Big Ideas

by ABC Radio · · · · 30 subscribers

Big Ideas brings you the best of talks, forums, debates, and festivals held in Australia and around the world, casting light on the major social, cultural, scientific and political issues

Can covid help to create a kinder, better, Australia? Adversity, it has been said, can make us stronger, and pull us together more tightly, as a community. Social psychologist, Hugh MacKay, told Paul Barclay he noticed last year, after the pandemic arrived, that Australians started to become kinder to one …
Changing the world begins in your own household, with the tree in your street and the bike path in your neighbourhood. Jess Scully has travelled the world, exploring the many ways of reshaping our world into a fairer and more sustainable place. She talks about how you can help. And …
There’s a famous quote about learning the lessons of history: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. But perhaps the reverse is also true. Too much memory, too much focus on injustice and grievances, can make us captives of the past . Stan Grant looks at …
Rather than trying to tax corporate profits at the location where value is created, we should tax this income at the destination of sales.
The fallout from one dreadful day when he seven years old, and the realisation his father was incapable of loving him, traumatised writer Rick Morton in a way he’s never truly understood. Rick discusses his Complex PTSD diagnosis, and how, as a result, he’s decided to live life as he …
What is truth? How has it evolved? And what is its impact anyway? Evolutionary science shows that subtle social manipulation of fellow group members was a key driver of intelligence in the human lineage. And even animals use trickery to their advantage. Big Ideas looks at why we lie and …
Many of us are working from a home office or the kitchen table . The pandemic has boosted the popularity of remote work but we want to make sure it's good quality work and not lose the benefits of face to face contact with colleagues. One of the downsides is …
What we wear reflects who we are, and who we aspire to be. Research suggests the garments we wear can also affect our mental state in positive, and negative, ways. Wearing different clothing changes how we feel, and how others perceive us. Can fashion really make us feel better about …
What does a dissenting judgement, from High Court in the 1930’s, tell us about a brilliant, but polarising, Australian. HV Evatt, better known as Doc, was an internationally recognised jurist, and a leading politician. Evatt was Australia's youngest ever High Court judge, but remains best known for taking Labor into …
Numeracy and literacy are the core business of Australian schools. But should we add music to that list? Too often in schools music is seen as an optional extra yet research shows that learning to play a musical instrument boosts cognitive development and gives children the edge at school. Music …
Are you a good listener? Unfortunately, not many of us can answer that with a convinced ‘yes’. And that’s even though listening is at the core of every relationship. Losing the ability to listen has profound social, psychological, and neuroscientific impacts. But the good news is: You can learn how …
Are e-cigarettes an effective way to give up tobacco smoking? Health authorities weigh up the pros and cons and acknowledge we need long term studies to be clear about their safety. And sleep experts explain why you should make sleep a priority in your busy life .
For too long ordinary people have been singled out - their actions, and consumption habits, blamed for climate change. Instead, we should be pointing the finger at large corporations, and growth-based economics. So believes writer Jeff Sparrow, whose book Crimes Against Nature argues that unless the economic system changes, no …
Women are moving up the ladder in business and politics but are they taken as seriously as men? Leadership research says there’s an authority gap between men and women with men seen as naturally better suited for positions of authority. They’re more likely to be listened to and judged in …
Christmas has always been about riotous feasting and getting drunk – never about renewing your faith. Presents are not really part of a proper Christmas party. Social historian Judith Flanders debunks Christmas myths and traditions and explores how everything you think you know about Christmas is wrong. She even questions …
Nanotechnology opens up a world of possibilities from powering mobile phones to nano devices which restore sight, treat chronic disease or turn your roof into a water collector. And faced with the threat of climate change , marine scientists are proposing lateral solutions for coral reefs. The race is on …
Caroline De Costa was the first woman in Australia to become a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. She has been at the forefront of the political struggle to legalise the medical abortion drug, RU486, in Australia. Caroline has also successfully advocated for the decriminalisation of abortion in Australia. Her memoir …
As the global population steadily grows and climate change bites, food producers need to do more with less. Less water, less energy, less land, and fewer emissions. To further upset the apple cart , we face an increased number of extreme weather events which will play havoc with harvests and …
Every interaction between people follows four styles: Control (the lion), Capitulate (the mouse), Confront (the Tyrannosaur) and Co-operate (the monkey). Forensic psychologists Emily and Laurence Alison have developed a successful model of interpersonal communication. They tell you how to get what you want. And how to talk to anyone in …
The value of the arts is often expressed in economic terms. The creative industries create jobs and are a valuable global export. But rather than economics telling us something about the arts, can the arts tell us something about economics? And how to reimagine economics after Covid?