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The Sunday Edition for March 1, 2020

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

Wealth begets wealth. The looming question now: Who will be the world's first trillionaire? — Michael's essay

"A trillion dollars is a lot of money. It's just about equal to the GDP of South Korea and Mexico. Right now, of the five richest men in the world, four are American. Chances are good the first trillionaire will be an American — perhaps Mark Zuckerberg who is just 35."

The untold stories of the women Jack the Ripper killed

Our culture has a rather grisly fascination with serial killers. They become the subject of fiction and true crime dramas — some even become a ghoulish kind of cult hero. But there’s considerably less interest in the stories of their victims. Hallie Rubenhold flips the script in her award-winning new book — The Five — a gripping piece of social history that focuses on the complex lives of the five women murdered by the most notorious serial killer of all, Jack the Ripper.

Children 'more alive when they are outside': Quebec nature-based daycare takes kids out of classroom

Karine Gravel, the mother of young boys, opened La Garderie Nature last October, in a building she helped design that backs onto a forest in the Saguenay suburb of Chicoutimi-Nord.

Reconciling the good and evil embodied in Jean Vanier (and the rest of us)

The revelations that the beloved humanitarian, Jean Vanier, engaged in "manipulative sexual relationships" with six women between 1970 and 2005 came as a shock — and a betrayal — to his legions of admirers. Michael Higgins — one of North America's leading thinkers on Catholic theology and papal politics and the author of a biography of Vanier — and Colleen Dulle — a writer at the Jesuit magazine, America — join Michael Enright to discuss the struggle to reconcile the good works of Vanier with his apparent capacity for evil.

Jazz for people who hate jazz

Not everyone shares Michael’s passion for jazz, and that’s okay. But University of Toronto linguistics professor, jazz expert and Miles Davis biographer Jack Chambers believes passionately that just about anyone could grow to love jazz if they listen with fresh ears and perhaps a little tutelage.

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.