What are we reading? March 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:

There are several books describing the horror of Chernobyl’s meltdown, but few magazine pieces so descriptively scare like this in reviewing them. - The New York Review of Books



If you own AirPods, you know their battery life is not long. Get ready for a lot of landfill as their terms expire. This looks at our habits of consumption and disposal. - The Atlantic



Many writers have to reconcile their families of origin as they pursue their careers, but this profile of Canadian writer Miriam Toews takes it a step further in chronicling her reconciliation of her Mennonite heritage. There are profound insights into her writing. - The New Yorker



Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

The Star’s Jen St. Denis reports on Port Coquitlam considering a strict new law against landlords using renovations to kick people out and jack up the rent. The proposed legislation follows the lead of New Westminster, which earlier this year passed B.C.’s toughest law against renovictions. - The Star



The lede: “The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to unveil a plan that would weaken federal clean water rules designed to protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams nationwide from pesticide runoff and other pollutants.”

Because of course it is.

This story reminds me of the old Will Rogers quote: “That’s one thing about Republican presidents. They never went in much for plans. They only had one plan. It says, ‘Boys, my head is turned. Just get it while you can.’ - New York Times



Hayley Woodin, reporter:

China is welcoming Italy into its Belt and Road Initiative. Other EU countries have signed on, but Italy would be the first G7 nation to do so. - The Economist



Author Jonathan Manthorpe reflects on his latest book, and those affected by China’s soft-power strategy in Canada. - iPolitics



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

U.K.-based design and architecture magazine Wallpaper focused on Vancouver last week with some text and lots of large photos and renderings of projects underway or in the wings: the proposed Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Oakridge Centre, 1550 Alberni Street, 1500 West Georgia, Simon Fraser University student union building, Terrace House, Polygon Gallery and many more projects. Worth a scroll to see what’s up and coming. - Wallpaper



Here’s a story that this week drilled home how wide a range of retail opportunities there is in the cannabis sector. A “high”-end Barneys New York store just opened in Beverly Hills with $1,100 bongs and $1,400 cannabis grinders among other paraphernalia on display. - Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-21/barneys-opens-a-beverly-hills-store-for-wealthy-marijuana-lovers


Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, including economist Jeff Rubin, have argued that there is no need for the expansion because there is no market for Alberta heavy crude overseas, especially in light of the shale oil boom in the U.S. that has resulted in a massive increase in light oil. But American oil industry analyst Anas Alhajji argues the reverse is true: “demand is growing substantially for heavy crude while supply is growing substantially for light crude from U.S. shale, creating a mismatch of supply and demand.” - Axios



Are electric cars bad for the environment? According to Amnesty International, they are. The human rights watchdog is slamming electric vehicle battery makers for the environmental damage and human rights abuses associated with mining for critical metals, like cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and lithium in Argentina. - Euronews



Russia was first out of the gate with a floating nuclear power plant. Now China has plans to build a whole fleet of small modular nuclear power plants that could be taken by ship to provide emissions-free power in remote areas, like the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea. - Futurism.com



Tyler Orton, reporter:

The annual World Happiness Index is out and Canada is No. 9, wedged between New Zealand and Austria. Are we happy with the results? - World Happiness Report



Saudis Spiral Deeper Into Isolation Amid U.S. Ire Over Khashoggi … story makes it clear why anger in the U.S. over the murder of this journalist isn’t melting away with time. - Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-21/saudis-spiral-deeper-into-isolation-amid-u-s-ire-over-khashoggi?srnd=politics-vp


Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Computers are getting smarter and faster. Why aren't humans?

World's fastest computer being built in a forest preserve near Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, Aurora will be able to perform more than one quintillion operations per second once it's up and running in 2021. That might be too late to save America and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. - Chicago Tribune



Are tech mega-companies really interested in supporting journalism and combating fake news, information fabrication and other social-media-driven bilge? - CNET