(CNN Student News) -- January 11, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Back from the weekend and ready to bring you the headlines, this is CNN Student News and I'm Carl Azuz. Let's get started.
First Up: California Tremor
AZUZ: First up, parts of northern California shake off the effects of an earthquake that struck over the weekend. The tremor had a magnitude of 6.5; that is significant. It hit Saturday afternoon about 30 miles away from the town of Eureka, but it caused about a dozen aftershocks which lasted through early Sunday morning. You can see how folks reacted to the quake in this video. Luckily, no reports of any serious injuries or damage, though it was scary, and though about 28,000 people were left without power for a while.
AZUZ: Meantime, severe winter weather is sending shivers through other spots around the country. Just to give you an idea of how cold it's been here in Atlanta: On Saturday, it was 14 degrees. At the same time, the temperature in part of Antarctica was 28 degrees! So Atlanta: colder than Antarctica. The deep freeze is causing some problems for firefighters. You can see in this video some Nebraska firemen trying to put out a blaze. But they say it's harder to do because the ice and snow add weight to their equipment, and the cold makes their hands curl up and freeze into one position. But some people are refusing to let the winter weather drive them off course. Despite temperatures in the 20s, thousands of runners showed up for a marathon at Disney World and tried to find any way they could to stay warm before the race.
Word to the Wise
SHELBY ERDMAN, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
profiling (noun) the act of predicting information about a person based on specific traits, such as age or race
AZUZ: It's a practice that sometimes comes up when you're talking about airline safety, something that, as you know, has been getting a lot of attention recently in the light of a recent terror plot. Some people argue that profiling unfairly singles out certain individuals. But there are other folks who believe it's a useful tool in helping make flights safer. When it comes to increasing airline security, Randi Kaye examines what does and doesn't work.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We take our shoes off, remove our laptops, and toss our bottled water all in the name of safety. But are we any safer today than we were before 9/11? Not exactly, says Bruce Schneier, author and security technologist.
BRUCE SCHNEIER, SECURITY TECHNOLOGIST: We take away guns and bombs, the terrorists use box cutters. We take away box cutters and knitting needles, and they put explosives in their shoes. We screen shoes, they use liquids. We limit liquids, they strap explosives in their underwear. This is a stupid game, we can't win, and we should stop playing it.
KAYE: But the game goes on. The TSA tried puffer machines, which blow air on you to release explosive material. They didn't work and are being phased out. And those airport pat downs?
SCHNEIER: Any pat down that you experience that doesn't embarrass you physically is one that's not very effective.
KAYE: Schneier does give metal detectors higher marks. He says metal detectors likely forced the would-be Christmas Day bomber to build an inefficient bomb for his underwear, which needed a syringe and a home-brewed detonator that failed. But the next guy may be better at it. Would those x-ray body scanners do the trick?
SCHNEIER: It won't detect things that are not very dense or if the explosive is spread out over a large area, maybe it's in a fabric.
KAYE: Like the explosive PETN sewed into underwear. For some, without a magic machine that's terrorist proof, the answer is profiling, countries and individuals. The Obama administration says now, travelers from countries considered "state sponsors of terrorism" and other "countries of interest" will face extra scrutiny. Does profiling work? Candice Delong was an FBI profiler for 20 years.
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: These are things that we know have worked in the past for various law enforcement agencies, in zoning in on certain people.
KAYE: Delong says the answer is a combination of ethnic profiling and behavioral profiling. Someone sweating on an otherwise cool day or a traveler avoiding eye contact. Others argue ethnic profiling makes us less safe.
SCHNEIER: We do not have a perfect profile. Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes. It's nice to say that it's Muslim men, but it isn't always.
KAYE: Remember the shoe bomber, Richard Reid? He was British with a Jamaican background. Dirty bomb conspirator Jose Padilla was Hispanic-American. A University of Texas study found that profiling "high risk" categories is no better than random screening because the screeners, in effect, become blind to anyone that doesn't fit the profile.
Imagine if they're profiling only Middle Eastern men. Would they even spot one of al Qaeda's most wanted, American Adam Gadahn? And Schneier says profiling is also ineffective because terrorists learn how to beat it by picking people who don't fit the profile. People like a Nigerian with a U.S. visa perhaps, leaving from Amsterdam.
AZUZ: We didn't show that report to scare you about flying; we wanted to point out some of the challenges that face security personnel. One way for travelers to help is to know what to expect ahead of time. At the TSA's Web site, www.TSA.gov, you can read up on current security rules and the reasons behind them.
AZUZ: Well now, we are turning to the economy and the country's unemployment rate. The government released the newest number last Friday, and it was about the same as the month before: a national unemployment rate of 10 percent. The rate didn't change, but that's not to say thhat everything stayed the same. There were certain industries, like construction and manufacturing, that saw a drop in employment. But that was balanced out by an increase in health care jobs and temporary jobs.
AZUZ: "Unemployment is the biggest issue of 2010," says U'laun, "because many people do not have jobs to support themselves." Many of you talked about the economy, including Joe, who mentioned that and the war: "If we take care of these two issues," he says, "then the country will have an easier time fixing the problems of unemployment and education." Catherine writes: "If gas prices keep going up, pretty soon, no one will be able to afford gas for their automobiles." And from Maurice: "The biggest issue is either our economy, including our deficit, or the war in Afghanistan. God bless America, because we need it." Excellent comments, as always, at CNNStudentNews.com. You'll notice we only publish first names.
AZUZ: Getting back to gas prices now, Jessica mentioned that people who have been hit by them should start using bikes. That's what one Atlanta resident is doing. And he's not only saving money with this, he's making it! That is just one of the reasons he is peddling the idea of switching from four wheels to two. Brooke Baldwin has a handle on this story.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex Olewicz may look like just another guy at the office. Except this hospital efficiency expert does something that most Americans do not: Five days a week, Alex bikes to work.
How long are we biking today, Alex?
ALEX OLEWICZ, BICYCLE COMMUTER: About 10.5 to 11 miles.
BALDWIN: I should ask, how long are you biking today?
On a frigid January morning, Alex invited me along for part of his morning commute.
So, uh, is this the steepest hill we're going to deal with?
OLEWICZ: No, this is the slow warmup!
BALDWIN: Physical fitness is one of the reasons Alex swears by his bike. Two others: helping the environment and cutting commuter costs.
How much do you think you've saved every month by biking? Have you ever done the math?
OLEWICZ: I think I did it a couple of years ago. It's a couple hundred dollars at least a month.
BALDWIN: Not to mention Alex gets paid to bike! Tucked away in the 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, otherwise known as the "Bank Bailout," is section 211. It allows employers nationwide to give 20 bucks a month tax free to employees who commute by bike. So, what's the incentive for employers? It's the Clean Air Campaign's mission to answer that very question. Brian Carr says it's an opportunity for companies to allow their employees to help the environment.
BRIAN CARR, CLEAN AIR CAMPAIGN: More employers are being motivated to think green, act green, integrate into their decision-making more sustainability.
BALDWIN: Carr says every mile you don't drive keeps a pound of pollution out of the air. Did we mention this is Atlanta, known for its pollution, sprawl and gridlock?
REBECCA SERNA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ATLANTA BICYCLE COALITION: It's all about money. But fortunately, one thing we have on our side is that bike lanes are the cheapest transportation facility that you can build.
BALDWIN: More bike lanes and warmer weather would be nice for Alex Olewicz and his 22-mile, round-trip commute. And after a quick shower, Olewicz blends back in at the office, all the while leaving behind a much smaller carbon footprint. Brooke Baldwin, CNN, Atlanta.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, you know that legal term "a jury of your peers"? This ain't one of them! Say hello to Sal. Or as he may soon be known, juror number 9. Turns out the kitty got called for jury duty. But when Sal's owners tried to correct the mix-up and get his name removed, a court official denied the request! Makes you wonder, would a cat make a good jury member? Maybe if the trial were about fraud.
AZUZ: I mean, after all, he'd probably be great at sniffing out the rat. You know you love it, unless you don't. That's the tail end of today's show either way. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. We will see you tomorrow.