August 18, 2017

Making News

The Atlantic and the National Review have articles this week assessing the impact of Silicon Valley’s corporate leadership. “When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism” chronicles the travails of the New Republic under former Facebook executive Chris Hughes. The piece digs into new media’s chase for eyeballs and how that effort is affecting the journalistic ethos.

The National Review compares the Silicon Valley titans to the industrial tycoons of the late-19th and early 20th century. At one level that makes sense, as historians often identify the both eras as “revolutionary”–one industrial and one technological.  The article shows the way that the corporate behavior of both groups of leaders is similar, including the propensity towards monopolistic behavior.

Contextual Healing

Conversations about the national debt can sometimes be head scratchers. The Pew Research Center has a digestible fact piece on where the debt is at this point in time. Here are a few highlights:

  • Debt as a share of GDP rose after the 2008 financial crisis. Since 2013 it has equaled or exceeded GDP, which had not been seen since the World War II.
  • More than a quarter of the debt is owed to another arm of the federal government. In additional 12 percent is owed to the Federal Reserve.
  • Due to low interest rates, the overall interest payments on the federal debt are 6.8% of federal outlays. This percentage of outlays is relatively low in comparison to the last 60 years of interest payments.

The Next Evolution

The Trump Administration released its Research and Development Science Priorities for the next Fiscal Year. The sub-headings reinforce the administration’s “Make America Great” theme, e.g., “American Prosperity” and “American Energy Dominance.” The memo is relatively short (4 pages) and emphasizes broad concepts like modernization, futurization and maximization without offering much in the way of specifics. Researchers looking for guidance as to potential federal funding priorities will need to wait a little longer. For a longer summary, see this summary from Science Magazine.


  • Supposedly Symbolic, State Travel Bans Have Real Bite

    Stateline | 08/15/2017

  • Political Migration: A New Business of Moving Out to Fit In

    The Upshot | 08/16/2017

  • Tobacco Tax: The most effective least-used tool in public health

    The Union | 08/15/2017

  • North Carolina’s Digital Success Story

    EdSurge | 08/14/2017

  • Researchers Accidentally Found One Way to Help Kids Grow Up to Be Voters

    New York Magazine | 08/11/2017

  • Public service loan forgiveness can help fix the shortage of primary care and rural physicians

    STATNews | 08/11/2017