What are we reading? February 14, 2019


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

Kirk LaPointe, editor-in-chief:

An exceptionally illustrated and exhaustive look at a Brazilian mining disaster as part of a series of stories this week on the dangers for its citizens. - The New York Times



We have heard about interference in the U.S. election by the Russians. This investigation, co-authored by Ronan Farrow, examines an operation led by ex-Mossad. - The New Yorker



Jeff Jarvis, one of the edgiest media observers, says it’s time for journalism to be frank about its failures. He predicts another batch of problems that will make media skittish, to say the least. - Medium



Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor

“This company is producing the car that Elon Musk wishes he were building,” says Jerry Kroll, CEO of B.C.-based Electra Meccanica. But can the company’s three-wheeled electric vehicle continue to make inroads into the industry? - Bloomberg



Vancouver has faced a string of gloomy headlines about a slide in housing sales in the region, but other major Canadian cities have been sweating the possible onset of a slide in their own markets. - Globe and Mail



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

Looks like fewer and fewer people are graduating with history majors from universities – except for elite Ivy League schools. Given that understanding history is an important part of being able to comprehend nuances of what’s happening in today’s world, and what actions of political leaders could lead to unpleasant ends, this is a concerning thing. It is also a curious dichotomy, where knowledge of history is increasingly the domain of the elite. - New Yorker



Jeff Bezos’ allegations of blackmail at the hands of the National Inquirer and his high-profile divorce could exact a toll on Amazon.com. That is not because of any looming boycott, or negative public sentiment stemming from either. Bezos, however, is showing that he is clearly distracted from running the company he founded, and which made him the world’s wealthiest man. Time is the great equalizer and Bezos is wasting precious resources on personal matters. - Inc.



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Canadians by now are familiar with the charge that too much foreign influence has skewed the debate over pipelines in Canada, with environmental groups receiving large amounts of funding from American non-profit groups. But this recent CBC expose shows foreign influence in Canadian political debates on issues like pipelines is even more widespread than that. Iran, Russia and Venezuela – all oil producing nations – have also been influencing Canadian attitudes via Twitter. Foreign Twitter bots amplify discord by retweeting both pro and anti-pipeline tweets and news stories. The single most retweeted stories and tweets was from CBC News, followed by Rebel TV. - CBC



Alberta marked a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions, thanks in no small part to a reduction in electricity produced by coal. As this Calgary Herald story points out, the emissions reduction came largely as a result of reducing power production from coal and increasing it with natural gas: “Within a year, coal generation has fallen from 59 per cent of all power produced in Alberta to 47 per cent. Power from burning natural gas has risen from 31 per cent to 42 per cent.” - The Calgary Herald



Carrie Schmidt, editorial researcher:

Due to a recent reorganization of our cubicles in the office, I now sit next to sales reps, so I hear some of their conversations. It's a weird world, that world of sales and advertising. I've been trying to wear headphones more often. This article, published way back in 2012, points out the privacy invasion of advertising and sales: “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did.” - Forbes



See also: Glengarry Glen Ross, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Mad Men


It’s complicated to remove data mining privacy breachers from your life: "I Cut the 'Big Five' Tech Giants from My Life. It Was Hell." - Gizmodo



See also: Brazil, Nineteen Eighty-Four


Tyler Orton, reporter:

The swaths of fake news orbiting the Burnaby South federal campaign will look fairly tame in just a few months time when Canada will find itself in the midst of a federal election. The following essay points out how one entity in particularly has been exacerbating these concerns for a long time. “How Facebook Screwed Us All” - Mother Jones https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/02/how-facebook-screwed-us-all/

Still my mission to travel on one of these soon enough. Here’s how it all came undone for Airbus. “A Humiliating End to the Superjumbo Era” -Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-02-14/airbus-a380-superjumbo-how-it-happened-and-what-went-wrong