What are we reading? February 25, 2021

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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

The value of “one good belly laugh a day” in pushing back against the pandemic can’t be overestimated, says a U.S. doctor.

“Humor is not just a distraction from the grim reality of the crisis, said Dr. Michael Miller, a cardiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. It’s a winning strategy to stay healthy in the face of it.” – New York Times



This made me laugh. The headline: “New Zoom filter adds pants, will to live.” – The Beaverton



Nelson Bennett, Reporter

Facebook executive was “fine” with censoring Turkish Kurds to mollify Turkey. Facebook often faces pressure from governments to squelch information they don’t like. In this investigative piece, ProPublica obtained documents showing how cavalier the company can be when capitulating to pressure to censor content. When Facebook was asked by the government of Turkey to silence the YPG, a Kurdish militia, a Facebook executive said “I’m fine with this.” -- ProPublica



Canada has never built its own fighter-bomber jet, which is why we are obliged to buy them from the U.S. But a Canadian company, Icarus Aerospace, has been quietly working on a multi-role tactical aircraft that just might get the attention of American military brass. The company has designed a tactical aircraft that looks and functions a bit like the A-10 Warthog -- that ugly little beast that the U.S. Air Force wanted to scrap, but which proved itself invaluable in providing close air support for ground troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Because it is propeller driven, the company’s Tactical Air Vehicle (TAC) has a very long range, reducing the need for refueling, can carry a big payload of bombs and even comes with an unmanned variant (i.e. a drone). -- Skies



Glen Korstrom, reporter

This obituary was interesting because it was as much about Douglas A.J. Latchford’s life as it was about his passion of collecting Khmer antiquities, and the whole debate around whether that collecting made him a looter or a protector. 

Though it cites him as saying that he bought the items (with no documents to show provenance), some people who I saw on social media commenting about the article firmly believe that he helped finance the confiscation of the Cambodian treasures. 

Regardless, I kept wondering whether the old artifacts would have survived the Khmer Rouge regime had art collectors not sought the items enough that they were smuggled out of the country – New York Times



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Good news from Down Under for newspapers and other hard-hit media outlets that have for so long been serving up free lunch for Facebook and other members of the Big Tech Information Parasites club to dine upon while those media outlets wither in the face of downward spiralling revenue, closures and collapse – CNET



Insects now piling on a global airline industry reeling from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – American Shipper



21-point action plan to fight the spread of corporate and other corruption that is corroding the integrity of government and other democratic institutions all over the world – Transparency International