(CNN Student News) -- September 28, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: A college program is going to spend two years trying to make the world a little more polite, and it all starts with a definition. I'm Carl Azuz, and we welcome you to CNN Student News!
AZUZ: First up, officials in parts of Wisconsin are telling people to get out and get to higher ground. They're trying to get away from flood waters that could affect up to 100 houses. We mentioned this yesterday, the flooding that was caused by heavy rain. The city of Portage, Wisconsin didn't get hit that bad by the weather, but that is where those houses are in danger, because the rain made the Wisconsin River rise. That is what caused the flooding. In Portage, a levee, a barrier that's designed to stop the flooding, couldn't hold back the waters. The levee failed. Officials say part of the reason is because this thing was built 120 years ago. Back then, they used what they had -- in this case, mostly sand -- to build their levees. Nowadays, levees are made with steel or concrete. Authorities say Portage won't be out of danger until the river goes back down below flood level.
Small Business Bill
AZUZ: The small business bill is now law. President Obama signed off on the legislation yesterday after it was passed by both the Senate and the House. The $42 billion bill is expected to create around half a million jobs. $12 billion of that money will be used for tax cuts for small businesses, and $30 billion will go into a fund for banks to be able to make loans to small businesses. That fund is the reason why some people weren't too happy about this bill. Republican leaders said it sounded a lot like the 2008 bank bailout. That one was a lot bigger; it was $700 billion. But the concern, in both situations, is whether or not the government will get back the money that it loans out.
What's the Word
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the Word?
when a person or company purchases control of a business
That's the word!
AZUZ: An acquisition in the airline industry might seem like an appropriate story, since today is the anniversary of the first successful 'round-the-world flight. Well, we have a story of an acquisition for you: Southwest Airlines is planning to buy AirTran for $1.4 billion. Both companies have signed off on the deal. It still has to be approved by government officials and by people who own stock in AirTran. For Southwest, this deal would mean the airline can expand into cities that it's not in right now. For you and me, there are a couple ways to look at this. Experts say when a low-fare airline like Southwest expands, that's good for us passengers. Others argue that when there are fewer companies competing for business, fares could go up.
AZUZ: We already mentioned one flying first. Let's go back to the original aviators, the Wright Brothers, two of my favorites. Their first flight changed the world, even though it only lasted 12 seconds. Up in Canada, a recent air experience didn't take much longer than that, but it is also one for the record books. Janet Dirks of affiliate CTV tells us why.
JANET DIRKS, CTV REPORTER: Now, someone has done the seemingly impossible with a human-powered, wing- flapping aircraft. An ornithopter, nicknamed "Snowbird," took to the skies for nineteen historic seconds.
TODD REICHERT, PILOT AND ENGINEER OF "SNOWBIRD": It's kind of starting to sink in now. This is something that people have tried for thousands of years and thousands of people have tried. This is a dream that humanity has had for so long.
DIRKS: Todd Reichert is a graduate student at the University of Toronto, the pilot and the engineer behind the world record flight.
REICHERT: You're flying. It's a really cool feeling.
DIRKS: The aircraft has a wing span of 32 meters and weighs only 94 pounds. Reichert kept it in the air by putting his feet on pedals and pushing with his legs; a pulley system was attached to the wings.
REICHERT: So when you push, you flex the wings down.
PROFESSOR JAMES DELAURIER, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO: Proud and delighted.
DIRKS: Reichert's Ph.D. advisor credits the student's determination and four years of hard work to make real an idea sketched out by Leonardo da Vinci more than 500 years ago.
DELAURIER: You have to think about the significance of what has been accomplished here.
DIRKS: With modern aviation where it is, no one is suggesting a human-powered, wing-flapping machine is a practical alternative. But the young man behind the project wants to inspire others to follow their dreams.
REICHERT: There's a lot of very knowledgeable people that told me flat out this was not physically possible. It has been amazing being able to shatter that belief.
DIRKS: And it has finally happened, for an unforgettable 19 seconds.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What is an antonym for civility? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it: A) deference, B) rudeness, C) tact or D) perspicacity? You've got three seconds -- GO! Rudeness is an antonym, or opposite, of civility. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: So, where's the line between being civil and being rude? Let's say you're trying to watch this show, and someone else in class is talking. Is that rude to you? That's the kind of thing a program at Rutgers University is looking at. It's trying to define civility, to find ways to increase it. Marci Rubin, from News 12 New Jersey, schools us on the details.
MARCI RUBIN, NEWS 12 REPORTER: A new type of lesson being taught at Rutgers University, one in civility.
SCOTT LAZES, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY SENIOR: The biggest thing with civility is that it's not necessarily people are trying to be mean or hurtful when they do things; it's just that they may not realize that what they're doing can be distracting or destructive.
RUBIN: Like texting during another conversation, Facebooking during a class, or...
LAZES: Students will start packing up their books right as the end of class is nearing, not when class is actually finished. And that could be perceived as rude.
RUBIN: Rutgers senior Scott Lazes created a documentary to be viewed as part of Project Civility. That is a new two-year program at Rutgers, taking a closer look at what exactly is civil these days; they also want to improve human interaction and, basically, bring back nice.
MARK SCHUSTER, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, SENIOR DEAN OF STUDENTS: We might see some of the acting out behavior be reduced, or the people are handling and speaking to each other and engaging each other in more respectful ways.
RUBIN: Over the next two years, they are going to be having debates, seminars and other activities, all to engage students in what's basically a two-year discussion about civility.
SONJA TYSIAK, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY FIRST YEAR STUDENT: I know a lot of people go on Facebook in class, so that's kind of a thing. But I feel a lot of people pay attention at the same time.
RUBIN: Like most students we spoke to on campus, Sonja Tysiak knows what's not civil. But when asked to define civility, that was a bit more difficult. And that's the point of this new program: to redefine what being civil is and hopefully bring some of it back to Rutgers and beyond.
AZUZ: So, how would you define civil? And is civility in general going the way of the dodo? We're talking about this today on our blog at CNNStudentNews.com. It is the same place where we're hearing from many of you about salmon. Genetically modified salmon. The kind of salmon that some of you have to think about before you decide whether you're gonna eat it. Ashley believes "more tests should be done before exposing society to a potentially dangerous food." She encourages the FDA to "look at the long-term effects of genetically altered salmon, as they consider whether or not to approve it." Matthew thinks that it may harm humans, saying "for many years, people have been eating regular salmon and surviving." Some of you don't mind the idea. Francis says, "If my mom puts it in front of me on the dinner table, I'm going to eat it." Eric at Facebook.com/cnnstudentnews says "it's still the exact same salmon, just with a catalyst to increase the growth rate. Larger fish aren't Frankenfish." But Rafael -- still on our Facebook site -- says he'd "prefer the natural kind of salmon, without the modifications. It's not good to modify the DNA chain," he says. And our last comment comes from Lauren on the blog: She calls anything modified "nasty and inhumane" and asks how humans would like it if animals genetically modified us. That is thinking outside the box! Two places where you can talk to us: CNNStudentNews.com; Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, we've got the mac daddy of world records: almost 2,500 pounds of mac and cheese! I would hate to have to clean that pot. When you got to stir with a shovel, you know you're dealing with with a ton of food. In this case, literally. The chef who cooked up this idea sold individual bowls and donated all the proceeds to charity. We're not sure how much of the 2,500 pounds of mac and cheese actually got eaten.
AZUZ: Really, you tend stop counting pasta certain point. Yeah, you knew something cheesy was coming. But it could've been worse. Think about this: We could have called it a world record sm-mac down or said something like, "We've eaten up all our time for today." Well, we have. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.