A Two Americas of Cable TV Viewers

In new survey released by Pew, Americans see few ideological differences among the three broadcast TV news networks, but among regular viewers of cable TV news, content differences are readily apparent, and these perceptions flow heavily from partisanship.

In general, the public sees few differences among the three broadcast networks. Fully 74% say ABC News, CBS News and NBC News are all pretty much the same. Only 18% say there are real differences between the three. But impressions of the three major cable news networks differ substantially. While 40% of the public says CNN, the Fox News cable channel and MSNBC are pretty much the same, 48% see real differences among the three. The feeling that the three broadcast networks are all pretty much the same is shared by network and cable news viewers alike. When it comes to evaluations of the cable news networks, however, cable viewers themselves are among the most likely to draw distinctions among the three major outlets. Among regular viewers of CNN, Fox and MSNBC, roughly 60% say that real differences separate the cable news networks. This compares with 48% of the general public and 44% of regular viewers of the big three broadcast networks.

In addition, views of the cable networks differ sharply by education and partisanship. College graduates are much more likely than non-college graduates to see real differences between CNN, Fox and MSNBC. And Republicans are more likely than Democrats to see differences. Among Republicans, 57% say there are real differences among the three major cable news networks; only 33% say the cable networks are all the same. Democrats are evenly split on this issue: 45% say there are real differences, 46% say the cable networks are all the same.

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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