So...why are they putting chips in people's brains?

If you don’t trust Elon Musk to stick stuff into your brain, the good news is he’s not your only option.

What happened: Musk’s Neuralink implanted its first chip into a human brain. The company has not made a formal announcement, but Musk posted on X that the recipient is “recovering well” with “promising neuron spike detection,” presumably referring to activity between the cells that send messages throughout the body.

We are still in deep trouble with deepfakes

Despite being identified as a problem more than six years ago, methods to fight deepfakes have not kept up with the AI used to create them.

A non-addictive painkiller might be on its way

As the old saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” However, if you ask Big Pharma, the saying should really go, “No pain, lots of gain.” 

What happened: VX-548, an experimental painkiller from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, has been proven in test trials to safely and effectively reduce pain, according to the company.

Walmart wants its employees to feel like owners

While it seems like layoffs are happening left, right, and centre these days — because, well, they are — some companies are going to great lengths to retain workers.

Driving the news: Walmart managers in the U.S. can now make upwards of US$400,000 a year after the world’s biggest retail store granted them the opportunity to earn up to $20,000 in annual stock grants and bonuses of up to 200%, in addition to increasing base salaries. 

Manulife and Loblaw make exclusive pharmacy pact

In a not-so-romantic Canadian pairing, an insurance giant and grocery conglomerate have officially announced they are exclusive

What happened: Manulife Financial, the largest insurance provider in Canada, will only offer coverage for certain prescription drugs at Loblaw-owned pharmacies, including Shoppers Drug Mart, according to The Canadian Press

Bad news for the aviation industry

Boeing is having such a bad month that it’s taking all of our restraint to not make a tasteless joke comparing its performance to the door that flew off Alaska Airlines Flight 1282

What happened: Aviation industry officials “increasingly believe” workers at the Boeing factory forgot to put on the bolts meant to secure the door plug that blew off the 737 MAX 9 jet carrying Alaska Airlines passengers earlier this month, per The Wall Street Journal

Evergrande liquidation spells trouble for global economy

Like a boxer hanging on by a thread, one of China’s biggest real estate developers is being forced to throw in the towel. 

What happened: A Hong Kong court ordered China’s Evergrande, now the world’s most indebted real estate developer, to sell off assets to pay off its humongous debt of US$300 billion owed to foreign and domestic creditors — after two years of failing to restructure it. 

Is furniture store living the future of housing?

After 115 years in business, Leon’s Furniture is getting into the house-building game. No word yet on whether homes come fully furnished with brand-new pieces from the showroom.

What happened: Leon’s, the Canadian furniture chain best known for letting shoppers ho-ho-hold the payments, has received approval to rezone the 40 acres of land around its Toronto-area headquarters and build as many as 4,000 residential housing units. 

U.S. hits the pause button on LNG

In a surprise move, Canada’s southern neighbour is pumping the brakes on its booming natural gas business. 

What happened: U.S. President Joe Biden is pausing approvals for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in the country, a move that is expected to have a ripple effect on the Canadian energy producers that rely on the U.S. to export their natural gas globally.

Electric cars hit the race track

Electric car racing might not be popular enough for its own Netflix show (yet), but Formula E cars are blossoming into stars for the legacy automakers that own them. 

Driving the news: As the hype around Formula One continues to dominate the racing world, its less exciting but environmentally friendly sibling Formula E is becoming ground zero for the innovations that are fuelling the EV race off the track, according to Reuters.

Dr. Allison Sekuler on keeping your brain healthy

 On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Dr. Allison Sekuler, the Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Rotman Research Institute and Vice-President of Research at Baycrest Health Sciences, to talk about how to slow our brains’ aging process.  

Chinese markets are on life support

Between the U.S. S&P 500 and China's CSI 300, which major stock index would you guess is up 20% in the past year, and which one fell by 20%?  

Answer: The CSI 300 has lost more than a third of its value since 2020 and is entering its fourth consecutive year in the red.

The hot new thing in global shipping is ice-cold

Intrepid sailors, like Henry Hudson before them, are trying to make commercial Arctic shipping a thing. 

Driving the news: Drought in the Panama Canal and Houthi rebel attacks on cargo ships trying to pass through the Suez Canal have sent cargo deliveries plummeting and shipping costs skyrocketing. All of this turmoil has led to renewed interest in Arctic shipping routes

Explain It Like I'm Five: RSS

What is RSS?

A feed of content that users customize with updates from their favourite websites. They’d do this with a few lines of code provided by websites that could be added to something called an RSS reader. If you’re over 30, you might remember an orange-and-white logo on a lot of news websites and blogs — that’s where the code would be found. This helped outlets get stories in front of readers without them having to check a bunch of individual home pages.

Big tech fails to level up its gaming ambitions

The dollar signs tech companies once saw in video games are turning into pink slips.

What happened: Microsoft laid off 1,900 staff from its gaming division. Activision Blizzard — which Microsoft acquired in October after a long review by regulators — got the brunt of it, with smaller cuts at Xbox and ZeniMax, which operates developer and publisher Bethesda.

Ad agencies are ready to put AI to work

Ad agencies are moving fast and spending big to be some of AI’s early adopters.

What happened: Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s biggest advertising and communications holding companies, announced a €300 million AI investment over the next three years. That includes building Core AI, its own platform for creating and targeting ads, as well as adjusting strategies in real-time.

Canada adds India to election interference probe

Canada’s relationship with India is getting icier than a car windshield post-snowstorm. 

What happened: For the first time, India has been publicly named as a potential foreign meddler in Canadian politics — with federal investigators now looking into the government's possible interference in the past two Canadian federal elections, according to Bloomberg.

The Trans Mountain pipeline hits the home stretch

After hitting more speed bumps than a driver in a school zone, the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline (TMP) expansion is near. 

Driving the news: After narrowly avoiding a crushing regulatory blow, the TMP expansion will begin filling up with crude oil for the first time next month and is expected to start transporting oil in early April. By year’s end, it’ll be running at full capacity.

Car thefts are a Canadian epidemic

Thousands of Canadians have been left like a young Ashton Kutcher, dejectedly asking, “Dude, where’s my car?

Driving the news: Authorities in Italy recovered 251 stolen vehicles from Canada — ready to be shipped to the Middle East — after completing a bust at one of Europe’s busiest ports.