PBS NewsHour for September 14, 2016 - Part 2



Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff>

compare on the issue? What must the presidential candidates do to reach

the 270 electoral votes need to win? How are American women falling victim

to forced marriage, with no clear system to protect them? How can the

volume be turned down on sound pollution in the ocean? Uber debuts self-

driving cars. Efforts to restore federal education grants for prisoners


Pollution; Children; Polls: Hillary Clinton; Government; Elections; Health

and Medicine>

CRISTINA BICCHIERI: Let`s call this woman a trendsetter. It will show to other women -- or it may not be a woman -- can be a man, et cetera -- that it is possible to act against the norm of the community, is an example. They have more propensity to risk. They are more autonomous.

And another important element is that they must believe that their rebelling in some sense will be efficacious, that they will succeed.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Reiss moved to New Jersey with her two daughters. Her ex-husband retains some visitation rights to the girls.

Reiss started a nonprofit called Unchained at Last that lobbies to enact tighter legislation addressing forced marriage across the United States.

FRAIDY REISS: When people hear about this, they say, oh, well, that`s just happening in this one religion, or that`s just happening in this one immigrant community.

And that`s a way to abdicate responsibility. It`s so important to raise awareness about this and to talk about this publicly, because you can`t solve a problem that nobody knows exists.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Back in Michigan, Nina Van Harn and her lawyer, Matt Burns, pushed ahead with their legal battle. The challenges, they say, are not just legal, but cultural.

MATTHEW BURNS, Attorney for Nina Van Harn: The goal isn`t to eradicate arranged marriage. In many cultures, that is the norm, and it`s accepted, and -- but there`s, I think, a fine line and probably a fair gray area between what`s arranged and what`s forced. And so that`s, I think, another difficulty that we face here.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: While not confronted with physical abuse, Van Harn overcame great psychological hurdles in building her case.

NINA VAN HARN: When I walked out, I didn`t just walk out on this person. I walked out of my whole family. I walked out of my community. I walked out on many parts of what had been my faith.

And I had to run very fast. And that was heart-wrenching thing to do. But I did it because staying was more frightening than leaving.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Now she hopes that this case will help other women from all backgrounds escape similar situations.

Meanwhile, she has a steady job in human resources at an auto dealer. She leads an active, busy family. And she has built a new group of friends, many of whom she met at a support group sponsored by a local women`s shelter.

NINA VAN HARN: It`s a community. We are a community that works together to help each other through life. We are, in some ways, co- parents. And that`s my family. And they mean everything to me.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: On August 1, Nina Van Harn`s husband agreed to annul their marriage. The end of this case, she hopes, also will mark a whole new a beginning for her.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I`m Gayle Tzemach Lemmon in Michigan.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Tomorrow, part two of our series, looking at American girls taken overseas and forced into marriage.

And, online, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon describes how she was able to persuade her subjects to come forward. That`s on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

GWEN IFILL: Now: The Jetsons future may be arriving sooner than you think, for better or for worse.

Uber is experimenting with self-driving cars. In Pittsburgh today, the company began deploying a small test fleet of the vehicles around the city.

Hari Sreenivasan has the story.

HARI SREENIVASAN: OK, the first thing to know, Uber tried this with several journalists this week. Each self-driving car was accompanied by a human operator, who loosely kept hands on the steering wheel.

The cars are equipped with sensors, radars and light-mapping systems. Select Uber customers in Pittsburgh will be able to opt into a driverless car pickup.

Alex Davies writes about all things transportation for "Wired" magazine, and took a ride in one of Uber`s self-driving cars. He joins me now from San Francisco.

So, Alex, unless you were a friend of a Tesla driver or a Google engineer, you`re one of the first people to sit in the back of one of these cars. What was the experience like?

ALEX DAVIES, "Wired": So, for the most part, it was actually kind of just like a regular Uber ride, minus the fact that it was clearly a kind of carefully orchestrated media preview.

It`s same way most Uber rides start. You pull out your phone, you open up the Uber app, and you hit -- enter your destination. Then you call up the car. And then what`s going to happen from now on for some select customers in Pittsburgh is, it will say, hey, would you like a self-driving car, instead of some guy driving in the street who`s trying to make extra money?

And if you hit yes, then that`s what shows up. And basically a car -- right now, they`re now using Ford Fusions covered in this enormous pile of sensors on the roof, spinning light scanners, radars, cameras. That pulls up.

But after that, once you get in, it works more or less like a normal Uber. You relax in the back seat and the car drives you exactly where you`re going.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, we mentioned the biggest safety precaution, which has been a human, an engineer, a driver in the car. But what other kinds of precautions has Uber taken to roll this test out?

ALEX DAVIES: So, first of all, they`re only operating within a small select area of downtown Pittsburgh. They`re open to about 12 square miles right now.

And the reason they`re limited to that space is that they will only send their cars out to areas that they have mapped in extreme detail. That means that the car already knows exactly where every traffic light is. It knows which lanes are right-turn-only lanes, which -- where it`s allowed to make a U-turn or where it can`t, what the speed limit is everywhere, and where pedestrians are likely to cross, where cars are usually driving if the lane lanes aren`t super well-marked.

So, basically, it`s kind of slicing off the riskier areas by only operating in places where it knows what the conditions are going to be like.

HARI SREENIVASAN: So, why Pittsburgh?

ALEX DAVIES: A couple of reasons.

The biggest one is that Pittsburgh is home to Carnegie Mellon, which has -- Carnegie Mellon has one of the best robotics programs in the country and probably in the world. And some of their engineers have been studying self-driving cars for 15 years now, well before anybody imagined that this could really be a thing.

So, a lot of those guys and women are now working for Uber at its Advanced Technology Center in the city. The second reason is that Uber has -- sorry -- Pittsburgh has a lot of different weather conditions, unlike Silicon Valley, which is pretty much always sunny.

Pittsburgh, you`re going to have to face snow and rain and different weather problems. And that`s a good challenge for the cars to learn how to solve. And the street grid isn`t the easiest to navigate. So, again, it`s training cars to take on more complicated situations.

The third advantage to Pittsburgh is that Pennsylvania hasn`t really regulated this space yet, so Uber is free to do pretty much what it wants.

HARI SREENIVASAN: What is the safety record of autonomous vehicles to date, and how is Uber factoring that in to these tests?

ALEX DAVIES: So, overall, the safety record is excellent, because, for the most part, at least when you`re talking about fully autonomous vehicles, they have always got a man -- a trained operator at the wheel ready to take over in any situation.

So, for example, Google, which tests constantly in Mountain View and in Austin and a few other places, has had a few minor accidents, but nothing serious, nothing where anyone`s ever been injured.

And the same thing with Uber, at least in California, where it`s required to report any accidents, as are all autonomous car operators. In Pennsylvania, it`s not exactly clear what the record is, though they say they haven`t had any accidents, just because there are no rules saying they have to tell you if there is one.


And, also, put this into perspective. Why is Uber doing this? We have heard about Google. We have heard about Tesla. We have heard about auto manufacturers. What`s Uber`s interest in having autonomous vehicles?

ALEX DAVIES: So, Uber`s interest is natural, because when you ask automakers, for example, well, when you think about an autonomous fleet of cars, what does that look like, they will tell you, well, it looks like Uber. It`s a car that you don`t have to own or deal with parking or maintenance that shows up, picks you up and takes you where you want to go.

So if Uber can take its model, which is already enormously successful and rapidly spreading around the world, and it can take out the single most expensive part of that, which is a human driver who takes half or three-quarters of every customer`s fare, and they can remove that person from the equation, then, all of a sudden, the business gets a lot more efficient and a lot more profitable.

HARI SREENIVASAN: OK. And how far out is that future?

ALEX DAVIES: So, Uber right now, if you say, well, when are you going to be able to take the engineers out of the cars, they will say, when it`s safe, which is not a particularly helpful answer.

But if you look at the timelines other players have put out, Baidu, which is kind of the Chinese equivalent of Google, says it wants self- driving cars on streets in 2019. Ford is targeting 2021.

So, I think it`s safe to say that Uber will be more or less on that timeline, so three to five years out.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Alex Davies from "Wired" joining us from San Francisco tonight, thanks so much.

ALEX DAVIES: Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: There`s a growing problem for marine life in the world`s oceans and waterways, manmade noise.

This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a new decade-long plan to try to deal with the way it`s affecting life underwater.

Special correspondent Cat Wise has our report. It`s part of our weekly series covering the Leading Edge of science and technology.

CAT WISE: Beachgoers are drawn to the water this time of year to relax and enjoy some peace and calm. And that`s what many describe it`s like under the water, too.

WOMAN: I would say it sounds beautiful, relaxing.

WOMAN: I think it sounds, like, so peaceful, like, I mean, just calm.

CAT WISE: But the calm near the surface often belies what it actually sounds like deep beneath the waves, especially if that`s where you live.

Over the last hundred years, as humans have increasingly used the world`s waterways for shipping, defense, and natural resources, among other things, the level and the amount of manmade noises in marine environments has increased.

But many species of mammals, fish, and even invertebrates rely on sound to communicate under the water to find food, mates, and stay safe.

And those vital communications, in some areas, are being drowned out.

MARLA HOLT, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: People don`t really realize how noisy it is. Sound travels very well underwater compared to air. So it can travel very long distances.

CAT WISE: Marla Holt is a wildlife biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle. She and other NOAA scientists have been studying the impacts of noise pollution on marine life from big to small.

It`s been shown that noise can cause behavior changes, hearing loss, and it can even be fatal. Holt`s research focuses on orcas, also known as killer whales, and how they amplify their calls when they are in noisy waters, especially around container ships.

MARLA HOLT: OK, so here are orca calls with minimal boat noise. And here are their calls with lots of boat noise.

CAT WISE: There`s quite a difference, and you see it visually here too.

MARLA HOLT: Yes, so, they really have to pump up the volume of their calls in order to hear each other.

CAT WISE: Many of the orcas Holt studies spend a lot of their time in Washington state`s Puget Sound. They and hundreds of other marine species have a lot more than just container ships to contend with. More than four million people live around the Sound.

The beautiful waterways of Puget Sound are what draw so many people to this area, but all the boating and shoreline development make this a very noisy place to be for marine life. It`s an issue that the state of Washington has been trying to deal with for quite some time.

RHONDA BROOKS, Washington State Department of Transportation: Any time we touch anything with water, we try to deploy practices that aren`t harmful.

CAT WISE: Rhonda Brooks is works for the Washington State Department of Transportation. She says the state`s many ferry terminals and bridges require a lot of work that is often quite noisy, especially when it comes to driving foundation piles in the water.

RHONDA BROOKS: I think it`s only really been in the last decade or so that we have become concerned about the sound that it makes underwater as it`s being struck from above the water, and what that sound does to the species that are not only in the vicinity of the pile, but also miles and miles away.

CAT WISE: While marine pile driving is a relatively small slice of the overall noise pollution problem, it is one of the loudest and most distressful manmade noises for marine life.

Documented fish kills around marine pile driving projects in the early 2000s led to more state and federal noise mitigation requirements. One of the main ways to reduce the noise with pile driving has been through the use of bubble curtains, which are large rings that surround the pile, and the bubbles that are pumped out reduce the sound waves, but sometimes not very much, as little as 30 percent. They also can cause construction delays, according to Brooks.

RHONDA BROOKS: As we know, time is money in construction. And so we began to look at practical, innovative ways to attenuate that sound.

CAT WISE: So Brooks and other transportation officials sought help from engineers around the state. And they eventually got that help from this man.

PER REINHALL, University of Washington: Once we understood the principles of how sound was created, then the solution was pretty simple.

CAT WISE: Per Reinhall is the chair of the mechanical engineering department at the University of Washington. Over the years, he has developed a number of products, including a next-generation football helmet.

But this was his first foray in marine construction, and what he came up with was a double-walled pile. Reinhall showed me how the system works on a model.

PER REINHALL: So, what we have done is, we have taken the ordinary pile and then we have put another pile inside it. And, as you can see here, there`s an airspace in between where the water can not get to. And what we do is, we strike the inside pile. Now we have a bulge going down.

But now it`s acting against the air, not the water. So, essentially, no sound, or very little sound gets developed.

CAT WISE: The other key part of the design is the connection at the bottom of the two piles, seen in this testing prototype, which prevents the sound from traveling into the seafloor.

PER REINHALL: And that`s really the secret sauce of this concept, is the flexible coupling at the bottom. See, it`s essentially a spring, a very, very stiff spring, between the outside pile and the inside pile.

CAT WISE: Reinhall has turned his innovation into small start-up. The company, called Marine Construction Technologies, has done several tests with the state Department of Transportation.

And the results, says Reinhall, have confirmed the design works. At this test, done in 2014, there was a 21-decibel noise reduction. To understand what that means, you really need to hear it.

PER REINHALL: So, this is a regular pile. And this is our new pile. So, it`s a dramatic difference.

CAT WISE: It is a big difference. How much of a difference?

PER REINHALL: It`s a reduction of about 90 percent of the volume.

CAT WISE: Ninety?

PER REINHALL: Ninety percent of the volume, so, yes, it`s a big deal if you`re a fish.

CAT WISE: One hurdle, though, is the cost. The double-walled piles are about 20 percent more than a standard single pile. But Reinhall says those costs should be mitigated by the effectiveness of the technology.

PER REINHALL: The goal of this is to actually save money, if you include everything, if you include monitoring, the time of the projects, permitting, et cetera, et cetera. So, overall, the projects should be cheaper with this technology.

CAT WISE: The Reinhall piles have yet to be used commercially, but the state is now evaluating them now for future projects.

As for the marine life in Puget Sound, there was no comment, but we expect any noise reductions in their waters would be a welcome development.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I`m Cat Wise in Seattle, Washington.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, it would.

Cat`s report is also part of our Breakthroughs coverage of invention and innovation.

GWEN IFILL: Next, we continue with our Rethinking College series.

Hari returns now with a report on whether taxpayers should cover college tuition for convicted criminals.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Jermaine Isaac (ph) killed a man when he was 15. He`s been in prison for second-degree murder 11 years. During his punishment, he is trying to make something better of himself. For the past two years, he has been attending college behind bars.

JERMAINE ISAAC, Inmate: Going to college gave me tools. It`s taught me patience. It`s taught me hard work. It taught me that more things are possible.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Isaac is one of 100 Maryland prisoners studying for a degree as part of a partnership with Goucher College, a private liberal arts school in Baltimore.

Goucher provides the professors and pays for the education with private donations.

Amy Roza directs the Goucher Prison Partnership.

AMY ROZA, Director, Goucher Prison Education Partnership: We have a chance to change the way we do criminal justice in the United States, if we invest in the root causes of what brings people to prison.

HARI SREENIVASAN: When Jermaine Isaac came to the Maryland correctional institution in Jessup, he could barely read.

JERMAINE ISAAC: College was never in a realm for me. It was never in sight.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, with a GED and 16 college credits, Isaac feels he`s getting a second chance. In January, he will be released.

There`s going to be people watching, thinking, why are we giving a guy who took somebody else`s life an opportunity and an education? Shouldn`t he be punished in prison?

JERMAINE ISAAC: We are the people who are coming back into society. Whether they like it or not, we`re coming back to society. And we`re trying to come back prepared to be citizens, and give back to where we took from.

HARI SREENIVASAN: This summer, the Obama administration said it will extend that second chance to 12,000 inmates across the country. As a pilot project, the Department of Education will partner with 67 colleges, including Goucher, to provide higher education to prisoners who can`t afford it.

Called Second Chance Pell Pilot, eligible inmates will be able to apply for federal grants.

Education Secretary John King:

JOHN KING, U.S. Education Secretary: Students who have the opportunity to pursue education while they`re incarcerated are dramatically less likely to return to prison, 42 percent reduction in recidivism from students just having exposure to education; 98 percent of the folks who earn a bachelor`s degree don`t end up back in prison.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Advocates for college in prison say those statistics can break the link between poverty and crime.

AMY ROZA: We see huge changes in lifetime earnings, $8,000 more a year for a student who has access to some college, $22,000 more a year for a student who has access to a bachelor`s degree. All of those impacts have a deep impact on children. And more than half the people we incarcerate in the U.S. are parents of school-age children.

BRAD STODDARD, Goucher Prison Education Partnership: This case was a consolidation of two cases.

HARI SREENIVASAN: But is the education that these prisoners receive comparable to college courses on the outside? Professor Brad Stoddard teaches religion and social reform for the Goucher Prison Education Partnership.

BRAD STODDARD: It is the exact same curriculum that I do for my general population students. We use the same reading material. We use the same primary sources, the same secondary sources.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Until the mid-`90s, inmates of state and federal prisons were allowed to apply for Pell Grants, money offered to any low- income college student in the nation. But as part of the 1994 crime bill, Congress took away grant money for the incarcerated.

Critics of Second Chance Pell Grants say the Department of Education is now overstepping its authority.

Congressman Chris Collins:

REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), New York: There is a law on the books that there is no ambiguity in. Pell Grants shall not be allowed for prisoners, period, end of discussion.

HARI SREENIVASAN: By designating the program an experiment, education officials say they can access the money and help prisoners get jobs upon release.

JOHN KING: We need them to come back prepared to be successful. Otherwise, they will end up back in jail, which is a cost to -- not only to them and their families, but to the to the country.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Collins says inmates should be trained in the trades and helped to complete a GED, but he stops short of money for college.

REP. CHRIS COLLINS: We have no surplus. There`s no extra money anywhere in the federal government. So, I do not believe our children and grandchildren should be paying off in the future with interest moneys so a criminal behind bars can take a few random college courses.

HARI SREENIVASAN: James Flood, the director of security operations for Maryland`s Department of Correctional Services, says classes do more than help the individual. They improve the environment.

JAMES FLOOD, Maryland Department of Correctional Services: You don`t have time to dwell on negative things. You`re working. You`re going to school and you`re studying. You`re concentrating on positive things. And so we benefit as an institution, and it makes the facility safer.

HARI SREENIVASAN: And he says other inmates view those enrolled in classes differently.

JAMES FLOOD: This is positive peer pressure, because it fuels admiration and respect.

DEVAL WALLACE, Inmate: I started college here because I needed a change, man, something positive, something productive. It was a search for achievement, something to better myself.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Deval Wallace is incarcerated for attempted murder. He will not be eligible for parole for another six years. Still, he is enrolled in Goucher classes and hopes to get a degree in psychology.

DEVAL WALLACE: It still benefits me.


DEVAL WALLACE: Even though I`m not able to go out and use a degree, just being -- having that knowledge and having to -- I can help the next person that`s in here that might have a chance of going home, help steer him in the right direction, give him positive information.

HARI SREENIVASAN: What`s your guarantee to me that, five years from now, when I catch up with you, it`s not going to be in a room like this?

JERMAINE ISAAC: I can guarantee that because I hate prison. I can`t be here. Like, this is not a place for me. There`s no way I will return here, no way.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The Department of Education estimates 100 correctional institutions across the country will take part in the Second Chance Pell Pilot program.

In Maryland for the "PBS NewsHour," I`m Hari Sreenivasan.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to our "NewsHour" shares, Something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too.

We visit the nation`s first lighthouse just off Boston, which celebrates its 300th anniversary today.

SALLY SNOWMAN, Boston Light Keeper: My name is Sally Snowman. And I`m the Coast Guard lighthouse keeper of Boston Light.

Boston Light is the last manned Coast Guard life station in the entire country. It is located on Little Brewster Island at the entrance of Boston Harbor. In 1716, there were many shipwrecks here in the outer harbor of Boston, and they wanted to have a major aid to navigation to show the ships safe passage into the harbor.

And so, in 1716, Boston Light was erected. And then it had an incident in 1776 in the Revolutionary War where the tower was blown up. It was rebuilt in 1783, and that is the tower that exists today.

And, today, 300 years later, the lighthouse is doing exactly what it was intended to do in 1716, which was showing a safe way into Boston Harbor.

So, now I am the 70th keeper of Boston Light, with the first 69 having been all men. When I was hired in 2003, I was a Coast Guard auxiliary person that volunteered out here and wore a uniform. However, being on the payroll for the Coast Guard as a civilian employee, I wasn`t allowed to wear the uniform, and I was asked to come up with something that would help me stand out from the crowd.

So, I came up with the idea of this costume from the late 1700s to help tell the story, that it`s not the original tower of 1716. It`s 1783. And this is what the keeper`s wife would have worn during that period of time.

We are a living museum. Visitors get to come out, climb the 76 spiral stairs, two ladders into the lantern room, and stand by an 11-foot crystal made up of 336 individual prisms. Many of them are local, many of them from Boston.

And so many of them say, oh, I have lived in Boston all of my life, I have looked at Boston Light, and never came out. And why did it take me so long to come out here? Because it is a jewel. It`s a jewel of the harbor.

GWEN IFILL: Tonight, as of PBS Spotlight Education Week, "NOVA" takes a look at the divides in education across America and potential solutions. "School of the Future" examines how education could be redesigned to help narrow the gaps in opportunities and achievement. "NOVA" airs tonight on most PBS stations.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And that`s the "NewsHour" for tonight.

On Thursday, correspondent John Yang checks in from Ohio with the first of two reports from that battleground state.

I`m Judy Woodruff.

GWEN IFILL: And I`m Gwen Ifill.

Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us here at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, and good night.