceive as weak. Jean Vanier died today in France at the age of 91. IDEAS pays tribute to Jean Vanier with this encore presentation of documentary series by producer Philip Coulter.

Download Remembering Jean Vanier: The Rabbit and the Giraffe, Part 1
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The Enright Files on moral challenges faced by Christianity

Some of the crises facing contemporary Christianity are obvious, such as the ever-widening revelations of sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic clergy and the role of bishops in covering it up. Some are less obvious, such as the embrace of anti-immigrant, xenophobic political movements in countries with large Christian majorities. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations about moral challenges modern Christianity is confronting.

Download The Enright Files on moral challenges faced by Christianity
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The Invisible Shoes of Stutthof Concentration Camp

n 2015, the poet-musician Grzegorz Kwiatkowski made a strange discovery at the site of the former Stutthof concentration camp in Poland - something he calls "a carpet of abandoned shoes". But these were more than shoes: they're both artifacts and symbols of the Holocaust - as well as a flashpoint of nationalist denialism and historical amnesia - especially in the current climate of authoritarianism, and the rising ghosts of neo-fascism.

Download The Invisible Shoes of Stutthof Concentration Camp
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The Written City: Dany Laferrière's Paris

Dany Laferrière is one of the most celebrated writers in Canadian literary history. He has over 27 books to his name, and a raft of awards and honours - including the Order of Canada, and the Prix Medicis. In 2013, he was elected to the prestigious Académie Française in Paris - where he now lives. Radio-Canada contributor Danny Braun met up with Laferrière to talk about the his latest book, Self-Portrait of Paris with Cat.

Download The Written City: Dany Laferrière's Paris
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Paul and Ed's Excellent Adventure (Encore January 15, 2019)

World-famous environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky and IDEAS host Paul Kennedy both grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario. In fact, their childhood homes were less than 300 metres apart, and paper-boy Paul delivered a daily dose of newspaper comic strips to eventual visual artist Ed. They return to their old home town and revisit their roots, including the site of the now-dismantled GM Plant # 1, where both of their fathers worked; and the new subdivision that's recently replaced Meadowvale School, where they both started kindergarten, so many decades ago

Download Paul and Ed's Excellent Adventure (Encore January 15, 2019)
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True Crime Bloodline

From the inventive journalism of "Serial", to the sexual horror of "The Keepers", to the chatty storytelling of "White Wine True Crime", we appear to be obsessed by tales of murder and mayhem. It's a darkly popular form of entertainment in this era of podcasts and streaming docuseries -- particularly for women. Yet True Crime narratives have been hugely popular for more than 400 years. Producer Lisa Godfrey investigates our murder story obsession.

Download True Crime Bloodline
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The Sudbury Effect: Lessons from a regreened city

They said it couldn't be done, but Sudbury did it! Forty years ago, nickel mines and smelters around a relatively small city in Northern Ontario had created one of the most dramatic examples of environmental devastation in the history of this planet. The adjacent landscape was completely dead and totally blackened. Nothing could grow, and people were dying. These days, Sudbury boasts the cleanest air of any city in Canada. Lakes - and there are 330 substantial lakes within the city limits - have come back to life. The surrounding countryside is almost completely green!

Download The Sudbury Effect: Lessons from a regreened city
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The First Stone: Jesus, the Accused and Us

Variously called 'Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery', 'Jesus and the Accused', and the 'Pericope Adulterae', this story, found in the Gospel of John, still throws off reflections and refractions today. Jesus' message is stark: "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." And the history of the text is unique. IDEAS producer Sean Foley asks: What happens in this story? Where did it come from? And what does it say to us about some of our deepest contemporary dilemmas?

Download The First Stone: Jesus, the Accused and Us
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What to expect when you're expecting .... Climate Change (Encore Nov 21, 2018)

Young couples face a complicated decision at a time when the dire consequences of climate change are becoming clearer, is it ethical to bring a child into the world? Science journalist Britt Wray talks with parents, prospective parents, ethicists and children on this thorny question.

Download What to expect when you're expecting .... Climate Change (Encore Nov 21, 2018)
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Stealing Home: A tribute to Jackie Robinson

The National Baseball Hall of Fame quotes trailblazer Jackie Robinson: "a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." Robinson's life had a huge impact, especially when he broke down the colour barrier in Major League Baseball and American society. His rookie season still stands as one of the most politically profound events in the history of organized sport. Every April 15, every team in the major leagues celebrates Jackie Robinson Day, and 2019 is the centennial of his birth. We observe both events with this rebroadcast of Paul Kennedy's 1997 documentary.

Download Stealing Home: A tribute to Jackie Robinson
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Five Freedoms: Freedom from Lies

Freedom of the press is a Holy Grail in western societies, supposedly giving us the facts about what's happening in the world. But in an era of fake news, post-truth and a 24-hour news cycle, what are journalists to hang onto? A discussion with journalists Susan Ormiston Desmond Cole, and writer Linda McQuaig.

Download Five Freedoms: Freedom from Lies
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Five Freedoms: Freedom from Want

Poverty has always been a defining issue in the quest to build a better world. How do we go about making things more equitable, making sure that wealth is distributed to those in need and creating opportunity for the weak to become strong? Journalist Sally Armstrong, healthcare activist James Orbinski and former diplomat Paul Heinbecker discuss a thorny issue.

Download Five Freedoms: Freedom from Want
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Five Freedoms: Freedom from Oppression

Oppression takes many forms. It can be political or cultural, or even social. There's the weight of inherited oppression, and there's the question of how oppression shapes who we are - both individually and collectively. This episode features a discussion with Bhutila Karpoche an Ontario politician of Tibetan heritage, Eloge Butera  a government lawyer and a refugee from Rwanda, and Christina Gray a Dene-Metis lawyer. 

Download Five Freedoms: Freedom from Oppression
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Five Freedoms: Freedom of Speech

Fanned by the Internet, the war over our right to say anything at all has created silos of intolerance. Fewer people are listening to differing points of view. And with less dialogue, nothing changes. But are there things that should not be said? A discussion with former politician Sheila Copps, human rights lawyer Micheal Vonn and journalist Althia Raj.

Download Five Freedoms: Freedom of Speech
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Five Freedoms: Freedom to Believe

Faith and spiritual traditions have always shaped our ideas of right and wrong, both in the private and the public sphere. How do the values that come from faith shape secular society - and should they? And are social values necessarily secular? Journalist Haroon Siddiqui, Sto:Lo First Nation writer Lee Maracle, and writer Michael Coren debate the issues.

Download Five Freedoms: Freedom to Believe
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How rethinking capitalism may save the planet

The evidence is in: if the earth is to survive catastrophic climate change, the economies of the world can't continue to grow infinitely. Maintaining the status quo makes ecological viability impossible. But imagining a world without capitalism also seems to be impossible. Doing so would require fundamentally rethinking our idea of prosperity and how we value work. In lecture and conversation, mathematician and philosopher David Schweickart asks whether there is another way forward for capitalism, one in which the choice isn't between the economy and life itself.

Download How rethinking capitalism may save the planet
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The Enright Files on the transformative, confounding power of poetry

Poetry may not have the same place in our culture that it once had, but it remains an art form of singular power to those who immerse themselves in it. It has the capacity to inspire and enthrall, and to befuddle and infuriate. It can electrify a society, make you see the world with fresh eyes, or simply leave you mystified. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations about the power of poetry to change the world or drive you to distraction.

Download The Enright Files on the transformative, confounding power of poetry
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The Audience Talks Back: The 2018 CBC Massey Lectures

On the CBC Massey Lectures tour, each lecture concluded in an audience discussion with Tanya Talaga - most of which was never broadcast. In the original broadcast of the Massey Lectures, we invited you -the radio audience - to send in your questions for Tanya Talaga. In this episode, Tanya Talaga talks with Greg Kelly about her experience of delivering the CBC Massey Lectures, and responds to some of the questions sent to her, plus some of the best of those audience discussions from the tour.

Download The Audience Talks Back: The 2018 CBC Massey Lectures
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Lecture 1: "We Were Always Here" by Tanya Talaga (2018 CBC Massey Lectures)

In her 2018 CBC Massey Lectures series, titled All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, prize-winning journalist Tanya Talaga (author of Seven Fallen Feathers) explores the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples. For Talaga, that cultural genocide has led to a forced disconnection from land and language by Indigenous peoples. The need now, she says, is for Indigenous self-determination in social, cultural and political arenas.

Download Lecture 1: "We Were Always Here" by Tanya Talaga (2018 CBC Massey Lectures)
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Lecture 2: "Big Brother's Hunger" by Tanya Talaga (2018 CBC Massey Lectures)

In her 2018 CBC Massey Lectures series, titled All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, prize-winning journalist Tanya Talaga (author of Seven Fallen Feathers) explores the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples.

Download Lecture 2: "Big Brother's Hunger" by Tanya Talaga (2018 CBC Massey Lectures)
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Lecture 3: "The Third Space" (The 2018 CBC Massey Lectures)

Prize-winning journalist Tanya Talaga (author of Seven Fallen Feathers) explores the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples in her 2018 CBC Massey Lectures series, titled All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward.

Download Lecture 3: "The Third Space" (The 2018 CBC Massey Lectures)
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Lecture 4: "I Breathe For Them" (2018 CBC Massey Lectures)

Prize-winning journalist Tanya Talaga (author of Seven Fallen Feathers) explores the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples in her 2018 CBC Massey Lectures series, titled All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward.

Download Lecture 4: "I Breathe For Them" (2018 CBC Massey Lectures)
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Lecture 5: "We Are Not Going Anywhere" (2018 CBC Massey Lectures)

Prize-winning journalist Tanya Talaga (author of Seven Fallen Feathers) explores the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples in her 2018 CBC Massey Lectures series, titled All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward.

Download Lecture 5: "We Are Not Going Anywhere" (2018 CBC Massey Lectures)
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Is it time for animals to "lawyer up"?

Under the eyes of the law, animals that live in our homes or on a farm are 'property.' But there's a growing movement to grant some animals like chimpanzees, elephants and dolphins 'non-human persons' status. Harvard Law School doctoral candidate Jessica Eisen thinks the law could do even better than that. This episode is part of our ongoing series, Ideas from the Trenches.

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Shepherds or Scapegoats: Gay priests in limbo

Gay priests are often rolled into the blame game in the Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis. There's a Vatican prohibition on gay men entering seminaries, even as the stories swirl about how many high-level clerics are sexually active. Producer Sean Foley explores the psychological, historical, and pastoral paradoxes of clerical sexual identity at a pivotal time for the Church and the world.

Download Shepherds or Scapegoats: Gay priests in limbo
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The Long Arm of Ayn Rand: Why she still matters, Part 2

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. This episode is part 2 of a two-part series.

Download The Long Arm of Ayn Rand: Why she still matters, Part 2
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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.

Download The Long Arm of Ayn Rand: Why She Still Matters, Part 1
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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 in St. John's 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.

Download Turn it off: Music to drive you crazy
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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?

Download Lonely Together: The plight of urban isolation
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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? Coders and designers make products that allow to us communicate with each other, across cities and nations and borders. As these giants grow at breakneck speed, and the chaos of their unfettered impact becomes more obvious, the call is coming for a reckoning. Contributor Tina Pittaway explores whether the time has come for tech to reckon with its moral void.

Download Tech's Moral Void
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Freeze: Rebecca Belmore's memorial to Neil Stonechild

Neil Stonechild was an Indigenous adolescent who was picked up by police in downtown Saskatoon in mid-winter, driven to the industrial suburbs late at night, and intentionally abandoned. He ultimately froze to death. Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore produced a piece called "Freeze: Stonechild Memorial" in commemoration of of the event. It's a sculpture, made of ice, installed outside the Remai Modern Gallery in Saskatoon since February 1st, when a major retrospective of her work opened there. Paul Kennedy in conversation with Rebecca Belmore.

Download Freeze: Rebecca Belmore's memorial to Neil Stonechild
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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.

Download Guardians vs. Gardeners: Relocating wolves to help balance ecology
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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.

Download The Music of Matter: 150 years of the Periodic Table
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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.

Download The Stolen Revolution: Iranian Women of 1979
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Dignity down the toilet: 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.

Download Dignity down the toilet: Dignity down the toilet: Public bathrooms as a human right
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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.

Download On the Move: Commuting, work, life
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