Joachim Gauck will not attend the Winter Games in Russia in February, despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s opposition to a boycott; cats know when their owners are speaking to them, but still ignore them; meanwhile, Vermont has approved single-payer health care. 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.

German President Boycotting Sochi German President Joachim Gauck is boycotting the Winter Olympics and will not travel to Sochi, Russia next year.

Syria: Whose Sarin? Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August.

Cats Recognize Their Owner’s Voice But Choose to Ignore It Cats, according to new research, recognize their owner’s voice. They just can’t be bothered to react to it.

Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation Time perception matters because it is the experience of time that roots us in our mental reality.

Egypt’s Regime Moves To Outlaw January 25 Revolution On November 26, 2013, the “No Military Trials for Civilians” group in Cairo held a protest in front of the Shoura Council, against the new Constitution’s provision allowing military trials for civilians.

Obama Takes Aim at Israeli Positions on Iran President Obama sharply criticized as not viable several Israeli government postures on talks with Iran, but asserted that the military option remained on the table should those negotiations fail.

Vermont Approves Single-Payer Health Care: ‘Everybody In, Nobody Out’ The Affordable Care Act continues to plow ahead, despite Republican attempts to fight it at every turn.

How Teenage Behavior Predicts the Future of Technology From Facebook to Snapchat, what appear to be dumb toys for teens wind up billion-dollar industries

The Myths And Realities Of Nelson Mandela With the passing of Nelson Mandela have come glowing portraits of a man dedicated to peaceful reconciliation. But that is only part of the story.

How Britain Became the World’s Busiest Film Studio Nicole Kidman in Primrose Hill, Brad Pitt in Oxfordshire, Thor in Hertfordshire…When did Britain become Hollywood’s favourite place to shoot?

The Myth of Teens Rejecting Television TV is dying, supposedly, but even the youngest, most app-scattered Americans still watch 20 hours of it a week

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.