Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The future of heart health: Researchers develop vaccine to lower cholesterol.

Reporting on Long Covid Taught Me to Be a Better Journalist. “[It] solidified my view that science is not the objective, neutral force it is often misconstrued as. It is instead a human endeavor, relentlessly buffeted by our culture, values and politics.”

The future of heart health: Researchers develop vaccine to lower cholesterol

RUSSIA HAS NO ONE TO BLAME BUT PUTIN: Russia summons Finland ambassador over US border accord.

Russia has summoned the Finnish ambassador in Moscow, after Finland signed a new agreement on military co-operation with the US.

Monday’s deal grants the US broad access to the area of Finland’s long border with Russia.

Moscow said it would “take necessary measures to counter the aggressive decisions of Finland and its Nato allies”.

Finland joined Nato this year in response to Russia’s Ukraine invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently accused Nato of having “dragged” Finland into the bloc, and announced the creation of a new military district near Finland’s border.

Meanwhile Finland has accused Russia of channelling migrants towards its territory in a “hybrid operation”, and has temporarily closed all its border crossings with its eastern neighbour.

If Putin doesn’t like his neighbors joining defensive alliances, maybe he should stop invading them.


The current state of affairs has analogs with how the era of Thatcher’s best overseas friend, Ronald Reagan, is seen today (though Reagan is less controversial in the United States than Thatcher is in Britain). How has it come about?

Part of the explanation is specifically British; part wider. It is important to understand that, even before Thatcher had arrived in office, there was no consensus about her in Britain. She probably did not mind that, because she loved to say how much she disliked consensus: “The Old Testament prophets didn’t go out into the highways saying, ‘Brothers, I want consensus.’ They said, ‘This is my faith and my vision!’… And they preached it.” But it meant that there was already a battle over her legacy, almost before she entered the office which she held for eleven and a half years.

In the first volume of Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography (2013), I devoted a whole chapter to reactions to her, because they were so unusually strong. Differing attitudes to her embodied a culture war. One would have expected the first woman prime minister to have aroused opposition in conservative circles because of her sex. This did happen to some extent, most notably, for example, in her Tory predecessor, Edward Heath. But the hostile reaction to her sex came much more from the Left, many of whom seemed repelled at the idea that a woman could be a strong leader in politics and yet hold the “wrong” views. When Lady Thatcher died in 2013, the House of Commons gathered to commemorate her. By far the harshest contributor, in what was naturally expected to be a respectful occasion, was the distinguished actress and Labour M.P. Glenda Jackson. She spoke of the “extraordinary human damage” Thatcher had done, and concluded, “To pay tribute to the first Prime Minister denoted by female gender, okay, but a woman? Not on my terms.” It was as if a woman not on the left was an unnatural creation. Thatcher’s sex had a big influence on how she was received and made reactions toward her much more emotional than if she had been a man.

The New Hotness?  “News Deserts!” As More Media Layoffs Ring in the New Year, Americans Face Prospect of ‘News Deserts.’

The media industry has been rocked this holiday season by news of newsroom layoffs as outlets downsize to combat volatility in advertising, after an already-brutal year of job cuts.

In the last month alone, Condé Nast, G/O Media, Vice Media and Vox Media have all cut staff, most of whom already had layoffs earlier this year. (Vice filed for bankruptcy in June.)

Broadcast, print and digital outlets collectively saw 2,681 journalism job cuts in 2023, up 48% from 1,808 in 2022 and 77% from 1,511 in 2021, according to a report from employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

With a collapsing advertising-revenue model and more media companies experimenting with artificial intelligence to create content, the outlook for journalism is dimming, media analysts told TheWrap. The decline underscores the need for the public and even governments to fund news gathering if it is to survive in its current form and avoid widespread “news deserts,” they said.

“All available evidence suggests that the commercial future for journalism is especially dire,” Victor Pickard, a professor of media policy and political economy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, told TheWrap. “We cannot simply let the market drive local journalism into the ground. I expect to see more legislative efforts, especially at state government levels, aimed at shoring up and even expanding local journalism.”

The staffers of China’s Xinhua News Agency, North Korea’s KCNA, and the ghosts of Pravda smile; because governments funding journalism has always ended so well for all concerned in the past.