What We Lose When Newspapers Die

Models for reviving the newspaper industry continue to flood the blogosphere with today's Times roundtable of media experts including two Big Think guests.

Regarding the smaller papers which are folding like a line of dominoes, Columbia School of Journalism Dean and Nicholas Lemann notes, we should realize what we are mourning. Most small or regional papers did little more than deliver content. Quality, writ large, took a backseat and slipped across the board over the recent years of newsroom cutbacks. At the local level, sub-par writing was to some extent acceptable as town and city papers served as a vital conduit for public information. At the national level, not so. Any media consumer with a modicum of acuity will not shed a tear when USA Today, for example, folds. To the tumult over the imminent changes facing media, let's add another: the US is the only country on earth facing such a tide of newspaper shutterings. Could foreign models, where many papers are state-subsidized, readerships far more loyal, and viewpoints more politically diverse, mark a way forward?

Setting a maximum wage for CEOs would be good for everyone

Could this be the long-awaited solution to economic inequality?

Apple CEO Tim Cook looks on during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

Under capitalism, the argument goes, it's every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market is supposed to guarantee.

Keep reading Show less

How humans evolved to live in the cold

Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Surprising Science
  • According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
  • Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
  • Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
Keep reading Show less

Drill, Baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
Keep reading Show less