There is a difference between lying and being polite/diplomatic; also there is a difference between the public face of a country and the individual private beliefs and feelings of its citizens, even those employed by the diplomatic services.
To be a little fair, what does the average citizen know about the deployment of the US navy, what it is used for, or how much it costs?
The part that really hurts my brain is how blatant disregard for truth hurts them and their position. Is the average Tea Partier going to be that much more upset at $200 million than $2 million a day? And this rage-ohol is at the expense of the truth. What if the government did do something awful and these same people were the only ones who found out and reported it? No reasonable person would believe them. This isn’t even some Machiavellian move, it’s just incomprehensible.
The worst part is they believe because they want to be upset.
Excepting an apocalypse, computers and digital devices are here for the rest of your life. Consider this carefully because that could be a very long time. From now on, your knowledge and understanding of computing and technology will likely factor in to everything from how frustrating your day-to-day life is, to how successful your career is. I would extend this to include the concept that the political issues (e.g. net neutrality; open-source versus closed source; the depth, breadth, and length of patents; digital rights management; privacy versus data mining) that only bother techno-geeks today will rule your life tomorrow.
“When human beings acquired language, we learned not just how to listen but how to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned not just how to read but how to write. And as we move into an increasingly digital reality, we must learn not just how to use programs but how to make them.
In the emerging, highly programmed landscape ahead, you will either create the software or you will be the software. It’s really that simple: Program, or be programmed. Choose the former, and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make.”
— Douglas Rushkoff
I think one of the rather unique features of video gaming as compared to pre-tech ways of spending one’s free time are that it is not predominantly done by the rich (e.g. Victorian fox hunting, world travel) and beyond that is actually amazingly cheap (compared to gambling, prostitutes, or going to a bar even just once a week) at only a few hundred dollars a year (including depreciation of the computer, electricity, internet access, and game access).
Some other interesting aspects include the number of man hours being sunk into video games, the addictive aspect of modern games built with external reward systems and psychology in hand, and the social aspect of modern gaming communities on the internet.
Correctly phrased, experimental data yielding a P value of .05 means that there is only a 5 percent chance of obtaining the observed (or more extreme) result if no real effect exists (that is, if the no-difference hypothesis is correct). But many explanations mangle the subtleties in that definition.
The article takes a valid concern and presents it sensationally / in an exaggerated fashion. However, even when scientists understand p values, that does not mean the research and the statistics behind it are being reported to the public conscientiously and correctly. I would bet most lay people do not know or understand p values, or the difference between “normal” and statistical significance. The article is still a valuable explanation to the general public of how p-values and statistics can be used both constructively in science and deceptively in propaganda.