What are we reading? March 11, 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.


Kirk LaPointe, publisher and editor-in-chief:

We generally eat three meals a day, largely framed around our workdays. It wasn’t always so. For many of us, the pandemic has changed our habit back to the old ways, and there is good reason for it. – The Atlantic



Whether you were entranced or repelled, the interview by Oprah Winfrey of Meghan and Harry was a masterclass in craft. – The New Yorker



The pandemic has given many of us time -- and less choice but -- to cook at home. This piece went viral and has spawned many imitations on the ideal way to prepare scrambled eggs. A clue: there is a secret ingredient that makes the difference. – The New York Times



Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

More than two years after legalization, Canada’s cannabis laws continue to evolve. This week, the federal government launched public consultation on proposed tighter rules for home-grown pot, in a bid to keep it out of black-market hands. – Reuters



A move toward tougher regulation of plastics in Canada, including a proposal to classify plastic as “toxic, and to ban on six single-use plastic items, has triggered an intense behind-the-scenes struggle between industry lawmakers, lobbyists and environmentalists. – National Observer



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

More data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on how hard the pandemic has hit fossil fuel use and production. – EIA



A concise introduction into three technologies that could change the way the world can feed its growing human population without bringing Mother Earth to her knees. – Inverse



Speaking of feeding the world, don’t forget that National Potato Chip Day is fast approaching. Down south, Americans take potato consumption seriously. How seriously, you ask? 2019 potato production hit 424 million CWT [that’s shorthand for hundredweight for any non-potato heads out there). – United States Census



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Imagine everything electronic, from your smartphone to your car, radio, television and even your wristwatch, suddenly going dead. Of all the doomsday scenarios, the threat of an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) is worth worrying about. A single atomic warhead detonated 200 kilometres above North America could conceivably fry every electronic circuit on the continent. The U.S. Air Force is taking the threat of an EMP seriously and is doing studies on how to guard against them. After all, the U.S. military already has developed a small EMP generator missile of its own for more targeted EMP blasts, so you can bet other countries are looking into developing such weapons as well. – Live Science



Governments around the world, including Canada, are pledging to net zero emission goals by 2050, in effort to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. But what, exactly, is net zero? “Why net rather than just zero?” asks this piece in New Scientist. The answer is that there are certain sectors, like agriculture, that will never eliminate their emissions, so they need to be offset with negative emissions. – New Scientist



Glen Korstrom, reporter: 

If your employer gives you an iPhone and a message comes up that says the phone has remote-management software, essentially the company could be spying on you. This article goes into how that spying could be done and essentially stresses how to use work devices exclusively for work. – New York Times 



Konstantin Anikeev had a bright idea for how to make free money. His credit card gave him 5% cash back. He bought pre-paid credit cards that he used to buy money orders that went into his bank account so he could pay his credit card bills. He made $300,000 and endured court battles with the IRS because he did not declare the income as being taxable because the IRS’ rules say credit card rewards aren’t taxable. – Wall Street Journal



This working paper has lessons from the Spanish Flu, a century ago, for COVID-19’s potential effects on mortality and economic activity. – National Bureau of Economic Research