Tourist hotspots are charging new fees in an attempt at solving overtourism

Tourist hotspots are charging new fees in an attempt at solving overtourism

There’s thousands of places throughout the world that act as tourism hotspots — the Faubourg Saint-Germain district of Paris, the pyramid region in Giza and the massive sandstone hills in Uluru, Australia, to name a few — which cause an influx of temporary visitors and boost the local economy. But when a place becomes too much of a popular destination, it can become overrun with tourists and in turn, harm the way of life for the locals, negatively impact the environment and cause more strain on the infrastructure than normal.

Read More

We should've known Mars One was a scam from the beginning

We should've known Mars One was a scam from the beginning

Mars One was a controversial startup with a simple mission of sending humans to the big read planet on a one-way trip. Most of the technology that they had planned to use has yet to be invented and the majority of the funding was to be made through a giant worldwide reality television show, assuming a company would actually be interested in broadcasting such a thing. The company, promising to send four astronauts to space in 2023, pegged the cost at a measly $6 billion — much less than many other estimates thrown around.

Read More

Why does it cost so much to fly in Canada?

Why does it cost so much to fly in Canada?

There always seems to be deals on flights on sale within Canada — WestJet and Air Canada send out emails for new promotions on the weekly — but it’s actually quite expensive to fly either in or to/from Canada to another destination. Frequent fliers will know as much, so it probably won’t surprise them to know that in a 2015 study, Canada ranked 130 out of 138 in terms of cost. One of the biggest reason for high fees is the way that the airport system is typically run in Canada — the actual land that the airport is based on is federally owned land, but then the land is leased to non-profit companies. This means that the organizations have to pay back money for ground leases and rent, which added up to approximately $305 million — adding up to $7 of each ticket sale in 2005, according to a document from the Calgary Airport Authority.

Read More

Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway

Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway

In 2018 Toronto’s subway system had 153 delays caused by door issues, 532 because of speed control equipment and a staggering 3,216 caused by ill passengers. The city dealt with more than 47,682 minutes of delays in total — which equates to approximately 33.11 days — due to 182 different reasons. It’s important to note that many of these delays aren’t the actual fault of the TTC, but are caused by customers who are unruly and disruptive, ill, or those who pull the passenger assistance alarm for no reason. These precise numbers come from Toronto’s Open Data catalogue, which is a regularly updated online resource to track things like TTC delays, bikeshare usage and more.

Read More

Facebook makes more money off users in the US and Canada than Europeans

Facebook makes more money off users in the US and Canada than Europeans

According to Facebook’s Q4 earnings report, a user in the United States or Canada is much more valuable than one in Europe, Asia-Pacific or a user from anywhere else in the world. It’s no surprise that the company is able to make so much money off users — during this quarter, it made nearly $35 per North American user, but only $11 for European users and $3 for users in Asia and the Pacific region. But that should be no surprise, given the large amount of data that the company collects on you, including location, age, school, lines of credit and TV show preference.

Read More

The GTHA still doesn't have harmonized fare payments and it's hurting commuters

The GTHA still doesn't have harmonized fare payments and it's hurting commuters

The rollout of PRESTO has inarguably been a bumpy ride — with consistently unreliable machines leading to an estimated million free rides to calls from the transit union and mayor for the issues to be fixed, a website dedicated to hating it and even a 1.5 star review on Yelp — things certainly haven’t gone to plan. But with one payment device working in each vehicle 99.5 percent of the time, things are certainly getting better for the technology, which is laying the groundwork for an improved system that could allow for a regionally integrated fare system.

Read More

Sports stadiums should be funded by leagues, not cities

Sports stadiums should be funded by leagues, not cities

Cities in the United States have spent more than $4.091 billion on sports stadiums since 1997, often finding themselves paying for the majority of the construction cost — including $300 million for CenturyLink Field in Seattle, $619.6 million for the Lucas Oil Stadium and $455 for the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The public has footed more than half the bill for 11 of the 17 stadiums to open in the time period, according to a CBS Minnesota document, which details the cost of the venues and the cost to both the public and private sector.

Read More

How to ensure your recycling actually gets recycled

How to ensure your recycling actually gets recycled

We’ve all had that experience before — being unsure of whether something goes in the recycling bin, to an electronics recycling facility or to the dump, we throw it into one bin, hoping it is the correct one. While this might seem simple enough, single-stream recycling is to blame for a big increase in contamination of recycling, forcing facilities to have to toss the batch in the trash instead of being able to properly break it down.

Read More

There are over 30 "sponge cities" in China that are helping to clean up the environment

There are over 30 "sponge cities" in China that are helping to clean up the environment

Throughout the world, cities are struggling to deal with urban migration and development in flood-ridden areas — China faced this issue most prominently during the devastating floods in Guangzhou in 2010 and Beijing in 2012 and Chongqing, while India is dealing with the influx of unregulated development in the wetlands. Urban flooding and issues with groundwater collection are becoming major issues not only in Asia, but in cities everywhere as they struggle to come with worsening flood impacts.

Read More

Mark Zuckerberg's 2019 New Year's challenge is to talk to the public more

Mark Zuckerberg's 2019 New Year's challenge is to talk to the public more

In 2018 he pledged to “fix” Facebook and now for Mark Zuckerberg’s 2019 resolution, he’s aiming to host public talks about the future of technology, Zuck, who isn’t traditionally one to be in the spotlight or to make public appearances, will meet each few weeks with leaders, experts and community members from Facebook to talk about the “opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties” that impact the work his company does, he explained in a Facebook post on January 8.

Read More

San Francisco just removed parking requirements on new developments and other cities should take note

San Francisco just removed parking requirements on new developments and other cities should take note

Throughout the United States, cities are built with parking and automobiles in mind — but with public transportation being better for the environment and for cities, they’re slowly correcting this mistake. On January 20, a new bylaw will go into effect in San Francisco eliminating the minimum parking requirements citywide, which was unanimously recommended after a review of the city’s transit, walking and cycling corridors. It will become the first city to remove minimum parking requirements for new housing and will greatly help with the new “transit first” policy.

Read More

A few questions that Toronto's SmartTrack project brings up

A few questions that Toronto's SmartTrack project brings up

The City of Toronto, Metrolinx and the TTC have been working on their GO Regional Express Rail and SmartTrack projects since 2015, with them blending with each other to offer not much differentiation between the two. Even though the latter has been pared down significantly since it was proposed by John Tory as part of his campaign for mayorship in 2014, it’s still going strong and remains a centrepiece of his second term.

Read More

The Bitcoin bubble has finally popped

The Bitcoin bubble has finally popped

With every economic boom comes the theory that a crash is impossible — a bubble, as most call it — that leads most people to believe that it’s permanent. In October, 1929, economist Irving Fisher wrote in The New York Times that stocks had “reached what looks like a permanently high plateau", only days before the beginning of the Great Depression. Most recently in 2017, John McAfee wrote on Twitter that “those of you in the old school who believe this is a bubble simply have not understood the new mathematics of the Blockchain”, while the value of Bitcoin now hovers at less than $4,000 USD.

Read More

For most people, $1000 would be enough to convince them to quit Facebook

For most people, $1000 would be enough to convince them to quit Facebook

There’s more than 2.27 billion monthly users of Facebook — but since the company doesn’t charge for people to use its services, it can be hard to understand how much people actually value the service. However a new study has revealed that a Facebook user would need to be paid around $1,000 to deactivate their account for a year, while students would be willing to for an average of $200.

Read More

What is talc and why is it all over the news?

What is talc and why is it all over the news?

More than 11,700 women have sued Johnson & Johnson over accusations that the talc used in its Baby Powder product caused their ovarian cancer — and they now have a legal front due to a $4.69 billion lawsuit against the company by 22 women that went in favour of the latter. Due to the lawsuit old company documents from J&J ended up in the hands of the public and were reported on by Reuters, who alleged that it’s “impossible” to completely purify mined talc and that tests for asbestos can’t be completely accurately.

Read More

North Carolina is experiencing election fraud, not voter fraud

North Carolina is experiencing election fraud, not voter fraud

The investigation into the purported election fraud involving absentee ballots in North Carolina is still ongoing, with it now focusing on absentee ballots that were unreturned. The investigation is focusing on Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a contractor for the Red Dome Group that paid her for “get out the vote” efforts in the 9th District — which Republican Mark Harris hired for “get out the vote” promotion in the 9th District. Harris unofficially won the election by 905 votes and by 60 percent of the Bladen County absentee vote, even though only 19 percent of voters identified as Republican.

Read More

The latest moves in Doug Ford's plan to make Ontario "open-for-business"

The latest moves in Doug Ford's plan to make Ontario "open-for-business"

The PC government of Ontario, being led by Doug Ford, promised to find billions of dollars in “efficiencies” in the provincial budget to remove. He’s continuously spewed out this line time after time, accusing the previous government of not being interested in and not allowing for businesses to operate in the province — which seems illogical and doesn’t make much sense.

Read More

When it seems like things can't get worse for MoviePass, they do

Just last October, Helios and Matheson — the parent company of MoviePass, a movie subscription service that initially let users see unlimited movies for $9.95 per month — was celebrating a 52-week high stock price of $38.86. People loved the service and it was expecting to have five million subscribers by the end of 2018, hitting three million in June. The concept of MoviePass — unlimited movies at a set price each month — disrupted the movie industry, sparking the launch of AMC’s Stubs A-List, Cinemark Movie Club and Sinemia.

Read More

In spite of the national government, Chinese provinces are building coal plants in secret

In spite of the national government, Chinese provinces are building coal plants in secret

Provincial governments in China are battling with the Communist Party to build more power plants powered by coal, even though the country pledged in 2016 to reduce carbon emissions by 18 percent by 2020. declaring a “war on pollution”. Between 2014 and 2016, provincial authorities throughout the country issued permits for construction of brand new coal power plants, totalling more than 259 gigawatts of capacity.

Read More

The main takeaways from Facebook's internal documents that the UK released

The main takeaways from Facebook's internal documents that the UK released

British Parliament published a 250-page internal Facebook document on the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee website, which is investigating the company’s privacy standards as a portion of its report on disinformation and fake news. Previously the documents had been sealed in US courts, but they can now provide a rare look into Facebook’s policies on privacy, user data, how it handles competitors and more.

Read More