I’m starting a petition to have Arkady Babchenko henceforth referred to as "Journalism Jesus," Because holy shit, he just returned from the grave.
Less than 24 hours after it was reported that the vehemently anti-Putin journalist had died on the way to hospital after being shot in the back outside of his apartment in Kiev, Ukraine, Babchenko strolled into a press conference being thrown by the Ukrainian government, like a boss of all bosses. It seems that a hitman, hired by the Russian government to permanently silence Babchenko for the sum of $40,000, decided that instead of pulling a trigger on the contract, he’d let Ukraine’s security intelligence people in on what was supposed to be happening.
I say "supposed to," because things definitely did not go down the way that Mother Russia allegedly wanted them to.
From the New York Times:
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Mr. Babchenko created a sensation in Kiev on Wednesday by appearing at a news conference, billed as a police briefing about his assassination, at which he was greeted by whoops of surprise and scattered applause. It came less than 24 hours after his wife said she had found him bleeding to death on the floor of their apartment, shot in the back.
“First of all, I would like to apologize that all of you had to live through this, because I know the horrible feeling when you have to bury your colleagues,” Mr. Babchenko, 41, told the stunned room. “Separately, I want to apologize to my wife for all the hell she had to go through.”
Church Clarity set out to report the policies and structure of America's churches, a project doomed to anger them. It results in "three explosive insights," which are fairly easy to guess: evangelical churches are universally hostile to LBGTQ people, 93% are led by white pastors, and 99% by men.
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“Part of the reason we chose to release this now is because the New Year is a time when people decide to reengage with religion by attending church,” said Church Clarity’s co-founder Tim Schraeder. “As people of faith commit to new resolutions, we wanted to set them up for success by helping them make the most informed decision.”
Church Clarity’s leaders added that their decision to analyze race and gender in addition to sexuality also hints at the organization’s expanding mission. In the future, they plan to also report on race and gender inclusion among church leadership. So this is not the first time Church Clarity has created a stir, and neither will it be the last.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Read the rest
Ink on paper is a better product, at least for now, and it's showing at British tills. Sky UK's Lucy Cotter reports the first better year for print since 2007, and the worst one for ebooks since 2011.
Last year saw the first rise in sales since 2007, while digital book sales dropped for the first time since 2011.
Betsy Tobin, who runs the independent bookshop Ink@84 in Highbury, London, offers her customers a personalised service.
The bookshop offers coffee and alcohol and runs events and special author evenings.
Diversifying is part of her success but she says her customers also like buying in person rather than online.
They take pleasure from handling and owning books, she said.
I wonder if this has something to do with how well-run major UK bookstore chains are (small stores in high-traffic areas) compared to American ones (strip-mall big boxes, full of trashy ancillary merch and empty of foot traffic.) The literary retail culture there makes people want to drop in and fuss around with books, while the one here just means no-one is ever in a bookstore in the first place, so they just order stuff on Kindle. Read the rest
(Thanks, Dimitrios!) Read the rest
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These are not the groceries you are looking for, pup.
This is a great find by Not Exactly Rocket Science's Ed Yong. A tourist and a couple of researchers from the California Academy of Sciences have documented an instance of Pacific-dwelling jawfish hiding from predators by blending into the stripes of well-known camouflage guru, the mimic octopus.
This relationship is probably a rare occurrence. The black-marble jawfish is found throughout the Pacific from Japan to Australia, while the mimic octopus only hangs around Indonesia and Malaysia. For most of its range, the jawfish has no octopuses to hide against. Instead, Ross and Rocha think that this particular fish is engaging in “opportunistic mimicry”, taking advantage of a rare chance to share in an octopus’s protection.
Thanks, Atvaark! Read the rest