Editor’s Note, March/April 2010

One of the best things about editing a magazine is that you learn about all kinds of people, places, and things you otherwise would not. Take Michael Hayden and Bruce Carleton, for example, internationally renowned researchers at B.C. Children’s Hospital. When Roberta Staley suggested a piece on their groundbreaking work, none of us had a clue who they were. And at first blush, a story about pharmacogenomics—the way a patient’s genetic makeup affects the efficacy and toxicity of drugs she’s been prescribed—sounded too academic. But once we understood that this was a story about the needless deaths of thousands of people a year, many of them children, we got interested. It became clear that Hayden, a physician, and Carleton, a pediatric clinical pharmacologist, are behind nothing less than a revolution in health care. Before any drug is prescribed, they want to see an inexpensive test ordered to ensure that the patient’s genetic makeup won’t make the treatment worse than the disease (“First, Do No Harm”).

“Where are they now?” pieces are such a tired staple of print media that we generally eschew them. But Joe Keithley is a special case. As a fixture on Vancouver’s vital punk scene of the 1980s, Keithley—aka Joey Shithead—fronted the band D.O.A., middle-fingering the system at every turn. These days, as Daniel Wood discovered (“Forever Punk”), Keithley is alive and well and living in Burnaby, a suburban husband and father whose material circumstances may have changed but whose outrage at complacency and iniquity remains intact. And speaking of outrage, SFU economist Mark Jaccard (“Agent of Change”) has plenty to say about the way people delude themselves into thinking they’re “green” consumers, helping the planet, when the only way to make us live more sustainably is to enact legislation that forces us to produce less carbon.

As we put this issue together, I learned lots of immediately practical things as well—where to get my gucked-up barbecue serviced, who to call if I lose my keys in the middle of the night, the best dog walkers in town. Our “Best of the City” package takes dozens of urban problems, from bedbug infestations to car trouble, and tells you exactly how to solve them. I hope you learn as much from it as I did.