Concordia University



Thinking Out Loud: 11 podcasts for every festive occasion!

This season, take Concordia’s audio series along for the (sleigh) ride
December 11, 2017
By Meagan Boisse

Concordia’s Thinking Out Loud podcast series: from self-driving cars to life on Mars. | | Photo: Patrick Breitenbach (Flickr CC)

With winter’s bluster upon us, it’s the perfect time to get cozied up with a good story. Why not discover something new this season with Thinking Out Loud, a podcast series created right here at Concordia?

The unscripted half-hour episodes aim to entertain, inform and inspire, connecting big ideas at the intersection of university research and public interest. From the demons in our devices to Expo 67’s hostess with the mostest, there’s something to tickle every fancy.

1. While walking in a winter wonderland

During a brisk stroll through your neighbourhood, do you ever think about how the city’s pathways affect your experience of it? In “Walkable Cities,” city planner Jeff Speck joins Silvano de la Llata, assistant professor of geography, planning and environment in the Faculty of Arts and Science, to discuss how to eliminate the necessity for automobiles by designing cities that put the pedestrian first.

They paint a picture filled with outdoor rooms — connected urban spaces in which living, working and shopping happen in tandem.

It’s a world with “sticky edges,” where highway bridges can also be entertainment promenades, and feet rule the street. What is the future of North America’s cities? Find out for yourself!

2. While decorating the apartment

Break out the tinsel and nutmeg-scented candles and channel your inner designer with “Ambiguous Modernity.” Learn how Julien Hébert, the father of design in Quebec, came up with the famous logo for Expo 67 — still seen in traces around our city.

What does it mean to be a sentimental modernist? Or to bring a humanist perspective to art and design? Martine Racine, associate professor of design and computation arts, explores these questions and more.

3. While studying for your finals

Alas, not only is this time of year rife with eggnog and gift-giving, but students also have to juggle exams and essays. If you’re someone who likes a little auditory stimulation while studying, give your productivity a nudge with “Incubators: Get Stuff Done.”

Xavier-Henri Hervé is director of Concordia’s District 3 startup accelerator. In this podcast, he talks about what it takes to move an idea from concept to tangible reality — and why becoming an entrepreneur might be more accessible than you think.

D3 has coached 386 startups in the last four years and has mastered the art of making it happen.

4. While driving down to see the family

Whether or not you enjoy the holidays is all relative(s). As you make your way to family festivities this season, contemplate another type of social network with “Disruption IoT.”

Internet expert Fenwick McKelvey, assistant professor of communication studies, dissects how humans and machines communicate. The podcast peers deep inside the Internet of Things to uncover the bots, artificial intelligence and demons that live within.

5. While surviving the storm

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but podcasts are delightful. Should you find yourself holed up in your apartment waiting out a blizzard, take the opportunity to learn more about the climate with “Utopia Renewed.”

Damon Matthews, professor of geography, planning and the environment, has created the climate clock — essentially the meteorological version of the doomsday one. At its current rate, humanity is set to surpass the 2°C threshold for global warming in 30 years, resulting in Day-After-Tomorrow-like effects … but it’s not too late!

6. While cooking up a feast

Cookies, cake, turkey and stuffing … bring on the holidays! While you’re whisking, basting and chopping away, take a moment to contemplate the complexity of gender roles. And what better place to do so than in the kitchen?

In “The Future of Brawn,” Marc Lafrance, associate professor of sociology and anthropology, discusses what it means to be a man today. How have social, political and economic shifts affected the role of men in society? Is Justin Trudeau the new face of manly? Are women really taking over the world? Have a listen and find out.

7. While burning off holiday cheer

After all the feasting and merriment, you may find extra impetus to hit the gym. Instead of listening to the sound of your own panting on the treadmill, gain insight into the future of exercise science.

“Tell Me Something Good” explores the world of wearable tech with Joanna Berzowska, associate professor of design and computation arts, and Jennifer McGrath, associate professor of psychology. The Fitbit is just the tip of the iceberg, as technological textiles hold the potential to turn everyday clothing into computers that connect people with their bodies in ways not yet imagined.

8. After unwrapping presents

Could there be a more appropriate time to reflect on the importance of family love than after a good ol’ gift-giving session?

In "Ties That Bind," Kimberley Manning, principal of Concordia's Simone de Beauvoir Institute, examines how family support — or the lack thereof — plays a critical role in helping or hampering social movements.

She does this by linking two seemingly disparate subjects: Chinese political history and the Trans Movement in Canada.

9. While getting dressed for the party

‘Tis the season of the party dress and colourful cardigan. While perusing your closet in search of the right outfit for your holiday cocktail, engage your inner fashion aficionado with “Un jour, Say Friend.”

Artist Cheryl Sim (MA 07) unpacks the iconic Expo 67 hostess uniform by exploring how a skirt and beanie came to exemplify the duality of a role in which women were both objectified and empowered. Find out how Sim uses her own body and personal history as a platform to glean insight into the world of this historical icon.

10. While busing home from the office party

Imagine what your bus trip might look like 50 years from now. Futurism has always been fascinated by transportation, and while we had pretty radical ideas of what the future would look like in the 1950s and 60s, how do we imagine it today?

In “Flying Cars and Jetpacks,” Zachary Patterson, associate professor of geography, planning and environment, discusses what’s on the horizon for urban transit and examines the plausibility of autonomous cars taking over the roads.

11. While winding down for the night

As you drift off to sleep, imagine a world beyond your own. In “The Future is Robotic,” Krzysztof Skonieczny, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, discusses the future of space rovers and how robots are paving the way for human exploration of the cosmos.

He addresses vital questions surrounding the survival of our species and whether Mars could one day be our home away from home. Was sci-fi blockbuster The Martian so far off? Perhaps not.


Find out more about Thinking Out Loud.


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