The Sunday Edition for July 21, 2019

Listen to this week's episode with guest host Peter Armstrong.

How the internet turned from a tool for democracy to a threat against it

The early promise of the internet was that it would empower citizens, but it has now become a threat to democracy. What went wrong? And can it be reclaimed again for the democratic good?

The late Howard Engel remained a prolific writer, even when he could no longer read

Former CBC colleague and the author of the Benny Cooperman series of crime novels died this week. In 2005, Howard Engel spoke with Michael about how he wrote another book after a stroke left him able to write, but unable to read. 

Novelist Taffy Brodesser-Akner on marriage, divorce and how we're all unreliable narrators

In Brodesser-Akner's new novel, middle-aged Toby Fleishman ends his 14-year marriage and expects to enter a new era of freedom. Then his ex-wife drops their kids off and disappears, and he's forced to reconsider the story he told about their marriage.

Boris Johnson, who endorsed Brexit, may be the PM who will have to see it through

On July 22, we will know whether the voluble, brash British MP and former London mayor is the new head of the Conservative Party and the new prime minister. Michael Enright spoke with Boris Johnson in 2012, about his memoir 'Johnson's Life of London.'

Aren't you too old for that? The late life plunge into a PhD

A truck driver, bartender, activist and justice consultant share stories of their bold decision to take up a PhD later in their lives.

The goal of 10,000 steps a day is not based in science, says expert in walking behaviour

Most people who count how many steps they walk every day are focused on the goal of 10,000, but Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke says there is nothing magic about that number.

The Sunday Edition for July 14, 2019

Listen to this week's episode with guest host Gillian Findlay.

The murky history of paternity testing, from celebrity scandals to Nazi Germany to the U.S.-Mexico border

Before DNA could identify fathers definitively, people resorted to all kinds of techniques, including measuring the shape of ears. The results could shape - or end - lives. Nara Milanich is a professor at Barnard College who has investigated what she calls "the elusive quest for the father.”
Personal essay

A cat dies, a community is born: all hail Sir Hamish!

Paula Hudson Lunn’s grief over the death of Sir Hamish, her tough old orange tabby cat, was eased when she discovered he had been much loved by her neighbours and friends as well.

Thousands of farm animals die in barn fires, and no one seems to care

Vicki Fecteau, director of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, talks to Michael Enright about the vast number of animals that die in barn fires in Canada, and what should be done to prevent such fires.

The forgotten real-life story behind Lolita

In 1948, an 11-year-old girl named Sally Horner was kidnapped by a convicted rapist who made her pretend to be his daughter. Her ordeal inspired Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita — but Sally's story has been forgotten, and she died before she had a chance to tell it herself.

Ontario man with dementia on crusade to plan his own death

A London, Ont., man in the early stages of dementia wants the right to end his life with medical assistance when his condition gets worse. But current laws make no provision for advance requests — effectively excluding people with Alzheimer's and dementia.

Why we need to rethink our obsession with being more productive

The gospel of productivity would have us believe that, through better time management, we'll be able to accomplish more, and be happier and more successful as a result. Brad Aeon, who specializes in time management at Concordia University, says we should think again.

The Sunday Edition for July 7, 2019

Listen to this week's program with guest host Gillian Findlay

Treat climate change like the crisis it is, says journalism professor

More Canadians than ever are troubled by the state of our planet. But Sean Holman believes the news media have been slow to catch up.

Newfoundland knitters rescue trigger mitts from extinction

Trigger mitts are designed to make it easier for people to hunt or work outdoors during the winter. The pattern started to disappear - but the two reigning queens of traditional Newfoundland knitting are trying to revive the art. Heather Barrett’s documentary is called "A Yarn About Mittens."

Esi Edugyan on Washington Black and the inescapable tendrils of slavery

The celebrated Canadian writer talks to Michael about growing up black in Calgary, the legacy of slavery, and what it's like to win (or be nominated for) so many literary prizes.

How ignorance makes us cocky

It's called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. When social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger first wrote about it in 1999, it wasn't taken seriously. Now it's seen as a phenomenon that is having a very real impact on world events, from the 2008 financial crisis to the election of Donald Trump. David Dunning, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, is Michael's guest.
Personal Essay

For Bill Richardson, part-time dishwashing became a road to salvation

Former radio host Bill Richardson found himself depressed and retreating from the world. His only way to find happiness was to take a job that was smelly, relentless, repetitive and dull.

You can't stop checking your phone because Silicon Valley designed it that way

Every ping, ding and vibration is designed with a purpose — to hook you, reel you in and keep you glued to your device for as long as possible. Is addiction inevitable? Is resistance futile? Ira Basen explores the past, present and future of persuasive technology in his documentary "Open to Persuasion."

The Sunday Edition for June 30, 2019

Listen to this week's episode with guest host Peter Armstrong.

Writer Esmé Weijun Wang on life with the 'collected schizophrenias'

Most of what we hear about schizophrenia comes from clinicians or caregivers struggling to make sense of an experience they cannot share. Writer Esmé Weijun Wang's new essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias gives us a rare, first-person look at life with schizoaffective disorder.

A Korean-Canadian opera singer rediscovers her voice in small-town Saskatchewan​

Jaesook Ahn helps her husband run a grocery store in Eastend, Sask., population 503. When David Gutnick discovered that Jaesook, now known as Jenny, was once an opera singer in South Korea, he convinced her to give a concert for her neighbours.

Donald Trump lacks the character traits of great presidents, says presidential historian

Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, examines the character traits that made four American presidents great leaders, and whether the current president shares any of them.