tv PBS News Hour PBS October 7, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: islamic state militants on the verge of capturing a key town near turkey, despite ramped up u.s. air-strikes. and the harrowing story of a young girl escaping the group's brutal treatment of women. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this tuesday, the supreme court weighs whether muslim inmates have the religious right to grow beards behind bars. >> woodruff: plus, a portrait of a young man like you've never seen before and the artist who transforms the national mall in washington into his canvas. >> my idea is to change the reasons why portraits are made.
it's really to explore portraiture in a very new way. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships, aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems. that's inspired work. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
and... >> 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: alarms sounded in ankara today over the peril facing a kurdish town in syria, just across the border from turkey. "islamic state" forces advanced from two directions, as turkey's leaders pressed the u.s. for new action, and the u.s. pressed turkey to do more itself. >> ifill: after a night of heavy fighting, the black "islamic state" flag still flew over part of kobani this morning. outgunned kurdish defenders claimed they had blocked the militants from pushing into the town's center. but in neighboring turkey, president recep tayyip erdogan told syrian refugees he fears the worst.
>> ( translated ): months have gone but nothing is achieved. right now, kobani is about to fall. >> ifill: the town lies a few hundred yards from syria's border with turkey. its capture would help cement "islamic state" control of northern syria, and pose a new threat to the turks. the "islamic state" advance has also triggered a mass exodus, with 200,000 people fleeing the kobani area, into turkey. air strikes by the u.s.-led coalition are trying to break the militants' momentum in the region, but erdogan said today, it's not enough. >> ( translated ): you cannot resolve this conflict with air bombardments. now, we are dealing with a new problem, islamic state, a terrorist organization. this problem cannot be solved via air strikes without co- operating with those fighting on the ground. >> ifill: later, a senior turkish official said ankara is asking washington to step up its air-strikes. the response in washington was non-committal. state department spokeswoman jen psaki:
>> it's obviously horrific to watch what's going on the ground. but it's important for the united states, for us, to also step back and remember our strategic objectives as it relates to our efforts and our engagement in syria. >> ifill: instead, psaki said u.s. officials are talking to the turks about increasing their role in fighting the "islamic state" group. turkey does have tanks and ground troops stationed near the syrian border. last week, turkish lawmakers authorized military action inside syria. so far, nothing has happened. what's more, turkish border forces have used armor and tear gas to block kurdish militia fighters from crossing back into syria to join the fight. all of which sparked protests today, and clashes with police, by kurds in turkish cities. across europe, kurds in paris and brussels also appealed for action. >> ( translated ): nobody's doing anything, we are calling
on humanity to stop this massacre against our people who are martyred, terrorized, killed. >> ifill: protesters in brussels even forced their way into the european parliament, waving flags and chanting in support of the kurdish people. >> ifill: we'll return to the islamic state group, and the horrors being inflicted on women under its control, after the news summary. >> woodruff: u.s. health officials are considering stepping up airport screening for ebola. new protocols could include checking for fever in all passengers arriving from abroad. in atlanta, the head of the centers for disease control, dr. thomas frieden, said today he's not yet ready to recommend anything so drastic. >> screening at airports, of course, would not have found fever in the patient in dallas, because he didn't have fever four or five days after he arrived. but we'll look at all of the options. we're not today providing the steps that we plan to take, but i can assure you we plan to take additional steps, and we will be
making those public in the coming days, once we can work out the details. >> woodruff: that patient in dallas, thomas duncan of liberia, remained in critical condition. but hospital officials reported his liver function is improving. >> ifill: fear of ebola spread in spain today, after a nursing assistant became the first person infected outside west africa. we have a report from neil connery of independent television news, who's in madrid tonight. >> reporter: this is the hospital in madrid where a patient with ebola was being treated, but one of the nurses somehow became infected here. and now that nurse, theresa romero, is being held in isolation in the very same hospital. her husband is also in quarantine. one other person is undergoing tests. outside, some of the hospital's own staff have been demonstrating today, calling for more information about what went wrong. >> ( translated ): it has been
really surprising this happened here with all of the security measures. >> ( translated ): they have not provided convincing information for us. i think they should provide more about what happened and what was the failure. >> reporter: hospital staff have told the newspaper here that their protective suits were not up to the standards set by the world health organization. they wore latex gloves sealed with duct tape and simple surgical masks when staff say they should have worn full breathing apparatus. the director of public health in spain said the nurse who contracted the virus entered the room of an ebola victim twice, once while he was alive and a second time to collect materials after he died. theresa romero is 40 years old and was transported between hospitals last night. although she's not thought to have left madrid recently. officials are so far monitoring more than 20 people who came into contact with her. the world health organization has said while governments are well prepared, the spread of
ebola in europe is, in their words, quite unavoidable. >> ifill: the case in spain also claimed another victim: a madrid court ordered that the infected nurse's dog must be euthanized, and the remains incinerated. some research indicates dogs can be infected with ebola without showing symptoms, but it's unclear if they can transmit it to humans. on wall street, worries about the world economy growth sent stocks into a deep dive. the sell-off started after germany reported weaker industrial output, and the international monetary fund shaved its growth forecast. the dow jones industrial average lost 272 points to close at 16,719. the nasdaq fell 60 points to close at 4,385. and the s-and-p 500 dropped 29, to finish at 1,935. >> woodruff: a federal appeals court threw out gay marriage bans in idaho and nevada today. it came a day after the u.s. supreme court effectively
legalized same-sex unions in 11 other states. all told, the practice will now be legal in 32 states. >> ifill: another federal appeals court has struck down part of the congressional map in virginia. a panel of three judges agreed that republicans created a black-majority district for purposes of "racial gerrymandering." the ruling does not affect next month's election, but state lawmakers will have to re-draw the lines next year. >> woodruff: and former treasury secretary timothy geithner appeared in federal court in washington to defend the bailout of a.i.g. the government gave the insurance giant an $85 billion loan in 2008. geithner testified today it was necessary to save the financial system. a lawsuit by a.i.g.'s former top executive charges the deal cheated shareholders. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: women and children in the grips of islamic state militants; do muslim inmates have the right
to grow beards in u.s. prisons? a nobel prize in physics for improving the light bulb; how voice-controlled phones distract drivers; a portrait best viewed from the sky; and, senator kirsten gillibrand's call for more women to get involved in public life. >> ifill: we return now to the islamic state group, and its brutal tactics. much is known now about the group, also known as isil, and its high profile beheadings of westerners, mass executions of civilians and forced conversions. less well known is the extremist group's horrific treatment of women and girls. last week the united nations reported thousands of women had been abducted by the group- some handed over to fighters as a reward, or sold as sex slaves. the newshour sent a crew to meet a 15-year-old girl, a member of the yazidi sect, who was captured and held by the islamic
state before managing to escape. she now lives at a camp with others who've been displaced. we withheld her identity for her and her family's safety. >> it was 9:00 in the morning. >> they kept us in a house, the girls and the women. and then they killed all the men, including my brother. >> ifill: she and the abducted women were taken by truck east, to a house in mosul. there, they were ordered to convert to islam. more kidnapped girls joined them. >> they separated the women and the girls. some of the girls were taken by isil. they gave some of us to the guards and they sold some of us, too. and some were given as a gift. if we didn't do what they asked, they would have hit us. we did everything because we were threatened. we had to.
they were very bad to the girls. they were doing bad things to the women, illegal things. >> ifill: that's only one story. to help us understand the depth and scale of the islamic state's treatment of women and girls, we turn to manal omar, acting vice president for the middle east and africa center at the united states institute of peace. and david jacobson, professor of sociology and founding director of the citizenship initiative on civil society and conflict at the university of south florida. matthew jacobson, you wrote that women are now at the heart of the world's most dangerous quarrel. what do you mean when you says "dangerous quarrel"? >> well, i think that women's status and women's sexuality has become a very different perspectives of society and very different perspectives of morality. the islamist groups in general and the jihadi groups in particular, the more violent jihadi groups see the west under thes for of globalization as
being a very corrupting force, and they wish to... there's a backlash in essence against that corrupting force. sometimes violent, extremely violent in the case of isis, and other times. >> ifill: manal omar, has isis proved to be more dangerous on this front than other similar groups? >> i think you've seen an increased level of brutality, but what's actually frightening is they're very strategic in targeting women. it's a wonderful way of really forcing communities into submission, and i think the strategy behind the targeting of women is what's particularly scary from isis. i think that we've seen in the past, you know, that sexual violence is often used as a tool of war, and it's a very effective tool of war and it's something that they're adopting to be able to force communities into control. >> ifill: i guess this is unusual. is this something, as horrible as it is, is it something we've seen in past wars and past
conflicts? >> i think the reality is that you've always seen women targeted, and you've seen various u.n. resolution, u.n. resolution 1820 specifically identifies sexual violence as a tool of war, but dating back to u.n. resolution 1325, which was in 2000, which admitted that women bear the brunt of war. i think there's a trend that we've seen in terms of really exploiting particularly the use of sexual violence as a way or targeting individual women, targeting the families but also targeting the community. it's not something that's new, but isis has taken it to a very brutal level. what we've seen is they're not only using it as a way of targeting communities, but they're also using it as a way of creating a reward system with soldiers as well as income-generating in terms of selling and human trafficking. >> >> ifill: yet david jacobson, we hear about the beheadings and executions and mass bombs, but
we don't hear as much about this kind of violence. why is that in. >> it is puzzling. that's beginning the change slowly. it's puzzling on two levels. one is the sheer scale of this violence against women, and secondly the centrality of explaining what is going on. so when isis and other justice departmenty groups across the world idealogically or one could say obsess around the issue of women, and so the targeting of women has a strategic objective in terms of frightening populations, but it's also very symbolic. it's important to point out the categories of women in who they target. much of the rape is targeted either what they would term minorities, christians and other minorities like the yazidis. whereas among sunnis, women who they feel have gone... are
prostrates of some kind, are generally executed. >> ifill: manal omar, because of the cultural shame visited on the women who are the victims, are these likely to go underreported or unreported? >> of course. reporting sexual violence even in this country in america, 60% of sexual violence goes unreported. you can only imagine how much that's enhanced with the cultural ramifications but also the fact the communities have no tools of really being able to reintegrate if they are able to bring their girls back. i think that's one of the primary challenges. we've heard on the ground reports of women who have escaped who commit suicide in order not to have to face that reintegration or face their families and community. >> ifill: david jacobson, how do we confirm the numbers? how do we confirm the scale and the scope of this kind of violence? is there any way? >> well, if one looks at the united nations report, which you referred to earlier, what they
indicate is they can just get at a certain minimum baseline in the cases they report. we have to assume that the number of cases is much worse than what they're reading. i think to get a precise count would be near impossible, but we know it's very, very bad. >> is that in part because of a taboo associated with this kind of crime? >> certainly. that's one of the tragedies of what is happening is that the women who are raped, sexually assaulted, forced into marriages in these cultures, they're now dishonored. this is not something that they necessarily are going to advertise or report on. it's compounded by issues, for example, if they become pregnant. it's a very severe situation for these individuals.
>> manal ifill: manal omar, if e consider the possibility of rape and sexual assault have gone mainstream as a tool of war, at what point does human trafficking become part of this or is it a separate issue? >> i think silt an integrated issue. what you're seeing again is based on a reward system, based on selling, it's all tied and integrated together. i think one of the primary challenges is really being able to identify it as terrorist attacks. these are attacks that are used to cause terror, to cause again submission of communities, and until we're able to really recognize it as that and not just a humanitarian issue or something that affects women, i think it will be very difficult for us to combat the issue that's being raised in terms of sexual violence as a tool of war. isis is very strategic in that use and it's something we have to think strategically about, as well, to counter their narrative. >> ifill: what is the international community's
responsibility in that? >> i think that one of the primary issues is better documentation. there's a taboo in underreporting. there is also a failure for us to acknowledge the hard side of the use of sexual violence in terms of security. we continue to see it as a softer side, the humanitarian side, so we're not documenting it. we're not able to be responsive to it. i think particularly to really high right the awareness of it. the islamic state is using religious justification. i think the more population is aware this is not tied to religion, it strips away any claim they have in terms of the false name of the islamic state. >> ifill: manal omar of the u.s. institute of peace and david jacobson of the university of south florida, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: online you can hear more from the 15-year-old girl who escaped from islamic state group militants. you can watch that on our world page at pbsnewshour.org.
>> woodruff: the new supreme court term kicked off today with a case about the religious freedoms of prison inmates. should muslim inmates be allowed to grow beards for religious reasons or does that pose a significant security risk to prison guards? that was the question posed to the supreme court today. we start with a look at the case at the center of today's arguments. it comes from tim o'brien who filed this report for the pbs program religion and ethics newsweekly. a warning: it contains some graphic images and details. >> reporter: it was a burglary and stabbing at this trailer in the wee hours of a may morning five years ago that led to tuesday's important supreme court case. the perpetrator, 33-year old gregory holt. the victim, his ex-girlfriend. he slashed her throat and stabbed her in the chest, telling her, "if i can't have you, no one will."
she survived, but holt was sentenced to life in prison after jurors learned of his long criminal history, including written threats to kidnap president bush's daughters and blow up federal buildings. he's being held at this maximum security prison at grady, arkansas about 70 miles southeast of little rock. years before the offense, holt converted to islam. he now goes by the name of abdul malik mohammed. he's challenging prison regulations that prohibit facial hair, saying a half inch beard is a requirement of his muslim faith. and to many muslims wishing to >> reporter: criminals do give up many of their rights when they enter prison, but not all of them. in fact, in 2000, president clinton signed legislation that prohibits any restrictions on the religious liberty of prison inmates, unless the restriction can be shown to be "in
furtherance of a compelling governmental interest" and that it is "the least restrictive means of furthering that interest." after two lower courts ruled against him, holt, or abdul muhammed, mailed a 15-page hand written petition to the u.s. supreme court, challenging the arkansas prison grooming policy as a violation of that 2000 federal law. "this is a matter of grave importance," wrote holt. "pitting the rights of muslim inmates against a system that is hostile to these views." when, to the surprise of many, the court announced last march that it would hear holt's appeal, the case took on a life of its own. the becket fund for religious liberty, a public interest law firm devoted to promoting religious freedom, got involved. it lined up attorney, douglas laycock, an experienced supreme court advocate and one of the country's leading authorities on church state issues, to represent holt in the high court.
>> the important point here is that this is not just about him. it's about all those other prisoners that congress learned about, that were not getting their scriptures, that were not getting their dietary needs, not getting the other things essential to religious practice. >> reporter: historically, those >> hole has generated considerable support from groups long at war with church-state issues. more than a does din friend of the court briefs representing nearly a hundred organizations have been filed in holt's behalf, only one in arkansas, filed on behalf of 15 states, saying courts should but only one in support of arkansas, filed on behalf of fifteen states, saying courts should defer to corrections officials on such matters. after his arrest and incarceration, holt continued to write threatening letters from prison. "death to america," he wrote in one letter, describing himself as an "american taliban" in another.
>> if you threaten america, you will find no safe haven. >> reporter: but obama's justice department is also backing this self-proclaimed jihadist in this case, characterizing the prison's security concerns as "exaggerated or based on mere speculation." >> reporter: this is the first supreme court test of the federal law designed to protect the religious freedom of prison inmates and it raises an important question, if the law does not protect the right of a prison inmate to grow a beard, against claims of prison security, claims dismissed by so many as so weak, what does it protect? >> woodruff: so how did today's arguments play out in the court? marcia coyle of the national law journal was there and joins me now. marcia, this was quite a case, quite an interesting set of q&a arguments before the jung. this is an inmate with some legal heavyweights on his side. >> he does. he has one of the foremost religious scholars in the country representing him in the arguments today.
this law, it's important to note, it really erects a very high hurdle for the government, any government body, here a prison system, before it can burden somebody's religious expression. it says the government body has to have a compelling interest, has to choose the least restrictive means to further that interest. but it also says, congress said in the law, you have to give due defendant represents to the experience and expertise of prison officials. it didn't say how much deference. those two commands are in tension, and that tension played out during the argument. >> woodruff: that's what arkansas was arguing here. >> mr. holt's lawyer argued that arkansas is looking for absolute deference to their judgment that the no-beard policy protects security within the prison system. he faced pushback from some of the justices. the chief chief justice said, wa
half-inch beard may be easy. then it will be a one-inch beard, and then it will be a full beardment we have to make a decision on a generally applicable standard here. where is the limit on deference. mr. holt's lawyer said, well, arkansas, as any government body, has to provide evidence, concrete examples that there is a material effect on security. that wasn't done here. well, arkansas countered here. the state's attorney says, look, if the no-beard policy protects against prisoners altering their appearance if they escape or even altering it within the prison so they can get into areas they shouldn't be in and also it protects against the hiding of contraband, even in a half-inch beard. >> woodruff: it sounds as if the justices are scept calling. >> they were. justice alee to poked fun at the
arkansas lawyer saying, why not have them comb the half inch beer and maybe a similar card will fall out or a tiny revolver. >> woodruff: so this is a case where you have some sense of the justices being... >> you did. it seems as though the prisoner may have the better argument here. it's an important case, judy, because this is really the first time the court has looked at how to apply this law. it's a sister law to what we saw last term in the hobby lobby case and the religious freedom restoration act, which we learned protects government from burdening the religious expression of corporations and their religious owners. so it's a very important law. >> woodruff: you also get to hear all the most interesting cases. >> i do. the facts are always interesting. >> woodruff: marcia coyle, we thank you. >> my pleasure, judy. >> ifill: the nobel prize in
physics is often awarded for work that can be tough to explain to anyone who isn't actually a physicist. but this year's winners, announced earlier today, won for research that actually affects our everyday lives. jeffrey brown has the story. >> brown: a trio of scientists won for the invention of blue light emitting diodes often referred to as leds. the blue leds in the early 90s paved the way for brighter and more energy efficient white light, the kind now seen on phone, tvs and computers, even signs on the subway. two scientists were from japan, one from the u.s. our science correspondent miles o'brien joins me now to tell us about it. so, miles, the invention of blue light emitting diodes, what exactly does that mean? >> we had red and green and we needed blue the take it over the top. are et cetera step back. back in the '60s when they created the first light-emitting diodes, red was first one because it was easiest to make,
the semiconducting material that makes that particular color was much easier to make in an efficient way. then came green. you can think about the first calculator you got which was always with a red light emitting diod. eventually we got into green, but blue was difficult because the material that creates that particular color, that wavelength, was hard to work with. gallium nitride was the tricky thing for scientists and engineers to efficiently turn into crystals to masss produce, but once you have red, green and blue, put them together, you have white light, that's created a revolution. >> brown: that's the word that the nobel committee used, "revolutionizing lighting." so it has seeped into all facets of life. >> think about the incan december bt lightbulb, which is a hot, glowing filament in a vacuum tube. then we went to florescent light, much more efficient. now we're in the world of leds. if you go back to the
incandescent bulb, 20 times more efficient. and it lasts much longer. a quarter of the energy on our planet is spent in creating light. and in order to reduce all of our need for energy and our carbon footprint, leds make a huge, significant impact. >> brown: the academy also said this year's prize is very spiically more for invention than discovery. we often look at these prizes, especially in something like physics, as going for more basic research. >> yes. of course, last year they honored the professor higgs of the god particle, if you will, which takes us back to the origins of everything. the big bang. but difficult to say that has any real world application except that it helps us understand where we all came from. this is applied science at its best. if you look back to what alfred nobel wanted when he created this prize, it was something that had huge impact on humanity
and how we live and certainly the led light has done that. >> that's what he wanted, but it doesn't usually come out that way, at least in immediate practical responses from the work, right? >> yeah, no. frankly, for those of us on the world of physics, sometimes it's hard to decipher exactly what happened, right? because we're talking about very esoteric things. and it takes a little bit of work to understand the significance. in this case, we all immediately know, wow, that led light, which is on my smartphone, which powers my battery, which is changing the way street lighting works, it's changing things in the third world in very significant ways where people are turning in kerosene lanterns for led lights, it's had a huge impact and it's only really just begun in some ways. >> in our last minute or, so let's turn to yesterday's announcement, which was the prize for medicine. this was described as a kind of gps system for the brain, using
another kind of technology that we're all now familiar with but applying it to brain research. >> the award was split between three scientists, two teams. the first bit of research goes back a while to the discovery that the hippocampus part of our brain is what maps our orientation. they actually looked inside a row -- rodent's brain when it was moving around the room and could see when it was in any place a specific part of the brain would light up, if you will. that was further enhanced by a married couple team from norway, which found a neighboring region of the brain where we actually have the ability to set up sort of a grid system, which allows us to remember where we parked the car, for example, to give us kind of a spatial orientation. and in looking at the way the rats navigate and seeing what their brains are doing, they
really understand how this works. so it's really exciting about all this is this is what we first see the early signs of alzheimer's disease. and understanding what's going on with this part of the brain might help us, first of all, diagnose sooner, and also might help us understand alzheimer's in a more meaningful way where we can provide treatment. >> so this prize really is for potential looking forward to some spectacular work in the future perhaps, right? >> one would hope, but it is really interesting to understand how our brain has the ability to kind of create its own, you know, we say in our mind's eye. this is our mind's eye. >> all right. miles o'brien, thank you so much. >> you're welcome. >> ifill: in the age of the mobile phones and smart devices, today's drivers are increasingly tempted to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the
road. many of us take comfort in newer hands-free technology that allows us to stay connected but with fewer hand and eye movements. but a new study out today finds talking, texting and changing the radio dial even without using your hands may not necessarily make driving any safer. such distractions, in fact, may be make the process of getting from here to there more dangerous. the study was conducted by aaa and the university of utah. jake nelson is the director of traffic safety advocacy and research for the aaa and he joins me now. so how distractedded are we, jake nelson? >> it's a lot worse than we thought. it's really important to remember that the auto industry has done a great job at helping to mitigate manual and visual forms of distracted driving by allowing motorists to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. our concern at a.a.a. is there is the third leg of the stool, which is the mental or cognitive piece which also needs to be
addressed. >> ifill: technology may be hurting more than it's helping? >> certainly from a mental standpoint, using voice commands to do things like tune the radio and to send and receive text messages and the latter are actually more distracting than from a mental standpoint than using your hand-held device. >> ifill: okay. first, i'm going to make an admission, my very first car, my very first accident is because i was switching the radio dial. why is that not more distracting than everything we're talking about now? >> well, there are different forms of distracted driving. the manual is the example you gave. there is the visual, looking away from the roadway. but if your mind isn't focused on the important task of driving, our performance as drivers decreases. >> ifill: so rank the tasks. some of the new cars, you can write an e-mail while you're driving. you can talk on the phone. you can do all kinds of things. you can call people up. is that... which of those are more dangerous than the other? >> we looked at a variety of testings that motorists engage
in while driving, from listening to an audio book, driving by itself, talking to a passenger, talking on a cell phone handheld or hands-free and interacting with these voice recognition systems to send and receive text messages. we found that just driving in and of itself has a significant amount of workload associated with it, which makes sense. we're doing a lot of different things at one time. when you start to listen to the radio and an awed yes book, it's not much more distracting than just driving. talk about using a cell phone, hand-held or hands-free, that's a category two on our scale of one to five. interacting with these voice detection system, category three. >> ifill: so it matters what layer of technology we're talking about. so if i'm trying the find an address and my technology device is built into my car and gives me the wrong answer to the question, i'm even more distracted. >> absolutely. we found some good news and bad news in our research. the good news is that some
automakers are getting it right. toyota, for example, their system, interacting with that isn't much more distracting from a mental standpoint than listening to an audio book. there's a reason for that. they have blocked certain functionality, like composing a text message or e-mail, which reduces demands on the driver by about half. >> ifill: while you're driving, while you're sitting still. >> correct. >> . >> ifill: so here's the question for me. what can you do about that? should a.a.a. be recommending to car companies or to motorists that we just shouldn't be doing any of that? >> i think we have a shared responsibility here. i think industry has a responsibility to do whatever they can to make sure the products that they develop are as safe as possible to use. we've identified through our research several ways that industry can pursue that. then there's obviously a responsibility that all of us have. just because technology enables us to do things we hide the wheel doesn't mean we should do it. so hang up the phone, drive. focus on that very important task. >> just because you can put on
your mascara while driving doesn't mean you should do it. >> exactly. >> is there a connection that's been made or you can establish between these kinds of activities and actual accidents? >> that's a really good question. so there's been a lot of research that's been done looking at different forms of distracted driving. the example i would give you would be talking on a cell phone. regardless of whether it's handheld or hands-free. previous research has shown that roughly quadruples your risk of causing a traffic crash. on our scale of mental distraction, it came in on a category level two. when we talk about interacting with these voice detect systems, even a perfect system that never made a mistake in translation or understanding a voice command, was a category three. >> ifill: you're talking extrapolation. i'm wondering whether there is evidence there were 500 accidents last year and the drivers admitted later they were trying to talk to siri. >> this relationship between mental distraction and actual crashes isn't well understood. no one has researched it to date, including a.a.a. our study wasn't designed to
look at crash risk, but we have a study we'll initiate next year that will help us to understand this relationship a little better. >> as a result, you can't really advise automakers or consumers to not do these things at all. >> not exactly correct because we know and the research that we have done, which looked at the effect of mental workload or mental distraction on driving performance, that being overloaded as a driver by the use of technologies or doing other things while driving impairs your performance behind the wheel. so it increases your distraction time. people mentally distracted tend to scan the roadway less to look for hazards, and worse outcome possible is just failure to identify hazards in the roadway all together. it's a phenomenon called inattention blindness. >> so you don't even see... >> you're looking straight ahead. you don't even see it. >> ifill: i think i've had that happen. i'll go plug in my gps before i drive off. jake nelson, a.a.a. director of traffic safety advocacy and research. thank you very much.
>> thank you. >> woodruff: now, to a new public art installation in the nation's capital that is both huge in size and meaning. jeffrey brown takes us there. >> brown: it's called a facescape. a portrait of a young man in the very heart of the national mall in washington, that can be seen in full only from the top of the washington monument or from the sky above. starting small, it built up like a snowball, over six acres, taking four weeks of construction and requiring 2,000 tons of sand, 800 tons of soil, 10,000 pegs, and miles of twine. it's the work of jorge rodriguez-gerada and was commissioned by the national portrait gallery. and, indeed, the artist conceived it as a portrait that would, like much of his work, explore the question of
identity. >> identity is an amazing thing. what we look like is what people will judge immediately when you see you and that's something you're born with and it follows you the rest of your life. my idea is to change the reasons why portraits are made. it's really to explore portraiture in a very new way. >> reporter: curator taina caragol says rodriguez-gerarda is doing just that. >> very often we conceive of it as a face, but a portrait can be much more than a face. he is working on what we could think of as a land art of the 21st century, with satellite technology, with dirt, and sand, this is an ephemeral artwork, so that's also something that goes partly against the tradition of portraiture, which is a genre used to memorialize people, and >> reporter: the installation on the national mall, between the lincoln and the world war two
memorials, is actually a composite, created from close to 50 photographs the artist took of young men age 18 to 25 around washington. and it is very much an american portrait, titled "out of many, one," e pluribus unum. it also plays off another idiom, that of marketing. >> the face represents the celebration of diversity. and i think that diversity is what made, one of the things that made the nation so great. the idea is to use the same ideas of scale and position and everything else used in marketing for completely different reasons. not to sell you anything but to let us contemplate the idea of identity. >> brown: rodriguez-gerada, 48, was born in cuba and raised in new jersey. his early work, in the 1990s, was subversive, altering billboards in ways that questioned the motives and methods of advertisers, especially in urban areas. you started out doing essentially illegal-type work and then there you are standing on the national mall asked to do this. is it not ironic for you?
>> in fact, during that time, we were able to get enough of that work done that tobacco advertising was taken off the billboards. when i was doing that it was because i really thought it was awful, i wasn't hurting anyone and the dialogue was to hopefully get some of that stuff stopped. >> brown: the first large facescape he tackled was titled "expectation," a giant sand painting in the likeness of then-candidate barack obama, created on a barcelona beach. in 2013, in belfast, he created "wish," the united kingdom's largest portrait ever, spread over eleven acres, this time of an anonymous girl. and in amsterdam, a human rights activist. part of a campaign defending women targeted for their work in central america. this one spanned almost two football fields. >> i can only work big if it's intrinsic to the message. working big doesn't make any
sense unless what you're saying is really important as well. so the only things i've ever done big were big things to talk about. >> brown: you mean require big ideas require big space? >> yeah, yeah, if you're going to give something a wow factor like this. >> brown: this has a wow factor, huh? >> it's very difficult to get something on the national mall and for the park service, the trust for the national mall and the smithsonian all to work together with clark construction, i mean a lot of things have to come together for something like this and it did. >> brown: on the ground, as rodriguez-gerada showed us, visitors experience the work as though in a maze. >> brown: so, where are we now? >> we're now in the eyebrow. >> brown: the eyebrow? you've got this all sort of, this face, in your head? >> this is completely memorized in my head. i know exactly where i am at all times. >> brown: private companies donated their services to
install the work, which involved advanced technology, along with all that soil and sand. >> jorge designed it on the computer and then sent it to the surveying company that made his drawing into data points that we could put out into the world onto this field. and from that, our surveyors are working with little gps computers. >> brown: the installation comes at a time when the national mall is in the midst of a major restoration project, the removal of damaged soil, installing a new irrigation system and planting new grass. the facescape project is now part of that process, at the end of the month, the soil and sand will be tilled back into the ground. in many ways, national mall and parks superintendent bob vogel says, the artwork is perfect for this premier civic space. >> this is a place where people come, they grieve, they celebrate, they demonstrate. we want people to look at it, and get people to think and to talk about it. >> brown: it's a face with a
short life, soon to be erased, with hopes that its component parts and meaning live on. >> brown: to hear more from jorge rodriguez-gerada, and see his other facescapes, go to our "artbeat" page at pbsnewshour.dot.org >> woodruff: finally tonight we're joined by the junior senator from new york state, democrat kirsten gillibrand. during her tenure she's focused on fighting sexual assault in the military and on college campuses. senator gillibrand recently published a new book, "off the sidelines: raise your voice, change the world." senator gillibrand, welcome to the "newshour." >> i'm delighted to be on. >> woodruff: you say in your introduction, among other things, you want to get women and girls to believe in themselves just as much as men and boys do.
so my question is you're saying that in 2014, when we've had three women secretaries of state, we have a woman head of the federal reserve bank, we've got 20 women in the senate and so on and so on that women still need to have a lesson in how to have confidence in themselves? >> it's even more than that. it's just telling women how important their voices are, that their life's experiences, their views, how they feel about an issue isn't necessarily being heard at all these decision making table, whether it's the boardroom, where we only have 16% women, or c.e.o. where there's only 3%, or congress where there's only 20 women. any woman, if she expresses her view, she can change the outcome, whether it's the pta meeting or whether it's in congress. >> woodruff: it's kind of a self-help book. is that unusual for a united states senator to write a self-help book? >> i wanted to write the kind of book i like the read. i love reading biographies and memoirs that tell me how a woman got from a to b, how she made those decisions, what are the
challenges, what's her life advice. i made a point to include details and stories as mere anecdotes so a woman can see herself, see her own challenge, but realize how important her aspirations are, that her hopes and dreams are important, and if she's heard, she can actually change how decisions are made and what the outcomes actually are. >> one of the things you write about, and this has gotten a lot of attention, is the sexism you've encountered in your career, including all the way to the united states senate. you at one point describe a comment from man, and you say he was "one of your favorite older members of the senate" who after you had had a baby. he looked at you and said, don't lose too much weight, "i like my girls chubby"? how did you respond? >> i just smiled. that's a point in my career where i'm quite clear. i shared these stories so women can understand when they experience like something like, this not only does it have to define them, but they can push
through it, elevate the conversation and talk about the larger challenges we face. i share stories acted when i was younger where those kind of comments hurt. i felt like i was being judged not on my work or efforts but my looks. when you're a young 20-something lawyer, you don't have the tools. you don't know what to do with that. i felt undermined. i want that reader to say, i'm not alone. i can push through this and some day with that guy's boss, but it's something that doesn't have to define me. >> do you think this is an issue mainly with an older generation of men, members of congress, or is this younger? >> i think it stems from the same problem of are we valuing women in the workplace? are we valuing women's work where it's taking place? when you look at this challenge with the nfl and women are not being valued, when you look at challenges with sexual assault in the military or sexual assault on college campus, victims aren't being believed, survivors are being blamed, it all goes to this nation of are we valuing women. you combine with that with the
fact that we're making 78 cents on the dollar for the same work as our male colleagues, that's problematic. and so my anecdote to this is if women can be heard and have their opinions be heard in these decision-making places, you can change outcomes. >> just quickly, you mentioned the sexual assaults in the military. you work very hard on that issue. you have over 50 votes. it still wasn't enough. is this something, this is basically taking charge of sexual sought out of the chain of command. is this something that's really had its moment? >> no. this is the beginning. with a lot of these battles when you're talking about basic civil rights and liberties and equality, these can be generational battles. sexual assault in the military i believe in order to have transparency and accountability, you have to take the decision making out of the chain of command, give it to the hands of trained military prosecutors who have no skin in the game, who don't have biases, and if we can continue to push for that reform, we will have a stronger military for it. but that's an example, and i shared it in the book of where
survivors' voices are heard, whether it's men or women. this is what they are calling to happen. they need transparency and accountability to have any hope of justice. >> woodruff: a question about women, the mid-term elections are a few weeks away now, democrats clearly benefit most of the time from the women's vote. people talk about the gender gap. but it is also the case that men vote most of the time, the majority of them, do for republicans. don't democrats have a problem with the men's vote, and if that's the case, why? >> i don't think so. i think this election is going to be about who we fight for and we are fighting to make sure that people get equal pay for equal work. we're fighting for basic social safety nets to make sure everyone has a chance to reach their full potential, and owl of these ideals i think are going to determine the outcome of these elections. i think our candidates are stronger. i think that's going to show by holding the senate and continuing to have victories in the house, as well.
>> i want to ask you about what defense secretary leon panetta is saying in his book that's just out. among other things, he's critical of president obama's leadership in foreign affairs. he says he "too often avoids the battle, complains and misses opportunities." does leon panetta have a point? >> well, in my job as the overseer of the armed services committee and also as part of congress that i think should be engaged and involved in whether we are declaring war and what kind of military engagements take place, i voted most recently against the president's idea to arm rebels because i didn't think it would be successful. i was concerned with the unintended consequences. i didn't have faith these so-called moderates would hand these weapons over to the better fighter the minute the battle got tough. i don't want those weapons used against our men and women. i also believe the president does need authorization to bomb syria. i don't think existing authorizations for iraq and
fighting al qaeda is sufficient for the missions he's having in syria right now. so i am of the view that he needs to come to congress and ask for that authorization were were -- before he continues this particular strategy. >> woodruff: but is leon panetta right when he said the president holds back? >> well, secretary panetta was in the cabinet. he has his own views. on this particular issue, i think he should be coming to congress for authorization. >> woodruff: a couple other questions i want to ask you for our web site, but for now, senator, thank you. >> you're welcome. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. turkey warned that "islamic state" militants are on the verge of capturing a key kurdish town just over the border inside syria. the world health organization warned that more cases of ebola in europe are "unavoidable," after a nursing assistant in spain became infected.
and worries about global growth sent wall street into a deep dive. the dow industrials lost 270 points. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, armed with a camera and some one-inch l.e.d. lights, minnesota artist brian hart creates stunning mosaics in the darkness of night. by using long film exposures, hart "draws" with the light, see what the end results look like, in a video produced by twin cities public television. that's on "art beat." all that and more is on our web site, pbsnewshour.org. >> ifill: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the afghanistan conflict. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, is one more.
and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday we take you inside the c.d.c.'s war room in the fight to contain ebola. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line. and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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. this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susan guerin brought to you in part by -- >> thestreet.com featuring stephanie link, stock picks with action alerts plus. the multimillion-dollar portfolio she manages with jim cramer. you can learn more at thestreet.com/nbr. stocks slammed. the major indexes tumbled more than 1% as investors grow concerned about a slowing global economy. the international monetary fund also cutting its growth forecasts but says there's one bright spot. the u.s. >> but how bright is it? a new survey suggests the economic recovery here still has a long way to go, and americans may be tired of waiting. and housing triple dip? they say it