In the early 1990s a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada is rocked by allegations from swathes of children that they are being horribly abused by a satanic cult. Teachers, police officers and others are accused and charged. The trials and appeals grind on for years. Eventually, with the exception of two lesser charges, all the accused are freed or have their charges dropped. Was there ever a satanic cult out there or did the judicial system mess up?
Another superb podcast from CBC which explains how mass hysteria and lots of well intentioned individuals unintentionally created a nightmarish scenario where innocent people nearly lost everything in the face of panic fed by intense media coverage. Utterly fascinating.
Also on the topic of child abuse is this joint series by CBC and Norway’s VG. It starts with how a two man investigative unit at a Norwegian paper who had been successfully uncovering child abusers stumbled on a complex international Police sting operation. The heart of this operation had been the arrest of ‘Warhead’ who ran a string of major dark web sites for trading child pornography.
The series explains what the Police operation did: How they managed to infiltrate the dark web but also explores in a genuinely informative and careful way the story from the perspective of the victims and the abusers. Treating child abusers as ‘evil’ doesn’t stop the crime happening, and hearing the challenges involved in even discussion of treatment or prevention strategies is well handled and thought provoking. An excellent listen.
WeWork is the biggest corporate crash since Enron. But instead of fraudulent accounting (as far we know) this story is more about ‘excessive exuberance’ where a charismatic CEO along with international venture capital desperately chasing returns willingly entered into a mutual hallucination that a property rental business could be valued just like a tech unicorn.
On the basis that we can learn more from failures, this short series of 6 episodes is definitely worth a listen, even if just for the anecdotes of the wild ways money was being spent.
I don’t think I’ve ever met Mark Foden, but I’ve been enjoying his blogs and tweets for a long time. He’s now got a podcast exploring his favoured topic of complexity. Hence the title with clocks being complicated and cats being complex. If you’re interested in systems thinking, complexity, public service and organisational change then I think you’ll like this. Depending on your existing level of knowledge you may want to skip some of the episode but you’ll definitely find something of value in there with a fascinating array of guests coming on.
I suspect this one might be a bit marmite for my readers. It’s a BBC Radio 1 produced NSFW podcast built around listeners submitting their funny stories of sex going wrong. Many of the tales of sexual woe are snort-out-loud-on-the-train funny. Which is what hooked me in – a dose of bawdy comedy. But it’s much more than that as the presenters Alix and Riyadh deftly interview guests who have expanded my thinking on the wide range of human sexuality, how we discuss gender identity, consent and so much more. A fab series – well done to the BBC for using the podcast format for exploring more explicit and risky programming than they could on their radio stations.