(CNN Student News) -- December 2, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: How can a video game of sorts help train you for real life? That answer's coming up in this Thursday edition of CNN Student News. Hello, everybody, and welcome! My name is Carl Azuz. Let's get started.
AZUZ: First up, it's "The Moment of Truth" for some ideas about how to lower the country's debt. Right now, it is gigantic; the U.S. owes nearly $14 trillion. President Obama put together a commission of 18 people to come up with ideas about how to lower that debt. This group is made up of Democrats and Republicans, so it is bipartisan. Yesterday, it released some ideas in a report titled "The Moment of Truth." These ideas include things like cutting spending, changing some taxes, and maybe even holding a one-year income tax holiday. The commission says these proposals could lower the debt by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
Here's the thing: they might not be too popular. Politicians who tend to be more liberal usually are against spending cuts. Politicians who tend to be more conservative might not like some ways it proposes to increase revenues. But just because the commission suggests something doesn't mean it's going to happen. In fact, the commission can't officially make a recommendation to Congress unless at least 14 members vote for it. A lot of experts don't think that's gonna happen, since these ideas are controversial. And even if the recommendations do get made, Congress doesn't have to take them. If they become law, none of the ideas would start until at least 2012.
AZUZ: President Obama seems to be changing his mind about drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Back in late March, he said he was planning to open up the Gulf region to oil and natural gas drilling. Now, he's saying he won't allow any new drilling in parts of the Gulf for at least seven years. A big reason for the change: this, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. It's forcing the government to reconsider safety standards in the drilling industry. This new ban isn't good news to some officials and people who live around the Gulf, though. They say it'll hurt oil and gas workers in a region that's already suffering.
AZUZ: Parts of the U.S. are cleaning up after severe weather brought heavy rains and floods this week. It stretched from the Southeast all the way up to New York and into New England. At least two people were killed. And here in Georgia, roads were closed, trees and power lines knocked down. Officials confirmed that a tornado ripped across the metro Atlanta area. It did the most damage in a town called Buford. That is where Jacqui Jeras is to check out the impact of this storm.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fifty-six homes have been damaged, and this is the worst of it that we've seen. I mean, take a look. This is the roof of the house. This whole thing has just been pushed over and picked up. It's just amazing. If you look over here, you can see there's some clothes that have been fallen over on a clothes rack. This is parts of the roof here. Trees are down. There you can see a desk, as well as a TV monitor. Thankfully, nobody in this house was home at the time. But the dog, the family dog, was stuck in this rubble overnight and was rescued this morning. So, a little bit of good news out of this, in addition to the fact that nobody was injured. Now, living next door, right here in this house -- check out all the damage here -- is Linda. And Linda is the homeowner. And you were actually home during the time of this storm yesterday, Linda. Tell us what your experience was like.
LINDA PEZZANITE, HOMEOWNER: It was just raining, and then it rained harder, and it sounded like, I don't know, just like something, a real major noise. And then I heard a "boom," and I think that was Matt's house. And a board tried to come through the wall, and that's when I took off running into the laundry room and just hung out in there.
JERAS: I'm sure those were some very frightening moments for you. At first, it didn't look like the damage was that bad.
PEZZANITE: No. It wasn't until I actually went upstairs, and then the entire office is gone; the walls, the roof. And then the guest room; the ceiling's gone, the roof's gone from there. Water was running through the electrical outlets, the light sockets, and they're filled with water now.
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Sorenson's social studies classes at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota! What Jewish holiday is known as the Festival of Lights? Is it: A) Sukkot, B) Hanukkah, C) Passover or D) Yom Kippur? You've got three seconds -- GO! Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, lasts for eight days. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: And today is the first full day of Hanukkah. The Jewish holiday began last night at sundown; it runs through sunset next Thursday. Hanukkah is also called the Feast of Dedication, and it celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. One of the most recognizable symbols of Hanukkah is right here: the menorah. This is one that was lit at the White House last year. It holds eight candles -- and one more to light them -- that represent the eight days that the oil lasted during the rededication of the Second Temple.
This Day in History
[ON SCREEN GRAPHIC]
December 2, 1804 -- Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned as the emperor of France
December 2, 1942 -- Enrico Fermi creates the first nuclear chain reaction
December 2, 1988 -- Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister, becoming the first female leader of a Muslim nation
What's the Word?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the Word?
It's a machine that can help train someone by imitating real-life conditions
That's the word!
AZUZ: A lot of you know what to do when you're behind the wheel of an automobile. But do you know how to fly a plane or steer a ship? Some experts think you might be better prepared if you've spent some time on a simulator. Jim Bitterman shows us how these virtual realities can offer some benefits in regular reality.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is the fifth annual simulator exhibition at the Air and Space Museum outside Paris. And while on one level these are games, on another, in order to be here, they have to have a purpose; virtual reality with real applications.
Alain Renier, for instance, was demonstrating a stripped-down version of a ship's bridge used to teach future ship captains how to run everything from a super tanker to a tug boat. Who knows how many petroleum barges could be saved from destruction by keeping unskilled hands off the tiller until they have had a little practice on a simulator. Of course, the most familiar simulators are those used to train pilots. And while virtual flying is a lot cheaper than real flying, a former Air France captain says the real value is in safely learning to confront dangerous conditions.
JEAN GERRY, FORMER AIR FRANCE CAPTAIN: It's extremely important because you can have a situation which is near the crash.
BITTERMANN: So, it gives the chance to sort of push the limits?
BITTERMANN: But these days, simulators are not limited to just aviation. Increasingly, they are being developed for training use just about anywhere. French police say motorcycle drivers with simulator training have far fewer accidents and are, in general, safer drivers than those who don't go have it. And diving instructors say it's much easier to reduce fear about descending into the depths by first taking students into a swimming pool with a SCUBA diving simulator designed to recreate the sights and sounds of the open ocean.
But the more complex simulators aren't cheap. Machines that come the closest to imitating flying, for example, can cost as much as a quarter of what operating a real aircraft might cost. That's why there was much attention paid at this year's gathering to the less expensive but still very real simulators which are dual use. Gaming that is becoming more and more serious as simulation gets closer to reality. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.
AZUZ: Cool! All right, you know we always like hearing what you have to say. And at CNNStudentNews.com, we have a couple different ways for you to say it. Students, you know you can log onto our blog, From A to Z. I've got a new post up for you today. And teachers, spend some time in the CNN Teachers' Lounge. We can't wait to hear from all of you. Hopefully, very soon.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go today, bowling three games in a row is called a series. Bowling three perfect games in a row is called amazing! That's what this guy did. Matt Latarski rolled a perfect 900 this past Saturday. Once that score gets verified, he'll be only the 17th person ever to bowl a perfect series. His previous best was an 814. With that kind of obvious talent, rolling a perfect game...
AZUZ: ...you could say it was right up his alley. The accomplishment certainly bowled us over. No more time to spare though, today, but we'll be back tomorrow to strike up a new show. You can pin your hopes on that. Oh my goodness! It's a good thing we don't use more bowling stories, because I think we pretty much worked out every single pun we could come up with. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. Have a great afternoon!