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The New Class of Comfort TV: 16 Shows to Watch When You Run Out of Friends and The Office

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What did you stream, in the early months of the pandemic, to feel normal for an hour? Did you mainline Tiger King, as Nielsen says 34 million viewers did in its first 10 days on Netflix? Or did you return to an old favorite—something from NBC’s classic 1990s Must See TV lineup or a prime-time soap that luxuriates in the white noise of rich-people problems?

No matter what show you turned to last spring, chances are that, nearly a year later, you could use something new to soothe your still-locked-down soul. Happily, TV has in the past year achieved what New York magazine calls “Peak Comfort.” Netflix has invested in some diabolically addictive reality shows, and streaming service discovery+ launched in January with lifestyle content from Food Network, HGTV and more. Dozing off to House Hunters isn’t just for cable subscribers anymore.

A beloved scripted series is harder to replace, but don’t worry: while Friends may be a finite resource, hangout comedies spring eternal. Did you know that the minds behind Bob’s Burgers and The Good Wife have new shows out? Here are our picks to replace—or just complement—your comfort TV standbys.

If you’ve finished Friends, try Insecure

Maybe you followed Friends from Netflix to HBO Max; maybe you’re a longtime HBO subscriber who turned to the streaming juggernaut when the new service launched midway through a long, empty pandemic year. Either way, at under 25 minutes apiece, 236 episodes might’ve gone by more quickly than you expected. If you’re looking for a similar vibe of young adult pals figuring out their lives and loves in a big city, click over to Insecure. Issa Rae’s observant dramedy follows an underachieving Los Angeles nonprofit worker (played by Rae) who’s staring down 30 with three close girlfriends and their parade of imperfect suitors.

Stream both shows on HBO Max.

If you’ve finished The Office, try What We Do in the Shadows

Missing The Office? What We Do in the Shadows is basically just that, but with vampires. Based on a film of the same name from Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), this hilarious show about undead roomies is shot mockumentary-style. In fact, the series even plays homage to The Office through one of its characters, an “energy vampire” who unleashes his dullness on unsuspecting office workers to zap them of their energy.

Stream The Office on Peacock and What We Do in the Shadows on Hulu.

If you’ve finished The West Wing, try Borgen

Throughout the, er, tumultuous Trump years, many left-of-MAGA viewers escaped into the liberal fantasy of turn-of-the-millennium White House drama The West Wing. Casting Martin Sheen as the thoughtful President Josiah Bartlet, creator Aaron Sorkin chronicled political intrigue while defending the dignity of the executive branch. The acclaimed Danish series Borgen, which imagines how the tenure of that country’s first female Prime Minister might look, would make a perfect binge during this period of regime change. Brigitte Nyborg, played by the wonderful Sidse Babett Knudsen, is a fascinating character: a woman so centrist her party is called the Moderates, whose sharp political instincts are tempered by a fundamental disdain for corruption. The first three seasons are streaming on Netflix, where a fourth is set to arrive in 2022.

Stream The West Wing on HBO Max and Borgen on Netflix.

If you’ve finished Gossip Girl, try Dash & Lily

When the CW’s rich-kid soap Gossip Girl was good, it was obscenely, addictively good. But let’s be honest: the second half of its six-season run bordered on unwatchable. Besides, who really has an appetite for spoiled uptown teens and their real-estate-mogul dads these days? Dash & Lily, on Netflix, is a very different kind of show about the love lives of Manhattan high schoolers. Austin Abrams and Midori Francis play the title characters, two oddball old souls who flirt from afar after he finds a notebook she left behind at a bookstore and strikes up a correspondence. Come for the romance, stay for one of TV’s most authentic depictions of the teenage city.

Stream Gossip Girl on HBO Max and Dash & Lily on Netflix.

If you’ve finished Schitt’s Creek, try Kim’s Convenience

Leave it to Canada to come up with a show so gentle and funny, it made America fall in love with family sitcoms again. And while the Roses of Schitt’s Creek may be irreplaceable, at least we still have their CBC neighbors the Kims. Based on Ins Choi’s play of the same name, Kim’s Convenience follows a Korean-born couple (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon) who own a corner store in Toronto and, in their meager spare time, lovingly meddle in the lives of their two 20-something children (Andrea Bang and Simu Liu). Though it’s more grounded than Dan and Eugene Levy’s farce—the generation gap between immigrant parents and their Canadian kids is a big theme—both series feature quirky characters who care deeply for each other. There are four seasons of Kim’s so far, and the CBC has already renewed it for two more.

Stream both shows on Netflix.

If you’ve finished Parks and Recreation, try Ted Lasso

Most comedies earn laughs with cynicism. It’s harder to build a show around an unflappably optimistic character, as Parks and Recreation did with the ebullient Leslie Knope. But the titular hero of Ted Lasso would make Leslie proud. An American football coach tasked with running a British Premier League soccer team, Ted meets fans and players’ jeers with can-do aphorisms and basic human decency. What a comforting thought that one kind person can heal a community, one home-baked box of biscuits at a time.

Stream Parks and Rec on Peacock and Ted Lasso on Apple TV+.

If you’ve finished The Good Wife, try The Good Fight

Maybe it’s cheating to point Good Wife fans toward the show’s woefully underappreciated spin-off. But with this newer series, creators Robert and Michelle King have injected adrenaline into the legal drama genre: The Good Fight lives up to its name and brazenly skewers real-life political figures. It’s perfect for anyone who takes comfort in righteous indignation.

Stream both shows on CBS All Access.

If you’ve finished Buffy the Vampire Slayer, try Teenage Bounty Hunters

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a once-in-a-generation show, transforming supernatural teen pulp into an allegory for growing up and becoming a stronger, more complex and, in some ways, more wounded person than you ever thought you’d be. Teenage Bounty Hunters—a Netflix dramedy about a pair of twins (Maddie Phillips and Anjelica Bette Fellini, in two of last year’s most charismatic performances) from a wealthy, super-Christian Texas family who moonlight as, yes, bounty hunters—is not Buffy. And, sadly, it has already been canceled, after just one season. But if you’re seeking a show about smart, tough teen girls who kick ass, navigate coming-of-age rites and exchange witty banter, Bounty Hunters should hit the spot.

Stream Buffy on Amazon Prime or Hulu, and Bounty Hunters on Netflix.

If you’ve finished BoJack Horseman, try Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn has more on its mind than poking fun at superhero tropes. The show begins with Harley’s breakup with the Joker, and while the series doesn’t shy away from acknowledging just how toxic that relationship is, it quickly turns its focus toward Harley’s blooming friendship with a Daria-esque Poison Ivy. Like BoJack Horseman before it, this excellent animated show for adults is interested in the psychology of relationships. Unlike BoJack it centers on joyful, not dour, ones.

Stream BoJack on Netflix and Harley Quinn on HBO Max.

If you’ve finished Silicon Valley, try Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

Mike Judge’s HBO comedy Silicon Valley captured the absurdity of the 2010s tech industry, where a small army of guys with huge egos, high IQs and astonishingly little common sense competed to build companies that were invariably described as “Uber for [your service-industry niche here].” Its spiritual descendant is Mythic Quest, a wonderful Apple TV+ sitcom set in the similarly nerdy, cutthroat world of the video-game studio behind a breakout MMPORG in the World of Warcraft mold. Created by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia vets, with a cast that includes F. Murray Abraham and Community standout Danny Pudi, the show skewers tech-culture misogyny without marginalizing female characters the way Silicon Valley sometimes did. A bonus episode shot remotely during the pandemic may well be the best half-hour of TV to come out of quarantine.

Stream Silicon Valley on HBO Max and Mythic Quest on Apple TV+.

If you’ve finished Killing Eve, try The Flight Attendant

The Flight Attendant knows exactly what it is: a pulpy mystery that revels in its twists. Even bloodier and more absurd than Killing Eve, the drama centers on a flight attendant (Kaley Cuoco, who scored a Golden Globe nomination for her performance) accused of murder. She careens her way across the globe, looking for clues to absolve her and drawing police attention in the process. She’s a hot mess, and you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from her.

Stream Killing Eve on Hulu and The Flight Attendant on HBO Max.

If you’ve finished Downton Abbey, try Bridgerton

This Shonda Rhimes–produced costume drama scratches the same romantic itch as Downton Abbey, but it caters to a more modern audience. Diverse casting, string arrangements of songs like Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” and steamy sex scenes drag a staid genre into the cultural zeitgeist.

Stream Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime or Peacock, and Bridgerton on Netflix.

If you finished Full House, try The Baby-Sitters Club

Full House is the kind of sitcom that could give adults a toothache, but in times like these, who could blame a person for missing their old, familiar friends waiting just around the bend? The revival, Fuller House, though? Unforgivably bad. For a similarly kid-friendly treat without the saccharine aftertaste, try Netflix’s Baby-Sitters Club reboot, which updates Ann M. Martin’s beloved middle-grade books for a new generation. The characters have depth, their families feel both specific and authentic—and there are plenty of jokes that will land with viewers over 13.

Stream Full House on Hulu and The Baby-Sitters Club on Netflix.

If you finished Curb Your Enthusiasm, try Dave

Spite stores. Chat-and-cuts. Improperly secured soup and insufficiently respected wood. With Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld co-creator and “social assassin” Larry David has brought us more than two decades’ worth of cringe comedy based on his privileged life. Dave, the semi-autobiographical FX sitcom by rapper Lil Dicky, presents a slightly warmer, millennial take on this character—an essentially well-meaning but also hilariously selfish and neurotic Jewish guy navigating fame-adjacent life in L.A. Every episode could end with the Curb theme song.

Stream Curb on HBO Max and Dave on Hulu.

If you finished Awkward., try Never Have I Ever

Before MTV swore off scripted programming to make room for more shows about catfishing, teen pregnancy and a now-middle-aged Jersey Shore cast, it had one of cable’s best depictions of 21st-century adolescence. The black comedy Awkward. followed an anonymous high schooler who inadvertently gets the attention she craves after her classmates misinterpret a freak accident as a suicide attempt. Like that show, whose star Ashley Rickards embodied both the pain and the exhilaration of youth, Mindy Kaling’s Netflix comedy Never Have I Ever stands out from the crowd thanks to an irresistible young star: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. As a 15-year-old brain who’s distracting herself from the sudden death of her father via an ill-conceived campaign for popularity, Ramakrishnan’s high-spirited performance wrings humor out of trauma.

Watch Awkward. on Amazon Prime and Never Have I Ever on Netflix.

If you finished Bob’s Burgers, try Central Park

Bob’s Burgers is—with apologies to Futurama but not to Family Guy—Fox’s best animated comedy since The Simpsons. And while the team behind it attempts to hit again on the network with the debut of The Great North on Valentine’s Day, creator Loren Bouchard has already given us a delightful follow-up in Central Park. In place of the burger-slinging Belchers, the show introduces the equally odd and endearing Tillermans, who live on the very grounds of the Manhattan oasis thanks to patriarch Owen’s (Leslie Odom Jr.) park-manager gig. In a bonus New York tribute that plays to Bouchard’s past strengths, the series is also a musical, featuring original songs belted by Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs and other A-list Broadway alums.

Watch Bob’s Burgers on Hulu and Central Park on Apple TV+.

Finished ‘The West Wing’? Try ‘Borgen’

European office workers don’t expect to return before summer

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Survey of five countries including UK finds staff now believe they will be working from home until June

European office workers’ expectations about when they will be able to go back to their desks after the pandemic have slipped to the summer, according to a survey, as office return dates have been further delayed.

Despite the coronavirus vaccination programme and lockdown restrictions, workers in five European countries including the UK now expect to work from home until June instead of April, according to research by the AlphaWise unit at the US bank Morgan Stanley.

Continue reading…Survey of five countries including UK finds staff now believe they will be working from home until JuneCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageEuropean office workers’ expectations about when they will be able to go back to their desks after the pandemic have slipped to the summer, according to a survey, as office return dates have been further delayed.Despite the coronavirus vaccination programme and lockdown restrictions, workers in five European countries including the UK now expect to work from home until June instead of April, according to research by the AlphaWise unit at the US bank Morgan Stanley. Continue reading…

Twitter says Trump ban is permanent – even if he runs for office again

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Chief financial officer says ‘when you’re removed, you’re removed … our policies don’t allow people to come back’

Donald Trump’s ban from the social media platform Twitter is going to stick even if he runs for the White House again – and even if he won again, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

Related: Trump impeachment: Senate to hear prosecution arguments against former president – live

Continue reading…Chief financial officer says ‘when you’re removed, you’re removed … our policies don’t allow people to come back’Donald Trump’s ban from the social media platform Twitter is going to stick even if he runs for the White House again – and even if he won again, a senior executive said on Wednesday. Related: Trump impeachment: Senate to hear prosecution arguments against former president – live Continue reading…

UK Covid live: No 10 says MPs won’t vote on 10-year sentences for travel ban cheats because law already in place

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Latest updates: government will use Forgery Act to enforce 10-year sentences; PM says people must ‘get used to re-vaccinating in the autumn

4.25pm GMT

The latest UK Covid statistics are now up, on the government’s dashboard. Here are the headline numbers. The key illness figures are all moving in the right direction (down), and at a marginally faster rate than yesterday.

3.38pm GMT

Sir Charles Walker, the vice chair of the the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee, has escalated his attack on Matt Hancock, the health secretary, over the plan to threaten anyone lying about visiting a “red list” country with up to 10 years in jail. Walker was reasonably robust on the World at One (see 2.11pm), but on Sky News just now he let rip even further. Walker said:

Are we really going to lock people up for 10 years for being dishonest about the fact that they’ve been to Portugal?

By all means give them a fine, give them a hefty fine, a few thousand pounds. Are you really seriously suggesting, secretary of state, that we’ve got enough prison capacity to start locking up 19-year-old silly kids for 10 years?

Continue reading…Latest updates: government will use Forgery Act to enforce 10-year sentences; PM says people must ‘get used to re-vaccinating in the autumn’Too soon to book holiday in UK or abroad, says Grant ShappsCovid border rules not in ‘top bracket’ of nations, says StarmerThreat of jail term for UK travellers who hide journeys ‘disproportionate’UK government announces £3.5bn fund to fix cladding on high-risesGlobal coronavirus updates – live 4.25pm GMTThe latest UK Covid statistics are now up, on the government’s dashboard. Here are the headline numbers. The key illness figures are all moving in the right direction (down), and at a marginally faster rate than yesterday. 3.38pm GMTSir Charles Walker, the vice chair of the the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee, has escalated his attack on Matt Hancock, the health secretary, over the plan to threaten anyone lying about visiting a “red list” country with up to 10 years in jail. Walker was reasonably robust on the World at One (see 2.11pm), but on Sky News just now he let rip even further. Walker said:Are we really going to lock people up for 10 years for being dishonest about the fact that they’ve been to Portugal?By all means give them a fine, give them a hefty fine, a few thousand pounds. Are you really seriously suggesting, secretary of state, that we’ve got enough prison capacity to start locking up 19-year-old silly kids for 10 years? Continue reading…

Alexei Navalny’s wife on flight to Germany, report says

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Associates say departure of Yulia Navalnaya, wife of jailed opposition leader, is temporary

The wife of the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny has left Moscow and is on her way to Germany, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on Wednesday.

Yulia Navalnaya boarded a Lufthansa flight that left the Russian capital at 4.15pm local time on Wednesday, the agency said, citing a source. She is due to arrive at Frankfurt am Main.

Continue reading…Associates say departure of Yulia Navalnaya, wife of jailed opposition leader, is temporaryThe wife of the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny has left Moscow and is on her way to Germany, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on Wednesday.Yulia Navalnaya boarded a Lufthansa flight that left the Russian capital at 4.15pm local time on Wednesday, the agency said, citing a source. She is due to arrive at Frankfurt am Main. Continue reading…

Kim is Waiting for Joe But for How Long?

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DUISBURG, Germany, Feb 10 (IPS) – How long can Kim Jong-un wait patiently? After a euphoric start, the Trump administration ultimately proved to be a bitter disappointment for the North Korean regime.

Read the full story, “Kim is Waiting for Joe But for How Long?”, on globalissues.org

DUISBURG, Germany, Feb 10 (IPS) – How long can Kim Jong-un wait patiently? After a euphoric start, the Trump administration ultimately proved to be a bitter disappointment for the North Korean regime.Read the full story, “Kim is Waiting for Joe But for How Long?”, on globalissues.org →

India’s row with Twitter escalates after social media site refuses to block more than 1,000 accounts

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Twitter has refused to follow an order from Prime Minister Modi’s administration to permanently suspend more than 1,000 accounts the Indian government claims are spreading disinformation about the farmers’ protests in the country.

Last week, Modi’s government issued a notice of non-compliance to the social media giant, threatening to jail its executives for up to seven years and fine the company a substantial amount if it does not comply and remove the accounts, as well as the content they have shared on the site.

The Indian government believes that these accounts are secretly run by Pakistan or supporters of a separatist Sikh movement and are seeking to sow discord in the country and further aggravate the ongoing protests.

Twitter responded on Wednesday by stating that it had taken action on around 500 accounts which it identified as having manipulated the site to post spam, as well as limiting others for inciting violence, and geo-blocking a select group of other users.

Also on rt.com

Farmers sit on tractors as they enter old Delhi on January 26, 2021.
India accuses foreign ‘vested interest groups’ of smear campaign over farmer protests

However, the site refused to engage in the blanket removal of all of the accounts listed, as it felt the order from the Indian government was not in line with the country’s law.

We do not believe that the actions we have been directed to take are consistent with Indian law.

The social media company argued that it would not simply remove accounts at the request of a government because that would not be “in keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression”.

The Indian government did not directly address Twitter’s blog post. However, the country’s technology ministry said that it had been published ahead of a meeting between Twitter executives and government officials, which the ministry described as “unusual” behavior.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting in the Indian capital of New Delhi over agricultural laws that they argue will cost them their right to a minimum wage and open them up to exploitation. Modi’s government claims the measures are necessary to reform the industry and will open up the market to private investment.

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Twitter has refused to follow an order from Prime Minister Modi’s administration to permanently suspend more than 1,000 accounts the Indian government claims are spreading disinformation about the farmers’ protests in the country. Read Full Article at RT.com

‘We are not where we wanted to be’: European Commission boss admits Covid-19 vaccination shortcomings

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The European Commission president has defended Brussels’ decision to lead a collective, EU-wide approach to vaccine procurement and deployment but admits the body had been overly optimistic and too slow to authorize the jabs.

“We are not where we wanted to be,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen conceded on Wednesday as she faced lawmakers in the European parliament. 

“We were late to authorize… We were too optimistic when it came to massive production, and perhaps too confident that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time. We need to ask ourselves why that is the case.”

Amid mounting criticism of the bloc’s slow deployment of vaccines, von der Leyen said she was confident that the collective approach to inoculations was the correct one as it meant no country went “empty-handed.”

“I can’t even imagine if a few big players had rushed to it and the others went empty-handed… In economic terms it would have been nonsense and it would have been I think the end of our community,” she stated.

Von der Leyen added that she “deeply regretted” the EU’s short-lived decision to introduce export checks on goods entering Northern Ireland in a bid to prevent vaccines leaving the bloc. 

Also on rt.com

A passenger arrives at Gatwick Airport, UK (FILE PHOTO) © REUTERS/Toby Melville
No ‘exact date’ for when Britons can legally go on holiday again, says UK transport secretary

The EU boss said that 26 million doses had been delivered so far to the bloc’s 27 member countries and promised that 70 percent of adults would be inoculated against Covid-19 by the end of summer. 

To date, EU member states have only vaccinated four percent of their collective populations amid supply challenges, slow approval and late orders. The bloc lags behind many developed nations, with 66 percent of Israelis receiving the jab already and nearly 20 percent in the UK.

If you like this story, share it with a friend!

The European Commission president has defended Brussels’ decision to lead a collective, EU-wide approach to vaccine procurement and deployment but admits the body had been overly optimistic and too slow to authorize the jabs. Read Full Article at RT.com

NASA’s Climate Communications Might Not Recover From The Damage Of Trump’s Systemic Suppression

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Before former U.S. President Donald Trump incited a hostile insurrection against the Capitol, he’d already smashed wrecking balls through the ranks of government agencies. Among the many casualties was the truth about climate science, which NASA was routinely prevented from sharing with the public that supports it.

I was the senior science editor for NASA’s Global Climate Change website and witnessed the impact of science suppression firsthand. I’d been at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), one of 10 NASA centers, for a decade when, three weeks into the Trump Administration, on Feb. 16, 2017, the Washington Post published an article noting that while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Park Service were shutting down climate communication, NASA was still writing about climate change. The Post piece shared links to my most recent NASA blog post about the rapid increase of ice-mass loss in Greenland, plus my @NASAClimate tweets and NASA Climate Change Facebook page.

It caused NASA management to panic. Scott Pruitt had been appointed to head the EPA and promptly removed the EPA’s climate-change website. NASA management seemed to fear a similar fate. My manager sent a text late on the evening the Post published the story—it was a Thursday before a three-day weekend (NASA has what’s called a “9/80 work schedule,” meaning every other Friday is a day off)—which was so unusual that I saved a screen capture. It read, “We’ve been asked to stand down on social until we regroup next week.” He followed up with a frantic phone call, warning me not to post anything anywhere. When I checked my email the next morning, there was a message from Facebook: “You’re getting this email to confirm that you’re no longer an admin on NASA Climate Change. You were removed on February 17, 2017 at 9:45am.”

NASA Climate’s social media pages used to be vital mechanisms for keeping the public updated with factual information. During the Obama presidency, I live-tweeted and posted on Facebook in real time from science events, conferences, satellite launches and field campaigns. I posted up-to-date information on global climate events such as cyclones, floods, tornadoes and storms on evenings and weekends, and saw our Facebook page grow to 1.3 million Likes. Newspapers and magazines, documentaries and TV news regularly referenced our NASA Global Climate Change website. Our satellite images showed up in art galleries and museums; our graphs and data were used at science events all over the world. But by the end of Trump’s term, NASA Climate’s social media presence had dwindled to almost nonexistent. I’ve spoken with former co-workers still at NASA, who don’t want to go on the record for fear that doing so would put their jobs and livelihood at risk, but they all say they’ve been forced to work under similar restrictions and acknowledge the diminishment of NASA’s climate website and social media.

After that Post piece came out in February 2017, Veronica McGregor, manager of JPL Media Relations, imposed strict approval requirements on our climate web team. The new editorial policy mandated “both management and Media Relations review all posts.” Every blog, tweet or Facebook post—even something as simple as a photo of a glacier—needed to go back and forth among a manager or more often two managers, a scientist and a team from Media Relations, which meant there were times when a single post had as many as six authors and took hours or even days to publish.

McGregor and the other managers were all career NASA employees and not political appointees acting on Trump’s orders; I have no way to be sure why they chose to take this path, but the impact of the publishing rules was that the Media Relations team was able to insert themselves into the scientific communication approval process, an act in itself antithetical to science, which is supposed to be unbiased and apolitical. The restrictive review process also made science communication less robust and less timely. It impeded my ability to publish photos, videos, articles and social media posts, so less material got out to the public.

Soon after, I was told by higher-ups including JPL’s director of the Office of Communication, also a career employee rather than a political appointee, to stop reporting on and sharing climate-related content from other government agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service and the Department of Energy—groups I’d been collaborating with for years. I was also banned from working with non-NASA academic climate scientists and educators.

Over the year leading up to February 2017, I’d been reporting on a team of glaciologists digging for ice cores in Antarctica. They would call me on their satellite phone from remote sections of the Antarctic ice sheet to update me on their research, which I would share with the public in near real time. That team of glaciologists was headed to Greenland in March, the same time I was scheduled to be there. It would have been the perfect opportunity to tell the story of ice melt from above and below. But my manager forced me to cancel our ongoing interviews.

By early 2017, large projects I’d been working on—such as a Greenhouse Gas Viewer, which explained the consequences of increased carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere, and an updated Sea Level Viewer, which showed increased sea levels around the globe—were axed.


Government censorship of climate-change information isn’t new. It happened during the Reagan Administration and in both Bush administrations. For years, politicians, as well as coal, oil and gas companies and other moneyed interests, established and then promoted organized disinformation campaigns. These lies about the dangers of climate change, along with science denial, had real repercussions, as Trump’s lies certainly will. But scientists from within government had pushed back.

I felt adamant about pushing back again. Yet NASA managers feared someone from the Trump Administration might discover our climate-change website and, as Pruitt did with the EPA’s climate site, take it down. So the goal became publishing just enough material to keep people from noticing the decline in content, while ensuring any new material be as bland and uncontroversial as possible to avoid attention from the Administration.

But noticing the diminished content didn’t require a degree in rocket science. Anyone could scroll through NASA’s climate website and social media pages to see the abrupt transformation that began after Trump took office. Post-Trump articles either focused on a technical aspect of a NASA science instrument or conveniently left out the term climate change. Many were simply reposts from NASA’s other earth-science pages, such as Earth Observatory or NASA Earth. Nevertheless, whenever journalists questioned the obvious modifications, JPL’s Media Relations and Steve Cole, earth-science public-affairs officer at NASA HQ, another career employee, would say it was par for the course. “We’re doing our jobs, it’s business as usual,” Cole told the Washington Post on Feb. 16, 2017.

In mid-March, I gave a presentation at South by Southwest, the high-profile technology and media conference, where NASA regularly had a booth and a number of panels. NASA HQ sent a list of talking points, which did not include the word climate. The document did give the following general advice:

A “No comment” should be avoided at all costs. It’s much better to pivot away from the subject of the question to give the reporter a related NASA positive. Rather than give a direct response to the question, give some positive info on the work we do at NASA now.

For example: “How do you feel about the suppression of government social media accounts?” Response: “NASA has a lot of great social media accounts where we make our science and data available to everyone around the world. We are very open and that’s going on right now. Have you seen them?”

On March 15, 2017, after my SXSW panel, I flew to Greenland to embed with a NASA science campaign studying ice-mass loss around the coastline. The trip had been scheduled months in advance, and at this point, management’s rollout of the new restrictions was chaotic and disorganized. They didn’t stop me, and I didn’t ask why. I simply went. When I was with the same team during Obama’s tenure, I’d hosted multiple Facebook Live events, took tons of photos from the field, live-tweeted and published a series of seven articles on NASA’s climate website. But under Trump, I managed to publish only two pieces. I forwarded ideas for social media text and images back to the team at home. A handful squeaked through the layers of approval.

When I returned home, I received a meeting invitation from NASA’s ethics office. A representative from human resources joined us. They explained that they would be watching my work more closely. I felt intimidated and asked why I was singled out. The human-resources rep answered that it was because President Trump said climate change was a hoax, which meant the topic was sensitive.

By the summer of 2017, I had little left to do. I’d been stripped of my social media duties back in February, some of my co-workers had been moved to other departments, and anything I wrote was either banned or interminably stuck in review. For example, by September, a story I’d written in March about how we know people cause climate change had notes from 19 editors and was too unintelligible to read. My time during these months was largely spent meeting with managers telling me what I was no longer allowed to do. The toxicity got to me. I was drinking too much and stress-crying. I kept copies of unusual texts and emails and wondered how many others kept records.

In late August 2017, a reporter from Vice News noticed changes to NASA’s climate website and requested an interview with me. I sent his request to Media Relations, but instead of arranging a normal interview, they interceded and answered the questions he’d directed to me. Nonetheless, the Vice News reporter forwarded the email thread to me.

The responses to his questions—about the decline in the number and frequency of blog postings; changes to the character of the NASA Climate Twitter account; less coverage of topics explicitly related to climate change—were false, deceptive or simply didn’t answer the questions. “No, there’s been no change in the pace of publishing of NASA climate news and data on the website,” the Media Relations team wrote at one point. This was plainly false: in 2015, the site published 33 pieces, compared with six in 2017.

The deception bothered me. Without honesty and integrity, what did NASA stand for? I felt dismayed by the number of co-workers who went along with the censorship; who conformed, stood down, lay low. I wished more people had spoken up, but I knew that each of them had their own complex reasons for staying. I ultimately decided that communicating honestly about the gravity of climate change was more important to me than protecting NASA. After I was blocked from speaking to the press, I went to HR to discuss my frustrations. That’s when the HR rep suggested I take an unpaid leave of absence.

There was no agreed-upon term for the leave, and a couple of months later, I reached out to my manager, who told me she would be thrilled to have me back. But days later, the leave coordinator called to tell me that my position had been eliminated.


Since then, NASA’s Global Climate Change website has been hobbled, merely reposting stories from other NASA sites. For example, in mid-September 2020, as fires raged across the Western U.S. and a series of hurricanes slammed the Gulf Coast, the featured story on NASA’s Global Climate Change website was a long-winded piece about “Climate Sensitivity” along with a visualization highlighting instruments that measure carbon monoxide from the fires, which avoided mentioning the words climate change. NASA’s climate blog used to be updated at least three times a month; as of this writing, the most recent post is dated Sept. 8, 2020.

Alexander Vindman, former director of European affairs for the U.S. National Security Council under Trump, told NBC Nightly News in September, “in order to prevent yourself from running afoul of [the Trump] Administration, you need to compromise your values.” This was equally true for both high-level government appointees like Vindman and midlevel employees like me. The legacy of Trumpism won’t just be denial of climate science or medical science or basic facts. The legacy of Trumpism will be the hollowing-out of respected federal agencies like NASA and the CDC and the destructive effects of these losses yet to come.

Under the Biden Administration, scientific institutions might eventually recover. The new President has appointed Gavin Schmidt, a top NASA scientist, to the position of acting senior climate adviser, a new role formed to help put greater focus on the agency’s research on climate change. But rebuilding the government and restoring the federal climate-science apparatus won’t be easy. These scientific institutions will also need to regain public trust—far too many Americans believed Trump’s lies about climate science, just as they believed his lies about COVID-19 and election fraud. And just as with this pandemic, the sooner we start doing the right thing—making decisions based on sound, evidence-based research—the more we can avoid the most dangerous outcomes.

Before former U.S. President Donald Trump incited a hostile insurrection against the Capitol, he’d already smashed wrecking balls through the ranks of government agencies. Among the many casualties was the truth about climate science, which NASA was routinely prevented from sharing with the public that supports it. I was the senior science editor for NASA’s…

Erdogan tells Greek PM to ‘know his limit,’ calls two-state solution Cyprus’ only option

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed Greek proposals to turn the divided island of Cyprus into a federation, insisting the only viable option is to create two separate states.

Erdogan lashed out at Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis as he spoke at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party on Wednesday. Turkey’s president accused the Greek leader of jeopardizing dialogue attempts between the two countries.

Even though we agreed to continue explanatory talks with Greece in March, Mitsotakis targeted us once again. Now, how can we continue our talks?

The remarks came in response to Mitsotakis saying the only viable option to fix the Cyprus issue and end the decades-old frozen conflict is the creation of a united state on the island. The state should be a “bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality,” he said on Monday, stressing that it may be achieved only when the “Turkish occupation” of the north ends.

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Turkey invites Greece to resume talks amid Eastern Mediterranean Sea dispute

But Erdogan has criticized this approach: “The Greek side has not made the slightest change in its stance disregarding the existence of Turkish Cypriots on the island,” the president stated.

Two-state solution is the sole option for Cyprus, federal system is no longer an option on agenda.

Turkey’s president also did not miss the opportunity to take fresh shots at the EU. Erdogan urged Mitsotakis to “know his limits” and not to put his trust “in some places,” referring to the EU, as “those whom you trust have already failed you.” Unlike Greece, Turkey does not seek anyone’s help to secure its interests, he added, promising the country will continue to “stand up for itself.”

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (FILE PHOTO) © REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
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Ankara’s relations with the EU have been in a perpetual downward spiral for some time, with the EU and Turkey clashing on different issues ranging from Turkey’s oil and gas exploration in contested waters of the eastern Mediterranean to Ankara’s role in the Libyan conflict.

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus has remained divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974, with its north controlled by the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed Greek proposals to turn the divided island of Cyprus into a federation, insisting the only viable option is to create two separate states. Read Full Article at RT.com

Europol detains 10 hackers over $100 million cryptocurrency theft from celebrities

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8 criminals were arrested by Europol on Tuesday following an international investigation into the theft of $100 million of cryptocurrencies through sim swapping attacks that targeted celebrities and high-profile figures.

The eight individuals were detained in the United States, after two others were arrested in Malta and Belgium, all part of the same network of criminals after authorities in Canada, Europe, the UK and US, in coordination with Europol, conducted a year-long investigation.

Europol found the group had stolen cryptocurrency, money, personal data and synced contacts from online accounts, as well as infiltrating the social media accounts of the victims to send messages as if they were them to attempt to exploit their fanbase.

Thousands of people were targeted throughout 2020, including athletes, influencers, musicians and their family members or associates with the ill-gotten gains topping more than $100 million.

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Cybercrime on the rise: 23% year-on-year increase as hackers prosper in a world locked down

The crime is known as ‘sim swapping’, where fraudsters take possession of a phone number by deactivating the victim’s sim and porting their number to a sim in the criminal network’s possession.

Europol’s Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment has warned that this type of criminal activity is on the rise, forcing them to make a “significant change” as cybercrime takes advantage of the pandemic to exploit victims.

To protect themselves from getting caught in these scams, Europol has urged everyone, not just celebrities, to ensure software is kept up to date, to avoid suspicious emails, to limit personal data and to use two-factor authentication. 

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8 criminals were arrested by Europol on Tuesday following an international investigation into the theft of $100 million of cryptocurrencies through sim swapping attacks that targeted celebrities and high-profile figures. Read Full Article at RT.com