Monday July 18, 2022
Stack 'em up

If you played your first records on one of these, then your new best friend was likely named Magnavox, Electrohome, Sylvania, or Zenith.

Somewhere along the line, as the phonograph evolved into a record player, somebody decided it should be a piece of furniture. And a big one at that.

But who were you to argue. And let's face it, there weren't too many people hanging out in the living room on a Tuesday afternoon at 4:30.

These days, the living room is once again the star as listening bars (a new twist on a Japanese trend from the '50s) are cropping up. They're a place you can go, sit quietly, and sample some vinyl.

If you visit one, we can't promise you'll relive your youth. But we can promise this. 

No penny required ;)
Inflation or recession
CIBC senior economist Karyne Charbonneau says that with the Bank of Canada having really only one tool in its arsenal to combat inflation, Canada is going to need outside help to reel it in.

“If we don’t get a little help from our friends abroad and a healthy dose of luck, we will need a recession to bring down inflation.”

It's been the top concern for most Canadians over the last several months, with COVID falling by the wayside as restrictions are lifted and people get back to living their lives.

While a welcome change of pace after over two years of rolling lockdowns and social distancing, it's creating what's called excess demand in a great deal of the economy.

With the arrival of warmer weather, the economy has become even hotter. People are doing a whole lot more of everything, enjoying their summer and spending money. 

The Bank of Canada's only hope is that these global log jams stabilize. Cooling the domestic economy, otherwise, will be accomplished by continued rate hikes, and a recession shortly thereafter.
Tackling the new variant
With the emergence of the Omicron's BA.5 subvariant, many are wondering what the dangers are, what the chances of reinfection are, and what to do about it.

According to Catherine Hankins, the chair of Canada's COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, it looks like BA.5 has a strong ability to evade immunity built up by prior infection.

She says the notion that getting infected multiple times and believing you're then super-immune is a cavalier and incorrect position. It appears that all Omicron subvariants share the trait of immunity-evasiveness.

At the same time, there's immunity to infection, and then immunity to severe symptoms. While there's a good chance most people will catch the virus more than once, most data also shows that having at least three doses of the vaccine plus antibodies from prior infection is the best defence against severe illness.

Called hybrid immunity, this will likely bolster anyone against symptoms severe enough to end up in the hospital. 

There are examples of reinfection causing worse symptoms, but they aren't the norm. More people end up in the hospital as cases skyrocket, but at a per capita level, hybrid immunity is the best defence against the virus, followed by being fully vaccinated.
T.O. votes in 99 days
Toronto residents will head to the polls on Oct. 24 to decide if John Tory has earned a third term as mayor.

As it currently stands, it's very unlikely any candidate will truly test the incumbent mayor, who seeks to become the longest serving in Toronto's history.

Most of the 11 other candidates have little to no name recognition. The only one that currently stands out is Gil Penalosa, founder of the not-for-profit 8 80 Cities.

His company has, "worked behind the scenes with more than 350 communities worldwide on open streets events and other projects aimed at enhancing public spaces," according to CP24.

Penalosa isn't embarking on some quixotic campaign to unseat a giant. He knows his chances are slim, but believes he has an obligation to his community to at least force the conversations that he believes many Torontonians want to have.

Among his main objectives is the cancellation of the $2 billion Gardiner East reconstruction, with the funds being reallocated to bike lanes, parks, and streetscape improvements.

He also wants to remove zoning laws that preclude homeowners from turning their properties into multi-unit homes. 
Energy grid will need expansion
The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station will begin a multi-phase shutdown in 2024, ending a power source that accounts for 14% of Ontario's energy.

Other nuclear facilities are also set to undergo maintenance procedures, overlapping with the Pickering shutdown, and creating a demand-supply gap of energy by 2035 big enough to power 5 million homes in the summer.

Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) says that based on the shutdown and maintenance procedures, the province will find itself relying much more on natural gas at a time when energy critics are calling for the system to wean itself off natural gas.

An IESO report says that this reliance will cause Ontario's carbon emmissions to actually go up for the next 16 years, after which they will be offset by the mass electrification of cars and public transportation. 

Critics have called for natural gas to be phased out by 2030, but the IESO says doing so that quickly would force the province into perpetual rolling blackouts, an option that certainly poses political problems for policy makers.

The IESO has been tasked with looking for ways to close the demand-supply gap that both include carbon-neutral energy sources and keep prices stable for consumers.
You probably just got free money
Not a joke, not a catchy headline, just the honest truth!

The federal government launched the climate action incentive payment (CAIP) in 2019 to help offset the carbon-pricing measures it had implemented to create a monetary cost for pollution.

Ontarians were given their payment on July 15, meaning if you check your bank statement, you will likely see a deposit from the government that went in on Friday.

The amount each person is entitled to varies. Most individuals were eligible for a credit of $373, but others got $186 or $93.

Ontarians in rural areas may have also received slightly more due to a 10% supplement added for those in communities that likely contribute extremely small amounts of Ontario's overall emissions.

The credit is annual, and it does not need to be applied for, and comes at a time when Canadians can certainly use a bit of extra moolah.
Wordle gets the Hasbro nod
Source: Twitter/@CBCNews
It was only a matter of time before Hasbro took interest in the addictive and mega-popular online word game, Wordle.

Hasbro, the company behind games like Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble has partnered with the New York Times to release a Wordle board game in North America at some point in October.

The game was created in November by a Brooklyn software engineer named James Wardle. He created it for his partner, but then released in to the general public, where it gained 300,000 daily players within two months.

The New York Times, famous for, among other things, its crossword puzzle, took immediate interest and bought the game off Wardle for at least a million dollars.

Since the NYT's purchase of the game, it has enjoyed over a million daily active users, vying for the elusive first or second correct guess.

The board game will essentially be the same as the online game, minus the daily limit of one word. You'll be able to do as many words as you want, and play in teams, on a clock, or just the classic rendition. Sign us up!
Diamonds are forever
Source: SWA Diamonds
They sure are, including when there are 24,679 of them mounted on a ring to set a new Guinness World Record.

Made by SWA Diamonds in India, this ring was designed to resemble the pink oyster mushroom, which "represents immortality and longevity," according to Abdul Gafur Anadiyan, Managing Director of SWA Diamonds.

It was first designed using a plastic mould before it was remade digitally in order to ensure it was actually possible to construct such a complex and detail-oriented piece of jewelery.

After three months in its digital construction phase, it was 3D-printed and liquid gold was poured into the mold before it was twisted and shaped into the 41 petals of the pink oyster mushroom.

Each of the 24,679 diamonds were placed onto the ring by hand, a meticulous miracle given the real-estate available for so many individual pieces of rock.

The ring was independently analyzed for diamond quality and count, and was officially crowned as the new Guinness record holder for most diamonds on a single ring.

It weighs 340 grams and is worth US$95,243. Sports leagues everywhere are officially under the gun to figure out how to top this for their respective championship rings.
Lucky Buck
Hey, do you remember last week we told you to look out for the Buck Moon? Well, Staker Michelle C took note and snapped this awesome photo. Thanks for sharing! In honour of your outstanding efforts, we're playing Michelle (Pfeiffer) trivia.

True of false? Michelle Pfeiffer was up for roles in these movies - 

A. Basic Instinct
B. Bull Durham
C. Casino
D. The Silence of the Lambs
E. Pretty Woman
F. Catwoman

Answers below ;)
Have a great day ahead Staker!

Today's edition was written by Michael Cowan and Maureen Norman
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ANSWERS: All true!