Sparkwith Nora Young

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How the telegraph and the lightbulb can teach us to think critically about future inventions

In her new book, The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, materials scientist and author Ainissa Ramirez chronicles eight life-changing inventions, and the inventors behind them.

'My webcam is like my front door': What COVID-19 means for digital etiquette and consent

As physical distancing forces us to embrace new technologies, so we can stay connected while remaining apart, journalist Hannah Sung is asking what it means for our understanding of privacy and consent.

Digital security expert shares tips on how to protect your data while working remotely

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are spending more time online now than ever before - and according to Citizen Lab's John Scott-Railton, this makes us vulnerable to privacy and security threats.

Working from home data surge a 'balancing act' for ISPs: tech expert

A technology expert says he is impressed at how well Canada’s internet is holding up given the massive data-load its infrastructure is under amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

'Internet is the only lifeline they have': Canada needs to confront 'digital divide' amid COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Canada to confront many of its hidden social inequalities, one of these being unequal access to the internet, an internet freedom advocate says. 

The internet can bring us together, but only if we have the resources: professor

Working or learning from home isn’t so easy if you lack private space, software, hardware or even a strong internet connection, professor Aimeé Morrison says.

Working from home? Trust is key, says CEO of company with completely remote workforce

Employees at Wildbit have been working remotely for 20 years. Natalie Nagele, the software company's CEO and co-founder, shared some of the keys to remote working success for those who are just starting out.

You probably worked from home this week. We did, too

Observing the recommended social distancing practices in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Spark team produced the show about remote work, from home.

Tech distractions may harm your concentration, but you can reverse it, says psychologist

Technology isn't permanently harming our ability to concentrate, despite the widely held belief that our devices and the internet are making us worse at focusing, according to a cognitive psychology expert.

Aging brains have more trouble concentrating — and that may be a good thing

Tarek Amer, a psychology postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University, says that although our ability to focus our attention on specific things worsens as we age, older adults are able to retain broad swaths of information better than younger people.

What happens when you give up headphones for a week?

When lawyer Michael Shammas experimented with not wearing headphones, he found himself reconnecting with his inner monologue.

Generation of songwriters being lost due to streaming struggle, Juno nominee says

A Juno-nominated musician says a generation of songwriters is being lost due to the intense struggle artists face trying to survive financially in an industry dominated by music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
Q&A

Why fungi could be the future of environmentally sustainable building materials

As the construction industry struggles to deal with its impact on the climate, a new crop of people with big ideas are looking for alternative materials to build with. Phil Ayres, an architect and associate professor of architecture in Copenhagen, says the future of building materials isn't high tech polymers or special light metals but mushrooms.  

The home of the future might constantly adapt to its residents

Beesley's group, Living Architecture Systems Group, challenges notions about building design and permanence.

Is the dream of an 'open' internet dead?

Walled in by the gardens of Facebook and Google and stifled by authoritarian governments. Are we headed toward a world of 'splinternets'?

Social media can be 'toxic' and 'violent' — so people are trading it for private chats: journalist

Tech journalist Takara Small says people are building private social networks, through group messages with friends and family and interest-based communities, to create a safe space online.

In 300 metres, turn left: a digital history of maps

In honour of the 15th anniversary of Google Maps, we explore all the ways we have learned to navigate the world by sight, smell and sound.

Truth decay: How digital technologies are helping shatter our shared sense of reality

Polarization and filter bubbles are destroying our shared sense of reality. Does this mean society is headed toward a state of psychosis?

Suggestions, subscriptions and no sense of community: Streaming is changing the way we watch TV

Who will be the winners and losers in the competitive streaming video market? And what can we, the consumers, make of all this dizzying choice?

How streaming sites like Netflix are taking design cues from the porn industry to keep people watching

Recommended videos and animated thumbnails are all designed to offer viewers "satisfaction through abundance." But before they appeared on sites like Netflix or Amazon Prime, they were already common on porn sites.

How urban design can help make winters less miserable

Season-conscious mindset and urban design can help us embrace winter instead of avoiding it.
PERSONAL ESSAY

It's dark when I wake up. It's dark when I leave work. In winter, there is no sun here

Social media is a flurry of #wintermagic photos this time of year, but Spark senior producer Michelle Parise isn't having it.
PERSONAL ESSAY

Winter is a fact of Canadian life. So I make the most of it

Winter is part of our natural environment. Spark producer Adam Killick says we should get out and enjoy it.

Apps make it easier for couples to separate, but family law experts say communication is still key

Online tools for divorce and co-parenting aim to keep the process amicable and inexpensive. These digital resources are part of a broader move to open up divorce to less adversarial conflict resolution methods like mediation, coaching and collaborative law.

'This century is crucial': Why the U.K.'s astronomer royal says humanity is at a critical crossroads

This week on Spark, we speak with Martin Rees, the U.K.’s astronomer royal and author of On The Future: Prospects for Humanity, about the challenges humanity will face in the future, and how we might harness technology to tackle them.