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Friday July 22, 2022
Happy Hammock Day
It’s the weekend. It’s been a hot one. We could all use some chill vibes.

It’s advice Fred had no trouble taking and researchers agree that those people who spend an hour a day reflecting are more satisfied with life, more productive, and more effective. 

The concept is called 'the 5 hour rule' and the best part? There are no rules. You can spend every one of those hours learning or experimenting or reflecting

So grab a hammock, or a lounger, or a blanket, and get out there. Now what was it Frankie said to do? 

Oh yeah. Relax ;)
IN THE NEWS
Inflation lessons learned
Source: unsplash.com
In the 1970s and '80s, governments and central banks didn't have many of the safeguards that exist today to combat inflation.

Central banks tackled inflation by controlling the money supply rather than raising interest rates, mostly because they didn't want to depress economic growth by making borrowing too expensive.

When money supply solutions didn't work, the country's central bank found itself behind the 8-ball, and Stakers will remember the days of interest rates rising as high as 21% to combat inflation that exceeded 12%.

In 1991, the Bank of Canada set target inflation at 2%, after coming to an agreement with the government's finance minister that the BoC would be responsible for containing inflation.

Today, the BoC has faced similar criticism as it did in the early 80s for not raising interest rates sooner. 

BoC governor Tiff Macklem says the goal remains a soft landing, but he's also made it very clear that he's willing to be aggressive to get prices under control, even if that means triggering a recession.
TRAVEL
Poilievre backs airport expansion
Source: unsplash.com
In 2015, the debate over whether or not to extend the runway at Toronto's Billy Bishop airport seemingly came to a close, when the newly elected prime minister Justin Trudeau axed it.

The airport functions based on the 1983 Tripartite Agreement between the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), Toronto itself, and Transport Canada. Part of the agreement said there would be no further extension of the airport's runway.

The debate was put to rest for 7 years but it's back on the table. Yesterday Pierre Poilievre released a video saying he would support the runway's extension if elected prime minister.

The proposal was initially put forth by Porter Airlines, which is run by the TPA. It faced stiff opposition in Toronto in the mid 2010s, with a group of councillors and activists operating under the banner NoJetsTO campaigning to stop the runway's expansion.

Norm Di Pasquale, a current trustee on the TCDSB, chaired NoJetsTO, and remains opposed to the runway extension, saying it would stifle development in the portlands once the area's revitalization is complete, cause noise pollution, and disrupt the film industry.

Poilievre says the expansion would create 2,000 jobs, competition for Pearson, reduce commute times, and create $55 million in tax revenue without raising taxes.
REAL ESTATE
Cost of living vs. cost of building
Source: pexels.com
Yesterday we talked about vacancy decontrol, and how it would help keep rent affordable for Ontarians, but would also hamstring landlords and developers.

Development fees are already high, and set to go even higher based on a formula that recalculates fees every five years based on inflation.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp recently found government-imposed developmental fees account for sometimes as much as 20% of the overall cost to build new homes in metropolitan areas like Toronto and Vancouver, where real estate is already excessively pricey.

The report also found that high-density developments come with the highest developmental fees, whereas something like a single-detached house has the lowest, and also has the lowest amount of separate fees.

High-density developments typically have over ten separate government fees attached, meaning approval times also take much longer.

The overall cost burden ultimately slows the development of much needed housing in major urban areas.
RECREATION
Ganaraska Forest remains closed
Source: Ganaraska Forest Centre
The Ganaraska Forest is located a few dozen kilometres southeast of Peterborough, and has been closed since the May windstorm ran through southern Ontario and Quebec, devastating much in its path.

The derecho was a once in a generation calamity, and the worst natural disaster to hit the Ganaraska forest since its conservation group, the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA), was founded in 1947.

The GRCA says that over 600 acres of trees were downed by the windstorm, and 600 km of trails are now closed to the public until at least Sept 30.

Part of what's taking so long to clear the area, aside from the sheer massive size of it, is that the GRCA's Conservation Lands department only has five full time staff and four part-time summer staff who are in charge of cleaning up the downed trees.

The group has received help from bordering conservation authority groups, but will still need months to safely clear the mess.

Anyone with forest membership passes or cross country ski passes will have their expiry dates pushed back to account for the lost time of being able to enjoy the forest's amenities.
FEASTING FRIDAYS
Norway's hidden gem
Source: Eivind H. Natvig
Kvitnes Gård, one of Norway's most sought after culinary destinations, is tucked between fjords and glaciers in the small northern town of Vesterålen.

There are only a few ways to reach diamond in the rough, but the best way appears to be via inflatable powerboat on a several-hour journey up the Norwegian Sea.

Halvar Ellingsen, the owner and Michelin chef of Kvitnes Gård, spent many-a-year working in Oslo kitchens before returning to this farmhouse originally owned by his great-grandfather in the 1800s.

It's a rustic but idyllic gem, surrounded by forest and sea, and the restaurant serves up extraordinary cuisine.

Brad Japhe of Food and Wine magazine recounted the tale of his journey to Kvitnes Gård, where he was served "cured reindeer neck, moose and porcini-stuffed barley crisps, and reindeer liver, all sandwiched between birch syrup crackers."

That was the forest portion, accounting to Ellingsen. Next came the sea.

"...seaweed tart of fermented trout – under grated duck yolk, dollops of sea urchin and raw shrimp abut smoked cod encased in a squid ink cracker."

Are you in, Staker?
TECH
Wrist-worn COVID tracker
Source: Ava Labs
A new study conducted by researchers at the Dr. Risch Medical Laboratory in Liechtenstein, as well as several universities including McMaster, found that wearing an Ava bracelet can help detect COVID before symptoms appear.

An Ava bracelet is typically used for fertility purposes to advise women on the best times to conceive, but the research revealed that it can also track significant changes in the body during COVID's incubation period.

The researchers had 1,163 people wear the bracelets between the start of the pandemic and April 2021, and collected 1.5 million hours of data that was also tracked and processed using AI software.

It found that 127 people eventually contracted the virus, 66 of which wore the bracelet for at least 29 straight days.

There were limits to the research, most notably that some of the subjects who contracted COVID did not have it picked up by the bracelet.

The researchers are confident, though, that the AI technology and bracelets can be optimized to yield more accurate results, and ultimately help prevent a great deal of transmission and sickness.
CURIOSITIES
Maritime LEGO masterpiece
Source: Jean Bédard
The Fortress of Louisbourg was a French fishing port and military base erected at Cape Breton during the height of France and England's battle for colonial supremacy.

It stood in the first half of the 18th century, but was destroyed by the English during the Second Siege in 1758, and a full replica was reconstructed in the 1960s.

Now a smaller, scaled replica is under construction by way of LEGO. It's being built by Louis and Jean Bédard, two brothers that first visited the site during its 250 year anniversary in 2008, and fell in love with it.

They began building the replica in January of 2020 and, like most everyone, found themselves with some extra time on their hands a few months later. They hired three more team members to help build the masterpiece, and have been at it ever since.

The project cost about $20,000, is 7.3 metres long, and contains 200,000 pieces of LEGO.

When it's done, it will be carefully moved to the 2023 Lego convention known as Brickworld Chicago, then showcased at the actual replica of the fortress in Cape Breton the following year.
FUN
Stakers take the Stage
Budweiser Stage, that is!

Max B and Holly A were rockin' out to the sounds of Bachman and Cummings this week. And thanks to Staker Manuela B, our 3-2-1 contest giveaway winner, for the great shot of the lads. 

Now let's wrap up the week with a little Canadian music trivia
Have a great weekend Staker!

Today's edition was written by Michael Cowan and Maureen Norman
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