(CNN Student News) -- November 16, 2010
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi! This is Ms. Beckham's 5th period government class.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's homecoming week...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...here at Grovetown High School near Augusta, Georgia.
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MS. BECKHAM'S 5TH PERIOD GOVERNMENT CLASS: ....CNN Student News! Woo!
BEN TINKER, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hey, everybody, and welcome to this Tuesday edition of CNN Student News. I'm Ben Tinker, sitting in today for Carl Azuz, who's at an anti-bullying conference out in Seattle. Our first story, though, is right here on the East Coast.
First Up: On Capitol Hill
TINKER: Washington, D.C.; specifically, Capitol Hill, where Congress is back in session and all the talk is about lame ducks and freshmen. Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives still have some work to do, and they'll be doing it in what's called a lame duck session. That's the time between an election and when the next Congress is actually sworn in. One of the big things Congress will be looking at is a group of tax cuts that date back to former President George W. Bush. The question: should these tax cuts be extended? If Congress can't make a decision on that before this lame duck session ends, the issue will get kicked to the next Congress.
That's what these people will be part of. They were elected in the recent midterms, so they're not part of Congress now. But in January, they'll be freshmen congressmen and congresswomen. Just like you have to go through orientation before the school year, they're going through orientation this week. They have to learn the rules of legislating, how to set up their offices, and hire staff so that they're ready when the new session begins in January.
Is This Legit?
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The Transportation Security Administration recommends that people not wrap gifts if they're taking them on a plane. Legit! The agency says security officers might have to unwrap the gifts if they need to take a closer look.
TINKER: The TSA suggests that you could also ship the gifts to where you're going. That's fine for presents, but you still have to go through security if you're the one getting on a plane. The machines that are part of that security check are raising some big controversy. Some of the new technology, like the scanning machines that you're seeing here, takes an x-ray of the person who's inside it. Some people say that's an invasion of privacy. But TSA officials say the plans are in place to protect passenger's privacy, and they're just trying to find the right balance between privacy and security.
JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: The question is, how do we best address those issues that people have raised while providing the best possible security? We know that everybody on every flight wants to ensure that everybody around them has been properly screened, so there's not a group of box cutters or liquid explosives or underwear bombs or shoe bombs, or whatever may be. So, we have to find that area that we can provide the best possible security to address those issues.
TINKER: A lot of you will probably be traveling at some point during the holidays. You might have to go through some of these security checks yourself. So, how do you feel about the whole "privacy versus security" debate? Is there a line? And if so, what is it? That's what we're asking on our blog. Check it out at CNNStudentNews.com!
TINKER: Well, how can a disease that's usually pretty easy to treat turn into a health epidemic that spreads across an entire country? That's what's happening right now in Haiti, where an outbreak of cholera just keeps getting worse. So far, nearly 1,000 people have died; more than 14,000 have been infected. The problem is the lack of clean water and sanitation, especially in the tent cities where more than a million Haitians are currently living. They had to move there after January's massive earthquake. Doctors say that since cholera is easy to treat, they're hoping that they can get a handle of this outbreak sometime soon.
TINKER: Recovering from a natural disaster, like an earthquake, is not easy. It can take a lot of time a lot of work and a lot of money. The city of Kobe, Japan knows this all too well. It went through this back in the 1990s. And now, some experts think Kobe can serve as an example of how to recover after an earthquake. Doctor Sanjay Gupta explains some of the lessons that city has learned.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What we're experiencing here is a 6.9-magnitude earthquake. What they'll tell you to do is go into the corner of a room -- structures are the most sound -- stay away from glass as much as possible. Also, cover your hands, cover your face, get underneath the table if you have to. Just something to protect yourself. Of course, all of this is just a simulation. And that's what you need to do as an individual. But given that so many people live in urban centers all across the world, how do you recover and rebuild after something like that?
That's exactly the question they were asking themselves in Kobe, Japan in 1995. A 6.9-magnitude earthquake just like that one, 20 seconds in length; 200,000 buildings gone; 5,000 lives lost. There's a lot of work to do to try and rebuild this place.
Well, Kobe did it in less than 10 years, and now they serve as a model for the rest of the world. A lot of lessons have been learned. For example, don't put all your disaster resources in one particular area. Also, try and engage the survivors of an earthquake as much as possible in the rebuilding process. And finally, hospitals. They have to be able to stay open and functioning even after an earthquake.
Of course, there are the buildings, the awful images like this one. Remember, 200,000 went down. This was one of them. Well, take a look at what it looks like now. This is the same building, rebuilt just quickly after the earthquake. What did they do specifically? They used materials here to try and isolate this building from the ground and the shaking that accompanies an earthquake. They also used metal plates to allow the building to move, as well as materials that sort of allow this building to sway if the ground is shaking.
It is by no means perfect. And if you ask Kobe officials, they'll say about 80 percent of the city is now rebuilt. There are some problems still. Narrow thoroughfares like this would be tough to navigate in the middle of an earthquake. And these buildings could come down into the streets, making rescues that much more difficult. But the balance, it's always there, trying to maintain what Japan has been for hundreds of years in the middle of all this reconstruction.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Lancellotta's social studies classes at Deering Middle School in West Warwick, Rhode Island! What is a group of dolphins called? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it a: A) Pack, B) Pod, C) Pride or D) Gaggle? You've got three seconds -- GO! A group of dolphins is called a pod. It can also be called a school. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
TINKER: Now dolphins don't have to spend time in schools to learn stuff. Alright, I know. It's a little early to break out the puns. But it turns out, these animals might not need to. Some scientists have been studying dolphins' intelligence, and say the creatures might be a lot smarter than any of us think. Randi Kaye explains the porpoise of this research.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Spend a day with a dolphin, and you're quickly reminded of why they've always captured our imaginations. They are playful, sociable and just incredibly fun to be around. But scientists say there's a lot more to these animals, and they're just beginning to understand the intricate thinking of these so-called, big-brained mammals.
Here you go, Nani. Good girl. We came here to the Baltimore Aquarium to see just how intelligent dolphins are. You see them playing with their trainers all the time, but scientists who study them say there's a lot more happening there than just play, that their intelligence actually rivals ours. Here you go.
To see up close what has scientists so excited, we climb down into a tiny underwater lab with a window into the aquarium, where scientist Diana Reiss puts a two-way mirror up against the glass.
DIANA REISS, SCIENTIST, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK: Now, this is the mirror.
KAYE: The dolphins can't see us, but Reiss can study how the dolphins react to the mirror.
REISS: We used to think we were the only species on the planet that could think. And now, we know that we're amongst many thinking species. So, the questions are no longer can they think, but how do they think? And what's amazing is, in this capacity, with giving them mirrors, it looks like they're doing a lot of things very similar to us.
KAYE: Reiss has been studying dolphins' behavior for 25 years.
REISS: Most animals don't even pay attention to mirrors. So, if you put a mirror in front of your dog, most dogs won't even look in the mirror. Cats don't pay much attention. Other animals do pay attention, but never figure out it's themselves. They think it's another of their own kind.
Before We Go
TINKER: Before we go, you know that some school fundraisers go smoothly. But this one is gonna get messy. The organizers probably don't mind though, since it's a giant food fight! A pie throwing contest that doubles as a world record attempt. Contest, fundraiser, record attempt: Everyone wants a piece of this pie. 650 students; 14,000 chocolate pies. Sounds like a recipe for fun! It's gonna take a while to verify whether this actually was the world's largest custard pie fight.
TINKER: If it was, then setting this record was as easy as pie. Come on now, that's a crusty pun, no matter how you slice it. But with a story like that, I guess it's your "just desserts." Hope you all have a great day. For CNN Student News, I'm Ben Tinker.