What are we reading? October 10, 2019

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


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

Canadian-American cosmologist James Peebles wins the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work to shed light on the origins of the universe. – Globe and Mail



Could a Trump happen here? This insightful piece half-jokes that he already has, and that his name was Rob Ford. But it warns that as Trump’s rise in the U.S. has emboldened racists on this side of the border, Canada shouldn’t get too used to the idea that it is somehow immune to politicians who would launch roundups and put children in cages:

“‘This populist right phenomenon is in Canada, too,’ says Eric Kaufmann, a Canadian political scientist and author of White Shift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majority. ‘It’s just that it hasn’t got control of a major party yet.’” – Politico



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

The shale revolution in the U.S. has provided a short-term benefit to the climate by reducing GHGs from coal power. CO2 emissions from the American power sector fell 25% since 2005, thanks to cheap natural gas. That’s the good news. The bad news is that cheap and abundant natural gas may have also squelched investments in both renewable and nuclear power. – Resources for the Future



Arthur Xie, editorial researcher:

Can Washington go beyond the panda hugger (“the dove”) and the dragon slayer (“the hawk”) on its China policy? Through a recent document signed by a group of figures from the policy, military, business and academic fields and an essay published by professor Johnston at Harvard, Ali Wyne, a policy analyst at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation, elaborates that one can support the White House’s call for a shift in U.S. policy on China while acknowledging the risks of overcorrection in the process of recalibration. He also suggests the best long-term outcome for U.S.-China relations. – ChinaFile



Tyler Orton, reporter:

"Welcome to Estonia’s Isle of Women": So what happens to a community when almost the entire male population is off at sea most of the year? This Baltic island has thrived under a distinct matriarchy for years but now it faces notable population declines as young people look for work elsewhere. – New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/02/travel/kihnu-estonia-women-unesco-folk-culture-tourism.html?utm_source=pocket-newtab  


Are only children a little bit different from the rest of us or is it just a myth? Neuroscience proves that our brains a wired differently depending on the sibling situation. – Quartz https://getpocket.com/explore/item/neuroscience-shows-that-our-gut-instincts-about-only-children-are-right?utm_source=pocket-newtab 


Glen Korstrom, reporter:

The blurring of provincial and federal areas of jurisdiction that is present in the rhetoric in the current federal election campaign had me reaching for a 1968-published book of essays that former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau wrote in the 1950s and 1960s.

One in particular – Federal Grants to Universities ­– dealt with his thoughts on how important it is for each level of government to stick to areas within its jurisdiction so voters know which branch of government to vote for or against.

“A fundamental condition of representative democracy is a clear allocation of responsibilities: a citizen who disapproves of a policy, a law, a municipal by-law, or an educational system must know precisely whose work it is so that he can hold someone responsible for it at the next election,” Trudeau writes.

Yet, decades later, his son is bringing up Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s policies to try to smear the Conservative Party of Canada. Federal interference in Quebec’s Bill 21 is more complicated as it is arguably a human rights issue that transcends provincial jurisdiction.

Other chapters in the book, such as New Treason of the Intellectuals, and Nationalism, Federalism and Reason, are interesting reads about what it means to be a nation, and how nations need not be sovereign. – Federalism and the French Canadians, Pierre Elliott Trudeau