What on Earth is Going on?
By Ben Charland
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Your weekly podcast for a world in flux. Globalization and climate change. The rise of social media and the decline and fall of Blockbuster Video. AI and VR. Donald Trump and Flat Earthers. The world is changing so fast that we can't get a grip on how we got here, let alone where we're headed. Join Ben Charland as he peels back the headlines to ask, what are the events, characters, forces and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? Who were those barbarians that took down the Blockbuster Empire? Just what on Earth is going on?
||Clean...with Public Art (Ep. 29)||Public art can make cities beautiful, inviting, inspiring and thought-provoking. It can bind communities together not just in what the art communicates, but in how it is made. Public art can even be controversial because of its content and the fact...||11/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with the Erosion of Empathy (Ep. 28)||In his acclaimed thriller, Butcher, Canadian playwright Nicolas Billon asks, how do we punish the unpunishable? How can there be true justice when everyone has their own take on what justice is and how it should be served? How can live theatre as an...||11/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Wheelchair Fencing & the 'Appeal' (Ep. 27)||Disability can change everything, and many of us have a hard time understanding what it means for a curb to be too high, or an electrical socket too low. For Rossana Pasquino, who has spent most of her life in a wheelchair, disability has presented...||11/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Racism (Ep. 26)||Complete show notes are below the description. Racism has been a sad part of the human story for a long time. After slavery was finally abolished in the United States in 1865, it took a hundred years for governments to make formal legal equality real...||10/26/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Water (Ep. 25)||Water is foundational to human life. Many of us live in places where it is clean, cheap and flows freely from the tap, and where it can be taken for granted. But a billion people go without adequate access to clean drinking water, and due to the...||10/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...according to "The Knowledge Illusion" (Ep. 24)||“How is it possible that people can simultaneously bowl us over with their ingenuity and disappoint us with their ignorance? How have we mastered so much despite how limited our understanding often is? These are the questions we will try to answer...||10/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with the Decline of American Soft Power (Ep. 23)||We all know hard power: tanks, planes, guns, even cyberwarfare units. But since the end of the Second World War, the normal method for a country to achieve its goals has been through openness, dialogue and mutual agreement. War, and the threat of war,..||10/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with City Planning and Design (Ep. 22)||Cities are the principal engines of growth and innovation, not just in the west but all over the world. Crowded and sprawling, manic and beautiful, these gravity wells for the human experience constitute our future. But what is the future of the city?..||9/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with the Movies (Ep. 21)||The #MeToo movement struck hard and fast in the film industry, capturing international attention for much more than a few news cycles. It exposed some of the men who abuse their power, and highlighted what women have dealt with for decades. But is it...||9/21/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Social Change (Ep. 20)||Institutions and norms, both written and unwritten, underpin our rule-of-law, human rights-respecting democracies. Some of these have evolved to serve a dynamic and diverse society. Others have withstanded centuries of disruption and change. But it...||9/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...according to "Mindset" (Ep. 19)||“Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also...||9/7/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Women in Leadership (Ep. 18)||Glass ceilings are being shattered everywhere. Women now shape the world in every field and discipline. The archetype of leadership is less and less the old white male. But big problems remain, whether it's big picture pay equity or the guy you know...||8/31/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Classical Music (Ep. 17)||Gustav Mahler once said that a symphony must be like the world, in that it must contain everything. But when it comes to classical music, is that 'container' (think of the pageantry, the dressing up, the protocols of when to clap or cough) getting in...||8/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Education (Ep. 16)||Is education the closest thing we have to a silver bullet for the ills and ailments of our society, even if it takes generations to have a real impact? What's the history of education and where might we be headed? What are the forces that compete to...||8/17/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...according to "The Retreat of Western Liberalism" (Ep. 15)||"Since the turn of the millennium, and particularly over the last decade, no fewer than twenty-five democracies have failed around the world, three of them in Europe (Russia, Turkey and Hungary)... Can the West regain its optimism? If the answer is no..||8/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Terrorism (Ep. 14)||On July 22 a lone gunman opened fire on pedestrians and crowded restaurants on Danforth Avenue in the Greektown District of Toronto. He killed two and wounded ten others before turning the gun on himself. Three months earlier, just a subway ride away,..||8/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with the Division of Political Power (Ep. 13)||What is the nature of political power and how is it distributed? What are the pros and cons of a federal system like Canada's, where power is shared between governments? Is it possible that Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump are singing from the same...||7/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with the Role the Arts Play (Ep. 12)||What is the role of art and music in our society? Is art supposed to effect change or simply represent it after the fact? Is all good art subversive, and is all subversive art good? What does it mean for an arts organization to be responsible to its...||7/20/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...according to "Selfie" (Ep. 11)||"We live in the age of the individual. Every day, we're bombarded with depictions of the beautiful, successful, slim, socially conscious, and extroverted individual that our culture has decided is the perfect self, and we berate ourselves when we...||7/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with History, and a little Jazz (Ep. 10)||What can we learn from the trials, tribulations and shipwrecks of our collective human past? How does that past shape the human story today? How can we liberate history from its eurocentric roots? And, most importantly, what's the link between history..||7/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Artificial Intelligence in Business (Ep. 9)||Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is going to change everything. From self-driving cars to deliveries to your online retailers that can predict and deliver your order before you make it, businesses are already cashing in on the AI revolution, which will..||6/29/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Renewable Energy (Ep. 8)||There is a pressing need to rethink how we produce, consume and transmit energy, to diversify our energy sources, and to reorder our daily lives as well as the larger structures of our economies. These shifts, whether in the form of self-driving cars...||6/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Free Trade & NAFTA (Ep. 7)||Are we on the verge of a trade war, or already in the midst of one? Is NAFTA doomed to the same fate as the Iran Nuclear Deal? What is behind the US president's unprecedented attacks on free trade and the rules-based order that his own country once...||6/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Climate Change & Science Literacy (Ep. 6)||Climate change is real, and we are causing it. At least, that’s the consensus among scientists around the world. A tiny handful of academics disagree, and that is a critical feature of science, but does this mean we should debate it as if it were an..||6/8/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Taxes (Ep. 5)||There's an election coming up in Ontario, and as always, one of the big dividers is taxes. Cut them, raise them, change them, fix them. A lot of the arguments are weary (Doug Ford's PCs want to make gas and beer cheaper; the surging NDP want the...||6/1/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Karl Marx, Part II (Ep. 4)||Part 2 of 2. For his bicentennial in May 2018, it's a good a time as any to re-evaluate the life, work and ideas of one of the most influential philosophers and economists of the modern era, Karl Marx. Following from last week, we delve deeper into...||5/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Karl Marx, Part I (Ep. 3)||Part 1 of 2. May 5 was the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth. Over the past few years there has been a surge of interest in the 19th century philosopher and economist, who challenged capitalism and predicted that it would eventually destroy...||5/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with the Digital Age (Ep. 2)||In the Digital Age, the Internet and social media have utterly transformed the way we live and perceive the world, and there is certainly more to come. But when we started upending norms in the media less than a generation ago, we couldn't perceive...||5/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean...with Populism (Ep. 1)||Donald Trump is in power in America. Doug Ford is headed that way in Ontario. The alt-right seems ascendant everywhere, while liberal democracy is in crisis. Journalists are being demonized as "fake news" at best and "enemies of the people" at worst....||5/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
Truly a man of the times.
Apt, topical, and skillfully done podcast that keeps me informed.