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The Spark Guide To Life, Episode Nine: New Perspectives

Google Street View birding, embroidered computers, STEM and the Girl Guides, and using FortNite to teach about climate change

Computer made of cloth challenges our concept of technology

Embroidered electronic tapestry beautifully illustrates the workings of computers

Is that a pixel or a Pileated Woodpecker? Birders flock to Google Street View

Search for elusive species from your desk.

Girl Scouts introduce 'cybersecurity' badge

Girl Guides and Scouts increase focus on STEM

Scientists play Fortnite to teach us about climate change

Oceanographer streams video games on Twitch.

The Spark Guide To Life, Episode Eight: Smart Cities

A special on Smart Cities. It's a big buzzword these days, especially as cities are bigger and denser than ever before. But there are competing visions for what it should be, who should run it, and how to protect your privacy.

Confused by 'smart city' hype? This expert explains what it is and why we should care

As cities around the world begin integrating technology more deeply into urban infrastructure, it's still not clear what people mean when they talk about "smart cities." Urban sustainability professor Andrew Karvonen talks about how to define smart cities, as well as some concerns critics have about the so-called cities of the future.

Most Canadians skeptical about smart cities when it comes to their privacy

Earlier this year, a survey found that 88 per cent of Canadians are concerned on some level about their privacy when it comes to smart cities. Researcher Sara Bannerman says that governments need to step up when it comes to protecting people's data.

No single company should have a monopoly on building smart cities, tech entrepreneur says

If a smart city's infrastructure is built by a single corporation, it may end up being like like a technological walled garden, which could harm collaboration and innovation, says Kurtis McBride.

To protect privacy, there need to be limits on smart cities' surveillance

A panel at a security and privacy conference in Victoria, B.C., earlier this year, discusses how a smart city can be efficient, safe and open. Speakers include former Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian, David Izzard, the Architecture & Cyber Security Manager for the City of Surrey, BC, and Andrew Clement, a member of the Waterfront Toronto Digital Strategy Advisory Board.

What living in a hyper-connected city means for human beings

Canada Research Chair in the Internet of Things and OCAD University professor Alexis Morris says people need to be at the centre of smart cities with contextually aware public spaces.

The Spark Guide To Life, Episode Seven: Mixed Emotions

How examining opposing views may entrench your own, IBM's AI debater, showing emotion on IG, and the importance of reclaiming boredom.

Opposing opinions could make 'echo chamber' even tighter

Conventional wisdom suggests that being exposed to other political opinions on Twitter could open your mind to other political viewpoints, but new research shows that the opposite may be true.

AI debater uses arguments and emotions to challenge human opponent

Be it resolved that your next debating opponent may be ... beyond human!

It's okay to cry on Instagram

Why Instagrammers are sharing honest pictures, warts and all.

Canadian philosopher Mark Kingwell examines the idea of boredom and our digital devices

Boredom can open us up to the question of meaning and other deeply philosophical perspectives. But today, we look for a way out of boredom by endlessly scrolling and swiping. Philosopher Mark Kingwell argues that we're in a political economy of "neoliberal boredom" fuelled by digital devices.

The Spark Guide To Life, Episode Six: Sound and Music

Should we preserver the noise of a fax machine? Does your DNA affect your music tastes? And what tunes make the tastiest Emmental?

'Conserve the Sound' hopes to save sounds of old tech before they're gone

From manual typewriters to early video game consoles, an online museum of disappearing sounds.

Piano Genie lets you play piano — even if you don't know how

What this piano-composing program teaches us about the future of AI.

Researchers use AI to track whale songs in a sea of noise

Machine learning is helping researchers even as the whales' songs evolve.

Cheese wheels bombarded by music taste different

One cheese wheel listened to The Magic Flute. One to Stairway to Heaven and another got A Tribe Called Quest's Jazz (We've Got). Yet another cheese just hung out in silence. Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler explains why he played a 24-hour loop of music to wheels of cheese — and whether it had an impact on the flavour.

Spotify wants your DNA to decide what you listen to

Spotify and AncestryDNA collaboration is more than personalized music, it's about data.

The Spark Guide to Life, Episode Five: Ethics

Surveilling strangers, ethics courses for computer science students, and what we should and shouldn't be doing with AI.

Why the trend of surveilling strangers online proves we are horrible

Posting embarrassing pictures of strangers is a way of policing individuality

Restaurants have strict standards to protect customers. Tech platforms don't

Should social media companies be obligated to put your interests first.

Canadian philosopher Mark Kingwell examines the idea of boredom and our digital devices

Boredom can open us up to the question of meaning and other deeply philosophical perspectives. But today, we look for a way out of boredom by endlessly scrolling and swiping. Philosopher Mark Kingwell argues that we're in a political economy of "neoliberal boredom" fuelled by digital devices.

Confused by 'smart city' hype? This expert explains what it is and why we should care

As cities around the world begin integrating technology more deeply into urban infrastructure, it's still not clear what people mean when they talk about "smart cities." Urban sustainability professor Andrew Karvonen talks about how to define smart cities, as well as some concerns critics have about the so-called cities of the future.

The Spark Guide To Life, Episode Eight: Smart Cities

A special on Smart Cities. It's a big buzzword these days, especially as cities are bigger and denser than ever before. But there are competing visions for what it should be, who should run it, and how to protect your privacy.

Most Canadians skeptical about smart cities when it comes to their privacy

Earlier this year, a survey found that 88 per cent of Canadians are concerned on some level about their privacy when it comes to smart cities. Researcher Sara Bannerman says that governments need to step up when it comes to protecting people's data.

What living in a hyper-connected city means for human beings

Canada Research Chair in the Internet of Things and OCAD University professor Alexis Morris says people need to be at the centre of smart cities with contextually aware public spaces.

No single company should have a monopoly on building smart cities, tech entrepreneur says

If a smart city's infrastructure is built by a single corporation, it may end up being like like a technological walled garden, which could harm collaboration and innovation, says Kurtis McBride.

To protect privacy, there need to be limits on smart cities' surveillance

A panel at a security and privacy conference in Victoria, B.C., earlier this year, discusses how a smart city can be efficient, safe and open. Speakers include former Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian, David Izzard, the Architecture & Cyber Security Manager for the City of Surrey, BC, and Andrew Clement, a member of the Waterfront Toronto Digital Strategy Advisory Board.

Cheese wheels bombarded by music taste different

One cheese wheel listened to The Magic Flute. One to Stairway to Heaven and another got A Tribe Called Quest's Jazz (We've Got). Yet another cheese just hung out in silence. Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler explains why he played a 24-hour loop of music to wheels of cheese — and whether it had an impact on the flavour.