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What We're Reading

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Hello BMSA blog readers! With finals approaching quickly our team has put together a new compilation of some truly fascinating reads so you can remain in denial about your rapidly approaching exams.

Courtesy of

Contributor Simi Juriasingani 

As organ transplantation has risen to the forefront of medicine, ethical guidelines addressing the voluntary nature of organ donation have ensured integrity within the field. However, with the rise of transplant tourism, questions remain regarding how certain medical centres in China are able to guarantee healthy organ transplants in exchange for money - often in the span of a few weeks. This essay summarizes the evidence showing that China is killing prisoners of conscience, detained for their opposing religious and/or political beliefs, on demand to "fuel the lucrative organ transplant market". The reality of minorities being persecuted, detained and preyed upon for their organs points to the existence of a horrifying dystopian reality that hasn't received as much attention as it should. It is up to the international community, and mankind at large, to stop forced organ harvesting in China. The research community has taken the first step by retracting Chinese transplantation research publications based on evidence that most of the transplant research in China takes place on organs harvested from prisoners. However, more pressure on the economic, political and humanitarian fronts is needed to end this heinous practice that has turned the altruistic act of organ donation into murder for profit.

Courtesy of The Economist

Contributor Ramtin Hakimjavadi

The launch of Disney+ has garnered a lot of attention over the last couple of weeks, and for good reason. The new streaming platform offers customers its full entertainment catalogue - on demand of course - for only $6.99 a month. Given Disney's recent notable acquisitions of Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Entertainment, viewers have movies like "Inside Out", "Star Wars", and "Avengers: Endgame" at their fingertips. Disney+ is one among several other competitors including HBO Max, Apple TV+, and Netflix in entertainment. Their rise in popularity embodies a massive shift in the entertainment industry - viewer habits are changing drastically. For example, as Netflix came to prominence, "binge-watching" new shows became the norm. Consumers started demanding all content to be released at once, leaving behind the old tradition of waiting every week for the next episode of your favorite show. Media firms are responding to these changes, and all signs point towards streaming as the next checkpoint. Today, the landscape in the entertainment industry looks exciting for consumers and somewhat terrifying for businesses. The competition will lead to more inhouse high-quality content for consumers. For media firms, pursuing streaming as a business is rarely profitable, yet they have to empty their pockets acquiring old content and funding new programming just to keep up with their competitors. For example, Disney+ projects that it will only become profitable in 2024, when it reaches 60-90 million subscribers. This article looks at ways streaming can potentially become profitable for firms, both in the short-term and the long-term. As cable-cutting has now become the status quo for millennials, this is a fascinating read to learn more about the entertainment industry, and how it is changing in monumental ways.

Courtesy of nature

Contributor Si-Cheng Dai

When we conduct academic research, we might worry about how watertight our methodology is, or how spectacular our results are. We might ponder what journals we submit to, or the impact our paper will have. Seldom do we think about the safety of our lives. Tragically, that’s what nine wildlife conservationists in Iran had to do. Charged unjustly in 2018 for spying while simply recording the activities of endangered cheetahs, all nine were sentenced to prison —  for unexplained reasons, one researcher was found dead while incarcerated. As of late, disruption seems to be surfacing at the same time, around the world. In tandem with atrocities like those aforementioned, university students worldwide have been protesting. The lack of job opportunities, a worsening quality of life, and corrupt governments are hot topics. As tension builds, learning institutions find themselves being pulled by two opposing forces: students and academics on one side, and the government on the other. Only time will tell how it all unfolds.

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