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Snapshots: transit, craft beer, bills, and bitcoins

Curtailed commentary on current conditions.



Anthony Biondi

Print Edition: October 30, 2013

Anthony Biondi

Talking about transit…

“I don’t want taxpayers of Abbotsford to be paying for something that would be benefitting Langley,” councillor Braun is quoted in the Abbotsford Times on council’s recent decision (passed by a vote of three) to shut down plans for a rapid transit route connecting Chilliwack and Abbotsford to the GVRD.

First of all, first-graders are better at sharing. Second, the transit route would provide improved access to the skytrain, to which Abbotsford taxpayers don’t contribute – why shouldn’t taxpayers from other cities have access to our transit system when we use theirs?

As for the estimated cost to Abbotsford taxpayers for the route, it works out to only about $11 per residence – you could probably dig up that change in your couch cushions.

That’s not to mention that the council just approved a motion enabling Abbotsford to jump ship if proposed costs escalated. There was really nothing to lose. In that light, protests such as Braun’s come across as petulant – childish, even.

And I thought only adults could run for office.


Anthony Biondi

Craft beer identity

Craft beer fans are paralyzed by the choice of hops. We can’t move through the malaise of boutique brands and party mingler packs. What if we pick the wrong beer? Is that German Pilsner an inauthentic North American version, hopped up on steroids? Or is it going to be the sweet synthesis of East German style and Colorado mountain innovation? Most likely, it’s going to taste like a bad batch of gin: hops that rip into my tongue like pine needles, forcing me to rationalize my choice, “This Red Racer is good, right?” It must be! It’s hip, popular, and goes well with my hipster Armageddon.

There are too many choices, too many bad brews, and quite frankly, too much marketing.  Besides, craft beer isn’t about the beer. It’s about who you drink it with. While brew nerds with their craft beer fetish—distorted taste-buds that don’t understand the difference between marketing and taste—sit at home alone chatting it up on their beer blogs, I’ll take a Pabst and the dance floor with my best friend. And okay, I’ll give the new Parallel 49 a shot, but if it tastes like swamp water, I won’t hold my particular tongue.


Anthony Biondi

Footing the bill

The death knell of ethical, accurate, investigative journalism resounds from every (remaining) column and Twitter feed across the globe. The culprit, according to these panic-stricken missives? The big, bad internet.

Digital start-ups come and go seemingly every month, so it’s easy to regard new websites dedicated to serious journalism with skepticism. But among the skeletons of .com era failures, there are a few young news websites that are thriving.

The Tyee, an independent “solutions-based” journalism outfit based in BC, has made it to the ten-year mark, and instead of shuttering the doors, they’re dreaming big: they want to go national. According to a recent editorial, it will take an additional $100,000 in reader subscriptions to be able to expand their coverage across the country and establish an Ottawa bureau to report directly on federal politics. The disappearance of for-profit news organizations may be alarming, but in their wake they leave room for arguably better, more civically-minded news organizations like The Tyee to jump up in their place.


Anthony Biondi

Buy me a bitcoin

The dark web hath come! Our fairest city, Vancouver has fallen to the underdog. Bitcoin trading is going to be taken to an entirely new level with the installation of the first-ever bitcoin ATM. Soon men and women of all professions and crimes will be able to trade real money for bitcoins at a physical machine for a small fee.

To me, bitcoins have always been a product of the “dark web,” a seedy subculture hidden within the internet. They are a digital currency that hold monetary value in the real world, and can be traded for many services, both legal, illegal, and downright scuzzy.

I worry that the open acceptance of bitcoins will promote the darker activities that are bought by this digital currency. Before, it was incredibly difficult to obtain even a single coin, but with increased ease it can be manipulated into a means of market play, or an easier way to make untraceable illegal purchases.

By accepting the bitcoin, are we moving towards a cleaner use for it, or are we going to fall from grace with it?


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