What are we reading? June 23, 2022

Photo: John Lamb, Getty Images

Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Time for some uplifting news to consider in the bright light of summer as the heat dome social media hysteria machinery starts revving up.

If you think 2020 or 2021 were not great years to be alive, you have no idea what a bad year to be alive looks like. In the pantheon of bad times, AD 536 appears to be the runaway winner on the list of most scientists and historians. Considering that it was in the running with such major global bummers as 1349, Europe's year of the Black Death, and 1918, when the Spanish Flu killed an estimated 50 million people, 536 was really bad to the bone. This Science story provides an inventory of reasons why you have so many reasons to be cheerful to be alive today and not in 536.



Not all is dire and depressing on the global environment front. Here is some positive news about Indonesia and its efforts to repair some of the damage done to its mangrove forests, 40 per cent of which have been destroyed to make way for shrimp and milkfish farms and palm oil plantations. – The Conversation



From the building-a-better-battery file, here’s an update on the race to develop a commercially viable solid-state battery for use in electric cars. Solid-state batteries are widely considered to have the potential to be a major upgrade in battery technology in part because they have higher energy capacity than their lithium-ion counterparts. They also do not come with the risk of explosion or fire because, unlike lithium-ion batteries, they are based on a solid rather than liquid electrolyte. – the Washington Post



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

This engaging long read at once expresses the writer’s love for San Francisco and her wistful realization that the city has been on the decline in recent years. The city’s tale of two cities today includes many homeless people, encampments, brazen property crime and boarded-up retail spaces. In that way, it is not that different from the way Vancouver has evolved during the pandemic. – The Atlantic