Monday July 25, 2022
Not very big
about the size of a twig
Round about the time the Jolly Green Giant introduced us to his friend, Little Green Sprout, you were probably deep into your disdain for vegetables.

Looking back, chances are the little guy came about for that very reason.

It was 1972 when the folks at the Green Giant Company decided the big guy needed an apprentice. Sprout's curiosity led him to ask about all those veggies and how they stack up against fresh-picked produce. 

With today's crazy inflation, it's a question you might be pondering and Dr. Jane Caldwell wants you to know that while fresh picked gets the edge if you can use it right away, there's a whole lot of goodness in canned and frozen produce.

So go ahead and bring it ho ho home ;)
Preventing future outages
Source: Google Maps
July 8 created an unprecedented, widespread core network outage that prevented more than 10 million Rogers customers from accessing the internet.

In a new letter sent to the CRTC yesterday, which the regulator demanded, Rogers revealed that many of its own engineers and other support staff were unable to access the company's networks, making the resolution time that much longer.

The letter said the outage began around 4:45 a.m. when the sixth step of a seven-step upgrade the telco had been working on for weeks failed. 

Tony Staffieri, Rogers CEO, said in the letter that the company will invest $10 billion over the next three years to prevent anything like this from ever happening again, particularly when it comes to the "critical infrastructure clients" that lost access. Among clients with this level of importance are hospitals and banks.

Rogers will invest in a plan to separate its core network into at least two entities, one of which will serve wireless customers, and the other wireline customers. Ideally, this would prevent Rogers clients from losing both home internet as well as phone internet.

As previously announced, Rogers will credit its customers five days worth of service, with the credit automatically being applied to customer billing on August 1.
Reverse mortgage market risks
Reverse mortgages are an option available to Canadians 55 and over who need to tap into their home equity, often to fund their retirement years.

These loans don't require monthly payments, making them different from a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) which requires interest payments every month.

A reverse mortgage accumulates interest the entire time and is usually paid off when a home is sold or the loan holder passes away.

The current market for reverse mortgages in Canada is only at $6 billion, but a recent report from DBRS says the market is ripe for growth given the massive increase in home prices over the pandemic years.

The report estimates that just 0.5% of the 6 million seniors in Canada have a reverse mortgage. The group expects that number to grow, but warns of the tremendous risk in taking out this type of loan when the housing market is likely on the brink of a major correction.

Home equity banks are aware of this risk, and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) recently amended the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for these types of loans, authorizing a maximum of 65% LTV.
What's up with new music?
Source: Twitter/@KateBushMusic
You might think that's the driving force behind the decline in the quality popular music. But as Alan Cross describes in an intriguing op-ed about the declining popularity of new music, it's not the kids, it's the labels.

He isn't just cranky and lamenting the days of Fleetwood Mac or Kate of Bush, Metallica or the Sex Pistols. In fact, he points out how all of these artists are enjoying a renaissance this summer, driven heavily by those same kids and their damn music.

Music is considered current if it's no older than 18 months. It's considered catalogue music if it's older than that, and it turns out that current music listening fell by 1.2% in "Total Album Consumption" in the first half of 2022 compared to a year ago.

Meanwhile, catalogue music listening was up 14% in the same time period.

Cross points out the obsession record labels currently have with churning out as much music as quickly as possible, playing into a perception that nobody is going to care about a new song after a few months anyways. In other words, they're thinking: why bother investing effort in the song?

It would appear labels have misunderstood which is the chicken, which is the egg, and most importantly, they've misunderstood the intelligence of today's youth. They know what's good, and they know what stinks, and one need not look any further than the resurgence of catalogue music among literally every demographic.
What was revealed?
Source: Twitter/@donmclean
While catalogue music is seeing a resurgence, there's never been a lull in appreciation for 1971's epic masterpiece, American Pie. Now a new documentary will likely drive a new wave of downloads.

Paramount+ recently released The Day The Music Died: The Story of Don McLean's 'American Pie and it's an absolute must-watch for any fan of even just the song.

For over 50 years. many have speculated about what the song truly means. It's long been known that he was referring to the death of his childhood idol Buddy Holly, who died in a plane crash along with his bandmates and pilot in Iowa when McLean was just 13.

But the song goes much deeper, and McLean goes deeper than he ever publicly has throughout the new documentary, explaining practically every line of the song and the meaning behind it.

For example, he explains that the song's "marching band" represents the military-industrial complex, and the references to "sweet perfume" are code for tear gas.

The song is ultimately about the death of Buddy Holly as the beginning of the "death" of America, which had descended into the chaos of protests and division throughout his adolescence and young adulthood.

There is plenty more to unpack, and luckily, McLean himself does it for you in the highly acclaimed new documentary.
A real slap in the face
It's a phrase often used to describe how someone may feel after being insulted by someone else.

"Man, I can't believe he would say something like that. Just a real slap in the face."

It turns out that it's not just a phrase. A recent study published in Frontiers in Communication by researchers at the Utrecht University found that the "psycholinguistic" effects of being insulted are similar to how a person would react to getting slapped in the face.

“We assume that verbal insults trigger a cascade of rapidly consecutive or overlapping processing effects and that different parts of that cascade might be differently affected by repetition," said Dr. Marijn Struiksma, a professor at Utrecht and co-author of the study.

Essentially, being repeatedly insulted can feel like being repeatedly slapped in the face.

The study attached electrodes to 79 participants, and had them read three sets of statements that were either insulting, complimentary, or neutral. Half of each were generic, and the other half used the subject's name.

It found that even in a lab environment when the person is aware that they're participating in a study, some of the insults would strike a chord, and the face-slap reaction would ensue
It was a sad day on Thursday with the news that the monarch butterfly had been added to the international endangered species list.

It was already listed as endangered in Canada as of 2016, when it received the designation by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife.

Thursday's designation was made by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which estimates the population of the creature has declined between 22% and 72% in the last 10 years.

It also believes in America specifically, it's declined between 85% and 95% since the 1990s.

Monarch butterflies are the most impressive migratory insects, with multiple generations participating annually in a migration that goes to Canada from Mexico and back again.

The species is also known in pop culture for "the butterfly effect," which apocryphally theorizes that a butterfly can flap its wings on one side of the world and consequently cause a much bigger gust of wind on the other side.

It's derived from chaos theory, which states a small action in one small setting can have major effects on a larger scale.
And the winner is...
Source: Heritage Auctions
Muhammad Ali's heavyweight championship belt that he recaptured in an 8th round knockout from George Foreman at the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974 sold yesterday for US$6.18 million.

It was auctioned off at a Heritage Auction in Dallas, and finally sold after an intense bidding war, with the last man standing being Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts.

"After several hours of watching two bidders go back and forth over this belt, this proved to be a battle worthy of the Rumble itself," said Chris Ivy, the director of sports auctions at Heritage.

Irsay is indeed a collector worthy of acquiring such a prized possession. He's amassed an incredible collection of sports memorabilia, as well as items from rock music and general pop culture.

In a statement after the bidding war that went the distance, he said he's "proud to be the steward!"

His collectibles are currently touring the United States, and his most recently acquired possession will be displayed at the Navy Pier in Chicago on Aug. 2 and in Indianapolis on Sept. 9.
Long, just like the song
Today's trivia is our ode to American Pie. Refuse to yield, Staker! Grab your coffee and let's go!
Have a great day ahead Staker!

Today's edition was written by Michael Cowan and Maureen Norman
Copyright ©2022 Stake Media Group,
All rights reserved.

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