What are we reading? July 12, 2018


Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.

Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

China increasingly a major market for U.S. energy exports; the top target for Donald “Tariff Man” Trump was second only to Canada as a destination for U.S. crude oil in 2017 - The U.S. Energy Information Administration



Report: London's lost rivers could provide green heat source; underground aquatics to the city’s environmental rescue - Business Green



Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

It’s becoming clearer all the time how unprepared western countries were – and are – for the harm caused by big tech and social media in the hands of the enemies of liberal democracy. The new technology’s success in eroding the foundations of our society with a flood of toxic lies and hatred has been so swift and unprecedented that it has disarmed us, robbing us of the power even to describe how vast a threat it poses, says writer and tech businessman Marc DaCosta.

He argues we can’t begin to fight back until we come up with new language tools, though those tools may be more visual and verbal. He highlights the effectiveness, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, of political cartoons, with their power to communicate big ideas in a few square inches of newsprint. He cites cartoonists’ use of an octopus to convey the sinister grasp of monopolies during the early days of the anti-trust movement in the U.S.

“The octopus was a brilliant metaphor,” DaCosta writes. “It provided a simple way to understand the deep interconnection between complex political and economic forces – while viscerally expressing why everyone was feeling so squeezed. Its critique immediately connected.

What would today’s octopus look like?” - The Guardian



Glen Korstrom, reporter

Christine Duhaime’s anti-money-laundering blog is illuminating as it documents violent robberies of executives involved in blockchain cryptocurrencies. There are more than a dozen examples to show how prevalent this is. When I wrote about the rise of Bitcoin last year, I spoke with a blockchain-sector executive in Vancouver who was very careful to not provide his name and he did not want to go on the record. This blog drills home why that was - Duhaime’s Anti-Money Laundering Law in Canada


Emma Crawford Hampel, online editor:

Across the United States, summer nights have grown hotter at nearly twice the rate of days. Overnight low temperatures have increased 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit per century since 1895 - The New York Times



Tyler Orton, reporter:

So just how much is the Vancouver music scene worth to the economy? New joint report says its $690 million. It’s a big number, but the study also offers insights into how much the average working musician is bringing in annually … and it’s hard to believe most can afford to remain here performing and creating - Vancouver Music Ecosystem Study



How the 12 Thai boys were finally rescued: The rescue played out far differently in my head than in reality. Vox breaks down (with maps, diagrams and images) how players from the soccer team found themselves medicated and secured during the final stretch of time in the cave - Vox



Should Surrey get its own police department? Councillor wants to put it to a referendum

The current Vancouverite in me who has Surrey listed on my birth certificate always takes note when the municipal elections campaign cycles begins rearing its head south of the Fraser. Coun. Tom Gill is running for mayor this fall – he’s succeeded in getting everyone’s attention by proposing a referendum on whether the city needs its own dedicated police force instead of contracting the RCMP - Global News https://globalnews.ca/news/4324106/surrey-own-police-department-councillor-wants-referendum/


Nelson Bennett, reporter:

U.S. on track to produce nearly 12 million barrels of oil per day, which would make it the world’s biggest oil producer - Fortune



Arrive late, insult a world leader, lecture international body, jeopardize international relations, make own staff wince, then bloviate about it on Twitter. Donald Trump’s vulgarianism knows no bounds - Business Insider



Ammonia – the new hydrogen? Chemist thinks ammonia from renewables beats hydrogen as a low-carbon fuel - Science Magazine



Biggest hope for resource industries may be First Nations. Macdonald-Laurier opinion piece: “Resource companies understand, much more than the Canadian population at large, that Indigenous peoples are now central to the future of the resource economy” - Macdonald-Laurier Institute



Hayley Woodin, reporter:

B.C.’s economy is getting bested by a real estate slowdown, rising interest rates and a pressing labour shortage. The Business Council of BC’s latest economic report examines the second quarter of this year. Growth was fairly strong, until things started to come undone - Business Council of British Columbia



Ninety-seven per cent of Yukon exports head to the United States (Alaska), which provides 94% of Yukon’s imports. The Arctic Economic Council warns that the Canada-U.S. trade feud will hurt northern economies - iPolitics


 Albert Van Santvoort, reporter:

Many are pointing to the small boost to the U.S. macroeconomy as evidence that the tax cuts are contributing to GDP growth. However, according to economists the economic boosts from the tax cuts is predominantly a keynesian stimulus from increased demand rather than increased supply. In a tweet linking to the story, UBC economist Kevin Milligan highlighted that “the impact of the US tax cuts so far has been through running a large deficit.” -The Hill


This New Yorker piece follows the fascinating story about a U.K. PR firm that couldn’t avoid its own public relations disaster. The company had been working with oligarchs and dictators to deliberately inflame racial tensions in South Africa in order to bolster the financial position of one of the country’s richest families. - The New Yorker


When Americans talk about the prospect of a universal healthcare system, some point to medical bankruptcies as a reason to move to a system similar to Canada’s. However, many may be surprised to learn that Canadians aren’t immune to medical bankruptcies. The following study looks at how medical expenses contribute to Canadian bankruptcies.-US National Library of Medicine