1) The YouTube battle is on. Israel has released video , posted on YouTube, that shows its forces being attacked when they boarded one of the ships in the Gaza humanitarian flotilla.
But the flotilla provided its own YouTube campaign. An Al Jazeera reporter was broadcasting when the raid started and said the ship was "raising the white flag."
Wired's Danger Room is generally unimpressed...
The IDF has been practicing a willful indifference to global opinion for years. After the Hezbollah war of 2006, it decided that sensitivity to outside perception made its forces too hesitant, and put lives on both sides at risk. So in its 2009 Gaza campaign, the IDF decided to do the exact opposite: Shut out the international press, and fight without restraint and without a care about what anyone else thought.
The IDF did embed camera crews in its combat units, but they were there to defend troops against accusations of war crimes. Meanwhile, a young Israeli soldier -- born in a small town in Hawaii, and converted to Judaism at Yale -- got together with another American Israeli who thought it'd be cool to share some of those videos online. That became the IDF's official YouTube channel, unexpectedly generating millions and millions of views. But social media (and information operations, generally) remained on the periphery of Israeli planning.
In an MPR commentary today, Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, urges people to wait before judging, then does...
While the facts are not all yet known, video footage before and during the incident clearly verifies the violent ideology and actions of many of the Marmara's crew and passengers.
2) The New York Times has an unbelievable report on a Colombian family beset by Alzheimer's. "To see your children like this ... ," a mother says. "It's horrible, horrible. I wouldn't wish this on a rabid dog. It is the most terrifying illness on the face of the earth." Three of her children have Alzheimer's.
But the tragedy could lead to breakthrough, the paper says:
Alzheimer's has repeatedly resisted attempts to treat it. Current drugs, for people who are already impaired, show little benefit. Now scientists want to attack earlier. New findings show "the brain is badly damaged by the time they have dementia," said Dr. John C. Morris, an Alzheimer's researcher at Washington University in St. Louis. "Perhaps the reason our therapies have been ineffective or mostly ineffective is that we're administering them too late."
Related: A major advance in the figuring out the mysteries of the brain, came because somebody stole Einstein's.
3) But more research is needed on this one. Do dogs prefer high-definition TV over standard broadcast signals? A newspaper reporter in Fargo noticed his dog paying more attention to what's on TV these days. A cat owner reports finding the same thing.
A vet says "no."
Colville says we humans have a cluster of visual receptors in the backs of our eyes called the macula that provides us with a very detailed section in the center of our visual field. Since dogs and cats don't have that photosensitive cluster, "everything to them looks like things outside of our sharp vision field," he says.
"Because of that lack of sharp vision, that's what makes me think that the HD part of it's probably not as important as the fact that it's a big image that's moving," he says.
Let us know what's happening with your pet.
4) NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert" today features Roger McGuinn, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, and Roy Blount.
It's appropriate, then, that they back off almost completely for McGuinn's performance of "May the Road Rise to Meet You," which demonstrates once again that great beauty can appear out of nowhere under unlikely circumstances. The Rock Bottom Remainders' members don't take themselves even a bit seriously, but for a few minutes, their music was... not brilliant, exactly, but certainly brilliant-adjacent. There's genius, and then there's having the good sense to stand nearby.
(h/t: Mrs. News Cut)
Or maybe Brother Ali is more your speed...
He was Kerri Miller's guest yesterday on MPR's Midmorning.
5) Don't say I didn't warn you. New Scientist reports on robots that can create more robots:
Over the next few minutes, this "MakerBot" will do something I can only dream of doing: it will create a spare part of itself as an insurance against future mishaps. Staring at the Heath Robinson-style kit before me, it is hard to believe that it - and a few hundred other devices - are paving the way to an era of desktop machines that can make just about anything, including copies of themselves.
It could be a revolutionary age. MakerBot is one of a range of desktop manufacturing plants being developed by researchers and hobbyists around the world. Their goal is to create a machine that is able to fix itself and, ultimately, to replicate.
Sure it starts with little things like making candy dishes, but the next thing you know...
And they'll come disguised as toys...
Bonus: Carlton has laid off its fire chief. He says there were other places to trim in city government before whacking such a high-profile, public safety position. Are local communities working their way up to new heights when it comes to eliminating the government food chain?
Bear news: Hope is missing again.
Advocates say simple conservation could save many times the amount of oil being spilled in the Gulf of Mexico every day. Has the BP oil spill made you think about changing your energy behavior?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Later today, I'll be in Woodbury to talk to a group of developmentally disabled kids who are using video to tell their life stories and find their futures. I'll have that story tomorrow.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Recent polls have indicated a drop in support for offshore drilling and an increased pro-environment stance among the American public. But will the oil spill really get Americans to reconsider their use of fossil fuels and change their behavior?
Second hour: Josh Axelrad, author of the book, "Repeat Until Rich: A Professional Card Counter's Chronicle of the Blackjack Wars."
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Arne Carlson, former governor of Minnesota.
Second hour: New York Times reporter Michael Moss, speaking at the Commonwealth Club of California about his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting about e .coli-contaminated meat that paralyzed Minnesotan Stephanie Smith.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: NPR political editor Ken Rudin.
Second hour: Last year was a tough one for many Americans as they crawled out from the worst recession in decades. But there was one unexpected piece of good news: despite fears of a crime boom, violent crime went down to levels not seen since the 1960s. Even so, many Americans believe crime is getting worse.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The metro area is a day closer to the June 10 nurses strike. MPR's Lorna Benson will have an update.
Thirty-five years ago this month, a star was born. The movie was Jaws, and the star was Bruce, the massive mechanical shark. So what ever happened to the great white machine that terrified a generation? NPR unleashes its best and brightest to find out.(8 Comments)
It was a battle over textbooks, but the underpinnings included religion, racism, and politics. Stop me if you've heard this before.
In Kanawha County, W.Va., the school board received new textbooks for its elementary schools, but they became the staging ground for a battle between liberal and conservative values. It grew to include a labor dispute after parents refused to send their kids to schools. Coal miners and chemical plant engineers walked off the job. Then schools were firebombed and dynamited. Snipers aimed at school buses. Crossed were burned on lawns. And a preacher cited Bible verse to explain why that's what God wanted. (See video)
By the end of the program, which airs on MPR's Midday tomorrow, you may be wondering whether this is the past, or the future?
Last year, many of those involved in the "war" held a reunion. A comment, reported by West Virginia Public Radio, raised an intriguing question: Have we lost the ability to work things out?
Calvin Skaggs sees parallels between 1974 and today, too. Skaggs made the documentary, "With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right," which featured the textbook strike.
"These textbooks were introducing public school students to ideas about God and sex and society which their parents were not going to like. That's how it got started. It rippled until it was about everything," Skaggs said.
"If this textbook controversy had happened 20 years earlier, the community would have worked it out. There was a polarization beginning then that has absolutely infected our country now and frankly, frightens me," he said.
You can listen to that full panel discussion here.
After tomorrow's broadcast, we'll hold a forum in the UBS Forum and consider another question: What should children learn in school?
Colleague Michael Caputo will be holding an online discussion while the documentary is on the air, I'll be live-blogging the follow-up discussion at noon.(4 Comments)
The pending divorce of Al and Tipper Gore has shaken the "marital community" to its foundation, but the New York Times reaches an intriguing level of marital advice today by suggesting we can enhance our marriages by taking a lesson from our pets.
She argues that we all have much to learn from the way we love our pets. People often describe pets as undemanding and giving unconditional love, when the reality is that pets require a lot of time and attention, special foods and care. They throw up on rugs, pee in the house and steal food from countertops. Yet we accept their flaws because we love them so much.
Dr. Phillips suggests we can all learn how to improve our human relationships by focusing on how we interact with our pets. Among her suggestions:
Greetings: Even on bad days, we greet our pets with a happy, animated hello, and usually a pat on the head or a hug. Do you greet your spouse that way?
Well, no, not exactly. But to be honest with you, a pat on the head has never worked well for Mrs. News Cut. Neither does putting her in a kennel at night or walking with a leash attached. Let's just say that a dog is a dog and a spouse is a spouse and even the New York Times can engage in a desperate search to fill online space.
It's true that the official dog of News Cut -- Luci the Blog Dog -- is an engaging personality and full of adoration for her masters, but the notion that dogs (and other pets) have a level of loyalty that mere mortals cannot duplicate is, well, nonsense.
The other day, for example, Luci was by my side, doing that loyalty thing, when a rabbit came by. No amount of calling, cajoling,bribing, or whining would deter the mutt from her desire to chase the rabbit.
Loyalty works only up to the point of temptation.
Many of the readers who bothered to comment on the article did a fine job of schooling the Times:
I think this idea is kind of ridiculous. The reason we easily forgive our pets is because we know that they lack the cognitive capabilities that humans posess. Pets don't think beforehand of , for example, well if I do x, y, and z my owner may feel this way or that way. They are trained for certain actions and know those actions illicit a response, for example, pee outside or I will get into trouble. But spouses aren't "trained" to be a certain way. They have their own thought processes and can reason and weigh the pros and cons of their actions, and the effect that those actions may have on their partner. That is why we more easily forgive our pets than our partners. In essence, our partners should know better, whereas our birds are mere birds.
Or put another way, not treating spouses like dogs is what the '60s and '70s were all about.(9 Comments)