The Affordable Care Act has proven that the private insurance model is too expensive and ineffective; 2013 ended the illusion of true democracy with NSA revelations; meanwhile, Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s new president, vows to provide free higher eduction to all her citizens. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

‘Sticker Shock’ Over Obamacare Bolsters Single-Payer Argument As the political uproar surrounding the Affordable Care Act has played out over recent months, one single fact remains: the private insurance model—on which the law widely known as Obamacare is based—is more complicated, more expensive, and provides less coverage than a simple, “everybody in/nobody out,” single-payer model that almost every other advanced country in the world enjoys.

Haifa University Rejects Honorary Doctorate for Right-Wing Nobel Laureate Haifa University’s decision not to grant an honorary doctorate to Economics Nobel Prize laureate Yisrael Aumann because of his political views has aroused an extensive, stormy debate in Israel’s academic community.

The NSA Paid to Steal Your Private Data As the people of this country, and much of the world, observe the year-end holidays, we can look back on 2013 as the year when any illusion of genuine democracy was dashed by the remarkable revelations about the police-state surveillance that watches us.

Ugandan Parliament Approves Antigay Law The Ugandan Parliament approved legislation imposing harsh penalties on gay people, including life imprisonment for what it called “aggravated homosexuality,” effectively brushing aside previous objections to antigay legislation from outside powers, including President Obama.

How Canadian Scientists Used a Mist of Alcohol to Develop a New Pheromone-Inspired Way to Send Text Messages Using a mist of alcohol and a desk fan, Canadian scientists have transmitted what they call a revolutionary new kind of text message, encoded in chemicals instead of the usual electrical current or radio waves.

Why Edward Snowden Deserves Amnesty The question keeps coming up, though it can be hard to hear the answers amid the outbursts it provokes.

Chile’s Sea Change in Higher Education Michelle Bachelet, who won Chile’s presidency in a landslide, has vowed to overhaul her country’s economic model to deal with endemic inequality. And she plans to start by providing free higher education for all.

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