Spark from CBC Radio

Spark from CBC Radio
Spark on CBC Radio One Nora Young helps you navigate your digital life by connecting you to fresh ideas in surprising ways.

477: Reinventing Retail
May 29 • 54 min
It’s been a long time since many of us have stepped inside an actual, physical retail store for anything other than essentials. Across Canada, we’re in different stages of reopening in a staggered, uncertain way. Many businesses have shuttered…
Spark Special: The Future as Fiction
May 22 • 54 min
These days, we’re living with a lot of uncertainty. And that can be scary. So we turn to science, to mathematical models and policy makers, all to try to understand where things are going. But fiction can also offer us insights into not what’s going to…
476: The Pandemic and Internet Health
May 15 • 54 min
In the midst of a global health crisis, how’s the health…of the internet? Being online has clearly emerged as a necessity. But with online tools like video chat exploding in popularity, a look at whether they have the safety and security we need. And…
475: Wayfinding and finding our way
May 8 • 54 min
Remember the olden days—like 2 months ago—when you could just head out the door and wander wherever you felt like it, exploring the world around you? We humans are deeply spatial creatures. Our sense of space is tied to how we know the world around us,…
474: Privacy and resilience by design
May 1 • 54 min
How can we design for resilience and privacy? From shortages of flour on grocery store shelves to a lack of personal protective equipment, we’ve seen how lean global supply chains can be surprisingly brittle. This week, we’ll hear the case for more…
473: Space and place post-pandemic
Apr 24 • 54 min
In software design, people talk about stress testing. Pushing things to the limit, to see how it performs at the extreme end. And it’s pretty clear that right now, we’re in a period of stress testing the current design of our cities. And our homes. Over…
472: Touch and Trust in our virtual world
Apr 17 • 54 min
As physical distancing and isolation continues, we’re saturated with information and interaction on screens big and small, often several screens at once, and All. Day. Long. We’ve become desperate for tactile, analogue things: Witness the breadmaking…
April 12, 2020: Special: Proto-internet
Apr 10 • 54 min
What do ham radios, 18th-century British roadways and the 1990 film “Pump Up The Volume” all have in common? They all foreshadowed internet culture! This week on Spark: a fun and illuminating look at how early moments in Western culture hinted at our…
471: Reimagining our Relationship with Tech (and each other)
Apr 3 • 54 min
When new technology comes along—or we use it in new ways—it raises questions of etiquette and ethics. With so many of us opening a digital window into our homes in an unprecedented way, are we reimagining our relationship with our technologies—and each…
470: Access in Isolation
Mar 27 • 54 min
As the pandemic continues to keep a lot of us at home, today we look at access and technology: Social access to each other as we physically isolate. Access to the devices and data that keep us connected. And securing access to the internet when networks…
469: Remote
Mar 20 • 54 min
This week, Spark is coming to you from five different locations across Toronto, none of which is the CBC building! Like many people all over the world this week, we’re working from home. Remote work is something we’ve talked about a lot on Spark over the…
468: Concentration
Mar 13 • 54 min
In an age of digital devices and near constant distractions, many of us feel like our attention spans are shrinking. The good news is: we can get our power of concentration back. So this week on Spark, a handbook on how to concentrate in a distracting…
467: Music Streaming
Mar 6 • 54 min
For many of us—even without it being much of a conscious choice—buying music has been replaced by subscribing to a music streaming service. Here in Canada, streaming numbers have long overtaken physical or digital album sales. One study reported over 75…
466: Living Buildings
Feb 28 • 54 min
What if there was an alternative to buildings made from concrete, steel and glass? Many of those materials—especially concrete—are very energy intensive to produce. This week on Spark, we look at some of the ways architects are trying to incorporate…
465: Open / Closed
Feb 21 • 54 min
We’ve seen an incredible change in the architecture of the internet. Not just how it operates, but how we operate within it. Think back to the days when YouTube was new, only a handful of people knew what Facebook was, and cell phones were for making…
Spark special: A map of maps
Feb 14 • 54 min
Google Maps. It’s turning 15. Fifteen! We’re looking back at some of the many stories about maps we’ve covered on past seasons of Spark. We’ll look back at maps for smells, maps for noises, and even how some people are using Google Street View for birding!
464: Truth Decay
Feb 7 • 54 min
Polarization and social-media filter bubbles are destroying our shared sense of reality. Does this mean society is headed toward a state of psychosis?
463: Islands in the Stream
Jan 31 • 54 min
After years of Netflix and YouTube dominating streaming video, a raft of new services is arriving, yours for the price of a subscription. What does this mean for the future of how we watch? That, plus exploring the surprising role the pornography industry…
462: In Defense of Winter
Jan 24 • 54 min
It’s winter (duh). Long nights, cold days, and, for much of the country, snow. But should we be cowering inside or embracing it? This week on Spark, we look at how public design and personal mindset can allow us to make the most—and even get excited…
461: D-I-V-O-R-C-E
Jan 17 • 54 min
The Netflix movie “Marriage Story” has received lots of recognition, including six Oscar nominations. Critics and viewers are entranced by its realistic look at a couple who want to split up amicably, but are swayed by those around them, including…
460: The Future
Jan 10 • 54 min
If we’ve learned anything in the tech world over the last decade, it’s the folly of not taking the long view. So the start of a new decade seems like a good time to talk “big picture” with Lord Martin Rees, one of the world’s most prominent scientists.…
459: Canada, Communications and a new decade
Jan 3 • 54 min
With phone scams on the rise and 5G around the corner, how well are we prepared for the 2020s? A feature interview with CRTC Chair Ian Scott.
458: Weird and Wonderful AI
Dec 27, 2019 • 54 min
How making AI do goofy things exposes its limitations: In her book, “You Look Like a Thing and I Love You,” Janelle Shane eposes the pitfalls of AI dependence. Also, Musician-turned-AI-researcher David Usher talks about ReImagine AI, he effort to make a…
Special: Rest and Recharge
Dec 20, 2019 • 54 min
We revisit conversations with people who’ve dedicated their research to helping us rest, recharge and return to nature.
457: Technology and Oppression
Dec 13, 2019 • 54 min
New technology often gets talked about as a neutral object. But technology has politics. It’s designed and used by humans. And humans have priorities and beliefs and blinders. This week on Spark we’re look at how technology can be used to both liberate…
456: Walden, revisited
Dec 6, 2019 • 54 min
Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walden; or, Life in the Woods, is a seminal work of literature—and one of the greatest arguments ever made in favour of simple living. This week on Spark we’re revisiting Walden, and looking at its elegant relevance for today’s…