Murdoch’s Paywall at the London Times: More Monday Morning Quarterbacking
Today it started to cost me four dollars a week to keep a clean conscience. No, I’m not giving to the Church. I’m paying money to read the news (gasp!). Yes, after praising Rupert Murdoch’s scheme to keep money flowing through the journalism industry, I’ve subscribed to the London Times online.
I remember being a kid and going to the supermarket with my Dad on Saturday. Because it was a popular shopping day, the store would offer lots of free food samples; because I was a kid, I would take them. I was never enticed to buy the food because I didn’t have any money. In fact, the imperative phrase, “Put your money where your mouth is,” meant nothing to me because I didn’t own a cent. Alas, though my desires still outstrip my income, a little income I do have.
Yes, producing news costs money; yes, if you value reading a newspaper, you should pay for it. What little dough it takes to access the wealth of information in a newspaper should be a fair trade. The only reason the Times’ online traffic has dropped by a reported 90% since it put its content behind a paywall is because, as Murdoch says, the industry “fell asleep”.
The admiration I have for Murdoch’s paywall scheme, which thankfully I don’t see as tied to his general outlook on news production, isn’t diminished at all by the decrease in traffic to the Times’ website. In fact, not only am I smugly acting on principle by paying for the Times, but I now have access to a world of secret and elite news which I already value more because I pay for it.
You can see for yourself in this November interview that Murdoch knew he would lose traffic, but he also realizes (at 2:30):
“The fact is, there isn’t enough advertising in the world to make all websites profitable. We’d rather have fewer people coming to our website, but paying.”
And I hope the Times will be able to attract some advertisers based on the fact that they have a market of people who actually spend money.
Indeed if newspapers, or the flow of information generally, is important to our democracy, then hopefully people will start putting a value on that information. Conversely, perhaps it’s because people don’t value information that our national politics have been in a very precarious situation for going on a decade.
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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