Tag Archives: Daily Planet

Dan Riskin explores the dangers of devices on The Nature of Things’ “Kids vs. Screens”

The last time I spoke to Dan Riskin, it was for Daily Planet‘s “Shark Week” coverage in 2017. I’ve always been impressed with his (and then co-host Ziya Tong’s) broadcasting abilities. They are immensely smart folks who make science approachable and entertaining.

Riskin brings that vibe to his latest project, airing on CBC.

“Kids vs. Screens,” airing as part of The Nature of Things on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC, was timely even before the pandemic, and reveals some sobering statistics. Babies can scroll before they can crawl. Children can’t read a map, but they can use an iPad. And teenagers pretty much live on their cell phones. But as stark as those facts are—and there are many more revealed in “Kids vs. Screens”—this episode of The Nature of Things isn’t supposed to scare you.

“There are a lot of really good things about screens,” Riskin says. “They make us work better and they are effective. But it’s good to question our relationship with them and keep it in check. Kids’ brains are developing, and you want to make sure you’re not handicapping them later in life by using these devices.” Riskin, a father of three, admits sometimes it’s easy to hand over a tablet or phone so he can prepare dinner in peace. And that’s OK, in moderation.

Produced and directed by Leora Eisen, Riskin hits the road to speak with experts like Dr. Michael Cheng, a child psychiatrist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario; University of Calgary Professor Sheri Madigan; and Jess Haines, co-director of the Guelph Family Health Study. He also sits down with families and kids, like 18-year-old Myah, who teaches him the ins and outs of social media; Abby, whose phone addiction damaged the relationship between she and her mother; and Kaeden, a sixth grader who was obsessed with video games.

“The number of kids who are online now, especially during the pandemic, are huge,” Riskin says. “We put this together with the hope that it will make you feel better. The more you learn about screens and kids, the better you are going to feel about navigating that whole situation and the more empowered you are going to feel.”

“Kids vs. Screens” airs as part of The Nature of Things on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.


Comments and queries for the week of July 27

We have watched Daily Planet for 10 years and we will miss this intelligent, informative and entertaining science show. I never thought science could be so entertaining til I started watching. The hosts had a good rapport with each other and they presented complex concepts in such an easy enjoyable way. I am gobsmacked that Bell would pull this fabulous show!!!!! —Maria

I too was excitedly awaiting the Daily Planet’s “Shark Week” so I did a search on my TV for Daily Planet and it came back as “not found.” I thought it was a glitch. So I searched the Internet only to my horror found out about its cancellation! I could not believe it! Such an awesome show that wasn’t simply a “science nerd show.” It was funny, educational and the type of show that appealed to all age groups. When I scroll through the TV guide to see what’s on, the options are few and far between. I’m not a fan of watching shows about rich people living in Alaska looking like they are poor, finding monsters in the Alaska Triangle, people buck naked getting rained on and mosquito bites to be “alone” and scared! Daily Planet was the one show I loved to watch and they cancelled it! It’s shameful that another network didn’t grab it the moment it was made available! Shame, shame, shame! Bring it back! —Cindy

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.


Comments and queries for the week of June 29

I grew up loving What Will They Think of Next? Then along came Daily Planet and I looked forward to is so much so it was the only show I had set on the PVR. I thought we were on a summer break or something but I decided to see when it was coming back. Just found out it was canceled. I’m very sad today. It was such an adventure and it was real! Please bring it back. —Carl 

Very disappointed, the only show on television I watched on a regular basis. Poor Bell Media can’t support the only informative series on television. It must be a struggle trying to survive on millions of dollars a day profit. When is the CRTC going to put these guys in check? In Canada we pay more for these services than anyone else on earth. When I pay a good portion of my hard earned money I expect to get something useful in return. —Paul

Just found out about [InnerSpace‘s] cancellation. Sad news indeed. InnerSpace was probably one of my favourite shows to watch after my work day and get caught up on news that are of interest to my geeky heart. While I can empathize with some of the opinions stated above that it was perhaps too focused on Ontario and could have benefited from sourcing stories from across Canada, it still is a slap in the face to crew at InnerSpace and all its dedicated fans both within Canada and abroad to be treated in such a manner. I guess the further dumbing-down and all so essential Bell promotions run ad nauseam are more important. It was an original show, as was Discovery and now with both gone the Space Channel no longer has anything I wish to watch any further. I was going to be revising my channels anyways with with my provider, so this will be an easy decision to make. I have never supported Bell and now, with this lame excuse of a decision, I can safely say I never will. —Cory

I only wish that CBC had not cancelled The Goods. It was an entertaining show. I used to record it every day. —Joanne


Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.


Daily Planet cancelled at Discovery Canada

It’s the end of the road for Daily Planet. No more “High-Tech Toys Week,” no more “Shark Week,” no more daily science updates from hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin. Bell Media announced is has chosen not to renew the long-running Discovery series after 23 seasons.

“To our viewers, we will always love and appreciate the support you gave us every night at 7e/4p,” a tweet from the show’s Twitter page read on Wednesday afternoon. “From @ziyatong, @riskindan and the @dailyplanetshow family, thank you for watching.”


Co-host Ziya Tong followed up with her own message:


Co-host Dan Riskin also took to Twitter to say his goodbye:


“This programming change reflects the significant financial pressures Bell Media faces in a broadcasting industry defined by growing international competition, evolving viewing options, and an uncertain regulatory framework,” read a statement sent from Bell Media on Wednesday.

Debuting as @discovery.ca in 1995 with host Jay Ingram, the program was renamed Daily Planet in 2002. Ingram exited Daily Planet in 2011 after 16 years at the helm. Past hosts have included Judy Haladay, Gill Deacon, Natasha Stillwell and Valerie Pringle. The program captured a Canadian Screen Award in 2017 for Best News for Information Series.


Daily Planet’s Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin pick their top toys of 2017

Like Christmas arriving every year so does Daily Planet‘s celebrated and super-fun “High-Tech Toys” week. Airing next Monday to Friday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Discovery, all five days spotlight the outrageous, mind-blowing and exciting gadgets and gear of the year.

Sure, Mattel’s Justice League Batmobile, JABii extendable boxing gloves and Blueye underwater drone all sound awesome, but how do they rank with Daily Planet co-hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin? And what are Ziya and Dan’s other favourite toys of 2017? With just 24 days left to shop, get moving on snagging these gems!

Ziya Tong
Justice League™ Ultimate Justice League™ Remote Control Batmobile™
We have all sorts of gearhead goodies on “High Tech Toys” this year, and one thing I can tell you for sure is I’ve never seen a toy with so many trademark titles in the name. ;) This RC car is also a serious upgrade from the ones I used to play with as a kid. It’s smoking, and I mean that literally. The car has an oil-based vape to mimic real smoke coming from the exhaust, as well as a camera that films and records Batman’s view from inside the driver’s seat. “Holy Remote Control Robot” indeed, Robin!

One of the flat-out weirdest toys that we have on the show this year is called Qoobo, and the nicest way to put this, is to say that it looks like a decapitated cat – or a cushion with a tail – take your pick. Created by a Japanese robot company, the Qoobo will wag its tail depending on how you pet it. The slower you stroke it, the slower it moves, and if you stroke it quickly then its tail wags with a faster speed. I’m curious to see what happens if you pet the Qoobo near a real cat; if it will just ignore it, or attack it?

We don’t just have robotic cats, we also have robotic dogs on Santa’s wish list this year. CHiP is certainly not off the ‘ole block. He’s a robot that comes with a smart band, meaning his personality will change based on the feedback that you give him. He also does some fun tricks. If you say “Hey Chip,” he will bark back, and if you say “Let’s play,” he will run off and fetch a ball. The best part about CHiP is you don’t have to walk him when it’s raining. OK, and also, he apparently does yoga. I bet your dog can’t do yoga.

Is it just me, or do all the toys have super-weird names this year? Anyhow, JABii is one that certainly fits what it is. Developed by a Danish inventor it’s a super-fun boxing toy, that stretches out a boxing glove kind of like what you’d see in an Inspector Gadget cartoon. The best part is, if you do get punched in the head, JABii doesn’t hurt. The springs inside disperse a lot of the force of the punch, so you won’t accidentally knock your friend out while you’re playing. I’ve tried it and I’ve gotta tell you, it’s also quite the work out.

Fret Zealot
For a little musical merriment over the holiday season, we have a high-tech toy that will teach you how to play the guitar. I love this idea. Basically, you attach LED strips on to your guitar’s fret and connect it to the app on your phone via Bluetooth. Then, you can go through the app’s library of music and pick your favourite song. The frets light up and you follow the lights and strum along. There’s rock, blues, folk music and more. With a little practice, you’ll be a rock god in no time … or at least you’ll get the chords right when playing “Kumbaya.”

Dan Riskin
The Batband
I’m a sucker for anything named after a bat, but this seems kind of cool even beyond that. It’s a band that goes around the back of your head to work like headphones. The wonderful part is that they don’t go over your ears at all. They send sounds to your cochlea by vibrating your braincase – bone conduction. The idea is that you can therefore still hear what’s going on around you, even while listening to your music or phone call. So what if you look a little like Jordie LaForge with his visor on backwards?

The Otamatone
Musical instruments always become a favourite for us in the studio, and we’ve seen a few, but this one stands apart. It’s like an electronic stress ball with a neck on it like a guitar. It sounds a little like a Theremin, and it’s kind of cute, to boot. I wonder how Ziya will feel about me soloing on it for a few hours each day this week?

The Litterbot
This is absolutely something most cat owners would kill to own. Imagine a machine that does the kitty litter totally automatically so you never have to? It just lights up when you need to change the bag at the bottom. As a bonus, your cat gets to poop in an egg-like shell that totally looks like the one that Darth Vader sits in.

The Rezvani Tank
May you never need a bulletproof tank of an SUV. May you only ever use this as a way to show off that you have money to burn ($150,000 US for the base model, double that for the 500 HP, V-8 version). But should you need such a vehicle, you can’t really beat the Rezvani Tank. Run-flat tires, bulletproof windshield, a Kevlar-wrapped gas tank for added protection … you can even drop tacks out the back and make a smoke screen. Your commute just got a lot more interesting.

The Nixie Tube Clock
This is a truly beautiful piece of engineering. Let’s be honest, you don’t really need a clock. Your phone is in your pocket. You may even be wearing a smartwatch. But if you want to feel warm and fuzzy while you find out what time it is, this is what you want. This custom-built clock has a set of six tubes, each filled with glowing mercury-neon lights that can run through the 10 digits. As the day goes by, this beaut flickers through it with you. It’s accurate thanks to Internet connectivity, too. All the benefits of living in the future – with all the style of living in the past.

Daily Planet‘s “High-Tech Toys” week airs Monday to Friday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.