In the tribal area of Waziristan, Pakistani helicopter gunships and commandos hunt one of the country’s most wanted militants — Abdullah Mehsud — a feared Taliban commander who is allegedly tied to al-Qaida. Mehsud’s men recently took Pakistani soldiers and two Chinese engineers hostage.
The Mehsud story is more than a bit embarrassing for the United States. Until last March, Mehsud was in prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — having been captured fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, a Pentagon review board decided to release him, ruling Mehsud was not a security threat.
Did the USA capture an everyday Pakistani and turn him into a dangerous Taliban militant, or did they capture a dangerous Taliban militant and fell for his trickery?
Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.
Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.
These are some of the findings of a new study of the differing perceptions of Bush and Kerry supporters, conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes and Knowledge Networks, based on polls conducted in September and October.
This tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information extends to other realms as well. Despite an abundance of evidence–including polls conducted by Gallup International in 38 countries, and more recently by a consortium of leading newspapers in 10 major countries–only 31% of Bush supporters recognize that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq. Forty-two percent assume that views are evenly divided, and 26% assume that the majority approves. Among Kerry supporters, 74% assume that the majority of the world is opposed.
Similarly, 57% of Bush supporters assume that the majority of people in the world would favor Bush’s reelection; 33% assumed that views are evenly divided and only 9% assumed that Kerry would be preferred. A recent poll by GlobeScan and PIPA of 35 of the major countries around the world found that in 30, a majority or plurality favored Kerry, while in just 3 Bush was favored. On average, Kerry was preferred more than two to one.
Bush supporters also have numerous misperceptions about Bush’s international policy positions. Majorities incorrectly assume that Bush supports multilateral approaches to various international issues–the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the treaty banning land mines (72%)–and for addressing the problem of global warming: 51% incorrectly assume he favors US participation in the Kyoto treaty. After he denounced the International Criminal Court in the debates, the perception that he favored it dropped from 66%, but still 53% continue to believe that he favors it. An overwhelming 74% incorrectly assumes that he favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. In all these cases, majorities of Bush supporters favor the positions they impute to Bush. Kerry supporters are much more accurate in their perceptions of his positions on these issues.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom set a goal on Thursday of providing free wireless Internet activity in his city that sees itself as a vanguard of the Internet revolution.
“We will not stop until every San Franciscan has access to free wireless Internet service,” he said in his annual state of the city address. “These technologies will connect our residents to the skills and the jobs of the new economy.”
“No San Franciscan should be without a computer and a broadband connection.”
He said the city had already made free WiFi service available at Union Square, a central shopping and tourist hub, and would add access to several other sections of the city including Civic Center around City Hall.
If you’re looking for new features in your mobile phone, ask for 802.11b and Skype…
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”:
“Neither Bush or Kerry have gotten a flu shot and both said today they won’t get one. Ralph Nader also said he wasn’t getting a flu shot. Though in his case he doesn’t need one because he doesn’t come in contact with any large crowds.”
“Ralph Nader’s latest complaint — he says he’s being held back by special interest groups working against him. I think they’re called the American people.”
“Both candidates are trying to scare voters for votes in the last weeks of the campaign. And they’re doing a pretty good job. Voters are petrified that on Nov. 2, they’re actually going to have to pick one of these guys. What’s scarier than that?”
“The Kerry campaign announced today they will have ten thousand lawyers at the polls in battleground states. Ten thousand lawyers. Well, let’s hope you don’t slip and fall on the sidewalk outside a polling place. You could be buried alive in business cards.”
“It’s getting ugly and uglier out there — Teresa Heinz Kerry said she doesn’t know if Laura Bush has ever held a real job. Laura Bush fired back. She said she was busy raising three kids — Barbara, Jenna, and George W. That is a full-time job.”
Yosemite falls is seen amid mountains with a fresh dusting of snow, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2004, in Yosemite National Park, Calif. An early winter storm caught many Californians by surprise, making Sierra Nevada roads impassable, and causing numerous delays. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A team of international scientists and university researchers assembled by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has found the first direct evidence that the Earth is dragging space and time around itself as it rotates, NASA said.
It said the researchers believe they have measured the effect that was first predicted in 1918 by using Einstein’s theory of general relativity by “precisely observing shifts in the orbits of two Earth-orbiting laser-ranging satellites.”
The finding, said NASA, constitutes the “first accurate measurement of a bizarre effect that predicts a rotating mass will drag space around it.”
The so-called “frame-dragging effect,” said Erricos Pavlis of the Joint Center for Earth System Technology in Greenbelt, Maryland, one of the team leaders, “is like what happens if a bowling ball spins in a thick fluid such as molasses.
“As the ball spins, it pulls the molasses around itself,” he said. “Anything stuck in the molasses will also move around the ball. Similarly, as the Earth rotates, it pulls space-time in its vicinity around itself. This will shift the orbits of satellites near Earth.”
There’s so many fun cartoons today, you’ll have to click to see them all..
Here’s something different in advertising and product promotion: digital walking billboards.
Chibi Vision, a U.S.-patented brand new advertisement method, is a digital walking billboard that you can fashionably wear as a backpack. Ad video contents run on a 7-inch digital screen. You can make a cool video in any form — DVD, CD, SVCD, MP3, CDDA, JPEG, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, and DVD-RW. The Chibi Vision backpack only weighs 500 grams.
I guess this is the first time I’m glad something is patented. I mean, imagine if every advertiser could do this!