tv PBS News Hour PBS September 10, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> ifill: good evening. i'm gwen ifill. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight: as syrian refugees make for europe, the civil war in their homeland rages on; why the west worries about russian moves to ramp up its military presence inside syria. then, an evolution in our knowledge of the human species. researchers claim a trove of bones are the remains of our early ancestors. plus, neuro-economics and the business of cool. paul solman reports on why the brain drives consumers to buy brands with status. >> we need to really reconsider whether our consumers buy a bad thing or good thing. specifically to give each other status, to feel value in the
community and create value within groups. >> ifill: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ >> and by bnsf railway. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: the united states will take in another 10,000 syrian refugees in the budget year starting next month. white house officials announced the plan today. they said president obama wants to pay for it with $4 billion that's already been budgeted. the u.s. has accepted about 1,500 syrians since civil war broke out in their country more than four years ago. thousands of refugees and migrants entering europe faced new misery today-- heavy rain that fell across much of the region. we have a report from jonathan rugman of independent television news. >> they are leaving greece behind them, heading for
macedonia in the thousands. many of them are syrians, and there's no sign this exodus will stop. at the border, a refugee camp. about 4,000 people were waiting to cross today if only the macedonians would let them in. the border guards are overwhelmed by the numbers. the refugees are overwhelmed by the journey they've just endured. families with young children are allowed through. both sides stand bedraggled in the pouring ran, the situation spins out of control. a member of the macedonian police lashes out. his way of keeping order. amid the screams from children and women, a small girl adds by
bursting into tears. the crowd is told to sit in the mud and wait. eventually, it is allowed through. this is thought to be the biggest wave of people so far here, though the u.n. says more than 20,000 more are expected in the next two to three days. today, macedonia said it was thinking of building a fence. so the race to get here in time seems likely to intensify. the race to take a train north into serbia and then on to germany, in the desperate hope that all this heartache and danger might be worth it. >> ifill: there was also turmoil along hungary's border with austria, as austrian rail authorities announced their system was overwhelmed and halted all trains. the iran nuclear deal cleared its major hurdle in congress
today, effectively guaranteeing it will take effect. senate democrats blocked republican efforts to vote on a resolution disapproving the deal, but party leaders kept arguing even after the vote ended. >> democratic senators just voted to filibuster and block the american people from even having a real vote on one of the most consequential foreign policy issues of our time. it's telling that democrats would go to such extreme lengths to prevent president obama from even having to consider legislation on this issue. >> the inane response is "you're filibustering us." i know a lot about filibusters because we've had to file a cloture more than 600 times because of filibusters by the republicans. never in the history of the country has there been anything close to that.
now what were most of those filibusters on? on motions to proceed. >> ifill: in a statement, the president called the senate vote "a victory for diplomacy" and for national security. but house speaker john boehner said republicans on his side of the capitol will use "every tool" to derail the agreement, including, possibly, a lawsuit. a former state department worker has refused to talk to congress about setting up hillary clinton's private e-mail server when she was secretary of state. bryan pagliano appeared today before a house committee investigating the attack on u.s. diplomats in benghazi, libya. as expected, he cited his constitutional right against self incrimination. the presidential campaign erupted into a kind of verbal food fight today, with donald trump at its center. the republican frontrunner made g.o.p. rival carly fiorina his latest target. in a "rolling stone" magazine profile, he belittled fiorina's appearance and said, "can you imagine that, the face of our next president?" trump insisted today he was talking about fiorina's persona
and not her face. but republicans and democrats, including hillary clinton, condemned the crack. clinton spoke in columbus, ohio. >> we hear from candidates on the other side about turning back the clock on women's rights, and there is particular candidate who just seems to delight in insulting women. (laughter) every chance he gets. i have to say, if he emerges, i would love to debate him. (cheers and applause) >> ifill: trump also went after republican ben carson for questioning his religious faith. he said carson wasn't much of a doctor and has no chance of being elected. and yet another rival-- louisiana governor bobby jindal-- branded trump a "carnival act" who'd kill republican chances of winning the white house. the trials of six baltimore police officers in the death of freddie gray will stay in baltimore. a judge denied their motion
today for a change of venue. gray died last april in police custody, triggering protests, riots and curfews. new york's city police department is investigating how former tennis star james blake was arrested by mistake. a witness misidentified blake yesterday as a suspect in a credit card fraud ring. police then pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him. today, commissioner william bratton apologized and said he wants to know why blake was roughed up, among other things. >> we were also concerned administratively with the failure to make any notification of the arrest and detention of mr. blake. mr. blake was inappropriately arrested and detained in handcuffs for a period of time. >> ifill: the officer involved in the arrest has been stripped of his badge and gun while officials investigate. in japan, a tropical storm that dumped unprecedented rainfall left the central part of the country reeling. 20 inches fell, touching off
heavy flooding around the city of joso, forcing more than 100,000 people to flee. fast-moving torrents swept through the region north of tokyo, sweeping away homes and trees. helicopters had to pluck scores of stranded people off rooftops. a scorching heat wave smothered much of california again today. temperatures headed toward 100 degrees in los angeles and 90 around san francisco. the heat has generated record demand for power to run air conditioning, and forced thousands to go to cooling centers. and on wall street, stocks managed modest gains. the dow jones industrial average added about 77 points to close at 16,330, the nasdaq rose nearly 40 points, and the s&p 500 moved up ten. still to come on the newshour: as syrian rebels advance, has russia stepped up its military support for president assad? then, a 9/11 memorial dedicated to the victims of flight 93, and much more.
>> ifill: the u.s. military reported today that u.s. air strikes in northeast syria wednesday destroyed three islamic state fighting positions. but the u.s. effort may be getting more complicated as moscow steps up its support for beleaguered syrian president bashar al-assad. as momentum in the syrian war has shifted to islamic state militants and other extremists, government forces have suffered one major blow after another. today, isis forces closed on a military base in northeastern deir el-zour province, the government's last major outpost there. and to the northwest, al qaeda- linked rebels and others drove the syrian military out of idlib province this week. amid those setbacks, president bashar al-assad has increasingly
turned to russia for support. amateur video and images posted on social media in recent days appear to show the beginnings of a russian military build-up. foreign minister sergei lavrov confirmed today that moscow has sent advisers and weapons, but he would not confirm russian forces are involved in actual combat. >> ( translated ): russian military personnel are present in syria. they have been there for many years. their presence is connected with weapon supplies for the syrian army. the russian military presence is there to help syrians become familiar with this equipment. >> ifill: others are worried. israel's defense minister said the russians have dispatched an active force and are building an air base in western syria to launch strikes against islamic state targets. and in washington yesterday, secretary of state john kerry raised the issues in a phone
call with lavrov. >> he reiterated our concern about these reports of russian military activities-- or buildup, if you will-- in syria and made very clear our view that if true, and if borne out, those reports could lead to greater violence and even more instability in syria. >> ifill: u.s. officials say russian air strikes could interfere with a year-old american air campaign against isis, which is also designed to help moderate syrian rebels. so, what are the russians up to in syria, and what's the impact on the ground? for some answers, we turn to: pavel baev, a russian military scholar and the research director at the peace research institute in oslo; and steven simon, a visiting lecturer at dartmouth college. he served on the national security council staff during the obama and clinton administrations. pavel baev, what do we know of the extent of the russian involvement right now in syria? >> very little is actually known
for fact, and what is known doesn't make much sense because what russians are saying is, yes, we are supplying small arms and munitions and personnel carriers and some military advisors and some technical personnel. this sort of military weapons doesn't need any technical advisors and personnel. they're elementary. so the feeling is that the russian military delivers produced political spin and that was deliberate. >> ifill: steven simon, do we think we're talking about advisory help or combat help? >> well, we know that the russians are worried about this -- the viability of the syrian regime right now. the syrian regime has absorbed pretty serious losses in the past year.
2014 hay that did a good year. 2015, not very good. they're under pressure in the south and now in the east, lost palmyra. they've got a demographic problem. it's not clear how long they can actually keep up the fight. for the russians, the viability of this regime is extremely important for a number of reasons, and i seriously doubt they're going to let it go down. i infer from that that the kind of assistance they're preparing to provide to the syrians will be military assistance, assistance that will help keep the syrian regime afloat and on the battlefield at a very precarious moment. >> ifill: pavel baev, if steven simon is right in his inference that there is military support if not there already on the way, why now? what is it about we're hearing from vladimir putin that would suggest this is necessary? >> i think for putin the importance of now is very much
related to his forthcoming speech in the u.n. general assembly. he wants to make an impression. he wants to deliver a big initiative, and the core of that initiative is that it is time to join our efforts in the coalition against the i.s.i.s. and to make president bashar al-assad part of the solution because, without him, it's not going to work so he needs to make bashar al-assad look stronger than he really is and he needs to make an impression that russia is really preparing something serious. and impressions matter. even a russian military intervention could become a real political factor. >> ifill: steven simon, what does moscow get out of this? >> it gets a number of things out of it. first of all, putin's foreign policy is militarized in many respects, this is just another one. he's quite inclined to put a stick in president obama's eye, and this service that function. it puts down a trip wire to u.s.
military action that might be directed against regime. the u.s. can no longer be assured that if they hit regime targets, they won't kill russians, and that's an escalation i would presume the administration would not favor. the rungs believe that as one seen your russian official told me not that long ago, if assad goes, the capital of syria moves from ca damascus to raqqah. they have intelligence and naval gathering in syria and if they can put themselves in a position to protect those investments and assets, i assume they would. >> ifill: there has been some cooperation with what the u.s. is trying to do and that's getting bulgaria and another country to stop overflights.
the now -- they now allow russian planes and airspace into syria to make deliveries. is that something that will work? >> i think it's mostly symbolic because for russian the main way to deliver is from the sea and the planes can go through iran and iraq airspace. so it's mostly exchange of signals of political gesture as to what is acceptable and not, what we like, what we don't. what we can and cannot do. i think on the russian side, the capacity for making really a difference in the battlefield in syria is very limited because most of their battalions are tied up in the ukraine. it's very little they can likely deploy there. maybe symbolic score of the air force to deliver a few strikes. it will not make much of a difference because they don't have realtime intelligence or high-precision weapons. it's mostly symbolism. at the same time, russians want
to be really present big time in the political game in the middle east to make themselves not just relevant but central. >> ifill: let's talk steven simon about the political and military game and a the potential fortunately this kind of a standoff leading to syria becoming a proxy in the standoff between u.s. and russia. how likely is that? how possible is that? >> well, i think the u.s. will probably want to avoid that. look, the russian deployment, i think, will have a military effect if it's carried out. more importantly, it will have an effect on the cohesion of the syrian regime. those members of the regime the united states was perhaps hoping to peel away from assad in pursuit of a transition scenario will now feel that, you know, the regime has a major power in its corner, in addition to the iranians, who are now perhaps more able to act on behalf of
the regime with the nuclear issue off the table. so i think, you know, this does put the syrian regime in a stronger position. this isn't something that the united states really, i think, has the leverage to deal with effectively, really to counter. the administration has two choices, and maybe this is a big of an exaggeration, it's a dichotomy, but, on the one hand, if you can't beat them, join them. so find a way to cooperate with the russians, pull them into an anti-i.s.i.s. coalition, coordinate air strikes and direct the russian effort in that direction. the alternative really to try to block this russian movement entirely is going to be very difficult in part because, as the other speaker said, the russians have plenty of other options for getting this military equipment, military assistance into syria.
it's not something the u.s. can block by playing a game with various countries whose airspace the russians need to rely on. >> ifill: pavel baev, what do you think about those choices? >> i think the choices are in fact very limited because the situation in syria is indeed very difficult, and it is very easy to say that we want peace in syria or want normalization, and we also want president assad to go out. whether the elimination of this regime, which has for the long time has been the main goal of the united states but also of turkey, of many arab states, whether it really leads anywhere is very difficult to say now, particularly with the rise of i.s.i.s. as putin is trying to play on this uncertainty, to exploit an opportunity which is there for him. >> ifill: opportunities exploited, once again, pavel baev of the peace research institute of oslo and steven
simon of dartmouth college, thank you both very much. >> ifill: a day before the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is commemorated, hundreds came to pennsylvania today for the opening of a long-awaited visitors center that honors heroism and grief of flight 93. hari sreenivasan has the story. ♪ >> sreenivasan: a soft rain fell on the gathered crowd as officials and family members dedicated the flight 93 national memorial outside shanksville, pennsylvania. >> you, as family members, have shared lives richly lived in the photos that you've provided of really everyday citizens who came face to face with evil, but through their courage and
their selflessness saved untold lives and protected another sacred and symbolic american site, the u.s. capitol building. this site is their final resting place, but it is also a place for us to honor what they have given to all of us. >> sreenivasan: 14 years ago tomorrow, united flight 93 crashed in what was then a quiet field. it was one of four hijacked flights rerouted by al qaeda terrorists. the others struck the world trade center and the pentagon, but the 40 passengers and crew on flight 93 stopped their plane from reaching its target. >> they chose to act. they... they fought back. they breached the cockpit and fought for control of that flight. and in doing so, they lost their lives, but, in the process, they saved countless other lives and again they perhaps saved the capitol building. >> sreenivasan: gordon felt, whose brother edward was on board, has been the driving force behind the construction of a memorial visitor center
complex that tells the stories of everyone on the flight. it includes answering machine recordings left for loved ones, such as this one from flight attendant ceecee lyles. >> baby, you have to listen to me carefully. i'm on a plane that's been hijacked. i'm on the plane, i'm calling from the plane. i want to tell you i love you. please tell my children that i love them very much, and i'm so sorry. i don't know what to say. there's three guys, they've hijacked the plane. i'm trying to be calm. we're turned around, and i've heard that there's a plane that's been flown into the world trade center. i hope to be able to see your face again, baby. i love you. >> sreenivasan: outside, a path that follows the plane's route leads visitors to a narrow break in two 40-foot high walls meant to mimic the shape of an airplane wing. that leads to a view of another path reserved for families, taking them to the impact site, commemorated with a boulder. a long granite wall engraved with the names of the victims
was completed in 2011. today, architect paul murdoch described his vision for the whole site. >> the fight for freedom is never complete, liberty is never assured but is maintained and reestablished through each generation. and like freedom, this memorial design is open-ended, requiring each visitor to help sustain its legacy through commemoration commitment and engagement. >> sreenivasan: three presidents have visited shanksville over the years. tomorrow, president obama will mark the 9/11 anniversary in washington. >> ifill: stay with us.
coming up on the newshour: the new species that could change the way we think about human evolution; paul solman reports on the business of "cool"; plus, a brief but spectacular meditation on modern life and its distractions. but first, as the school year begins and college campuses spring back to life, one state is starting what could be the first of many experiments with free community college. president obama has been making the case for it on the road this week. special correspondent yasmeen qureshi went to tennessee to see how campuses are handling the experiment. >> reporter: every fall, more than 10,000 students pour into tennessee's community colleges. >> we want you to come so you can get a kind of understanding, a feel for campus. >> reporter: this year, community colleges in tennessee are anticipating record enrollment as a part of a new statewide program called tennessee promise.
here in nashville, tennessee, the governor is implementing a new program that guarantees two years of community college for free to students. some experts in higher education say it could be a game changer. and tennessee is the first state in the country to try it out. >> i'm going to make sure that i'm keeping school my number one priority. i really just want to graduate and make sure that my life is on the track that it needs to be. >> reporter: cedric gregory will be a freshman at volunteer state community college as a part of tennessee promise. before the program started, he wasn't planning on going to college right out of high school. >> i'm already stressing out about it. i already know it's going to be tough, but as long as i keep my head on straight, i think i can do it. >> reporter: he'll work part- time to support himself and help his mom out at home. and sees college as a way to avoid the pitfalls in his small, rural hometown north of nashville. >> using the kids who drop out and constantly mess up their own life. i use them as an example.
this is not what i want to be. i'm going to do something with my life. >> reporter: to take part, students had to fill out the federal application for student aid, meet with a volunteer mentor and do eight hours of community service. more than 22,000 students met the final august deadline for eligibility. >> the most thrilling thing is go into a room where we have mentors working with students. >> reporter: the requirements, the governor says, were simple by design. >> there is really an income gap created in our country and i think a part of that is educational opportunities. for families who either cannot afford it or don't think they can't afford it, and had to change that. and selfishly as a state we had to be able to tell employers out there, you need a workforce and you need more training skills than what they had before, well, we can provide it. >> reporter: in fact, haslam says, the country as a whole is lagging behind when it comes to education.
>> i think as recently as ten years ago, the u.s. ranked second in the world in terms of population with a degree beyond high school. now i think we've slipped to 10 or 12. for forever one of the competitive advantages we've had as a country, we had better post-secondary education than anyone else ever did. but that is changing. >> reporter: the u.s. is slipping. as more and more jobs require an education beyond high school, the portion of adults with a college degree or certificate has stalled. earlier this year, president barack obama unveiled his own proposal for a federal free community college program. >> this approach, under the president's plan, the federal government pays 75% of the student's tuition and the state pays 25%. >> community colleges should be free for those willing to work for it, because in america a quality education should not be a privilege that's reserved for
a few. >> reporter: students in tennessee are showing up. volunteer state is enrolling about 500 more students than last year, increasing the total student body by 6%. emily short leads student services and enrollment for the campus. >> i think that in the state of tennessee and the inception of a promise program, we in higher education-- in my 24 years of higher education-- i think that we have been more encouraged by the state, by our governing board of tennessee board of regents to be more innovative of what we do. >> reporter: but keeping students enrolled is another challenge. at volunteer state, just 16% of students graduate and 11% transfer to another school. >> a lot of our students are first generation, meaning that their parents never finished college. and so they really don't have a strong support network to go to college because i think sometimes they don't understand the importance and benefit behind it.
>> so, what i want you to do now is, before we look at multiplication and division of the fractions, algebraic fractions, do a quick review right here. >> reporter: that's why vol state and other colleges are giving students new supports to help them stay in school. one of them is a summer program that gives students who have low test scores a chance to improve their math and english skills. the three week courses review crucial high school material before the school year starts. >> so make it y squared. >> how am i going to make it y squared? >> reporter: edith lester is a professor at vol state. she has seen the toll that starting behind can take on students academically. >> many of them are coming out of high schools not as prepared as we need them to be. if they can bridge those gaps, they come in to college at the same level as the student who doesn't have those gaps and that's fair. because if they don't bridge those gaps, it's kind of like
they're already at a losing end. >> reporter: still, not everyone in tennessee thinks the colleges can deliver on the promise they're making to new freshmen. memphis congressman steve cohen helped launch a scholarship program in the state that students can also use at four- year colleges. he says that's a big advantage when you take graduation rates into account. >> only 13% of the students who start at community colleges end up, within four years, graduating from community college. so you're taking and putting monies into an 87% failure program. >> reporter: and, cohen says, community college is already free for needy students who qualify for federal grants. >> the people that get the most money out of this are going to be, basically, folks who've got higher incomes and did not accomplish. slackers. >> reporter: but the governor says it's not about who gets the tuition money. his goal is simple: getting as many tennessee students as
possible to enroll in college. >> free gets everybody's attention. and the reason we have record numbers of kids applying for financial aid, record number of kids applying to go to school is because tennessee promise got their attention. >> reporter: and the campaign seems to be working. free tuition is what brought cedric and his friend nicholas tays to campus. >> my mom is single, so i'd be paying for most of my stuff. so i'd be working for a couple years just to save up enough money for tuition, for even just a couple years, so. >> and by the time all that happens, we're already stuck in a working lifestyle, and it's too hard to get out of it. >> reporter: to keep receiving promise dollars, they will have to maintain at least a c average, be enrolled full-time and do more community service each year. gregory knows what will keep him motivated. >> i'll be the first to finish college out of my whole family. so, the fact that i can do that is pretty cool. just to have the title in my family, first to graduate.
>> reporter: if the state's experiment goes as planned, many more tennessee students will be claiming that title. for the pbs newshour, i'm yasmeen qureshi in nashville. >> ifill: researchers announced a fossil discovery today that some consider one of the greatest in the last 50 years, and one that could provide an important link in the family tree for all humans. jeffrey brown has the story. >> brown: the bones were found in a deep cave 30 miles west of johannesburg and the way they were found and gathered is another incredible part of the story. all 1500 fossil remains were brought up and contained remains of 15 individuals of all different ages. scientists created this rendering.
the quest is chronicled in the new issue of national geographic and in a special documentary airing on nova next week called the dawn of humanity. here's a short clip. >> as the analysis goes on, the bones from the rising star cave are finally ready to be presented to the world. >> we've got a new species of early humans in the genus, and that's exciting. we've never had anything in that transition period up to the earliest members of our genus in abundance and, boy, we have it in abundance now. >> to members of the team, the fossils suggest a creature unlike anything ever found before. >> we are looking at creatures that are human-like in their hands and human-like in their
teeth. everything that interacts directly with the environment is homo, and everything that's sort of central -- you know, the trunk, the architecture of the vertebral column, the brain -- those sorts of things are more primitive. it's like evolution is crafting us from the outside-in. >> brown: joining me is jamie shreeve, executive director of science national geographic magazine. becca peixotto is a member of the time, one of the primary excavators who slipped through the caves' narrower spaces to reach the fossil chamber. very cool. >> very cool. >> brown: jamie shreeve, set is scene for us. this was an accidental finding. >> pretty much. a couple of cavers exploring the cave site that's been looked at, people trained in it, it's very well known, and they came across a little opening that's only
8 inches wide in some places. took a step down and another and realized it just kept going down. so they dropped into this cavern that had never been explored for, you know, who knows how long, and they found the floor of this cave littered with bones, with homonid bones. >> brown: becca peixotto, that's where you come in. is it true your opinion brought in through social media? there was a call for people to do this work? >> there was an ad on facebook to find archeologist, people qualified -- >> brown: from facebook to this kind of a find. >> exactly. so small archeologists who had technical skills in climbing and caving, and that's an unusual skill set to have excavation skills and be comfortable working in a cave. >> brown: this is not your usual area. >> true. i'm usually working on things from the last 500 years, not millions of years old. >> brown: describe the scene, the setting in the cave, the
small chamber. what was it like to climb down there? >> you climb through a chute, as jamie said, 7 or 8 inches wide at its narrowest, quite skinny and coomplecated climb. there is a small landing zone where we took off our shoes and entered the fossil chamber barefoot because there is so much fossil material on the floor to have the cave that being barefoot, we were more conscious of where we were stepping to help find where the fossils were on the ground. >> brown: was it hard work? what was it like? >> we were working with toothpicks and paint brushes. real toothpicks. it's very tedious work. exciting work, but you're moving the soil away almost grain by grain in an effort to free the fossils from the matrix they're encased in without damaging them. >> brown: so jamie shreeve, what do we know so far about
them? human like from the outside, primitive on the inside? >> we know this is a bizarre thing. nothing like it has been found before in the fossil record. it has a strange mix of characteristics that are very much like us -- for instant, the foot is virtually identical to a human foot -- and yet the shoulder is more like an ape. the brain is a pinhead brain. so it's a complicated equation that is proposed by this fossil. >> brown: researchers don't know the age of it yet? >> no, that's the big question mark that's outstanding. once you have an age, you can start telling the story of how this fits in with the story of human evolution. >> brown: when you say the feet are human-like, does that suggest it was standing. >> there is no doubt it was upright and bun that had long legs and feet constructed for a
very efficient striding gate like ours, so it was definitely walking upright. >> brown: the cave, i gather, is thought to be, by the sheer number of bones there and other remnants, to be a burial site? >> researchers don't like to use the word "burial" because it has connotations of ceremony and afterlife. but it seems to be the most likely explanation of how the bones got into such a remote place is they were deliberately disposed of there. whether they had some intention of an afterlife or whether they were just getting rid of these bodies, nobody knows. in fact, we really don't know if that's the explanation, but that seems to be the best, so far. >> brown: you were in this place, whatever it was. what did it feel like? i mean, an astounding number of bones is unheard of in one
place. >> absolutely. we excavated an area less than a meter square and 15 centimeters deep and from that area we got more than 1,000 individual fossil specimens and the density of that asse assemble is very dramatic and unusual in fossil sites anywhere. >> brown: you held the skull? i did. >> brown: what was that like? nerve racking. it was nerve racking to be there when the skull was coming out of the ground, coming out of the soil, and very gently trying to place it into some packaging to bring it to the surface without it falling apart because these fossils are so fragile, particularly when they are first excavated. i take a deep breath now because i think i held my breath the whole time we were working on the skull. >> brown: you had a sense of
the age of what you were holding. >> and the uniqueness of it, that here we were with all the fossil specimens and coming out with a very large fragment of the skull, which helps build a picture of what this creature was. >> brown: also, jamie shreeve, when you think of the importance to have the finding, we still have to learn more to see how it fits into our own evolution, but how would you gauge the importance right now. >> well, i think it's arguably, you know, one of the most important finds in the last 50 years since lucy, and the reason for that is because we do have so much of it. most of the time when you find a new homonid fossil, you find a jaw, skull or leg bone. here we found 1500 bones so you now know a great deal about this creature you couldn't possibly know from just a fragment. there will be a lot of analysis and the date is extremely
important going forward to knowing how this fits, but it seems to be something near the beginning to have the homo lineage and it may help us form the black box of how the genus was formed from this form. >> brown: there were many more bones left in the cave so there is much more to do. >> yes, it is literally littered with bones. >> it is. we went back for another round of excavation in march of 2014 and recovered a couple hundred more fossil specimens and we were able to recover some fossils that we were hoping to get, but we certainly did not exhaust the fossil supply in that chamber. >> brown: amazing. becca peixotto and jamie shreeve. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> ifill: it is amazing. the program, "dawn of humanity," is streaming right now on www.pbs.org and will air next week on nova.
>> ifill: you probably heard quite a bit during the last 24 hours about the latest cool new products from apple-- ipads and iphones that in some circles quickly become the latest must- have gadget. but what exactly makes a product "cool"? economics correspondent paul solman-- a pretty cool guy himself-- has been exploring that. here's what he found: part of our weekly series, "making sense," which airs every thursday on the newshour. >> reporter: an m.r.i. machine at the california institute of technology, where scientists are helping pioneer the study of neuroeconomics, how the brain makes economic decisions. the key brain structure that distinguishes us from fellow primates: the medial prefrontal cortex. >> it's a part of our brain that's tracking our social status or our perceived social status. >> reporter: in 2005, steve
quartz and his cal tech colleagues were surprised to find that this chunk of grey matter is activated not only when thinking about our status, but also by looking at status symbols. products from certain brands we tend to think of as "cool": apple; scion; chuck taylor. also activated: a more primitive brain structure called the ventral striatum. >> the central reward structure that is involved in literally every form of addiction. >> reporter: so, this macbook air, let's stipulate that that's cool. if i look at it, it's going to stimulate the same part of the brain as if i won at gambling or took some cocaine? >> absolutely. it's anticipating how much social reward we would get. >> reporter: what converted quartz to the consumerism he had formerly condemned? discovering the biological basis of brands perceived as "cool" and seeing them touch both the deepest, most primitive parts of our brains, and our highest, most socialized selves.
to illustrate, quartz took us to nearby colorado boulevard. on new year's day, the route of college football's rose bowl parade. the rest of year, pasadena's main shopping drag, including the tesla showroom. >> one of our needs in a very complex society, where we encounter more people every day than probably our ancestors encountered over their whole lifetime, is our need to very rapidly evaluate other people. and one of the most potent ways of doing that is through our automobiles. so, a car isn't just a thing. it's a set of symbols and associations that we're to figure out in order to understand how we navigate our social worlds with that car. >> reporter: owning a tesla says i'm a well-heeled environmentalist; a volvo, "i care about safety." >> were the wright brothers insane? bill gates, les paul, ali. >> cadillac last year had an ad campaign where they made sure people recognize the car as an american car. >> you work hard, you create your own luck, you got to believe anything is possible.
>> reporter: ford's response? >> you work hard, you believe that anything is possible, and you try to make the world better. you try. >> am i, by owning a cadillac, someone who endorses kind of individualistic values of america? or am i, by owning a ford, someone who appreciates more of the community that i kind of build with my car ownership? >> reporter: or are my tastes somewhat edgier? consider the least expensive mercedes. ♪ you, too, can now afford the good life and the status of belonging to a distinctive community of cool. to quartz, the idea of "cool"-- now the title of his new book-- propelled the proliferation of separate-but-equal status groups. >> cool began in the 1950s as rebel cool. to be cool was not to conform, not to be integrated into mainstream society. the biggest sin for the cool
rebel of the 1950s was to sell out. >> reporter: he argues that what began as a look-- the rebel without a cause-- was a blessing, neuroeconomically speaking, for 1950s americans and the rest of us thereafter. >> what happened in the 1950s was that, as we began to increase our standard of living, in a hierarchical society, it really created what we can think of as a "status dilemma." there just wasn't enough status to go around. and what people began to do, especially kids began to do, was create alternative status systems. >> reporter: create them through brands. take apple, which positioned itself as rebel cool as early as the first macintosh, which so famously debuted in 1984. >> we shall obey. >> reporter: apple may have gone overboard, as it were, with a follow-up ad suggesting users of rival i.b.m. p.c.s were lemmings.
its rebel identity was established, though, even if today's lemmings may well be apple devotees. >> i have the apple watch, i've got the apple ipad, the iphone. >> reporter: rick eisenlord is a pasadena pastor whose flock buys as he does. >> so, they have apple stuff too. and you know, we get together and we, especially when something new comes out, and it's a lot of fun. it's like, "oh, you got an apple watch, you got the new iphone." and so there's an excitement and there's kind of a feeling of camaraderie. >> it came to really an enormous surprise and shock to me to find really as we look more inside the brain for why we consume, how all this stuff gives us an opportunity to create social networks, to create friendships, to create alliances. all the things we do daily, when we interact with other people around in a lot of ways our consumer choices. >> reporter: not for everyone, of course. what, if anything, do you think
being an apple user-- and i'm one, too-- says about you? >> nothing. >> reporter: nothing? >> nothing. >> i know a lot of people that use apple. but i know a lot of people that don't use apple, too. so, it doesn't really make a difference to me. >> reporter: but aren't we being manipulated by advertisers and their brands? just look at teenagers. as amy heckerling put it in her 1995 film, "clueless": >> i mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants with a backwards cap. and, like, we're expected to swoon? >> reporter: blame biology, says quartz. >> we all know that as soon as our kids become teenagers, they become obsessed with their social life. they become extremely concerned about how they are doing in their social group. it's because this part of the brain is coming online, and it's making their social environment much more important to them. >> reporter: so, as that part of the brain develops, that's where peer pressure comes from? >> that's right. >> reporter: so, is this why teenagers are so brand conscious?
>> that's right. because a brand is an extension of themselves, they're still trying to figure out what their self is so the brand helps them kind of develop that self. >> reporter: quartz recalls his own adolescent obsessions growing up in toronto. >> in canada, we have shoes that have two stripes called north stars. and you wore them when you were eight or ten, let's say. but in high school, you wore adidas, which had three stripes. and so, i recall, actually with my mother, a standoff in a shoe store holding out for the third stripe. because for that kid, having that third stripe meant all the difference between being cool or not cool. >> reporter: and when, if ever, did you get over that? >> i think we all still continue throughout our whole life to be sensitive to these kinds of processes. >> reporter: and in the end, that was the epiphany of professor quartz's brain research. >> we need to really reconsider whether our consumerism is a bad thing or a good thing, specifically around our need to give each other status to feel valued in the community and to
create value within groups. >> reporter: this is economics correspondent paul solman in pasadena, reporting by way of my long-since mature medial pre- frontal cortex, for the pbs newshour. >> ifill: i told you paul was cool. now to our feature "brief but spectacular." tonight we're urged to step back and take a deep breath. >> meditation is a way to be mindful without mixing it up with other activities because we're always doing other activities. we're on our devices, we're connected, we don't ever have to be with ourselves. ♪
that sense of both all the time in the world and the urgency of what we need to do right now, they can peacefully co-exist and come together. the trouble with explaining this work is that it is so simple that we don't want to believe it. mindful walking. mindful eating. mindful listening. what activity wouldn't be helped or enhanced by bringing more focus and care and attentiveness to it? as long as listening to the good of everything we do, each moment that we are here and stay with it builds the strength to endure moments that we might not have
any choice about enduring. we become aware that we're operating through this frame of expectation and comparing what is to what should be, and the awareness of that itself seems to just sort of polish and clean the lens, and that polishing of the lens is the light-gathering device, helps us appreciate what is here instead of longing for what isn't. my name is trudy goodman, and this is my brief but spectacular take on life with meditation. >> ifill: on the newshour online: a public art project in new york city is using street signs to challenge onlookers to address a tense subject-- racism.
the signs display messages from the black lives matter movement, and will be installed along a city street in october. you can see a photo gallery of some of them right now on our arts page. and, what happens when a veteran gets deported? there are 65,000 green card holders who served in the military, some of whom are forced to leave the country after committing petty crimes. we discuss this on the latest edition of our podcast, "shortwave." find that link on our home page. that's www.pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, william brangham joins refugees as they board trains from hungary to western europe. i'm gwen ifill. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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