What are we reading? March 18, 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:

Finally, someone has shown what we know to be true: People walking while reading their phones cause us trouble. – The New York Times



Songwriting has changed in this hyperactive, video-driven world. It’s important to get the most attractive elements to the listener much faster. This visually and aurally fascinating treatment tells us how we now listen differenty. – The New York Times



Gotta go. We’ll talk again soon. Hate to cut it off there, but . . . There are better ways to end conversations, this essay tells us. – The Atlantic



Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor

A study following the money of Canadian consumer habits reveals some some interesting purchase trends over the past pandemic year. Among them: swimming pool sales rose 51% from June to September 2020. – Global News



The real estate seller’s market in B.C. and beyond will continue, with the Canadian Real Estate Association forecasting a 16.5% rise in prices this year as demand overwhelms supply. – Georgia Straight



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

The conundrum of solar power in the desert. Building massive solar farms in the desert in places like the Sahara could have the dual benefit of providing a whole lot of carbon-free electricity and also “greening” the desert by raising the temperature (heat reflected from solar panels) and causing more moisture to form in the region. So, double win, right? Trust scientists to come along and spoil the party, though. A new study suggests that covering massive amounts of desert with solar panels might actually contribute to global warming, not through the release of CO2, but from the albedo effect of reflecting heat. The study found that “there could be unintended effects in remote parts of the land and ocean that offset any regional benefits over the Sahara itself.” -- The Next Web



You’ve got hand it to Qatar -- when they build things, they go epic, and futuristic. Qatar is now planning to build a massive, floating, rotating hotel that would generate power while it slowly rotates. – luxurylaunches.com



Hayley Woodin, executive editor:

Total indebtedness grew more quickly in Canada during the pandemic than it did in any other country. In good times and in bad, Canadians rely heavily on debt to sustain their living standards. It isn’t sustainable, argues a new report. – Business Council of British Columbia



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Forget 5G, the hype machine is already being cranked up for 6G. – IDTechEx



How about instead the world starts investing more in slowing down the rate of information access and exchange so that humans can be provided with meaningful education and critical thinking skills? Regurgitating social media bilge gathered on the fly is not doing the world much good.

Meanwhile, here is another list of tech trend forecasts. Technology democratization as corporate innovation engine appears to be top of mind for Canadian executives. It puts IT repair and customization abilities in the hands of the non-IT masses. Liberating, if true. – Accenture



Heavy metal? Death metal? How about memory metal? Meet nitinol. – The Verge



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

Here’s a good long read about the meal-delivery sector that looks at the phenomenon through the eyes of restaurant owners and drivers. – Economist



I found this article interesting in that it shows that humans can carry and transmit serious viruses, such as Ebola, over periods as long as five years because the virus can be stored in eyeballs or testes. This enables the virus to be triggered anew even after it was thought to be under control. – Live Science