Cities are feeling the pinch

Someone call Ramit Sethi from Netflix’s How To Get Rich, because Canadian cities need financial rescuing. 

Driving the news: Faced with $46.5 billion in budget pressures over the next decade, Toronto is asking the province to approve a new city sales tax to drum up more revenue. 
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Yellowknife evacuates

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Tinder wants you to pay up for better matches

Are you a lonely heart? Do you have some serious cash burning a hole in your pocket but aren’t famous enough to get on Raya? Well, now you’re in luck.

Driving the news: Tinder is launching a premium membership tier with a potential price tag of US$500 per month, possibly including features like a “personalized concierge service.”
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Google is turning Bard into a life coach

You’re probably already letting AI autocomplete your sentences or choose what you watch next on Netflix… but would you lean on a chatbot to give you life advice? 

Driving the news: Per The New York Times, Google is testing new tools that could turn generative AI—the technology that powers chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s own Bard—into a life coach that advises on everything from your dating life to your career. 
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Canadian cannabis eyes Germany

More Germans could soon be putting down the stein of pilsner in favour of der marihuana-zigarette as the country approaches recreational weed legalization. 

What happened: Germany’s cabinet passed a bill legalizing the recreational use and cultivation of cannabis. Once the bill passes through the German parliament, which should happen later this year, pot will become legal in the EU’s biggest economy.
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You’ve heard of Mambo No. 5, but what about Indictment No. 4?

We regret to inform you that it’s finally time to talk about Donald Trump’s legal troubles. 

What happened: The former US president has been indicted for a fourth time since March of this year, this time for allegedly trying to overturn 2020 election results in Georgia, a state where Joe Biden won the majority vote. 
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Dental bills sharpen their teeth

You can now add ‘higher prices’ to the list of reasons to put off your next visit to the dentist, alongside ‘awkward small talk’ and ‘pointy tools.’ 

What happened: Provincial dental associations have increased prices by an average of 5.99% in their dental fee guides, which help dentists determine how to price their services. 
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Six weeks to cut $15 billion

With a new mandate to cut billions in federal spending, cabinet members might have to skip the icebreakers and head straight to the whiteboard at their team retreat next week. 

What happened: Canada’s new Treasury Board President (and self-proclaimed chief operating officer of the government) Anita Anand is giving cabinet ministers just six weeks to find 15 billion extra dollars kicking around in the federal government’s 2023 budget. 
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Solving the student housing crunch

With rents hitting record highs and the school year incoming, start-ups are helping students find rooms where they can live, study, and hang posters of Quentin Tarantino movies. 

Driving the news: A new crop of companies is providing housing for students by pairing them with the growing number of Canadians with spare bedrooms, per The Globe and Mail.  
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New AI rules are on the way

Nearly nine months after the release of ChatGPT, Canada is progressing toward increasing safety and transparency around generative AI. 

Driving the news: The federal government is currently pulling together a voluntary code of conduct that could commit firms to safety measures, testing, and disclosures, per The Logic.
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One year of subsidy wars

It’s been about a year since a pair of US laws triggered a flood of financial incentives for investments in clean energy production and semiconductor manufacturing in the US. 

Let’s look back on the irrevocable change they’ve wrought. 
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The question vexing economists: Why did inflation fall?

Why did inflation fall from multi-decade highs last summer to within the Bank of Canada’s target range last month? It seems like a simple question, but as with most things in economics, the answer is hotly contested. 

Catch up: The textbook Econ 101 story is that central banks reduce inflation by raising interest rates, which reduces demand in the economy through some combination of job losses, frozen or lower wages, and a pullback in consumer spending. 
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AI is trying to win your heart

Nothing quite says romance in the year 2023 like sending sweet nothings to an AI chatbot.

Driving the news: A slew of new dating apps are adopting AI-powered avatars and chatbots that simulate intimate relationships, pitching their platforms as a way to practice dating in a risk-free environment. 
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What to do this weekend

Our picks for what to eat, read, watch, and listen to this weekend.
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Amazon wants to stop sending you outrageously oversized boxes

We’ve all been there: You open up a giant box from Amazon to find the tiniest of products inside and wonder when they’re going to figure out how to ship orders in a box that makes sense. Well, they’ve heard your complaints and, rest assured, they’re on it. 

Driving the news: Amazon is ditching its (sometimes comically oversized) boxes and is shipping more stuff to people in the manufacturer’s packaging.
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Why are Nova Scotian waters glowing pink?

Waters in Nova Scotia were glowing pink on Thursday, and no, it wasn’t a viral marketing stunt for Pepto-Bismol or an alien menace that crash-landed into the sea.

What happened:
Researchers from Dalhousie University and greentech company Planetary Technologies dumped 500 litres of pink fluorescent dye into the waters around Halifax Harbour in Dartmouth to see how far the dye would travel into the Atlantic Ocean.
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The record-breaking business of Guinness World Records

In the past month, Canadians have broken Guinness World Records for the deepest underwater model photoshoot (6.4 metres), most pancakes served in eight hours (17,182 flapjacks) and, most impressively, the largest dinosaur costume dance party (1,187 costumed dinos). 

These achievements have led us to wonder, “How on Earth does Guinness make money?” 
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US escalates tech war with China

The US is stepping up its effort to cripple China’s advanced high-tech sectors.

What happened: The US government announced a new ban on certain investments in China’s quantum computing, advanced semiconductor, and artificial intelligence sectors. 
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Hacking contest aims to fix holes in AI models

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas… unless it's at this weekend’s AI hacking competition in the City of Sin.

Driving the news: A hacking competition supported by big tech companies including Meta, OpenAI, and Google—as well as the US government—will play host to thousands of hackers tasked with finding vulnerabilities in the biggest AI-powered chatbots on the market. 
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My kingdom for a T-Swift ticket

Good luck, indeed. As we enter the final day of ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour shows in Toronto, we wish luck to anyone trying to snag a ticket… but also caution you not to get your hopes up.  

Catch-up: For the few of you reading who don’t already have your calendar circled, Swift is coming to Toronto for six shows at Roger’s Centre at the end of November 2024. 

Driving the news: An estimated 31 million people (about ¾ of Canada’s population, to give you some perspective) registered on Ticketmaster to receive a presale waitlist code. Per one estimate, that gave hopeful Swifties about a 1-in-413 chance of snagging a ticket. 
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