The British Columbia government commissioned independent investigator Peter German to produce a report on the role of laundered criminal money in the province's white-hot real-estate bubble, centred on the city of Vancouver; German's report found that last year alone, CAD7b was laundered through BC, with much of that money going into property (as well as luxury cars and casino gambling).
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British Columbia -- ground zero for the opioid epidemic in Canada and long a principal point of ingress for heroin -- pioneered the harm-reduction approach with the world's first safe injection sites; now addiction researcher and MD Mark Tyndall wants to go further and end accidental overdoses from fentanyl and other additives by giving registered addicts access to an armored, biometrically controlled "opioid vending machine" that dispenses prescribed amounts of hydromorphone pills without subjecting addicts -- whose lives are often chaotic due to homelessness and the need to steal or prostitute themselves to avoid dope-sickness -- to a bureaucratic process at a pharmacy or clinic.
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When Vancouver tech retailer NCIX went bankrupt, it stopped paying its bills, including the bills for the storage where its servers were being kept; that led to the servers being auctioned off without being wiped first, containing sensitive data -- addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, etc -- for thousands of customers. Also on the servers: tax and payroll information for the company's employees.
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Jesse writes, "Vancouver tech retailer NCIX was driven into the ground last year (much to the morbid fascination of local techies). Now their fetid corpse is in the news again, after their SQL servers were sold for $1500 at auction without being wiped, containing the personal data – including credit card details – of thousands of customers."
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What's in the water in one Canadian city? Uncooked hot dogs, apparently.
Last weekend, a reality-hacking hero offered bottles of unfiltered, "keto-compatible" "Hot Dog Water" at a Vancouver street festival for CAN$37.99 (~US$28) a pop. The vendor, performance artist/"foodie-troller" Douglas Bevans, claimed his special water (which included a real hot dog inside each bottle) had health benefits.
"Several" people "bought-and-consumed" his expensive meat water though his hilarious venture didn't turn a profit, according to the blog Vancouver is Awesome. The blog also shared Bevans' reason for selling it in the first place, which appeared at the bottom of the health claim:
If you get all the way to the fine print, you’ll find this: “HOT DOG WATER IN ITS ABSURDITY HOPES TO ENCOURAGE CRITICAL THINKING RELATED TO PRODUCT MARKETING AND THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE IT CAN PLAY IN OUR PURCHASING CHOICES.”
Bravo, well done!
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Get your Weiner 🌭 Water 💦 ...stay hydrated! Smoky & refreshing! #hotdogwater #candidcamera #carfreedaymainstreet #stayhydrated
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The best booth at Car Free Day. Someone was doing a food trolling booth featuring hot dog flavoured water. It's a joke but people thought that it was real. The guy at the booth said that we were the first to immediately realize that this was foodie trolling. #CarFreeDayVancouver #CarFreeDay #carfreedaymainst
lead image by Bernadette Price, 2nd image by Franklin Sayre, both used with permission Read the rest
You’ve likely heard of Vancouver, British Columbia. Surrey? Maybe not: it’s a city in its own right and a part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Surrey’s got an unfortunate reputation for crime due largely to occasional targeted daytime gang hits and the omnipresent narcotics trade. I lived across the bridge from Surrey for close to a decade. I always felt safe there and enjoyed the food, culture and good times that Surrey had to offer.
But now that I know that it’s infested with feral peacocks, I may not be back.
According to the CBC, Surrey city officials believe that Surrey residents living between 150 Street and 62 Avenue are being forced to cope with the presence of between 40 and 150 feral peacocks roaming the streets. Yeah, peacocks are gorgeous when seen in a zoo and hilarious when used as an alarm system by Hunter S. Thompson. But for a bunch of renters and homeowners who just want to live their lives with a minimal amount of bullshit, they’re sort of a nightmare. Peacocks are loud, aggressive and, like most large birds, leave massive amounts of greasy shit everywhere they go. The problem with the birds has gotten so bad that some residents have started taking matters into their own hands.
Shit has gone down, friends.
This past May, in a fit of peacock-induced rage, a man cut down a tree where an ostentation of dozens of the birds had decided to nest, every night. There was just one problem: BC’s kinda touchy about preserving nature. Read the rest
Kristjan Gottfried and Michelle Hurtig were first the waiting list for Vancouver's Marina Housing Co-operative, a nonprofit when the volunteer co-chair of the admissions board told them that their new home couldn't be confirmed until they found out the sex of their unborn baby. When they found out they were having a girl, they were refused a place to live. Read the rest
For the past two years, Adrian Crook's four eldest kids (aged 7-11) have ridden Vancouver's public transit to school together, traveling as a group from the bus stop in front of his condo to the bus stop in front of their school. Read the rest
Many thanks to the good folks who came out to Bellingham's Village Books for last night's Walkaway event; tonight, I'll be appearing in Vancouver before flying home to Burbank for an event at my local Dark Delicacies on Saturday and then going straight to the airport for the start of my UK tour. Read the rest
More news on the Chinese crackdown on money-laundering and its impact on the global property bubble: the controls the Chinese government has put on "capital outflows" (taking money out of China) are actually working, and there's been a mass exodus of Chinese property buyers from the market, with many abandoning six-figure down payments because they can't smuggle enough money out of the country to make the installment payments. Read the rest
Vancouver has been wracked by a white-hot property bubble driven primarily by offshore speculators, mostly Chinese, who have driven up the price of housing beyond the means of working Vancouverites, crippling the city's daily life as workers, students and families struggle to find somewhere -- anywhere -- to live. Read the rest
A leaked Vancouver internal police bulletin sent the city into a tizz when they learned that the cops were trying to locate three "Middle-Eastern" men who'd been taking a suspicious amount of photographs of a shopping mall. Read the rest
Umbracity aims to solve the problem of unexpected urban showers with a shared-umbrella service. They've rolled it out in soggy Vancouver, and the deal is that you get to use an umbrella from any of their kiosks for free for 48h, but if you keep it longer, it's $2/day to a maximum of $20. Read the rest
Link: the artist is Eric Brunning of Vancouver's Adorned (via JWZ) Read the rest
As the tour with my graphic novel In Real Life draws to a close, my next tour, with my nonfiction book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free kicks off with stops down the west coast. Read the rest
Brady Marks exhibited his We Are with You, Mirror at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire; it uses spinning light-up persistence-of-vision pixelboards to create a low-rez holo-tank mirror. Read the rest
More news of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's disastrous car-wreck of a life. After swearing off drugs and alcohol (and insisting that he didn't have a problem with either), he's not only been getting so loaded that he finds himself transformed into the lead in a terrible one-man amateur production of "The Harder They Come"; he also was allegedly so drunk after a family funeral in Vancouver that a cop gave him a ticket for public drunkenness and jaywalking. You'd think a man devoted to ending the "war on cars" would be more deferential to their place in the road.
Ford claims he wasn't ticketed for public intoxication, and that all he'd drunk was a "diet Coke." Read the rest