What are we reading? February 21, 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:

The shifting landscape of the SNC-Lavalin controversy deserves a reflective legal overview. On his blog, retired litigation lawyer Andrew Roman takes an issue-by-issue dive into the case. - Andrew’s Views



A long read for a basketball fan on the mysterious methods of an NBA referee in conspiring to fix games and profit from them. - ESPN



Betty Ballantine changed the nature of reading in developing and marketing the inexpensive paperback. This obituary chronicles her enormous impact in North America. - The New York Times



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Insightful U.K. government report on disinformation and fake news contends, among other things, that  “companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law.”


It also tellingly and rightly finds that "social media companies cannot hide behind the claim of being merely a ‘platform’ and maintain that they have no responsibility themselves in regulating the content of their sites." - www.parliament.uk


Valencia and other major global marine cargo ports are starting to ride the fast-rising green tide. - GreenPort



Emma Crawford Hampel, online editor:

For a few days, Netflix’ Tidying up with Marie Kondo was all I heard about on social media. I haven’t watched it myself, because the prospect of tackling the clutter in my home does not bring me joy. The show is new, but before the show, there was a series of books. We can then ask the question: does the KonMari method actually help people? - The Atlantic



“There is a narrow universe of acceptable behaviour for women.” How successful could a female politician be if she came across as the “rumpled and ranting Bernie Sanders”? How the media’s treatment of women has been - and will continue to be - quite sexist. - The Washington Post



Why we should stop trying to achieve work-life balance. - Fast Company



Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

Reading this New York Times story of Trump’s sustained efforts to obstruct the investigations into his misdeeds, one can perhaps give thanks for the U.S. president’s laughably threadbare understanding of how prosecutions actually work. A slicker con man in the Oval Office with a savvier grasp of the law would arguably be an even greater danger than the sputtering current occupant and his blunt-force tactics. - New York Times



The headline deftly summarizes everything wrong with social media : “Facebook decided which users are interested in Nazis — and let advertisers target them directly.” - Los Angeles Times



Tyler Orton, reporter:

The lead-up to Sunday’s Academy Awards has been, simply, cacophonous. For an Oscar obsessive like me, improving the viewing experience for mainstream audiences seems pretty simple (cut the number of montages, for one). The leadership behind this year’s award show, however, doesn’t seem to grasp what makes the Oscars great. Here’s how the awards have snowballed into such a mess this year. - Time



The British-Irish Dialect Quiz: As a Vancouverite who grew up in Seattle’s suburbs during my teens, I’m decidedly West Coast in my dialect. But if I was from the British Isles it appears I’d most closely resemble that of a Brummie like Ozzy Osbourne. - New York Times



Hayley Woodin, reporter:

The U.S. and China have reportedly made some headway on certain trade issues. The larger issue at stake is the trajectory of China’s $14-trillion economy. - The Economist



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

The latest indication that technological advances are encroaching on privacy is clear from this under-the-radar news that Singapore Airlines seat-back screens have cameras. They are said to be disabled now, but why are they there to begin with? Likely for a future where they can act like an iPhone X and shut down if eyes are averted or for other tasks such as responding to hand gestures. - Forbes



Cool to see Vancouver’s transit system listed as one of nine systems in the world that has lessons for New York. This piece also gives a sense of how systems are different around the world. - New York Times



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

If North Korea can’t develop the intellectual property it needs in its push to become the next Asian Tiger, it will just steal it. That’s the warning to business by the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. The company believes that North Korea may put its considerable cyber hacking capabilities to work to steal intellectual property from western businesses. - Axios



One of the biggest environmental problems associated with the oil industry, apart from the greenhouse gases they produce, is all the waste plastic produced by the petrochemical industry. Researchers at Purdue University have a developed a use for all that waste plastic that currently clogs the world’s oceans, which could make it valuable, thus reducing the amount of plastic that just gets thrown away: turn it into fuel. Using super-heated water, the researchers are turning waste plastic into a gasoline-like fuel. - Weforum



The City of Victoria’s attempts to launch a class action lawsuit against oil companies to pay for the costs associated with climate change may be a futile effort and a waste of tax dollars that detracts from real solutions, writes Resource Works executive director Stewart Muir. As Muir points out, similar attempts in the U.S. to sue oil companies have already been tossed out by American courts. “It is an inappropriate use of the legal system, as engaging in possibly years-long litigation on climate with minimal chance of success would add incalculable costs to municipalities and likely result in more job losses for Canadians employed in the oil and gas industry.” - Resource Works