The Sunday Edition for February 23, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Canada's prisons are not supposed to be nursing homes, hospices or general hospitals — Michael's essay

How to deal with aging prisoners is a major problem for Corrections Canada and will only get worse in the next few years.

Can Canada find a housing solution for its homeless? These advocates think so

From Toronto to Vancouver, thousands of people are living rough on the streets every day in Canada’s cities. The Sunday Edition spoke with three housing advocates committed to finding a solution for Canada's homelessness.
Personal Essay

The rude awakening: Is this what a mid-life crisis feels like?

Peggy Lee was on to something when she asked: is that all there is? She had a good answer for it too: then let's keep dancing. The wondering, the shock, the struggling — before the dancing comes — is sometimes particularly acute in what we optimistically call mid-life. Emelia Symington Fedy knows this well. Her essay is called "The Rude Awakening."

Is AI overhyped? Researchers weigh in on technology's promise and problems

Some AI researchers are beginning to wonder if the AI industry might be guilty of overpromising in order to attract consumer and investor interest, and underplaying how hard it will be to recreate the full range of human intelligence in a machine.

Sunday School: The Great Vowel Shift

If you have ever wondered why there seems to be no semblance of logic to the way English words are spelled or pronounced, you might like to know that there is an explanation. It's called The Great Vowel Shift — those few centuries in the Middle Ages in Britain when the pronunciation of every vowel changed. The Sunday Edition's Michael Enright spoke to Jack Chambers, a professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto to learn more.

How standardized patients are helping a new generation of doctors by acting out ailments

The health care system is full of unsung heroes, but standardized patients may be among the most obscure. These are medical role players who pretend to have certain ailments, diseases, life histories and personality types so doctors in training can practice dealing with real people in real situations. Three standardized patients — Penny Tucker and Fred Hoeber in Edmonton and Laura Ellis in Hamilton, Ontario — talk about their work and some of their most memorable roles.

The Sunday Edition for February 16, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Baseball and I are no longer an item — Michael's essay

“I am cutting the umbilical, moving out of the House of Baseball and giving my glove to the Sally Ann thrift store. Baseball and I are no longer an item. Quitting a passion for baseball is going to be harder for me than quitting smoking. But it has to be done. Reasons? It's not the Astros sign-stealing scandal. It's not even the outrageous salaries. It's the accretion, the weight of so many frustrated sighs over the years.”

Mark Carney, named UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, says the smart money is on transition from fossil fuels

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England and former Governor of the Bank of Canada, warns corporations and governments that if they do not have a strategy for mitigating climate change they will face financial consequences. Carney, who begins his next role as the United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change in March, says the smart money is on a transition from fossil fuels and that “it’s time to get on with it.”

'Made to last': More than 100 years old, Canadian wool company thrives in changing knitting market

Located in York Mills, N.B., the mill started in 1857 and changed ownership and names over the years. In 1916, the business became Briggs & Little Woolen Mills Ltd., making it Canada's oldest continuously-operating woollen mill.

How urban design affects mental health

City life can be hard on the nerves — the noise, the lights, the bustle, the endless miles of glass and concrete. And the traffic — just crossing the street can be a terrifying experience with hulking vehicles hurtling down thoroughfares. Robin Mazumder is a PhD student in cognitive neuroscience, and he researches the toll that bad urban design takes on human psychology — and how urban spaces could be made into sources of delight and solace instead of stress.

'Reconciliation cannot be achieved at gunpoint': B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip on Wet'suwet'en stand-off

Where there are plans for pipelines in this country, there are protests. The latest flashpoint: the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, explains his support for the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation who oppose the pipeline, and he addresses questions about the laws and the rights of Indigenous people.

An English major is not destined to be a barista, these professors say

What will be the most important skills to have in the economy of the future? Things like critical thinking, deep analysis and creativity, according to experts and CEOs — skills acquired by studying the humanities. And yet, those are exactly the programs where enrollment is declining and universities are cutting. But according to the University of Toronto’s Nick Mount, “Attacks on the humanities are as old as the humanities.” He and two other English profs — Jessica Riddell of Bishop's University and Lisa Dickson of the University of Northern B.C. — talk about the enduring value of a humanities degree.

The Sunday Edition for February 9, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Michael's essay - Recalling the ancient art of flushing a toilet or turning on a tap

Technology is fine in theory, but — as Michael asks in his essay — do we need it for everything? And why are instruction manuals incomprehensible? He describes one for a kitchen appliance that “reads like the pre-flight checklist for the space shuttle.”

Democrats, not Republicans, are now strangers in their own land

Almost ten years ago, sociologist Arlie Hochschild ventured into the state of Louisiana and embedded herself for about five years with staunch Republicans determined to elect Donald Trump. With the Democratic primaries now underway and the impeachment trial finally over, we check in with Hochschild about the current electoral landscape.
Personal Essay

Sometimes, it's good to be a nuisance

We think of nuisance as a negative word. In this essay, Ruth Miller of Toronto explains how she discovered a whole new meaning for it, when she heard it uttered at a funeral by her rabbi.

Need an empathetic listener? Head over to Montreal's Vent Over Tea

"Why not get great listeners who are willing to donate their time and build a platform where you can connect them with people who need to vent?" The story behind Montreal's Vent Over Tea.

Not just diseases but ideas can plague us, says this political scientist

How people behave in times of great uncertainty and fear — such as the current scare over coronavirus — is the focus of Emily Nacol’s research. She teaches political theory at the University of Toronto and is currently studying accounts of plagues in fiction.

Artists grapple with the complicated relationship between addiction and art

The image of the tortured, addicted, brilliant artist has deep historical roots, and has long held a touch of romance. In the age of the opioid crisis, it's losing its lustre. Peterborough's Electric City Culture Council recently hosted a roundtable discussion about art and addiction, including visual artists, actors, musicians and frontline workers. We share some of that conversation.

Renowned dancer Bill T. Jones on James Baldwin's life and legacy

James Baldwin, who died in 1987, was one of the most charismatic, important African-American writers of the 20th century. A new documentary film about his life and legacy opened in Canada this week. We revisit Michael's interview with renowned dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones about Baldwin's legacy.

The Sunday Edition for February 2, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Fear, panic, preparedness and the new coronavirus — Michael's essay

“I would suggest that we are better armed in many ways because of the work of one man — an Ontario judge named Archie Campbell. After the SARS episode subsided, Justice Campbell investigated every element of the crisis and underlined the systemic failures of different health and government agencies, many of whom were not even talking to one another. Most of his recommendations were implemented.”

'Collateral to someone else's national story': A view from Northern Ireland on the Brexit saga

Brexit is finally a reality, but the future remains murky, particularly in Northern Ireland. Garrett Carr has walked the entire length of the Irish border — journeys he chronicled in his book, The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland's Border. He joined Michael Enright to talk about what Brexit means for that border and the people on either side of it.