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Army Recruitment Today Is Less ‘Be All You Can Be’ And More ‘Call Of Duty’ And More Local News

 December 4, 2019 at 2:28 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, December 4th. I'm Deb Welsh. And you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Scientist at the Scripps institution of oceanography found that microplastics are a million times more abundant to the ocean than previously thought. And the military says video games are more effective than traditional recruiting methods. Speaker 2: 00:21 This is the targeted demographic. You know, these young men and women that come out here to play the East coast. Speaker 1: 00:27 That more coming up right after the break, Speaker 3: 00:31 uh, Speaker 1: 00:33 tiny pieces of plastic are a million times more abundant to the ocean than previously thought. KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Celani spoke to the San Diego researcher who made the discovery out in the journal science last week. Speaker 4: 00:49 Biologist Jennifer Brandon of the Scripps institution of oceanography picks up a fishing net. She says, this type of mesh is what most scientists have been using to measure microplastic pollution in the ocean. But she realized it might not be the right tool. Speaker 5: 01:01 This mesh looks really small, but in between these holes, any plankton smaller than this and any plastic smaller than this can escape. Speaker 4: 01:09 Brandon says, scientists used to estimate about 10 microplastic particles per cubic meter of water. So she decided to do a recount. She used a bucket with no holes. Speaker 5: 01:18 What we were finding is when we were counting the teeniest, tiniest microplastics, there were now 8 million particles. Speaker 4: 01:24 Brandon says there's already some evidence that says these mini microplastics show up in our seafood. Shelina Trelawney KPBS news Speaker 1: 01:31 Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter has pleaded guilty in federal court to misusing campaign funds. So what's next? We know his sentencing will happen in March, but there are still many questions including whether Hunter will serve time and what will happen to his wife. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman takes a look at the road ahead. Speaker 2: 01:49 All the noises that they were making before were that they were going to trial and that they were going to contest, um, um, vigorously the, uh, the, the allegations, uh, and obviously they, they made a right turn. Former us attorney for the Southern district of California, Chuck Labella is surprised. Hunter struck a deal. Sometimes they have a change of heart. They say, okay, you know, I see now what the government is saying. Hunter was indicted on 60 counts. He agreed to plead guilty to the main one of conspiring to misuse campaign funds. That carries a maximum five year sentence and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors indicated they would seek a sentence of more than a year behind bars. The 50th district Congressman could avoid prison altogether. Butler Bella says there's a slim chance of that. It's possible that he had the probation and yes, it's conceivable that he could get five years in jail. Both those things are conceivably possible. I think the more likely result is that there is going to be a disposition by the judge that gives him a period of incarceration. Labella thinks Hunter's wife Margaret, who also pleaded guilty to the same charge will avoid prison time. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news. Speaker 1: 02:53 Tijuana has suspended its water rationing program for at least a month that was confirmed its water utility on Monday. KPBS reporter max than an Adler tells us why the city's water is back on, even as its water woes haven't been sold. Speaker 6: 03:09 After just a month of wide ranging shutoffs to Quanta's water utility has backed away from a two month plan that was meant to replenish a badly depleted reservoir. Official said that for at least the month of December, businesses and families will be able to celebrate the holiday season without fear of having their water turned off. According to the utility resident who cut back on water usage during the shutoffs helped raise the water level in the vital El Carrizo reservoir by almost a million cubic meters, the reservoir had fallen dangerously low. Following a series of technical failures with the pumps that feed it with water from the Colorado river. The government caution that it's possible to shut off, so we'll resume once the holiday season passes. Max, Revlon, Adler, KPBS, PBS news, Speaker 1: 03:53 former vice president Al Gore told a San Diego audience at the soul Institute that the planet is increasingly showing the stress of climate change. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson says his message was also hopeful. Speaker 7: 04:06 Gore did not mince words during his 90 minutes. Lie show fires, storms and floods, all symptoms of a planet he says is trying to endure a climate that is rapidly warming. Gore says fossil fuels are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster than it anytime in the last 66 million years. Core says changes needed and he's optimistic that people can change. But will they? Speaker 6: 04:31 I'm optimistic there too, but again, spoiler alert, the answer to that question kinda depends on you, not just you, but really in meaningful ways. You Speaker 7: 04:43 Gore says the nation needs the political will to take the partisan politics out of the climate change debate and he says, fortunately political will is a renewable resource. Eric Anderson, KPBS news Speaker 1: 04:57 Californians may be more likely to get a whiff of marijuana while walking down the street. Now that the drug is fully legal in this state, one of our listeners wanted to know whether anyone's raising the alarm about secondhand pot smoke. Capitol public radio is healthcare reporter Sammy. Kayla has an answer. People can legally smoke on their porches and in their backyards in the golden state and weed friendly lounges. And cafes are opening in Southern California, but as public acceptance of marijuana grows, some people are concerned about secondhand effects. UC San Francisco cardiologists, Matt Springer says they have reason to be. Speaker 8: 05:31 So you're at a rock concert where people are smoking marijuana. You're at, uh, an offense where there are a lot of people smoking. It may not matter what they're smoking and you're still inhaling the ultra fine particles that go into the lungs and create problems. Speaker 1: 05:44 But scientists haven't been able to study marijuana the way they have tobacco. So the longterm effects are still a mystery. It's part of why you don't see as many public health warnings about it. Even so, some advocates are trying to change the conversation. Some counties are urging landlords to impose smoke-free housing in cities with pot friendly event permits. Nonsmokers groups are asking local officials to think about whether unhealthy smoke might drift off and affect others. In Sacramento, I'm Sammy Kayla. The military is case against camp Pendleton. Marines accused of human smuggling in July appears to be unraveling KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says the decision comes after a military judge rule. Their rights were violated. Speaker 9: 06:25 Tuesday, the Marines announced they reached plea agreements with 10 Pendleton Marines arrested from their formation in July. After being implicated in a human smuggling ring, their courts martial became problematic after a military judge ruled their commanders biased the case by arresting the Marines in front of 800 other Marines and videotaping in the arrest were national news. In July after two other Marines were picked up near the border carrying what the border patrol says were undocumented migrants. The cases were turned over to the military along with a third Marine arrested at the border. The Marines also announced Tuesday that another Pendleton Marine was arrested by the border patrol. Monday, no decision has been made on whether that case will be turned over to the military. Steve Walsh KPBS news, Speaker 1: 07:10 as the army works to reach its recruiting goals, it's found that video games are one of the best ways to attract new soldiers. Increasingly, the military is holding East ports events and it's finding they're often more effective than traditional recruiting methods like visiting high schools or sending out brochures from Denver Taylor Allen reports for the American Homefront project. Call Speaker 10: 07:33 duty. Modern warfare is one of the most anticipated video game releases of the fall of engagement have changed. The game leads players through military missions in combat, if you call, identify the target, so it makes sense that army recruiters pick this game to be the centerpiece of a recent recruiting event at an East sports arena in Lakewood, a suburb outside of Denver. It's a dark room. The size of a warehouse led mainly by the glow from rows and rows of computer screens. The people playing wear headphones. You hear the excited chatter of players and controllers clicking. Speaker 11: 08:11 Okay. Speaker 10: 08:15 Anyone who came to the game's release party was able to play the new game as long as they also spoke to army recruiters. Speaker 11: 08:22 This is the targeted demographic. You know these young men and women that come out here to play the e-sports Speaker 10: 08:28 Sergeant Vincent Cruz is a recruiter. He says video games are a way for the army to connect with more people and even started a professional e-sports team, which has become part of his pitch. Speaker 11: 08:38 Reach out to these men and women and showing that actually, Hey, you can actually do this in the army and get paid. By the way, Speaker 10: 08:44 the army has been struggling to attract new soldiers. Last year it fell 6,000 troops short of its national recruiting goal. This year the army set a lower goal and met it, but crew says the old ways to attract potential recruits just aren't working the way they used to. Speaker 11: 08:59 Phone calls and text messages is not, you know, the way to go. Traditionally that's how we've been been trying to reach out to the population, uh, for here is very difficult. You know what I mean? So now it's more like the Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. Speaker 10: 09:15 The army says it's open 44 virtual recruiting stations that are trying to reach potential soldiers through social media and text and it calls it e-sports efforts. Some of the highest lead generating events in the history of the all volunteer force across the gaming Marina. 17 year old Gavin gains is sitting at one of the computers staring at the bright screen. How is he doing so far? Speaker 11: 09:40 I've died like four times and three missions, so not going to say greatest Speaker 10: 09:46 Gaines says he isn't ready for college yet and he's about 95% sure he wants to go to the military. A big reason for him is community. Speaker 11: 09:53 It's always just kinda been a big motivator for me is just kind of like having somewhere where I belong. I like the military cause it's like, I mean not even necessarily like everyone, but it's like you know they have your back type of it. Speaker 10: 10:05 Out of about 110 people that attended the e-sports event, the military says it gained 35 leads. Michelle Kantar is also 17 and a brand new recruit. She'll graduate in December and by the summer she's off to bootcamp in Oklahoma. She got into video games through her brother-in-law who's also in the army. Call of duty is a favorite. Both gaming and the military are stereotypically guy things, but she's proud be a woman doing both of them. To me it's really special because not a lot of women I feel like are represented in the army and I feel like it's such a power move for women just cause like we can do the same thing men can. And we're finally allowed to do that after I know like years that we couldn't. Alcantar also ended up winning a raffle that night. She went home with a copy of the new game for X-Box, but she didn't say whether she'll take it to [inaudible]. It gets Speaker 1: 10:55 a bootcamp with her in Denver. I'm Taylor Allen. This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. Thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. Do us a favor and if you appreciate the podcast rate or review us on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you.

The military found that video games are more effective than traditional recruiting methods. Anyone who came to a recent Army recruitment event was able to play the new "Call of Duty" game as long as they also spoke to recruiters. Plus, Californians may be more likely to get a whiff of marijuana while walking down the street, now that the drug is fully legal in the state. One of our listeners wanted to know whether anyone's raising the alarm about secondhand pot smoke. We have an answer. And, scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found that microplastics are a million times more abundant in the ocean than previously thought. Those tiny pieces of plastics are ending up in the food chain and ultimately in humans with unknown health effects.