The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Edition for June 2, 2019

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.
(Charles Platia/Reuters, iStock, CBC)

In praise of trains — Michael's essay:  "Trains manifest power and gentleness at the same time. The engine must be powerful enough to pull the tonnage through the countryside. Yet the comforting almost metronomic rhythms of the rocking motion can bring peace to the monkey brain."

The president of CBC explains her plan to rescue the public broadcaster from its existential crisis:  TV ratings are down, international media are flooding in through the internet, people are turning to Facebook and Twitter for news, and there's the possibility of more budget cuts to come. Catherine Tait has been president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada for just over a year; she's Michael's guest.

A 96-year-old crystallographer meets three female science students:  In 1948, young scientist June Lindsey's crystallography work in a Cambridge laboratory helped Watson and Crick discover the structure of DNA — the famous double helix. Today, June is 96 years old, modest and for the most part unheralded. Three young women studying science at the University of Ottawa pay a visit — to hear her stories, and to thank her. David Gutnick's documentary is called Who do we think we are?

Walling ourselves off:  From the Great Wall of China to the DMZ dividing North from South Korea, more than a third of the world's nation-states have barriers on their borders. And against the backdrop of an international migrant crisis and growing ethnic nationalism, more walls are being built. Tim Marshall is a longtime foreign correspondent for the BBC and Sky News. His book is called The Age of Walls: How Barriers Between Nations Are Changing Our World.

What comes first, the clue or the word?  29-year-old Will Nediger of London, Ont., has a PhD in linguistics and is a regular contributor of crosswords to The New York Times. Michael Enright, a passionate addict of the Times' daily puzzle, is in awe. Nediger explains why "a four-letter word for an actor" is always Richard Gere.

So many people are invoking "the rule of law," the phrase is losing its meaning:  From Justin Trudeau and SNC-Lavalin to China's Huawei executives to U.S. President Donald Trump putting children in cages and refusing to respect subpoenas, we're hearing a lot about the rule of law these days. David Dyzenhaus is one of Canada's foremost experts on the rule of law. He's a professor of law and philosophy, and the Albert Abel Chair of Law at the University of Toronto.

Music this week by: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the Oscar Peterson Trio, Django Townshend, Neko Case, k.d. lang, Laura Veirs, Amanda Martinez, John Lennon, the Great Uncles of the Revolution and Miles Davis.