What are we reading? April 21, 2022

Photo: George Marks, Getty Images

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 spread of vandalism, drug abuse, violence and theft in Vancouver during the pandemic has many residents and businesses fed up and desperate for answers. B.C. broadcaster Lynda Steele’s first-person account of the mayhem in her Yaletown neighbourhood is an unsettling reminder of how serious and seemingly intractable the problem has become. – The Orca



As the Omicron sub-variant BA.2 hits Canada, B.C. and other provinces have cut back their testing and restricted public data about its spread. The timing couldn’t be worse, notes UBC professor Sally Otto, a member of the independent B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group. “I would argue that we have, really, no idea of whether or not we’re going to see the same hospitalizations as our first wave, or less,” Otto tells reporter Andrea Woo. “It could be substantially more and we’re going into this not knowing.” – Globe and Mail



Glen Korstrom - reporter:

It’s easy to just hang up and consider it annoyance to get automated phone calls that claim to be from the CRA, or are recordings in Chinese. This article examines Chinese crime rings that promise poor Thais jobs and then essentially kidnap them and require them to work on phone scams. – Al Jazeera



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Hydrogen has multiple applications in displacing fossil fuels, and is therefore important to addressing climate change. But a new study from the UK warns that fugitive hydrogen emissions will need to be managed very carefully, because more hydrogen in the atmosphere could actually result in methane – a potent greenhouse gas – remaining longer in the atmosphere. As this piece in New Atlas points out, the same hydroxyl radicals that react with methane to essentially neutralize it can also react with hydrogen. More hydrogen in the atmosphere could therefore prolong the life of methane. This is not an argument against hydrogen as an alternative fuel – just a warning that fugitive hydrogen emissions will need to be carefully managed and monitored. – New Atlas



The mighty Thames River was once pronounced biologically dead. That was 60 years ago. But the UK has cleaned up its act, and today the Thames is coming back to life, sustaining 125 species of fish, including Atlantic salmon. – The Conversation



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Dispatches from the wildlife desk:

The latest chapter chronicling the search for the Tasmanian tiger, which was last seen in 1936 and long since considered extinct. But sightings – imagined or other – continue in the land deep Down Under. – Discover Wildlife 



Leave it to beavers to lead the restoration of damaged riverscapes in the increasingly arid west. They are one of nature's most advanced aquatic engineers, and they work cheap.  –NRDC blog



Dispatches from the green energy desk:

Electric airplanes on the near horizon. With a former pro hockey player piloting the enterprise. Are you kidding?  Maybe not. – Forbes



Wind power revolutionaries alive and well and marshalling forces on Block Island off the New England coast. – Smithsonian Magazine