As It Happens

June 7, 2021 Episode Transcript

Full-text transcript

The AIH Transcript for June 7, 2021

[host]Hosts: Carol Off and Chris Howden[/host]

Prologue

 

CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol Off.

CHRIS HOWDEN: Good evening, I'm Chris Howden. This is "As It Happens".

 

[Music: Theme]

CH: Tonight:

 

CO: Driven by malice. The mayor of London, Ontario, says unspeakable hatred was at work in his city last night when a man in a pickup truck killed four members of a Muslim family. 

 

CH: Duties call. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says her weekend deal with the G7 puts the world on course to finally tax tech giants like Facebook and Amazon for a fraction of the profits they've been pocketing.

 

CO: Red hot commodity. A restaurant owner in New Brunswick says that between sky-high demands and the pandemic, we could see a lobster roll that costs as much as 45 dollars this summer.

 

CH: The puck stops here. The Ontario Hockey League has drafted a female player for the first time. But the 16-year-old says she doesn't want to be seen as a first woman, just a great goalie.

 

CO: Chorus lines. For most of us, a repeated song phrase starts to sound like a song -- and a new scientific study on the subject really strikes a chord.

 

CH: And.... some harm, lots of foul. A retired zoo curator who's been relocating troublesome peacocks from a California neighbourhood tells us why some of the most polarizing work he's ever been involved with.

 

CH "As It Happens", the Monday edition. Radio that hopes he can get on with it without feather ado.

 

[Music: Theme]

Part 1: London Attack, Freeland: G7 Tax deal, Peacock Vote

 

London Attack

Guest: Ed Holder

CH: Last night, a family of five was out for a warm summer evening's walk in London, Ontario. Today, four of them are dead and a nine-year-old boy is the sole survivor of what police are calling a targeted attack on a Muslim family. Police have charged a 20-year-old man with four counts of murder, and one count of attempted murder, following the hit and run. At a news conference today, Nawaz Tahir -- a London lawyer, and a representative of the city's Muslim community -- responded.

 

[sc]

 

NAWAZ TAHIR: The horror that has visited this family, the Canadian Muslim community and Canada at large last night is unfathomable. These were innocent human beings who were killed simply because they're Muslim. The London Muslim community has a long history in this city. This is our home. The individual that did this doesn't understand that. We will stand strong against hate. We will stand strong against Islamophobia. We will respond to those trying to inflict terror on our community with love.

 

[/sc]

 

CH: Ed Holder is the mayor of London, Ontario. That's where we reached him.

 

CO: Mayor Holder, can you tell us about the only survivor of this attack, this nine-year-old boy? How is he doing?

 

ED HOLDER: Well, he's not good. The... the good news is that those that were initially listed in critical condition is now in it appears stable condition, but extremely serious injuries. And, you know, this young boy hasn't... hasn't correlated any of this to, you know, that his family is gone.

 

CO: Oh, my gosh! Can you tell us about the others who are dead, the four members of his family?

 

EH: Yeah, we're talking about one grandparent, his parents and his sister, three generations of family wiped out.

 

CO: [deep sigh] And so there is... there's two women. The teenager was the other child. And a man, is that right?

 

EH: A 15-year-old girl. Parents, mid-40s, roughly. And a grandmother.

 

CO: [sigh] What have police said about it? First-degree murder charges -- four first-degree murder charges -- against this... this driver and one attempted first-degree murder charge. What are police saying about it?

 

EH: Well, they're saying it's very much and clearly in early stages. They... they do say that it was an intentional act and that the victims were targeted because of their Muslim faith. And they've also been somewhat tentative about some of the details because it's a work in process right now.

 

CO But they seem quite adamant that this was... these were intentional acts and because of their Islamic faith. Is that right?

 

EH: Absolutely. And... and... and I call it mass murder, mass being defined as if you want to get textbook, where there's at least three murders. This was the most significant mass murder in London, Ontario's history. But the police would not have charged him with…. with murders as they have, if they didn't believe absolutely, it was intentional and targeted.

 

CO: Do you know how they... this... this man might have known that they were a Muslim? Was it... was it because of how they were dressed or anything?

 

EH: That's what the police indicated today, that they're... that they're dress is what... is what gave this person the indication that... that they were Muslim?

 

CO: Can you describe the place where it happened?

 

EH: So it's Hyde Park Road. It's up, it's in the... the... the London community of Hyde Park, the northwest end of London. And from what we gather from what the police have told us, this family who was going out for a walk at some, what, 8:40 at night. They were just crossing the street when this person, it appears, was driving a truck and made a decision to target them. And... and... frankly, some of the detail at this stage, because it is early stages, has not been released. But the person fled the scene in that truck and was caught in an area of Cherryhill Mall in the parking lot there, several kilometres, away after he pulled them down and drove away at high speed. As the police have said, he was captured without incident.

 

CO: He's a 20-year-old man, Nathaniel Veltman, that's we know. Is... was he known to police? Does he have a record?

 

EH: Again, I don't know that. But I will tell you what the police indicated to... to me and to others, that this individual was... may have been known to police. I'm not even sure it was London police, but that... that there was no indications of any motive that would suggest this person had this kind of... had this kind of hatred or... or prejudice or racist approach. But again, that's... that will be all part of, I think, information that comes out over the days ahead.

 

CO: But they seem to have known right away that this was intentional and motivated because of hatred. And so do you know if he said anything as he was getting out of the truck when they were arresting him?

 

EH: The police were asked that question. And at this point, they have not indicated what the... this individual might have said. I think they're looking at this as part of the evidence trail as they build their case against this individual.

 

CO: So we have first-degree murder charges. There's hate crimes that... but we don't know what other charges. There's even a suggestion that terrorism charges are a possibility. What other charges would you like to see?

 

EH: do You know what? At this point, does it matter? I mean, at this point, nothing brings his family back. I don't think it matters, frankly, after that. Because nothing will serve justice for this family and for our community. This individual has done more to disrupt our community of London like nothing in my time here.

 

CO: But I guess why it might matter is for the Muslim community of London, Ontario, that would like to see... like to feel safe. And that perhaps if there were terrorism charges, something of a larger... larger stakes that it might send that signal of that this is not to be tolerated in your city. Would you not think that?

 

EH: Oh, I think so. I would say that I met with the Muslim community late this morning. And what was very clear is that they wanted a message to be made clear from the police and from the city that Muslims are safe in our community. I mean, London is, ironically, London is an exceptionally safe community, and Muslims want to feel that it is their home as much as it is mine. And... and that's why this is so, so, so sad. So does that bring them some additional comfort? I called this Islamophobia. I called this out a mass murder. And as I say, nothing brings this family back. Nothing makes them whole. I would say follow the evidence, and if terrorism charges are laid, that would not shock me. But nothing brings this family back.

 

CO: What we've seen in other places where there has been similar attacks of this nature is that what helps the most is the sense that the community is there, that they come together from whatever... whatever faiths to support them.

 

EH: Yup.

 

CO: I just wonder, is there support for this family? Do you know if there's support for the nine-year-old boy?

 

EH: Well, there will be support for this young boy. He does have some family, one coming in from out of the country. But you have to imagine his sibling, his parents, his grandparent wiped out. So will there be support? Absolutely. In fact, Londoners are asking, what is it that we can do to help support? But this community, you know, at this point, I think that what... what our London Muslim community is looking for is they need to process this, and they need to start the process of healing. And there's a lot of steps still in front of us as we work through this.

 

CO: Mayor Holder, I'm sorry for the tragedy in your city. I do appreciate you speaking with us. Thank you.

 

EH: And so am I. But I'm grateful for your call. Thank you very much.

 

CO: Bye-bye.

 

EH: Bye.

 

CH: Ed Holder is the mayor of London, Ontario. He spoke to us from London.

 

[music: classic rock]

 

Freeland: G7 Tax deal

Guest: Chrystia Freeland

CH: Chrystia Freeland is going after some very big game. Over the weekend, Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister cut a deal with her G7 colleagues to establish a global minimum corporate tax. The proposed 15% baseline is supposed to make it harder for multinational giants like Amazon and Facebook to dodge taxes on their huge global profits. But, to work, the plan will need the approval of more than just the big 7 players who got together for a couple of days in London, England. We reached Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in Toronto.

 

CO: Deputy Prime Minister, what did you mean when you said that this deal shows it's possible to end the global race to the bottom on tax... on taxation?

 

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Well, I meant exactly that, Carol. The situation we have in the world today is that Canada's tax base, which we really need to provide the services that Canadians need for good schools, good hospitals, the social safety net that COVID has shown is so important, that requires a tax base. But in the world today, companies can jurisdiction shop, and especially big multinationals. They can move their base of operations to a country that has a much lower tax rate than Canada and avoid paying taxes here. And that is a problem for our country. It's a problem for middle-class Canadians. And it's also a problem for Canadian companies, all the Canadian companies who aren't doing that, and who are competing with companies that do... do it. What we agreed at the level of the G7 countries is that we are all going to push for a 15 per cent floor on the level of taxes that companies pay, not just for ourselves, but for a group of 139 countries around the world.

 

CO: So, but can I just ask you --

 

CF:  Just one more thing, Carol, if I may? Just so people understand the numbers, our average tax rate is 26.2 per cent corporate tax rate. The floor that we agreed to push for is 15 per cent. So this is really good for Canada to get other countries up to that level.

 

CO: OK, but we know from you what you just said is that, and we know this, that these very large multinationals are very adept at dodging taxes. They know how to play the game. They have armies of lawyers. So what makes you so sure they won't find loopholes in whatever international law should come out of this?

 

CF: Well, they are adept at it, Carol. But that doesn't mean we should give up. And it is precisely because they are so adept that it is really important having this big international push to set a floor, to end this tax race to the bottom and to solidify the tax base that Canada has and that Canada needs.

 

CO: Who would actually enforce this internationally?

 

CF: Well, what we're building towards is an international tax treaty that countries will ratify. And therefore, will enforce themselves.

 

CO: But is there an agency, is there a body that you see being the one, the oversight to see where this is, [slight chuckle] where they have been adept at dodging this?

 

CF: Well, what will happen is if a country that is party to this does not live up to these rules, then countries can go in and claim from the companies that are using these loopholes back the tax that they're not getting. So that's going to be what pushes countries that are parties to this agreement to enforce the rules. Because if they don't collect the tax up to 15 per cent, we can go in and get it for ourselves.

 

CO: Well, I don't entirely see what's in it for Canadians. This seems that other countries that are losing out might be able to get some of this money. What's in it for us?

 

CF: Well, we are one of the countries that's losing out, Carol. That's why I wanted to point out the number, right? Our corporate tax... our weighted average provincial and federal corporate tax rate today is 26.2 per cent. The floor that we agreed to push for is 15 per cent. So that's a lot lower even than where we are. And there are countries that are even lower than that. Just to give one example of a country in Europe, the Irish corporate tax rate is 12.5 per cent. And I, even just in the past few weeks, have heard some Canadian companies saying to me, you know, we're thinking about moving to Ireland. It has a lower tax rate. When this rule comes into effect, it will stop that kind of thing from happening.

 

CO: We heard your counterpart, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, she said that this would... this also not only does it possibly get this... this kind of a deal happening in the world, but that it... it shows that multilateralism is back after the Donald Trump years. There are a lot of people that aren't happy about that, that they see that when we have these multilateral deals, these global arrangements, that we have to cede some of our sovereignty to international bodies. What would you say to people to reassure them that we're not ceding our sovereignty here?

 

CF: Well, I would, first of all, say that the Donald Trump years we're not very good for Canada. And we had to, and I think we successfully did, fight very hard to defend our national interest. But Canada prospers in a world where the liberal democracies can get together and agree based on our shared values, to shared rules of the game, to a level playing field. That is what multilateralism is about. And it absolutely benefits Canada as a middle power. And, by the way, as a middle power that plays by the rules and is a country, you know, which is decent. Is a country which on the tax issue, you know, needs a strong tax base to fund their public services. So for Canada, it is a pure positive to have other countries basically sign on to playing by the rules that we're already playing by. And the only way that we can do that is through multilateralism. So that is 100 per cent in the Canadian national interest.

 

CO: You have... still have to sell this to the G20. How difficult is that going to be?

 

CF: Well, there is work to do. And I'm going to kind of pile in on your question, Carol, by saying we have to sell it to the G20, and then we have to sell it to the common framework at the OECD, which is 139 countries. But work has been happening for years, both at the G20 level and at the OECD level. The fact that the G7 have agreed a strong common position gives us some momentum going into those further conversations. And I'm optimistic that we're going to get a deal.

 

CO: All right. We'll be watching. Deputy Prime Minister, thank you.

 

CF: Thank you very much, Carol.

 

CH: Chrystia Freeland is Canada's Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. We reached her in Toronto. And you can find more on this story on our webpage: www.cbc.ca/aih.

 

[music: jazz]

 

Mini: Lobster Prices

 

CH: Coming up later in the show: the self-described lobster capital of the world is getting ready to welcome tourists back after the pandemic. And visitors to Shediac, New Brunswick are getting ready to welcome some fresh lobster into their mouths. But a local restaurant owner is warning that the price of lobster meat has gone up. Way up. In Maine, a single lobster roll is going for 40 dollars Canadian. And as our guest tells Carol, diners should get ready for similar prices north of the border.

 

[music: jazz continues]

 

Peacock Vote

Guest: Mike Maxcy

 

CH: Opening your door, with a coffee in hand, and finding a beautiful peacock spreading its iridescent tailfeathers on your lawn, might sound like a scene from a dream. But for some residents of East Pasadena in California, it's reality. And it's a nightmare. A piece in the Washington Post this weekend described a community divided between those who adore the beautiful creatures, and those who abhor them -- and want them gone. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has even taken the issue up -- and is set to vote on an ordinance that would ban humans from feeding the birds. Mike Maxcy is the former curator of birds at the Los Angeles Zoo. He now works to relocate peafowl in East Pasadena and other communities. We reached him in Thousand Oaks, California. 

 

CO: Mike, what's not to like about seeing a peacock strutting around in your garden?

 

MIKE MAXCY: Oh, they're beautiful to look at, especially when they're... when you're looking at them across the street at your neighbour's house. But when you have a dozen of them in your backyard or on your roof, or in the front patio, then they can be a little bit of a nuisance.

 

CO: You could have as many as a dozen in your yard?!

 

MM: Oh, yeah! We've had residents that we work with complain about having over 15 birds visit their backyard on a daily basis.

 

CO: beyond being there, what damage do they do?

 

MM: Well, peacocks are being peacocks. They're... you know, they're foraging through the yards looking for food, whether it's plants or bugs or maybe some seeds. But, you know, they're very large birds. So their... their droppings are large. And they love to dig up gardens, and eat your plants, and take dust baths in there. And they'll even jump up on your roofs, and sometimes they... they break the terracotta tiles that are up there.

 

CO: [chuckling] Oh no! And I understand they also might poke at your car?

 

MM: Well, during this time of year, during springtime, the males are full of testosterone, and they're trying to defend their territory and protect their females. So when they see their reflection in something shiny, like a silver car or a hubcap, they'll attack it. And they've been known to do several thousand dollars worth of damage on... on cars with their sharp talons and beak.

 

CO: OK, so it's mating season right now?

 

MM: Yes, it is.

 

CO: OK, what's that like?

 

MM: Well, this is probably when the cities that have these peafowl in their... in their neighbourhoods get the most complaints because this time of year, the males are very vocal. And they'll go up to the top of the trees or a rooftop, and they will call and call and call. And they're trying to attract females to their harem. And they're also trying to warn other males that this is their territory. So sometimes they will call through into the night and through the night, and almost always are calling all day long.

 

CO: [chuckling] There's apparently one... one woman in East Pasadena who said they wake me at dawn. They sound like babies being tortured through a microphone, a very large microphone. And that's just the beginning of my complaints. [laughing]

 

MM: Yeah, yeah. I read that, too. And I guess it depends on how close they are. If, you know, they like to roost in tall trees. And if you happen to have a tree right next to your second-story bedroom window, it could be awful.

 

CO: OK, I understand you can actually make a fairly good imitation of this, and so is piercing as this might be; I'll turn my sound down. Do you want to... do you want to tell us what [MM chuckles]... give us an example?

 

MM: [continuing to chuckle] Sure, this... this is what a typical call of a male does during breeding season.

 

[sound: This kind of sounds like a call in "Tarzan" or something. Kind of like a "ah-haw-haw" kind of thing]

 

MM: [both laughing] There you go.

 

CO: Do you run into problems when you do that? Like, do you attract female peafowl?

 

MM: Well, my dogs just put their ears up. [both laughing]

 

CO: OK, so, now, [chuckling] what is your job? What is it that people want you to do?

 

MM: Most of the cities that I work with, they want to be able to manage the population. They don't want to remove the entire flock. So usually, what I do is I'll survey the area in question. I'll do a census on how many birds are there in the area. And then we'll work... I'll work with the city to come up with a number that will hopefully keep the people who want them out happy and also the people who want them to stay happy. So we usually try and reduce the population by maybe 50 per cent. And that way, it's a little more accommodating for the folks that live there.

 

CO: Tell us a bit more about this... those who like the peacocks, want the peacocks to stay and those that want to get rid of them. What... where's the split there?

 

MM: Well, the problem seems to be that the people who like them like to feed them. And now what you're doing is you're... besides attracting large crowds, you're also manipulating the population. The more access there is to free food, the more likely they're going to breed in higher numbers. And those people that... that feed the birds tend to be surrounded by neighbours who now hate the birds because they routinely have, like I said, 15, 20 birds near their backyard because someone is feeding them there. So that's why the subject kind of becomes polarizing.

 

CO: What's it like then? So what kind of reaction do you get when you show up to start taking the peacocks away?

 

MM: Well, they either love me or hate me, to be honest. [chuckling] The people that can't stand the birds, they're, you know, I get hugs and tears when we remove birds from their property. And the... the people who don't want the birds removed will give me a dirty stare or maybe cuss me out. It's all... it's all part of the job. I just wish everyone understood that, you know, these birds are being... are going to foster homes. They're well taken care of. They're going to places where people are looking forward to spending time with them. They enjoy them. They don't have to worry about being ran over or poisoned or shot at, which is all the things that happen when... when tempers flare, when the populations get too high.

 

CO: Is that happening? Are people trying to run the peacocks over or poison them?

 

MM: Well, they get run over all the time. Whether it's intentional or not intentional, I'm not sure. But sometimes some of the residents I work with, they get so frustrated, they... they talk about, I wish they were all dead. I'm going to kill them myself if you don't do something about it.

 

CO: Yikes! OK, [chuckling] so you... so you show up, and you're going to take them away, and have you ever seen in your work, have you seen this kind of divisiveness before about the animals?

 

MM: Not with anything. Well, maybe coyotes. Coyotes are a similar issue. But every city that I've worked with that dealt with... that have peafowl issues, it's very decisive like this. And neighbours end up hating neighbours because of it.

 

CO: Is this going to be your full-time job? It seems like you… I thought you'd retired. How did you end up becoming the... [chuckling] the peafowl man?

 

MM: Well, it's funny because I started this 20 years ago just trying to help out a city that had an issue. And because of my experience, you know, being an ornithologist at the Los Angeles Zoo for 33 years, I understood the behaviour and the patterns of the birds. I had no idea that 22 years later, I would still be doing this, and I would be in higher demand now than ever. [laughing]

 

CO: And still cursed and loved at the same time.

 

MM: Absolutely! [both chuckling]

 

CO: Mike, it's great to talk to you. Thanks.

 

MM: Thank you.

 

CO: Bye.

 

MM: Bye-bye.

 

CH: That was peacock relocator Mike Maxcy in Thousand Oaks, California. And we've posted this story, along with some photos, to our website. That's: www.cbc.ca/aih.

 

[music: hip-hop]

Part 2: Lobster Prices, Encore: Hipster Photo

 

Lobster Prices

Guest: Sebastien Despres

 

CH: If you're hoping to chow down on a lobster roll in the lobster capital of Canada this summer, you better start rolling some loonies. Along with a lot of other items during the pandemic, lobster prices are skyrocketing. And that means that, from Maine to New Brunswick, restaurants are already changing their menus to reflect the eye-watering cost of lobster meat. Sebastien Despres is the owner of Le Moque-Tortue in Shediac, New Brunswick. That's where we reached him. 

 

CO: Sebastian, what's it going to cost to get a lobster roll in Shediac this summer?

 

SEBASTIEN DESPRES: I guess the sky's the limit. When you're talking about things that everybody wants, the sky's the limit. So we're talking about international markets being really hot for a commodity that we're used to getting for very little. So it's becoming harder and harder and harder for locals to access these goods.

 

CO: Somebody said it could get up to 45 dollars?

 

SD: That... well, depending on the quantity of lobster that's in a lobster roll, that wouldn't surprise me one bit.

 

CO: You know that in Maine, a lobster roll and fries is already going for 40 dollars Canadian?

 

SD: Yeah, and if the... if the prices keep going up like we've seen them and like they've been going up steadily for the past two years, that's not unlikely here.

 

CO: Why is lobster so expensive?

 

SD: The lobster fishermen in New Brunswick are meeting their quotas, and many other jurisdictions aren't. So lobster is rarer than usual. But to add to that, people have more income just sitting there because they're not travelling, they're not going on outings. So a lot of families, I'm guessing, throughout the world are spending money on very nice things from New Brunswick like... like lobster or sturgeon or caviar.

 

CO: Is your sense that a lot of the New Brunswick lobster is heading overseas more than usual?

 

SD: Oh, yes, absolutely. Yes, much more than usual.

 

CO: So who's... who's eating lobster? [laughing]

SD: Well, if you think about it, like, there's a lot of places that have had issues with... with getting commodities to and from the... through... through their national borders. But Canada, because we've done so well with COVID, and because of our... because our lobster fisheries are the way they are, we're still getting fisherpeople on the water, unlike many other places where they have bigger boats and higher risk of contagion, et cetera. We're selling more. We're selling more internationally. And other jurisdictions are fishing less.

 

CO: Now, you've seen in the past where the price of lobster gets very high, but that price, those profits don't come back down to the actual fishermen, to the people going out on the water. Do you know if they're actually making the profits that are... that are reflected in these high prices?

 

SD: They are... they are in part, yes. Like, we've seen high prices for local lobster before. What we haven't seen is high prices for processed lobster. So the fishermen are doing better than usual, not a whole lot better. The transformation plants are doing a whole lot better. They're doubling their margins, maybe even tripling. I can tell you that what used to cost me 120 dollars for a recipe now cost me upwards of $350. My chowder recipe, the lobster that goes in my chowder, has tripled in price. The lobster that I put in... in lobster rolls has at least doubled.

 

CO: So what did a lobster roll at your restaurant cost last summer?

 

SD: Nineteen dollars?

 

CO: [laughing] So what is it going to be… is it going to be 40 dollars this summer?

 

SD We hope not, but nobody wants... no restaurant wants to be the first one to up their prices. The local population hasn't realized the extent of the problem yet. So the restaurants are pretty much playing a waiting game. The only movement I've seen on the price of a lobster roll so far is some restaurants have lowered the amount of lobster they put in lobster rolls.

 

CO: Right.

 

SD: So they're trying to cut on costs there. But no restaurant has touched their prices yet. And it's probably for the same reasons that I haven't changed my prices. I'm kind of waiting to see if the markets are going to stabilize and keep... we keep hoping that... that this main commodity, for us at least, is going to maybe not dip down to the prices we... we were enjoying two years ago or even last year, but be a reasonably-priced commodity. Like right now, if... if a client asks to add lobster to our nachos, I'm actually, the price in my menu actually is lower than the cost that I pay. So basically, I'm paying two dollars for a client to add lobster to his nachos.

 

CO: [laughing] Well, that can't last!

 

SD: I can't see that lasting, no! [CO chuckles] But I can't... I can't in good conscience charge what it actually costs because it just makes no sense. It's bad optics. So I'm thinking of taking out that option altogether for the nachos because who would pay what it actually would cost?

 

CO: Right. Now, but if it's… [chuckle] if that's the cost of getting a bit of lobster on your nachos -- if someone actually wanted to sit down, put on a bib and eat an entire freshly boiled lobster with lots of butter, what would that cost you?

 

SD: We haven't added it to the menu again this year yet. We... we didn't have it over the winter because we feel like locals are just going to eat lobster at home. And so until the Quebecers and the Ontarians arrive, we don't put whole lobster on the menu. We have 14 lobster dishes on our menu, but not full lobster unless it's during the tourist season.

 

CO: Sebastien, the Quebecers and the Ontarians are coming, so get ready. [laughing]

 

SD: Yes, we fully... we fully hope that it's going to go well.

 

CO: All right!

 

SD: They'd be astounded by the prices they see in New Brunswick for a lobster. We might be astounded. We probably will be.

 

CO: But they're going to come, and they're going to be hungry.

 

SD: Yes, [laughing] we... we sure hope so.

 

CO: Sebastien, I hope you have a great summer. Thank you.

 

SD: Thank you.

 

CO: Bye.

 

CH: Sebastien Despres is the owner of Le Moque-Tortue in Shediac, New Brunswick.

 

[music: island rock]

 

OHL First Female Draft Pick

 

CH: Taya Currie made history this weekend. But she'd rather focus on the history she intends to make on the ice. Ms. Currie is now the first woman ever drafted by the Ontario Hockey League. The 16-year-old from Parkhill, Ontario will be a goalie for the Sarnia Sting. And hockey is just one of the Grade 10 student's talents -- she also plays elite rugby, and soccer, and does competitive barrel racing. For the past seven years, she's worked her way up through the triple-A system. And now that she's made it to the OHL, Taya Currie hopes the fans treat her just like any other player on the team.

 

[sc] 

 

TAYA CURRIE: It was honestly just awesome. Just Sarnia to take this chance on me. It's just an opportunity to meet so many new people. Just a great experience overall.

 

SOFIA RODRIGUEZ: I've already seen... I mean, social media is sort of flooded with young girls, and, you know, everybody just saying this is so inspirational. What does it feel to kind of be in those shoes now and be you, the one to sort of break this and be the first woman?

 

TC: It's honestly awesome. I don't want to be, like, the girl that plays boys hockey. I want to just be known as a normal teammate to the boys. And just as a family. We can be a family. Ever since I stepped on the ice, I wanted to be a goalie. I never liked sitting on the bench. It just felt like I was always on the bench, and I never could get off the bench. And I just enjoy it. I just love taking hard shots. And then I was asked to go play Chiefs in atom, of course, and I've played since then. Shannon Szabados and Manon Rhéaume, they both tweeted that congrats and they were watching. It's more than a dream for them to reach out like that.

 

SR: Now that you've been drafted, what's... what's the next step?

 

TC: Well, I'm definitely going to go to some camps with Sarnia. I think that'll be great, and just see how it goes, then make decisions.

 

[/sc]

 

CH: That was Taya Currie speaking with CBC reporter Sofia Rodriguez. Ms. Currie is set to play goalie next season for the Sarnia Sting, after becoming the first-ever woman drafted by the Ontario Hockey League.

 

[music: indie rock]

 

Encore Hipster Photo

 

CH: Every once in a while, a story we air takes on a life of its own. It transcends the CBC Radio airwaves, and years after we broadcast it, it finds a whole new audience. Like a cool vintage trucker hat, or "Golden Girls". The "hipster effect" interview isn't that retro. We first aired it in 2019 -- but it still seems to strike a nerve with people. Much like the original study struck a nerve with a man who saw a photo of himself in an article in the MIT Tech Review. He hadn't given permission for the photo to be used. So he was angry. But here's the kicker. The photo illustrated an article called "The hipster effect: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same." And it wasn't actually a photo of the guy who was sure it was a photo of him. This morning, for a brief period, that 2019 interview was one of the most popular CBC Radio stories. So we decided to revisit it. From March of 2019, here is Carol speaking with MIT Tech Review editor-in-chief Gideon Lichfield about the "hipster effect." 

 

[sc]

 

CO: Gideon first of all just tell us -- what was this study and the article about hipsters -- what was the gist of it?

GIDEON LICHFIELD: Well the gist of it -- it was a mathematical model of why people who try to differ from the crowd end up conforming with one another. And so it took essentially a model that accounted for certain decisions that people make, and made the prediction that people will start out looking different but we'll end up conforming to others in the same nonconformist group.

CO: And you had a mathematical formula that could show that?

GL: Yes. It was a mathematical simulation.

CO: And you had a photo of a man with this article, right? What does he look like?

GL: A fairly generic 20 something -- early 30 something -- white man with a beard and a beanie and a lumberjack shirt.

CO: And it is not of somebody that you know -- it just was a picture.

GL: Yeah. It was a stock photo that we got from an agency from Getty Images.

CO: Why did you get an email from someone -- an angry reader -- who threatened to sue you because of that photo?

GL: Well so he saw the article, he saw the photo, he thought the photo was of him. And he -- I guess -- maybe has something against hipsters or against being called a hipster. But he didn't like it. He wrote some things that were very uncomplimentary about the article itself. He called that I think a tired outdated piece of dubious research or something.

CO: I think a trope -- a tired cultural trope.

GL: [Laughs] That's right. And dismissed the research. And then said that we were using the picture of him without his permission, and in a slanderous way, and that he was pursuing legal action.

CO: So what questions did that raise for you when you got that letter?

GL: I mean of course the first moment I see something like that my question is, well did we do anything we shouldn't have? So I looked at what his accusation was and I said he seems to be accusing us of implying that he's a hipster. I'm pretty sure that can't be prosecuted for slander. But then my second thought was you know I'm sure that we used this photo in accordance with a license and we got it from a reputable agency so there shouldn't be a problem with using it even if the person in the picture doesn't like the implication. So I forwarded the email to our art department and I said you know I presume this was done with the right license. And their response was yes we have the right license. But you know we can take that picture down anyway if he's annoyed. But our creative director said no -- this was an image that we used with permission and perfectly in accordance with our rights. We shouldn't take it down just because somebody doesn't like it.

CO: How did it get resolved?

GL: So in the end our creative director Eric Mongeon wrote to Getty Images -- the agency -- and said look we have an angry reader who doesn't like the way we used his photo. Could you check that he signed a model release and the license is all in order? They have a team that deals with legal complaints. And they went into their archive and checked the details. And they came back to us and they said, actually the model in this photo does not have the same name as the person who wrote to you.

CO: What?

GL: We had looked at his Facebook page because we knew the guy who had written at us. We had looked at his Facebook page -- certainly on his page he looks reasonably like the guy in the picture, but it's not totally clear cut that it's him, but it could be him. What Getty found was -- you know they dug up a whole bunch of other pictures of the same model that they have in archive and found it's not actually the same guy. And then they wrote to him and sent him those pictures and said we don't think this is you. And he replied, oh I guess you're right. It's not .

CO: Now do you know want to read his response. Or should I?

GL: Why don't you.

CO: Okay. [Reading] Wow. I stand corrected I guess. And multiple family members and a childhood friend who is an attorney who pointed it out to me thought it was a mildly photo shopped picture of me. I even had a very similar hat and shirt -- though in full colour I can see it's not the same. Thank you for getting back to me and resolving the issue.

GL: Yes.

CO: No apology though.

GL: No apology. But you know I'm happy that that's resolved.

CO: This is not a grainy distant tiny picture. This is a very very clear up-close image of a man with very distinctive features. How could you look at this and think it's you -- and it's not you. I mean does that puzzle you?

GL: I mean you know the picture is in profile. He's wearing a hat so it covers his hair. So you can't see what hair he has. And you know as a no longer in his 30s white man with a beard, I know that a lot of white men in their 30s with beards look kind of similar. So I guess it doesn't surprise me that much.

CO: I mean you and I might see this picture and say oh this looks like this other guy I've seen on Facebook or whatever. But if it's you -- I mean that's the different thing here. Wouldn't you know what you look like?

GL: You would think. You would think. I suppose you know the way we use the image -- we would change the colouring, so it's not natural colours. It's tinted. I could imagine that someone might just have looked at it and thought it was him. So I mean it's a remarkable coincidence that he and several other people looked at the image and none of them realized that it wasn't him.

CO: If this was your sort of iconic image of a hipster and somebody who is angry at the idea of being accused of being hipster, says it's not him. What does this say about hipsters?

GL: Well I think it says what the study says which is that hipsters all look alike.

CO: But even hipsters can't identify themselves. They look so much alike.

GL: So it's you know unexpected empirical verification with a mathematical model. I don't think we've spoken to the researcher to find out what he thinks but it's certainly something striking.

CO: Gideon it's good to talk to you. Thank you.

GL: Thank you very much.

[/sc]

 

CH: From our archives, that was MIT Tech Review's editor-in-chief Gideon Lichfield speaking with Carol in March of 2019.  And we've reposted that story to our webpage at: www.cbc.ca/aih.

 

[music: electronica]

 

Repeated Phrase Music 

 

CH: Maybe it happens when you're excited, and repeating to yourself, "I'm going to have some cake! I'm going to have some cake!" Or maybe it happens when you're furious with yourself: "Where'd I put my keys? Where'd I put my keys?" Or maybe it doesn't happen to you at all. Science has a name for everything. In this case, the name for the thing where a phrase you repeat starts to sound like a tune is the "Speech-to-Song Illusion". And researchers from the University of Kansas had a theory about the Speech-to-Song Illusion. The theory was that younger people would experience it more than older people. Maybe because the researchers think older people are wiser -- and not fooled by such silly mind tricks. Or maybe because they think older people live joyless lives, devoid of music or imagination. Anyway, they enlisted 199 volunteers to listen to this sound file.

 

[sc]

 

WOMAN: The sounds as they appear to you are not only different from those that are really present, but they sometimes behave so strangely as to seem quite impossible. But they sometimes behave so strangely, they sometimes behave so strangely, sometimes behave so strangely, sometimes to behave so strangely, sometimes to behave so strangely, sometimes behave so strangely.

 

[/sc]

 

CH: Are you hearing those spoken words becoming sung words? According to this study, 73 per cent of us do. And, despite their hypothesis, the researchers discovered there was absolutely no difference between young listeners and listeners 55 and older. Age doesn't affect whether you hear "They  sometimes behave so strangely" as the chorus of a very short, weird song. Or not. It may be involuntary. It may even be irritating. But if you're over 55, and you were worried the kids could do something you can't do, then this is music to your ears. Music to your ears. Music to your ears. Music to your ears.

 

[music: poppy beat]

 

Part 3: Mexican-American Student Protest, Crow Anting

 

Large BC Sturgeon

 

CH: Recently, in northern British Columbia, someone caught the largest Nechako White Sturgeon on record. The fish weighed 152 kilograms. But she isn't going over someone's mantel, or into someone's stomach. That's because she is nearly 100 years old, almost blind -- and surprisingly fertile. So the fish was spawned -- before being released back into the river by the staff at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre. Jordan Cranmer, a junior researcher at the centre, spoke with CBC BC about catching the sturgeon.

 

[sc]

 

JORDAN CRANMER: It was really an amazing experience. I think that we weren't quite sure of the size and the scope of things as we were pulling her in. But as she got closer and closer to the boat, we really realized that we were in for a record -- 9.6 feet. I would say, from my perspective, I'm about 5'4, so carrying this sturgeon into our trailer tank was a bit of an experience for sure!

 

CAROLINA DE RYK: How did you do it?

 

JC: So we actually move these sturgeons in stretchers. They have a little pocket that their head slides into that allows water to be pumped in over their gills. They're comfortable the entire time we move them. And we take them right from our boat, where that stretcher is set up into a trailer tank that actually has oxygen flow. And from there, they go into a temporary tank where they'll await their spawn.

 

CDR: And this is not the first time that this particular sturgeon has been captured. When did hatchery workers come across her?

 

JC: Yeah, so she was first caught in 2011. And this capture was actually only 10 kilometres away from her original capture. So she's actually grown to... she's grown 21.8 centimetres in total length. And she's gained 23.7 kilograms.

 

CDR: It seems remarkable. I mean, humans, we… we stop growing, at least in terms of our height when we're in our teenage years. But sturgeons, they just keep on lengthening?

 

JC: They do. Yes, they keep growing. And so fish that we haven't caught for a while, for instance, we had a record fish caught in 2007 that was one 145.5 KGs. She's probably a lot larger than this fish is now. So that's really a miraculous discovery.

 

CDR: Wow! The other miraculous thing is, is that you were catching this sturgeon, this presumably 100-year-old sturgeon, for... for spawn. How is she still fertile?

 

JC: Yeah. So Sturgeon actually have multiple years of spawning history. So they can spawn, and then they will take a break for a few years and then spawn again. the Nechako White Sturgeon have one known spawning grounds here, actually right near the bridge in Vanderhoof, BC. And so we haven't seen her in quite a while. And when she was caught in 2011, she wasn't quite ready. She wasn't quite fertile. But it was really a great discovery to find out that she was ready to spawn this year.

 

[/sc]

 

CH: Jordan Cranmer, a junior researcher at Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre, speaking with Carolina de Ryk, host of "DayBreak North".

 

[music: bright piano]

 

Mexican-American Student Protest 

Guest: Ever Lopez

 

CH: After years of grinding it out in high school, getting on that graduation stage to receive your diploma is a real triumph. And Ever Lopez was looking forward to it. But on Thursday, he was denied that moment -- because of what the school says was a dress code violation. Mr. Lopez showed up on stage with a Mexican flag over top of his gown. This displeased the principal. She withheld his diploma -- and asked his family to leave. Now, after days of protests and public pressure, Ever Lopez has finally received his diploma. He's now a graduate of Asheboro High School. And we reached him in Asheboro, North Carolina.

 

CO: Ever, how did it feel today when you finally walked out of your school with that diploma?

 

EVER LOPEZ: Oh, man, it felt great, you know? You know, when I got it in there, I mean, I didn't get it the way I deserved, you know, like her handing it to me. I had to pick it off the desk. But I mean, other than that, you know, being able to look at my name on that diploma, and seeing that I got what I really deserved for what I worked for, you know? It really made me feel like I achieved something, you know, like I felt something in me. I was like, yeah, you know, I finally made it.

 

CO: The principal, did she say anything to you? The principal address the issue [slight chuckle] when she gave you the diploma?

 

EL: No. Like, we had... we... we sat down and talked a little bit about, like, like, explanations and all that stuff. And then, like, addressing the dress code and all that. And, like,  how I violated, which I didn't, you know?

 

CO: But she didn't apologize?

 

EL: No, she didn't.

 

CO: But you want an apology, though, right?

 

EL: It would have been nice. Yeah, if she would have apologized, it would have been nice, you know? But, unfortunately, it didn't happen. But it's not all that matters right now that I got my diploma, you know? [dry chuckle]

 

CO: Let's talk about what happened because we... there's a video. We can see you. Your name's called. You get up. You get in that line up with all the others, the cap and gown. And you... describe what you have on you and then what happened when you got up to get your diploma?

 

EL: As you can see, you know, I had my hand, my flag, you know, like what I was going to represent, you know? But I mean, when I got up there, you know, I didn't really think nothing of it. I don't really think, oh, she's going to make a fuss out of it. You know, I was just more determined on getting my folder, you know, then getting my diploma after.

 

CO: But you were wearing the Mexican flag, right?

 

EL: Yes, ma'am.

 

CO: And so just describe what happened when you got to the top of the line?

 

EL: You know, I get caught up, and I go for the handshake and receive my folder. And she... she... she leans over to me and says, you can't wear that, you know? Like, that was a shock, you know, because I don't know what she was talking about first. And she mentioned the flag. And I like, oh.

 

CO: this principal, Penny Crooks, she's the one who spoke to you, right?

 

EL: Yes, ma'am.

 

CO: What did she say about you wearing the flag?

 

EL: She told me that it was a violation to the dress code, and that, like, I shouldn't have been wearing it during that ceremony, you know, like it would have been better if I did it like at some other appropriate time, you know, but I don't see what's so bad about that.

 

CO: And then when did you find out that they were not going to give you your diploma?

 

EL: After the ceremony. We went up to look for the paper to... or, like, the diploma. I was looking for mine. And then they told me that Ms. Crook needed to talk to me. So, like, I went up to her, and she like, you know, we're here to talk about your diploma, right. So then I was like… at that instant I was like, oh yeah, I'm not getting mine.

 

CO: Wow, what... how did you feel at that point?

 

EL: Kind of mad, you know, because like, for what? For like a flag, really? Like this is just kind of dumb, you know? But it was just crazy, you know? I was mad, confused and kind of sad, you know, for my parents, because they're really down, you know? Like, they were really hurt more than me, yeah.

 

CO: And you're the first person in your family to graduate from high school, right?

 

EL: Yes, ma'am, first one. And next is my sister.

 

CO: And so it really meant a lot to your parents to see you up there?

 

EL: Yes. Especially, yeah, being the first one, you know, being able to get the diploma, being able to represent it to them and, you know, honour them because they're the ones that fought hard for me to be able to get here.

 

CO: Why were you wearing the flag?

 

EL: Why wouldn't I, you know? It's something that… that, like, it's a place that I love, you know? Like, it's in my blood, you know? I mean, I may not have been born over there, but that don't mean I don't have to represent, you know? Like, I'm a represent no matter what. Like, I wasn't born over there, you know, I'm doing it for my whole family that's over there, my parents, my family, you know?

 

CO: Because you were born in the United States, right?

 

EL: Yeah. Yeah, I was born here.

 

CO: What does Mexico mean to you then?

 

EL: It's the birthplace of my... my parents, you know? Like, that's where they came from. And, like, it's a good way to honour them, you know? Like, being able to show them I did it for them.

 

CO: And how do they feel about you wearing the flag to the stage?

 

EL: They felt proud, you know? Like, they said, I did good. You know, that's like the best thing I did. You know, they're really proud. And they said I did a good job.

 

CO: There's another video that shows what appears to be the police escorting your family and you out of the school? Did that happen?

 

EL: Yeah, it was after we had walked out of her office, and she walked out, and the cops just escorted us all out of there, like, you know, pushing us out.

 

CO: And why were they doing that?

 

EL: I'm not really sure about that. I don't even know myself, you know? Like, we asked today. And she didn't even give us a valid answer, you know, but it don't matter to me. Like, they didn't do nothing to us, so we didn't, you know, we didn't have to take other measures.

 

CO: But how did your parents feel about that?

 

EL: They feel really targeted, you know? Because, like, to be honest, it was kind of messed up. You know, why bring the cops into this trying to push us out of the building?

 

CO: So anyway, that was then and then how do you think it was decided finally that they would actually give you your diploma? What do you think... what happened there?

 

EL: I feel like all the pressure just got to them, maybe. Or like they just said, why keep it or something, you know?

 

CO: Do you think that they realized that they, as you say, messed up?

 

EL: Hopefully, you know, I hope that's what they think and, like, that's why they tried to give it to me, or they ended up giving it to me.

 

CO: But you wanted to get that diploma in front of your family, in front of all your friends, your... your teachers, the school, right? That's what meant a lot to you?

 

EL: Yeah, or like... yeah, or like the people that supported me at least, you know? Because, like, if she... if she did what she did to me in front of everyone, it would have been right for her to give me what I deserve in front of everybody as well, you know?

 

CO: That's the whole point of the ceremony, is that you want everyone to see you get it, right?

 

EL: Yeah.

 

CO: Sorry about that, Ever. And so what's next for you? Where are you going next in your life?

 

EL: Well, right now, you know, I'm just... I just got to breathe right now, take it all in, you know? But hopefully, you know, with all these... all these things happening, you know, hopefully, doors open up, and opportunities come. And hopefully, I grab onto one, you know?

 

CO: Well, Ever, I wish you well. And congratulations on your graduation.

 

EL: No, thank you. Thank you for having me. You know, it means a lot.

 

CO: Take care.

 

CH: Ever Lopez is a recent graduate of Asheboro High School. We reached him in Asheboro, North Carolina.

 

[music: light rock]

 

NL Cancer Grad

 

CH: Most of this year's university graduates are probably disappointed that the pandemic is interfering with the big event. But Amanda Saunders is just happy she made it at all. After six years, a new heart, and a battle with cancer, Ms. Saunders has graduated from the psychology program at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2018 while she was finishing her psychology degree, she found out that she had end-stage heart failure. She was forced to drop out of school. She told CBC Newfoundland and Labrador the promise she made to herself at the time.

 

[sc]

 

AMANDA SAUNDERS: It feels like I can accomplish the world now. As you said, it took me six years, a brand-new heart and cancer treatment, to get here. And I don't even know where to begin with my adventure. I never thought that at 21 years old, I would need a heart transplant, and 22, going into 23, I would be living with lung cancer and going through a cancer treatment, all during a COVID-19 pandemic. Ever since I was younger, I loved going to school. I loved everything about school, even the learning part of it and the studying part, which is kind of weird to say. So when all that took a turn for me in 2018 when I was waiting for a heart transplant, that was taken away from me. And I remember when I was in St. John's waiting to be Medivaced to go to Ottawa for my transplant, I withdrew from school in my hospital bed. And I just remember thinking, you know, education's not for me. Like, I will never be able to get to this point again. Every last bit of normalcy that I had in my life was just gone, poof. So when I had my transplant and when I was well enough to... to go back, I made a promise to myself was that if I was to make it through my heart transplant, if I was going to make it to the other side perfectly fine, which thankfully I did, I would go back to school with open arms and an open heart and just embrace it. And I'm not going to sit here and say it was easy because it was far from it. I had multiple complications along the way. I was diagnosed with cancer 14 months after my transplant. And, you know, those days were hard. I remember nurses coming into my room, and I was just sobbing, crying. And I remember saying, like, I would never get to this point, you know, I'll never graduate from university. Like, I even said myself, I was dumb for trying to go back and to kind of… well, I did do some courses through my cancer treatment as well. I even brought my computer to cancer treatment and did research while I was, you know, getting my treatment done. And I just remember thinking I'm just... I'm just so stupid for, you know, trying to go back with all these obstacles in my way. But then I thought, you know, I was given a second chance at life for a reason. Why not go with that and put trust and faith into that idea and just to embrace it and to see where life goes?

 

[/sc]

 

CH: That was recent Memorial University graduate Amanda Saunders speaking with "Newfoundland Morning" host Martin Jones.

 

[music: glassy guitar riff]

 

Crow Anting

Guest: Tony Austin

CH: Tony Austin would be the first person to tell you he's an amateur  bird photographer. He picked up the hobby during the pandemic. So when he shot a strange photograph of a crow recently, he didn't want to jump to conclusions. But he thought it looked really odd. The crow was on the ground with its wings splayed out, covered in ants -- and it appeared to be in distress. Well, after some research, Tony Austin now knows a lot more than he used to about crows and their habits. We reached him in Metchosin, B.C.

 

CO: Tony, first of all, just describe what is in this photograph that you took? What does the pictures show?

 

TONY AUSTIN: Well, it's of two crows, one sort of looking at the other crow. And the other crow is on the ground with its wings sort of spread out. It has a sort of kind of a bemused look on its face, if that's possible, for a crow. And the crow is covered in ants. They're crawling all over it.

 

CO: Wow! And so when you took this photo, did you see what was going on? What caught your eye when you first wanted to snap it?

 

TA: Well, it's funny because I... you know, I was out looking for birds, you know, in my typical kind of day. I'd gone out to this Swan Lake Nature Reserve, which is here in Victoria. It was kind of a cloudy day. There weren't a lot of people around. I spent about three hours walking around, seeing absolutely nothing worth photographing. And I was heading back to my car. And I saw a murder of crows, you know, a group of crows, about nine of them. Suddenly, they all took flight and came and landed about 40 feet away from me on the pathway. And I thought, oh, OK. Well, this is a good opportunity to take some photos. So I got down on the gravel at their level, and I noticed that one of the crows in the group was acting kind of oddly. He was flapping around. Sort of sometimes you'll see birds taking these of, you know, dirt baths, you know, dust batch where they're sort of mixing up the dust and spreading it all over their feathers. And that's quite normal. But this one seemed to be doing the same sort of actions, but much more violently. It would really shake hard and then it would leap in the air and sort of land on the side of the gravel in the... in the grass and then leap back onto the... onto the pathway. And I couldn't really figure out what it was doing. It... it struck me as a bird that was in distress. And yet, I couldn't really see any reason for it. And the other crows didn't seem to be acting like they thought their friend was in trouble, too.

 

CO: But [chuckling] I guess if you'd known that it was... you could see that it was covered in ant you might understand. But at what point did you realize that the ants may have been causing the grief?

 

TA: When I got home, I put it on the computer and started editing the photo, and I noticed little bumps on... on this bird that I was looking at. So when I cropped in tighter for the image, I could see it was covered in ants. And yet, I don't know if the bird was actually distressed by it.

 

CO: [laughing] Well, we... I think we would be distressed. But, so --

 

TA: Yeah! So well, you know, I think we all have had the experience of perhaps stepping on an anthill. And it's not the best experience. And I think, you know, that's what I thought had happened to the bird. It just by mistake stepped on something it shouldn't have.

 

CO: What have you learned since that might be the reason for these ants and the bird?

 

TA: Well, it's quite interesting, really, Carol, but to find out that there's not a lot known about this behaviour. Supposedly, it was first seen by James Audubon back in 1831. He noticed wild turkeys that were what he said, wallowing on ant nests, and he couldn't really figure out what on earth it was for? It didn't seem like a good idea. But anyway, there seems to be a whole bunch of theories as to why the birds and the ants work together. One of them is the ants, when they're on the bird, I think this is called passive anting. When the ants are on the bird, they secrete a formic acid. And that goes onto the feathers from the ants. It's just their reaction to stress. Now, there is a feeling that this acid actually will kill microbes that are on the... on the crow. So it's a sort of symbiotic type of reaction where, you know, they're helping each other out. That's one thought. But there's, like, several others. One's that in actual fact, the bird is enticing the ants onto its body, and then it will make the ants secrete this formic acid, which is supposedly not very tasty, and that's... the birds hate that. So once that's out of the ants, then the bird can eat the ants. Supposedly, the best part of the ant is the crop and the head, but not the fact that it's full of the acid. So that's one way that they might try and get rid of the acid.

 

CO: But it may be all of the above, right? I mean, possibly?

 

TA: It could be all sorts of things. Another one that it's a habit. It's like... like smoking. They say that it's sort of a form of self-stimulation, you know, that really has no biological function. [CO laughs] It's become a habit.

 

CO: Well, anyway, it sounds like a kind of crow spa treatment, doesn't it?

 

TA: Well, that's actually, when you look at it, it looks that way, if... if you can get a chance to look at the photo.

 

CO: What kind of reaction have you had from other birders to your photo?

 

TA: Well, I'm relatively new to birding. I've... you know, when the pandemic came around, I had to switch my type of photography to something else. And one of the great things about bird photography is that you can get out into the wilderness and totally avoid everyone else, you know? So I would get some nice pictures of birds, and I started putting them up on this "Picture Perfect Vancouver Island", which is a Facebook site for, you know, for birds and for wildlife. I put it up, and then I got several responses like, oh, the poor bird looks like it's in distress. And then somebody posted that it was anting. And so that started the conversation. And honestly, Carol, I've never seen a response to any of my photos quite like this within, you know, half an hour or so. There were like hundreds of responses and "wow" emojis. And... and I realized that, yes, this was actually perhaps a behaviour that wasn't seen very often.

 

CO: It's just fascinating as well. Tony, I'm glad you got the picture, and you could explain it to us. Thank you.

 

TA: Thank you very much, Carol.

 

CO: Bye-bye.

 

TA: Bye.

 

CH: Tony Austin is a photographer in Metchosin, B.C. And that is where we reached him.

 

[music: Electronica]

 

HK Parking Spot

 

CH: Things are looking up in Hong Kong. Not if you're pro-democracy, pro-freedom of assembly, or pro-freedom of the press and so on. On those fronts, things are looking way down. But if we're talking real estate prices, which affect only the extremely wealthy: it's a real high point. Last month a house on Hong Kong Island overlooking the city rented for a record-breaking sum of a quarter of million dollars. You know: a month. Which is a lot. And now, a parking spot in the same luxury neighbourhood has sold for more than 1.6 million dollars, which is…a lot. Especially for a vehicle-sized rectangular lot. The record-breaking sale is seen by business-y types as a sign of growing "buyer confidence" in Hong Kong, which is so great. It's nice all those zillionaire buyers once plagued by crippling self-doubt are feeling better enough about themselves to get back out there, you know? To pound the pavement for -- small portions of pavement. To revel in the thrill of the chase … for a really, really expensive space to put a vehicle that is likely worth less than that space. So Hong Kong itself may be at a low point -- but someone out there has really found, paid for, and parked in, the sweet spot



 

now