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News and Notes From Canada

I’ve just returned from a quick trip to British Columbia (specifically to the ski town of Whistler, to which one can only properly say “wow”), and a couple of things from western Canada caught my eye. The first is this blog post about the use of urinalysis for construction job applicants in Alberta, where the long-standing oil rush is headier than ever. (I should note, however, that I read an article somewhere in the past few days — can’t remember where, or I’d link to it — about how the oil ministry is scared to death that Alberta will spend billions to extract oil sands only to find that, lo and behold, the Middle East isn’t running out of easy oil after all. Btw, in New Jersey the other day, I saw that gas has fallen back below $2/gal.) Also of interest is this article about the rash of logging deaths in British Columbia, apparently due to changing economics in the industry. In Freakonomics, we cite the fact that timber cutting is the most dangerous legitimate job in the U.S. — although we cite that fact in service of the point that selling crack cocaine on a street corner is a far, far more dangerous occupation.