Good news, bad news: Mar.16-Mar. 22, 2012

Sidney Crosby is back, again, but say so long to Encyclopedia Britannica

Good news

Good news, bad news
Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

Breathe easy

The level of industrial pollution being created in North America dropped between 2005 and 2009, according to a new report by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Emissions from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. decreased from 5.7 billion kilograms to 4.9 billion. Things could soon be even clearer in Nova Scotia, the first province to strike a deal with Ottawa whereby its regulations regarding greenhouse gas emissions will trump federal ones. Nova Scotia has already committed to cutting emissions from coal-fired electricity sources by 25 per cent from 2007 levels by 2020.

Let’s make a deal

The friendly bid by Swiss-based Glencore to buy Canadian grain-handler Viterra has managed to avoid much of the usual teeth-gnashing over the evils of foreign takeovers. Hopefully this level-headedness prevails. Under the deal, a chunk of Viterra’s assets will be sold to Canada’s Richardson family and Agrium. But more importantly, Viterra is not a “strategic asset” or owned by Canada. It is owned by its shareholders, who see true value in this deal. That, and the belief in the free flow of capital, is paramount.

Sid’s back! Again!

After post-concussion symptoms knocked Sidney Crosby out of the game not once but twice since last year, hockey fans are relieved to see the star back on the ice. His return, during a game against the New York Rangers, wasn’t as flashy or physical as his previous comeback in November. That’s prompted sports pundits to muse that opponents might be “going easy” on Crosby for fear of being the villain who knocks him out again. Tough hockey is the best hockey, but if players are starting to think twice about targeting the head—whether it’s Crosby’s or someone else’s—that’s a victory for everybody.

Discoveries for the ages

New dinosaur bones have been were discovered in Alberta. The Gryphoceratops morrisoni was the size of a medium dog and possessed horns. Scientists in Russia are celebrating, too: they have found the thigh bone of a woolly mammoth, which takes them one step closer to creating a clone with a South Korean biotech company. Can Jurassic Park be far off?

Bad news

Good news, bad news
Andrew Winning/Reuters

The horrors of war

The American soldier who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan last week has been named and sent back to the U.S. to face charges. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, reportedly witnessed his comrade’s leg get blown off a day before the killings. Meanwhile, a new study reveals that suicide among U.S. soldiers was up 80 per cent between 2004 and 2008. No matter how much we study post-traumatic stress disorder, the havoc that war plays on the minds of those who experience it may never be fully understood.

Ignoble activism

First, brutal and violent riots erupted in Montreal in protest of—wait for it—police brutality. Then, raucous riots erupted in London, Ont., in protest of . . . St. Patrick’s Day? In less than a week, hundreds of Canadians have been hurt and arrested, and scores more have had their property and businesses damaged. Stupidity, vandalism and violence under the guise of activism or youthful misadventure is getting to be a bad habit in Canada. Those who participated in the riots should pay more attention to what’s happening in the Middle East, especially Syria—which just had one of its bloodiest protests since the uprising began—to learn what truly warrants vigorous protest.

The original info highway

Encyclopedia Britannica, the 244-year-old company that started in Scotland, has announced that it is ceasing publication of its print edition, all 32 volumes, weighing 129 lb. This isn’t the first time the Internet has threatened to make irrelevant—and extinct—the old-fashioned ink-on-paper way of learning. We can only hope demand for this venerable collection will surge before the last book is bound and an information institution is lost forever.

The dangers of multi-tasking

A Vancouver deputy police chief was ticketed for driving without due care and attention after he rear-ended a car while looking at his cellphone. Police are exempt from a B.C. law outlawing cellphones behind the wheel. The officer was fined under different legislation. At least he accepted responsibility and used the crash as a teaching moment: “I urge other drivers to keep their attention fully focused on the road ahead.” Even if you’re not required to.