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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Jessica Vomiero.

Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? From the Mafia to the Beaverton, from women in politics to women in leadership, from history to artificial intelligence, and from entrepreneurship in the digital age to the art of wheelchair fencing, just what on Earth is going on?

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To the Stars

Apr 26, 2019

Listen to Episode 52: Science

Here’s a response I never hear when I ask my guests what on earth is going on: We’re exploring the stars! We are uncovering the mysteries of the universe! We’re mapping out the next thousand years for humanity!

I realized this in my conversation with Bob McDonald, a beloved science...


Apr 26, 2019

Bob McDonald is one of Canada's most recognizable voices. An author, science journalist and chief science correspondent for the CBC, Bob has been hosting Quirks & Quarks (a weekly radio show about science) since 1992. He's interviewed thousands of scientists over the years, and this week he joins Ben for a conversation...


Nature, Nurture and Social Credit

Apr 19, 2019

Listen to Episode 51: The New Yorker's Profile of Yan Lianke

Today’s episode features a panel discussion with three people from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario – all are previous guests on this podcast. Tricia Baldwin is the Director of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. In Episode 12 Tricia...


Apr 19, 2019

Yan Lianke is one of China's most influential living writers. His often-satirical works have earned him an international readership. He has been touted for the Nobel Prize in Literature. And yet, most of Yan's books are effectively (if not formally) banned in China.

Ben brings together three previous guests (Tricia...


Humanism and AI

Apr 12, 2019

Listen to Episode 50: The Promise of Artificial Intelligence

As you know, I find the subject of AI fascinating. Often my mind wanders along the tangents of science fiction as I consider the breathtaking potential of artificial intelligence – specifically, what is often called artificial general intelligence (AGI), or...