(CNN Student News) -- May 24, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: May 24th, 1844: The first telegraph message was sent. May 24th, 2010: You can watch CNN Student News on TV, online and on iTunes. A lot changes over 150 years. I'm Carl Azuz. Let's do this.
AZUZ: Construction delays, permit problems, the threat of hurricanes: Officials in Panama City, Florida have dealt with a lot of problems to open up a new airport. Here's a new one: a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We've talked about some of the different industries that this thing is affecting. Tourism is a big one, especially in Panama City. This new airport is expected to bring in millions of dollars. The problem is, people are worried about how clean the water is, and those concerns might keep them away from the region. The spill is more than 100 miles away from Panama City's coastline, but officials are keeping a close eye on it.
RANDY CURTIS, PANAMA CITY BAY COUNTY AIRPORT: Well, certainly it's something we've watched very closely. And fortunately, we've not had any impacts in this part of Florida and the Gulf with the oil itself. So, we are open for business.
DAN ROWE, PANAMA CITY BEACH VISITORS BUREAU: This airport is a great opportunity for us to showcase the region. And you know, we will get through the oil spill. There's no oil on Panama City beach or any of the beaches in northwest Florida now, but we do need to continue to get the word out that this is a great place to come to visit and the airport is a means to get there.
AZUZ: Last week, we told you about something called a "top kill." This animation shows how it would work. Engineers would pump this special mud into the leaking well. They hope that would stop the flow of oil. Then, they can seal the whole thing with cement. Officials had hoped to try that yesterday. Didn't happen. They're now looking at giving it a shot tomorrow or Wednesday. Recently, some CNN iReporters sent in their ideas about how to deal with this spill. CNN asked Bill Nye the Science Guy to take a look at their suggestions. He's is, as we said, the science expert. He actually used to deal with oil spills. Check out his reaction to the iReports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CNN IREPORTER: You slide this in place on the hole's stopper, going up the pressure which will plug that gap. You then drill several fastening bolts to fasten it in place. And at this stage, basically, all you need do is either tap into the pipe through the dam and pump in the golf balls, the rubber, the crap that will flow down and block.
NYE: As soon as somebody says drill through here, you're really in trouble. The stuff is unbelievably hard and it's broken. It's brittle. I mean, when you start to drill through it, it will just crack and you'll have this crack propagate up and down the pipe. And the leak will actually get even more difficult to deal with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CNN IREPORTER: As you can see, this is simulating an oil spill in the water. And you just sprinkle some sand on it. As you can see, immediately the sand is absorbing the oil and bringing the oil down to the bottom, which makes the top very clear.
NYE: Yes, yes, this is great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CNN IREPORTER: It doesn't take the sand for it to absorb.
NYE: So, here's the problem. A lot of people don't want tar on the bottom of the ocean either. And the amount of sand involved, when you have an oil spill that's 10 nautical miles by 20 nautical miles, ends up to be a very large amount of sand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CNN IREPORTER: You got two scenarios here. We think, first of all, you can actually disperse this on the spill that's out there now. You soak up the oil that's out there now. You've got skimmers coming along and skim up the hay or use the shrimp boats with their nets, something along that line. Or if it washes up on shore, it's going to be just like seaweed, and you can take traditional beach cleaning equipment and just pick it up.
NYE: Hay. They're suggesting hay. Hay might work pretty well too. And oil just sticks to that material. Just sticks to it. If you can get that stuff out there and that's what, when I worked on oil slick skimming boats, that's what we used.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Estrada's language arts classes at Summerour Middle School in Norcross, Georgia! What U.S. government position have John Negroponte, J.M. McConnell and Dennis Blair all held? Is it: A) Ambassador to the U.N., B) Director of national intelligence, C) Secretary of state or D) Attorney general? You've got three seconds -- GO! Those are the first three directors of national intelligence. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Well now, President Obama is looking for the fourth director of national intelligence. Dennis Blair, who's held the job since January of 2009, resigned late last week. The director of national intelligence -- the job itself -- has been around for about 5 years. It's the person responsible for collecting information from a bunch of government agencies -- including the CIA, the FBI and the Homeland Security Department -- and using all that information to create a single National Intelligence Program. Mr. Blair announced his resignation last Thursday. His office had been criticized recently for not coordinating intelligence efforts well enough and not stopping an attempted terrorist attack in advance. Blair's resignation will be effective at the end of this week.
Clinton in China
AZUZ: Some other big names in the Obama administration are over in China. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is leading a group of more than 200 officials to Beijing for talks with the Chinese government. They're going to be going over a lot of topics, the biggest one is trade. It's something that Secretary Clinton talked about yesterday when she met with Chinese business leaders in Shanghai. That city is hosting the World Expo. It's kind of like the Olympics for economics, science and technology. Secretary Clinton is urging China to allow American companies more freedom to compete with Chinese companies in China. She says that when there's a level playing field, both countries win.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The threat will not go away soon. But let's be clear: al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history. They lead no nation. They lead no religion. We need not give in to fear every time a terrorist tries to scare us. We should not discard our freedoms because extremists try to exploit them. We cannot succumb to division because others try to drive us apart. We are the United States of America.
West Point Graduation
AZUZ: The president, speaking there during the graduation ceremonies at the United States Military Academy in West Point. During his speech to the cadets, the president talked about some of the challenges that they and the country face in the fight against terrorism. This is the 9th West Point graduation since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. President Obama says that while the war on terror has changed in that time, it's still just as important, and he pointed out that the country is united in its support of its troops. The president also talked about diversity at West Point. This year's graduating class marked a milestone at the academy. It's the first time that the number one overall cadet and the valedictorian are both female.
AZUZ: Another milestone to tell you about now. Jordan Romero, the guy you see over my shoulder, is on top of the world! He made it the top of Mount Everest on Saturday -- you don't get any higher than that -- and he's just 13 years old! That is the kicker. Jordan has already climbed six of the so-called "Seven Summits," the tallest mountains on every continent. During his climb up Everest, he stopped to talk about the experience.
JORDAN ROMERO, 13-YEAR-OLD CLIMBED MT. EVEREST: It's Mount Everest. It's a tough mountain and the altitude is tough; it's so physically and technically hard. And there's a lot of new things I've been wanting from this whole trip. I've been able to see Mount Everest from wherever I go. I'm already happy with that. I've been learning a lot about culture, politics, religion, people, everything about Nepal and China. So, it's been such a great trip and I've learned so much from it.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Including how to wear incredibly heavy coats. Now before we go, a lot of world championships are decided out on the field. This one is played out in a barn. Still, the competition is fierce at the World Pinball Championships. Every contestant has a different approach. Some are smooth and steady. Some like this guy turned the whole thing into a dance recital. The guy's been playing this for 35 years, so who are we to question the pinball wizard. When it comes to the player with the best technique...
AZUZ: ...we couldn't really pin it down. Time for us to stop flapper-ing our gums and tilt on out of here. If you don't get those pinball references, your teachers might. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. We'll see ya tomorrow.