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

Should you have your children vaccinated against coronavirus? Is wellness a myth? What happened to "Holy Grail" of regenerative medicine? With so much conflicting advice around, how do you know what’s really good for you, health- wise? These matters, and more, are covered in this wide- ranging discussion, featuring some …
If you have $335,000 spare, you could fly to the edge of space next year. Virgin Galactic has recently heralded the start of the era of space tourism. And they are not the only ones. Blue Origin also accomplished their first real space trip. Writer Nicholas Schmidle followed Virgin Galactic's …
Is climate change inaction and denial about science? Philosopher Stephen Gardiner suggests it can represent moral corruption. To help counter this he proposes making our governments and institutions legally compelled to act for future generations. To achieve momentous change he says we first need a global constitutional convention.
Deaths in custody are a recurring tragedy for many countries, including Australia, the United States and in the United Kingdom. Victims are disproportionately black. They often die after being restrained during a mental health crisis, or while intoxicated. In the UK, barrister Leslie Thomas blames institutional racism for such deaths, …
What does the history of ethics tell us about living a moral life?
Atlas of AI Aug. 10, 2021
If you’ve booked a Covid vaccination online, it’s likely that artificial intelligence helped find you the nearest and soonest appointment. It’s one of many ways AI makes our lives easier. But it's long been known that AI is also dangerous. So, how can its benefits be better balanced against its …
What economic strategy creates the most jobs? What economic theory is best for society? Economist Tim Thornton says that outdated economics is holding us back, and we must make way for a better theory to re-imagine what our economy and society could look like. AND – the duty to rescue …
Witnesses giving evidence in court and during inquests from behind a screen and under pseudonym names. Sometimes there are highly sensitive investigative techniques involved, or undercover assets who could be put at risk. But Law Professor Leslie Thomas says it’s too often simply to spare state agents from embarrassment. And …
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 …
Eastern Europe is not a region characterized by “ancient hatred” as it’s often stated. But why has the region seen so much conflict? Historian John Connelly says it’s a place where people possess a disturbing knowledge: that in the course of history, nations come and go. Some disappear. Therefore, maintaining …
Do you worry about the teenagers in your life? If so, you’re in good company. Socrates, Aristotle and even Shakespeare wrote of the impulsiveness and peer influence of adolescents. Once, hormones were blamed. Now, MRIs tell us their brains haven’t finished developing - in key areas associated with much- maligned …
Food connects us with family and builds community. For migrants it offers a taste of the old country and an entrée into the new. For indigenous Australians, it’s sixty thousand years of knowledge about bush tucker. We visit two multicultural festivals to discover food and cultural identity.
What does a brutal murder tell us about our attitudes to land ownership, farming, and the natural environment? There are laws in Australian limiting the clearing of native vegetation. These laws have long been controversial, and many farmers fiercely oppose them. But none have ever gone as far as farmer …
Eighteen months of Covid restrictions have bent daily life and the health system out of shape. The pandemic has put other health conditions to one side. Cancer screening, mental health, elective surgery and dental check-ups are delayed or rescheduled. How can we make sure they're not forgotten?
Statistics and COVID-19 July 26, 2021
Sifting truth from statistical chaff is more important than ever in these times of misinformation and information overload. From numbers on COVID cases and vaccination to numbers on elections and unemployment, the correct interpretation of statistics is crucial to help you understand the world around you. The secret is being …
Over 470 indigenous Australians have died since the royal commission thirty years ago. Indigenous people over-represented in our criminal justice system. They’re more likely to find themselves in police lock-ups and prisons. And more at risk of dying in custody. Indigenous law professor Larissa Behrendt looks at what’s behind those …
Australia's mental health system is broken and needs to change. On this, psychiatrists, as well as those with a mental illness, agree. But what needs to be done? Are we pathologizing normal human distress, and prescribing too much medication? Could psychedelic drugs, and therapy, be part of the solution?
The finance industry is turning away from investing in fossil fuels, consumers are forcing businesses to create more sustainable supply chains and preserving nature is being rewarded with cash incentives. Big Ideas explores how the nature of financial investment is changing to better reflect the ecosystem of the planet we …
We've been encouraged for decades to learn an Asian language but many of us don't see the need to be bilingual. If we want deep engagement with our Asian neighbours then language learning should be a priority. In China, the government is pushing for the use of the national language …
The Chinese Communist Party celebrated its centenary recently. In 1921 China was a poor country dominated by foreign powers. One hundred years later it’s an emerging superpower with the party and its leader Xi Jinping tightly in control. So how does President Xi see China’s future?