What are we reading? January 30, 2020


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:

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is on a charm offensive to promote adoption of its 5G mobile technology in Canada. Don’t buy it, says writer Andrew Nikiforuk.

The company, he says, is little more than “a manifestation of the imperial goals of the Chinese government” and “has played a prominent role in making world a more insecure and totalitarian place.” – The Tyee



Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has lately added to his enemies list, tilting at European insurance companies for deciding to stop covering oilsands operators. Those insurers, the premier said, were buying into “distorted, torqued data provided by green left pressure groups.”

However, says Alberta Oil and Vancouver magazine editor Max Fawcett, it’s the premier’s reasoning that’s distorted – what’s cutting off capital to the province is less green idealism than red-blooded risk aversion.  

“Central banks, insurance companies, and investment firms are all increasingly aware that global action on climate change will reduce the value of billions of dollars of fossil fuel assets like coal deposits and oil-and-gas reserves,” Fawcett writes, “and they’re working to ensure they’re not exposed to those losses.”  – The Walrus



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

A newly released time capsule from the U.S. Library of Congress of what North American newspapering looked like and how it sounded in its relative infancy in this collection of publications edited by abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass. IOC 


While we are on the subject of historical print publications. Here's a relatively recently faded  20th century star seeking a new orbit in the 21st century. Playboy's new game plan as envisioned by Playboy Enterprises CFO and COO David Israel – FIPP



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

How scary could the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV be? This study by researchers at places such as Lancaster University, the University of Florida and Glasgow University estimates that there will be more than 190,000 infections by February 4.

This link goes to a place where an 11-page PDF summarizes the findings and rationale – MedRxiv 



This story about journalism and social media is interesting for its content, but also for the publication in which it appeared. 

After Kobe Bryant’s death, a Washington Post reporter tweeted a link to a story about unproven sexual-assault allegations. She was hounded by Bryant’s fans for being disrespectful and editors said she used poor judgement and told her to delete the tweet. She was slow in removing the tweets and was concerned about disciplinary action. 

The paper clearly did not want to hush up the incident, however, as this write-up appeared on its online site. – Washington Post



I’m learning more about Peter MacKay, the seeming unassailable front-runner in the Conservative leadership race, and am stunned that he can’t speak French. As the son of a cabinet minister, a long-time minister himself and someone who has made politics his life’s calling, why did he not do the work needed to learn French? He hints to either laziness, incapacity or disregard for a substantial chunk of Canada’s population. – MacLean’s