You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘CBC Radio’ tag.

   I think it is uncontroversial to say that we are hardwired to be social animals.  Yet, why do we design our cities and spaces to make interaction and social contact less affable and easy to access?

 

“Urban loneliness is a virtual pandemic. Even though there have never been as many cities across the world as there are right now with such high populations, urban loneliness carries with it huge social, medical and financial consequences. Why are cities the new capitals of isolation? 

“Ideas contributor Tom Jokinen believes the design of urban centres may actually be the cause of urban isolation. Yet they may also contain the ingredients for a more integrated social landscape. 

It’s hard to believe that anyone could be lonely in the city, surrounded by millions of people. But urban loneliness is real, and it’s at the centre of a health epidemic.

According to Dr. Vivek Murthy, former United States Surgeon General under President Obama, loneliness can lead to increased risks for heart disease, anxiety, depression and dementia: in stark terms it is the same as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.”

 

“Yet the idea of solitude and isolation is central to the culture of the city. Think of the paintings of Edward Hopper depicting nighthawks at the diner. His realist paintings are actually about something more abstract: what it’s like to be alone in a city of millions. Eye contact is never made in a Hopper painting — and the people in his paintings look like the last survivors of some urban catastrophe — one that’s been a long time coming.

In 1920, only 5 per cent of Americans lived alone. By 2016, that number was 27 per cent, and most of the growth of solo living has been in the cities.

A study by the Engaged City Task Force in Vancouver asked people to report the biggest problem facing that city. The result was surprising: they might have said homelessness, or the opioid epidemic. But the number one problem in Vancouver according to residents was urban loneliness.”

 

Who I see suffering the most from loneliness is the elderly.  As we grow older our world shrinks.  Mobility goes down and correspondingly contact with the outside world also declines.  Friends begin to die off as disease and accidents of life take their toll.  The golden years are rarely golden for many senior citizens.  What contact is available from the outside world comes through the television (and sometimes the radio).  The lonely context the elderly inhabit is a recipe for poor physical and mental health outcomes.

“What is it about cities that makes us so lonely? Just look up. The urban environment, with its tall glass towers of one-bedroom and studio condos is built for loneliness, it’s designed to cut people off from each other.

But things may be changing: new ideas like co-housing, where families live together, mean the city itself could become less forbidding. But is it enough to face down an epidemic?”

Not changing fast enough. These solutions need to have been started decades ago.  Our society is now paying the price for not designing our cities around the idea that we need social contact for our mental and physical health.  The quotes are from the preface to an radio broadcast on CBC called Ideas.  The show on loneliness is quite interesting, I recommend going to page and giving it a listen.

 

trees    Trees on streets and boulevards reduce crime.  Do we know the how or why of this particular correlation, nope.  But we do know that trees on private lots also tend to reduce criminal activity, with the proviso that they are over 42 feet high.  The studies linked are quite fascinating and most definitely worth a read.

But recent research suggests the opposite:  trees don’t give burglars and highwaymen a place to hide, rather they may reduce crime in a neighbourhood.

One piece of research from 2001 focused on a public housing project in Chicago, where some buildings had trees out front, others did not. The research found that buildings with fewer trees or barren yards had more crime reports, while buildings with trees had fewer crimes. Because residents of the project were randomly assigned to various apartments, the differences in crime couldn’t be attributed to factors like income.

A more recently published article in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning focused on Cincinnati. The city’s trees were being killed by the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. Researchers took advantage of the spread of the beetle to study the relationship between trees and crime. They found that when a tree is killed and removed, crime in the area tends to go up.

[Source: CBC radio]

meangirls   Further dispelling the myth that we don’t need feminism and equality is the lay of the land.   This interview describes the situations and pressures young women face as they make there way through our patriarchal society.  Read or listen to the whole interview on CBC, it is well worth your time.

AMT: We spoke to two 16 year old women from Toronto to get their perspective on their sexuality. We’re not naming them to protect their privacy. Listen to what one of them had to say about what she thinks about when she gets dressed.

SOUNDCLIP

If I want to look hot, I definitely wear something that shows my stomach. But like I feel like it has to be– there’s like a kind of like a fine line about that because again, If I wear something that’s too revealing then I’m like a slut or I’m asking for any kind of attention that I get for men…

AMT: Okay, she could have been in your study.

PEGGY ORENSTEIN: She sure could have been. You know the thing is, what one girl said to me that I thought was so brilliant was, usually the opposite of a negative is a positive, but when you’re talking about girls and sex, you’re either a prude or you’re a slut. One girl said to me isn’t there a difference between dressing sexy because you need validation and you don’t feel good about yourself, and dressing sexy because you do feel good about yourself and you don’t need validation. And I said well, sure maybe, tell me what the difference is. And she just kind of drooped and said, I don’t know, you know I spend my whole life trying to figure that out and I think it sometimes at the expense of my well-being. And we know that it actually is at the expense of well-being because one of the bait and switch aspects of thinking that sexy is the same as confidence and the same as sexuality is that self-objectification for girls is linked with all kinds of the issues that we worry about. It’s linked to cognitive deficits, it’s linked to depression. It ironically reduces sexual pleasure.

[Listen to interview here:cbc.ca]

[Transcript here.]

cbcradioDue to broken promises and subsequent budget cuts, our previous government forced CBC radio to resort to using advertisements to supplement funding. It was outrageous then and it is outrageous now.  The CRTC is now inviting the public to express their opinions on the matter and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has set up a convenient online form to do just that.

 

I have submitted my letter and I strongly encourage all of you to do the same. Unlike other online campaigns, this online form does not come with a cookie cutter letter that you can just throw your name at the bottom of. That’s right, you will actually have to write the letter. If that feels a bit daunting, don’t be discouraged. It is not as hard or as time consuming as you might think, I assure you. For the especially reluctant, I am including the letter I wrote. Use some, all, or none of itl to help you write your own letter.

To whom it may concern,

CBC radio is a cornerstone of Canadian culture. It ties this large country together. It is a huge part of who we are individually and, as a result, who we are as a nation. Being such an important part of our identity, CBC radio is an essential service and should be fully funded by the government.

The cuts to CBC’s funding and the subsequent need for them to use advertising to keep afloat felt like a deeply personal betrayal. Our bright shining gem was tainted and dulled with the ugly tar of commercial advertising. This should not be!

Like access to water free of contagions, access to CBC free of advertisements is a fundamental right of Canadians. After all this time, I still feel the sting of each wretched ad I hear on CBC – like a thorn jabbing in and reopening a wound, making healing impossible.

I beseech all who have influence in such matters, all that can be done to get CBC fully funded and ad free, must be done. An ad free CBC is something that made Canada great. We cannot let that greatness slip away.

businesscycle_1   Be it resolved – If the Private Sector is cutting jobs in a economic downturn then the Government of the day should also be cutting Public Sector.

This is my debate point.  You won’t find it anywhere in the Alberta@Noon podcast I’m about to link here.  I know most of you won’t be thrilled to hear about Alberta’s budget from the finance minister so instead, skip forward to 33:50 of the podcast when two guests, one from the Alberta Taxpayers Federation and one from the Parkland Institute are invited to respond to callers and engage in some debate.

The Alberta Taxpayers Federation (ATF) has shades of the Tea Party mixed in with neo-liberal dogmatic imperatives.  Much of their ‘research’ comes from the equally dubious Fraiser Institute, a rightwing corporate skunk-works whose only aim is the complete corporitization of civil society.  Listen as Paige from the ATF gets tripped up because her sloganeering has little to do with fact and much to do with stirring right-wing populist notions.

What I’d like to talk about is the caller ‘Mike’ and the following discussion (36:40 – 41:15).   Mike is a plummer who lost his job and had to take a lower rate of pay with his job because of the downturn.  Mike feels like a faceless drone supporting the ‘queen bee’ of that is the public sector because our recently elected provincial government stated in their platform that they would protect the frontline public workers and public services of Alberta.

Now here is the thing, Mike and other neophytes of the Free Market dogma, there is this thing called the business cycle.  When you *choose* to work in the private sector you are choosing the insecurity that comes along with ups and downs of said business cycle.  In terms of personal responsibility and making choosy-fucking-choices when the economy is good you will be doing good, and when the economy is bad, you’ll be doing bad too, generally speaking.

This is a choice.  Contrast this with the public sector though, whose wages are generally lower and tend not to increase as quickly or dramatically with the ebb and flow of the business cycle.  Public sector work therefore, is also a choice with related benefits and negative attributes.  Stability over profitability, one could say.

Mike, you don’t get to turn around and demand that the people who have chosen to make less than you in good market conditions all of a sudden should share your pain when the economy isn’t so robust.

I’m not totally against Mike and what he has to say but I don’t think he’s looking at the big picture.   Our government, for the last 41 years, has been taking a shit on basic Keynesian market prescriptions.  When times are great, we lower taxes because we want to attract more business.  When times are crap, we lower taxes to keep our businesses afloat.

Do you see the problem here?  Lowering taxes during the Boom times royally screws the government and people of Alberta.  How do we save for the economic downturns when we have lower revenue during boom times coming in; also lowering taxes during boom times increase the rate of inflation and makes the bubble expand that much quicker – recklessly endangering public health, infrastructure, and public services.   The Anti-Keynesian aphrodisiac the old Alberta PC Party snorted by the bucketful, systematically razed the economic flexibility and resiliency of the province by tying the running of the government closely to the business cycle.

Albertaatnoon    The false-populist beliefs that the ATF, represented by Paige on the podcast, are an extension of this seppuku inducing cycle that our old government perfected.  What is fascinating to behold is the scepticism over what beneficial counter-cyclical government economic policy is actually supposed to look like.  The government is supposed to spend more and take on debt to moderate the business cycle during economic slowdowns, conversely, the government must raise taxes during the high times to pay of accumulated debt and to moderate reckless growth and expansion during the boom times.

This is what moderating the business cycle is all about and why it is so important is because when you shave off the peaks and troughs, the people who make up the economy have a better chance of keeping things together and surviving in whichever phase the economy happens to be in.

This basic understanding of Keynesian market management is in the curriculum. I’ve been taught, and have taught it to students in this province.  Why we elect governments (up till recently) that don’t apply this basic economic fact boggles my mind.

 

We need more of this in our music scene because frankly, the omnipresent bland radio pop (A big unthankyou to CBC radio 2 for adding more of this soul withering drivel to my listening day) bores the everliving fuck out of me.  So hit me with some hard rock hallelujah any day of the week and I will be appreciative.

And no, it doesn’t get better and that is why its *great*.  :)

Speaking of the “great” category – BOOM – Cezar from Romania nails this performance.  Gold pure sonic gold.

Welcome to the CBC Signature Series hosted by Paolo Pietropaolo on CBC radio 2 every Sunday.  For the Friday Classical Music Interlude I’ve been sending you directly to the CBC Signature Series page, but as Paolo suggested, it is also possible to embed the sound clips directly into the blog post.

G major: The Trusty Sidekick

Also known as:
The Jolly Good Fellow.
The BFF.

G majors you might know:
Obelix from the Asterix comic book series.
Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings.
Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series.

The notes: G – A – B – C – D – E – F♯ – G.

Number of sharps: one.

Relative minor: E minor.

What they said about G major in the 18th and 19th centuries:
“Everything rustic, idyllic and lyrical, every calm and satisfied passion, every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love.” – Christian Schubart, 1784

“Sounds simple, satisfied, childlike, innocent, and depicts joy and gratitude.” – J.A. Schrader, 1827

More G major listening:
Valse triste by Jean Sibelius.

Polonaise from Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky.”

    I am particular fond of G Major as some of the beginning piano pieces that I have learned are featured in the recording.  :)

 

 

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