What are we reading? August 22, 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:

Slavery began 400 years ago this month in America, whose history has been distorted by its presence and consequence. The New York Times Magazine has launched an ambitious effort to correct the record, The 1619 Project, and it is a revelation. – The New York Times Magazine



Wonder what Chinese students are reading these days? We’d like to think it’s us. We’d be wise to accept it is College Daily, an extension of official media back home. – The New Yorker



He may not be your cup of tea, but Joe Rogan has discovered the secret to entertain men, all kinds of men, in his extraordinarily popular podcast. This looks at why. – The Atlantic



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Looking for the next hot market for your investment dollars? You might find it at the intersection of 3D printing and pharmaceuticals as outlined in this report. – IDTechEx



What happens in Vegas might not be staying in Vegas if this US$7.5 billion energy initiative really turns out to be smart. – Off Grid Energy Independence https://www.offgridenergyindependence.com/articles/17963/7-5-billion-smart-mini-city-to-be-built-in-las-vegas?stv1=1%3A413393%3A15783


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor: 

British MPs are thinking about passing a law to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson from taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal in place. But it’s not a given that the government would feel bound by such legislation. – Financial Times



I once worked for a company at which job postings were not infrequently window dressing for the hiring of a predetermined winning candidate. These postings were known as – love this term – “boat races.”

A recent story in the Atlantic makes a pretty compelling case that the concept of meritocracy, once thought of as a remedy for economic inequality, is a Titanic-sized boat race in which those from a “narrow elite” of well-off and influential families are virtually guaranteed to win. – The Atlantic



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

As someone with papers, sticky notes, reports and contact business cards cluttered on my desk, I was happy to stumble across this story: If your desk is a mess, you’re probably a genius. It has curious insight on what prompts or is indicative of a creative mind, and includes a reference to a UBC study that held that the level of sound at a bustling coffee shop – 70 decibels – distracts your brain just enough to quiet internal censors and make  way for more abstract thought. – Reader’s Digest 



I think one of the underreported stories in the media of late has been the volatile situation in Argentina, where the stock market tanked by 48% on a single day recently – the largest one-day drop for a global stock market in decades. It came after an opposition candidate did surprisingly well in an election primary and investors feared that he could become president. 

The currency is also roiling. It’s down more than 20% against the Canadian dollar in the past month. When I checked a longer-term chart I realized that the Argentinean peso is down more than 95% against the Canadian dollar since 2004. Wow! Imagine the hardship for those whose savings have been in that currency. 

This article does a good job explaining why the Argentinean currency has been sliding downward for the past 15 years or more. – American Institute for Economic Research



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Pembina Pipeline’s plans to buy out Kinder Morgan Canada is just the latest development in a trend of foreign energy companies voting with their feet and getting out of Canada. Bloomberg calculates the divestment of foreign energy companies from Canada totals $30 billion. – Bloomberg



Hayley Woodin, reporter:

Jobs in B.C.’s future may include “dark web detective” and “digital identity guardian.” The Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship toured the country to survey employment trends through to 2030. (Less imaginative – but more probable – jobs suited to B.C. include providing customer service on autonomous public transit vehicles, and administrative support for gig workers.) – Brookfield Institute



Vox answers the questions about ongoing Hong Kong protests that we were too embarrassed to ask. A good primer on – or reminder of – what the protests are about. This quote stands out: “this is really the last step in a whole series of erosions of Hong Kong’s autonomy since 1997.”Vox



It’s not about a single event: Justin Trudeau has a broken brand, says Angus Reid pollster Shachi Kurl. This long read documents Trudeau’s spectacular rise to international fame, and his fall from grace in the minds of voters. The question, unanswered in the article, is whether Trudeau’s image will recover in time for the federal election. – The Guardian



Tyler Orton, reporter:

How to Put a Fake Island on the Map. – Atlas Obscura



'The Government Is Very Afraid': Meet Moscow's New Opposition Leader, Lyubov Sobol. – NPR