“The Google”

Just came across this funny tidbit (including video) about President Bush saying he uses “The Google.”  I suppose its not all that funny for a 60-year old to refer to “The Google,” but even my 68 year old mother gets it right (Hi Mom!).

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Who is that elephant in the mirror?

In news from the animal world this week, elephants are now the first non-ape hat scientists have successfully demonstrated to have subjective self awareness.  In other words, when elephants look in the mirror they realize they are seeing themselves and not another elephant.  The dog owners among you may recognize the lack of this ability in our canine friends.  Previously, proof of this ability had been restricted to humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans.  Dolphins show some evidence, but it is hard to tell for sure without hands (or a trunk). 

I first learned about this series of experiments in one of the most interesting classes I took in graduate school– The Psychology of Monkeys and Apes.  (It was an elective– though it has helped me glean greater insight into Republican campaigning).  Experimenters paint a red dot on the animal's forehead while sleeping.  Touch the dot in the mirror, and you are not that special; touch the dot on your forehead while looking in the mirror and you've demonstrated self awareness.  I've often thought about trying this experiment on my kids, but never have done it.  There's still time with Evan, though– this ability does not kick in for humans until around age 2.

What’s wrong with the media: part 57,324

The way the media continues to carry on with this John Kerry non-story is just beyond ridiculous.  Last nights was one of those times where I flipped between all the major newscasts at 6:30.  I looked on disgustedly, as the excessive coverage of Kerry's joke continued to dominate coverage.  The Carpetbaggerreport actually documents just how absurd NBC's coverage was:

Let's start with the NBC Nightly News' broadcast.

Segment One: John Kerry Apologizes For “Botched Joke” About Iraq (Running time: 3:35)

Segment Two: Democrats Are “Furious And Frustrated” With Kerry's Timing (Running time: 2:20)

Segment Three: Classified Pentagon Chart Suggests Chaos In Iraq (Running time: 40 seconds)

Classic. NBC Nightly News, just days before the midterm elections, devotes six straight minutes to covering a botched joke and 40 seconds to sensitive leaked information from U.S. Central Command showing that Iraq is quickly sliding into “chaos.”

Given the coverage and order of the stories, NBC News suggested to viewers that the Kerry non-story was six times more important than a classified Pentagon chart that debunked all of the White House's mendacious rhetoric about the war.

NBC Nightly News was clearly the worst of the Big Three shows, but the others were hardly impressive.

Here's last night's CBS Evening News:

Segment One: John Kerry Apologizes For Gaffe On Iraq (Running time: 2:40)

Segment Four: Iraq Continues To Spiral Out Of Control (Running time: 35 seconds)

CBS's coverage wasn't as completely ridiculous as NBC's, but you'll
notice that Kerry not only received nearly five times the air time, but
the “Iraq Continues To Spiral Out Of Control” story was the fourth news item of the broadcast.

By comparison, ABC World News Tonight was practically award-winning.

Segment One: Political Firefight Under Way Over Iraq (Running time: 3:05)

Segment Two: Bush Says Cheney And Rumsfeld Are Staying (Running time: 1:10)

Segment Three: Leaked Classified Pentagon Documents Paint Grim Picture Of Iraq (Running time: 1:45)

To be sure, the first segment was mainly about Kerry, and was almost
three times as long as the piece about chaos in Iraq, but ABC at least
deserves some credit for a) not making the top story entirely about a flubbed joke, and b) giving the crisis in Iraq more than a minute of air time.

This also reconfirmed my existing view that ABC does the best job and that NBC is just a joke when it comes to political reporting.  A good time to remind everyone that NBC devoted twice as much coverage to Gary Condit as any other network.  So just to summarize: Kerry screws up joke on Iraq (day 3) = big news; Iraq is totally screwed up = not so much.

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