Todd and I have a lot of new ideas for elllo and I am finding it impossible to have enough time to update the blog consistently and create new content for elllo. So for now, I am going to focus my efforts entirely on the main site and use this blog for news about work we are doing on elllo and occasional contests.

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Student News: September 2, 2009

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Virus vaccinations, a wildfire forecast, and a turnaround on a texting ban. Hi I'm Carl Azuz. We've got the details on all of these stories in today's edition of CNN Student News. Welcome.

First Up: Isolated by the Flu

AZUZ: First up, President Obama asks Americans to take "common-sense" steps to prepare for the return of the H1N1, or swine flu. "I don't want anybody to be alarmed, but I do want people to be prepared." Those were the president's words yesterday when he addressed the issue. He said the government is doing everything it can to prepare for a new outbreak, including making H1N1 vaccines. Mr. Obama says those vaccinations won't be mandatory, although he does recommend them. He also says that if people do get sick, they should stay home from work or school. But what if your school is your home? As Elizabeth Cohen explains, this is a situation facing college students who have contracted the virus.


ELIZABETH COHEN, SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Swine flu seems to like college campuses, and especially the University of Kansas, where there are nearly 350 suspected cases. Freshman Arielle Spiridigliozzi is one of them. When she first got swine flu...


COHEN: Arielle of course didn't die, but she was pretty sick. Her temperature climbed to 101 degrees.

SPIRIDIGLIOZZI: Everything hurts, you're just laying in bed and your body's just aching and you're coughing and your chest just is burning.

COHEN: Cold comfort, but Arielle wasn't alone. Her roommate Kaitlyn Perry contracted the virus, too. So, they were ordered into isolation together in their dorm room. We decided to go in and talk to them to see how they're feeling. But before we go into their room, we decided we better make a call to the CDC.

COHEN: Hi, Dr. Jernigan. How are you?


COHEN: The doctor at the CDC tells me two things: One, I don't have to wear a mask, but the sick students do. Two, I should stay at least six feet away from them at all times. I join the dorm staff who are delivering food to the sick young ladies.

COHEN: What's it like being cooped up in here?

SPIRIDIGLIOZZI: It's so boring.

KAITLYN PERRY, FRESHMAN, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS: We've watched like seven movies.

SPIRIDIGLIOZZI: We've watched so many movies.

COHEN: Is it scary, for the first time in your life on your own and you get sick?

SPIRIDIGLIOZZI: Yeah, because you're like, mom and dad aren't gonna come in and wake you up every three hours to take your medicine and make sure you're taking that Advil so your fever doesn't raise. Like, it's on your own, and what happens if you don't wake up, or you sleep through your alarm clock? But I mean, I know I've been checking on Kaitlyn and she's been checking on me.

PERRY: I think we're doing all right.

COHEN: College campus, students living with each other 24/7, often in close quarters are breeding grounds for swine flu. So far, 19 campuses across the country have reported cases. The university is following the CDC's guidelines that say if infected students are without a fever for 24 hours, they can leave isolation. So with fingers crossed, Kaitlyn and Arielle take their temperatures.

PERRY: 98.7! l don't have a fever!

SPIRIDIGLIOZZI: 98.2! Holler! Yeah, no fever!

COHEN: Hours later, Kaitlyn and Arielle are free from their confinement, able to leave their dorm room and finally begin life at college.



ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What U.S. state has the highest population? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Alaska, B) California, C) New York or D) Texas? You've got three seconds -- GO! With more than 36 million people, California is the most populated state in the U.S. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

California Wildfires

AZUZ: Some of that population has been ordered to evacuate because of a deadly wildfire. As of Tuesday morning, the Station Fire had burned more than 120,000 acres. That is larger than the entire city of Philadelphia. But officials are feeling more optimistic about efforts to fight the flames. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says part of the reason why is the people doing the fighting.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, (R) CALIFORNIA: We are very fortunate that we have the best and the most aggressive, best-trained, the most courageous firefighters in the world. And that's why we are able to push back very heavily. But while all those fires are burning, we are already thinking about working to help victims rebuild their lives.

AZUZ: Mike Sarkissian, who rents a home in the area threatened by the fire, shot some incredible video of the blaze. Take a look at this.

MIKE SARKISSIAN, RESIDENT: So, here we are in the Tujunga Canyon watching this fire go through, trying to protect the buildings. And here's a picture of it coming up probably through one of the closest spots of the property that could catch a building. So, I'm going to tape it just so you guys can see how fast this thing progresses.

Hurricane Jimena

AZUZ: Moving south of the border, residents of the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas are bracing for Hurricane Jimena, as the storm moves up the Baja Peninsula. You can see some of its effects in this video. Jimena began yesterday as a Category 4 storm, but slowed to a Category 3 by the afternoon. However, weather officials say the hurricane could still be strong when it hits land. That's expected to happen Thursday morning. Experts warn though that any change in direction could affect when and where the storm will hit.

Is this Legit

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this Legit? There is a nationwide ban on texting while driving. Not Legit! Some states do ban text messaging for all drivers, but much of the U.S. doesn't have a ban.

Texting Ban?

AZUZ: One highway safety group, however, thinks every state should. It's calling for a nationwide ban, something this group was opposed to in the past. What's behind the u-turn? A new study, which says that texting significantly increases your chances of getting in a wreck. Also, a public service announcement that's been going around the Internet, which shows the potential danger of texting from behind the wheel. Jason Carroll explores how the group's new position could impact the push for a ban. Teachers, this report does include some graphic images from that PSA. We encourage you to preview it before showing it to your class.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some drivers call it fallout from life on the road in the digital age: texting while driving. A graphic public service announcement produced in the UK, widely seen on the Web in the United States, illustrates a violent end. This spot is part of the reason a group once opposed to new laws banning texting while driving has reversed its position.

VERNON BETKEY JR, GHSA: We're certainly in favor of the ban, and we're willing to support a texting ban.

CARROLL: Vernon Betkey Jr. is chairman of the Governor's Highway Safety Association, a national group representing state highway safety officials. In July, the group came out against laws banning texting while driving, Betkey saying, "...New laws would be impossible to enforce." But Betkey did an about-face following a meeting with the group's members, who'd seen that PSA and some alarming studies.

BETKEY: I think that as a result of those discussions, a decision was made to re-adjust our policy.

CARROLL: Senators, including Charles Schumer, who have proposed a federal law requiring states to ban texting while driving, say the highway association's new stance could go a long way.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: They saw that this was so important to do because it's so dangerous, that they took the leap and it's going to give our legislation a major boost.

CARROLL: Another boost: recent studies like the one from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which found a truck driver's risk of crashing 23 times higher while text messaging. Another study done by Professor David Strayer at the University of Utah found another disturbing result.

DAVID STRAYER, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH : Text messaging is a level of impairment that exceeds what we see with someone who is driving while they're drunk.

CARROLL: Exceeds it?


CARROLL: Strayer's researchers found a driver with an alcohol level 0.08, legally drunk in most states, is four times more likely to crash. Texting, that driver is eight times more likely. Currently, just 18 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving.

CARROLL: So, what is your prediction at this point?

SCHUMER: I think we can get a bill done within the next several months.



AZUZ: Many of you already have your driver's license, and if you don't, you're probably looking forward to when you do. What do you think? Should texting from behind the wheel be banned across the U.S.? And how about that PSA? Some of you might have seen it already. Do you think it's effective in getting across its message, or does it go too far? You can sound off with all your thoughts on our blog at Please remember, first names only.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, that desk you're sitting at? It's dumb. At least compared to this one! You've heard of a smart board? Check out the smart desk, the latest technological teaching tool. It lets students get hands on with science, art, geography, and it can fit up to five sets of fingers at a time. These desks are designed for elementary students and they're being used in classrooms in Greece.


AZUZ: It might not sound very sentimental, but we still think it's a touching story. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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Student News September 1, 2009

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. A famous mouse house is adding some x-factors. We'll explain that and run down the cast of characters in CNN Student News. Let's go!

First Up: Wildfires Worsen

AZUZ: First up, a fast-moving wildfire explodes, doubling in size and raging a path across Southern California. One official says the Station Fire, which we reported on yesterday, has "a mind of its own." The blaze had grown to more than 85,000 acres by Monday morning, but it was only about 5 percent contained. Authorities have ordered a mandatory evacuation for anyone in this fire's path. Some people who didn't evacuate were actually trapped. Rob Marciano looks at the threat that this fire poses and the toll that it's already taken.


MARCIANO: Two firefighters killed when their vehicle rolled down a mountainside. Part of a treacherous battlefield in these hills north of L.A., where the easiest approach is often from the sky. Helicopters and planes attacking what seems to be an endless wall of fire.

MAN ON STREET #1: I'm afraid.

MARCIANO: On the ground, more than 10,000 homes sitting in the fire's path.

MAN ON STREET #2: All we can do is hope for the best.

MARCIANO: Police blocking off neighborhoods and ordering thousands of people to evacuate, a warning the governor urged them to take seriously.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, (R) CALIFORNIA: This is a huge and is a very dangerous fire.

MARCIANO: Not everyone listened. Some, like this man, stayed behind, armed only with a garden hose.

MAN ON STREET #3: I'm trying my best.

MARCIANO: But most grabbed what they could, and left the firefighting to the professionals.

MAN ON STREET #4: We left them a shovel and our hoses.

MARCIANO: The nearly 3,000 firefighters in the fight taking mostly defensive positions, digging in and letting the fire come to them.

MIKE DIETRICH, U.S. FOREST SERVICE INCIDENT CHIEF: The weather, the fuels and the topography are dictating our firefighting actions.

MARCIANO: Their biggest problem this time not wind, but unrelenting heat and too much fuel. The area hasn't seen a major fire in 60 years, and is loaded with dense brush. Up north, wind becoming a very serious threat. Eerie pictures from the town of Auburn, near Sacramento, where a number of homes and buildings burned to the ground. That fast-moving fire eating up 500 acres in just a few hours. Back near L.A., neighbors can only gather on corners and wait, hoping to avoid the same fate.

MAN ON STREET #5: There's still fires here. Like I said, we've got a fire coming down the canyon behind us here too, so we're pretty much surrounded.


AZUZ: Of course, the details of this story continue to develop as firefighters continue to battle against the Station Fire. Get the latest updates on their efforts; you can always find them online at


TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which of the following would you find about 250 miles above the Earth's surface? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it the: A) Stratosphere, B) Moon, C) International space station or D) Skylab? You've got three seconds -- GO! The ISS orbits about 250 miles above your head, traveling at over 17,000 miles per hour! That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Shuttle Docking

AZUZ: And that is also where you'll find the space shuttle Discovery, at least for the next several days. It met up with the international space station on Sunday. While it's there, astronauts plan to unload over seven tons of cargo and take three spacewalks to install some equipment and replace some experiments. There's also a scheduled swap. One astronaut from the ISS is heading back to Earth, while one from the shuttle is staying in space.

Afghan Vote Count

AZUZ: Back on the ground, officials in Afghanistan are counting votes from last month's presidential election. But the results might get held up because of a growing number of complaints about the voting process. As of Sunday, nearly 2,500 complaints had been filed. Authorities say more than 560 of those are serious enough to affect the outcome of the race. In order for the results to be certified, the complaints have to be resolved. With around 48 percent of the votes counted, current President Hamid Karzai is in the lead.

Disney Buys Marvel

AZUZ: And back here in the U.S., Mickey Mouse is teaming up with... Wolverine? It might not sound like a match made in heaven, but it's a match made in Disneyland. The Walt Disney Company has agreed to buy Marvel Entertainment, which is home to Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-men and more than 5,000 other characters. Disney says it's hoping the new additions will help the company appeal to you, specifically you guys out there. But it's not gonna be cheap. The Marvel move is costing the mouse house about $4 billion.

Campus Health Care

AZUZ: From comics to college. When you hit campus for your freshman year, there are gonna be some things you'll want to have with you: clothes, computer, TV, maybe a friend? Health insurance probably isn't at the top of your list. It may not even on it. But at some universities, coverage is required. Brianna Keilar takes us to school on some of the reasons why.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Freshman move-in day at the University of Maryland. Thousands of students jamming into teeny, tiny dorm rooms. This scene repeats itself every August here, but something's different this year. Like a growing number of colleges, UMD is requiring students to have health insurance, starting with this freshmen class.

KEILAR: Do you think there will be a lot of germs?

MELISSA EPSTEIN, STUDENT: Absolutely! I brought a big container of hand sanitizer, and I plan on using it.

KEILAR: Doctor Gail Lee, the clinical director of the school's health center, says without coverage, students can suffer academically.

DR.GAIL LEE, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: It can affect their ability to stay in school. It can affect the fact that they might have to go to work to pay off their medical bills.

KEILAR: Historically, Lee says 1 in 15 UMD students have been uninsured. But now, if freshmen don't prove they have health insurance, the university automatically puts them on its student plan.

LEE: It covers a lot of the things that we think are important for students. For example, it covers immunizations. It would cover them if they are a study-abroad student.

KEILAR: For previously uninsured students, it's an added cost of about $100 per month, increasing in-state tuition and fees by 8%.


KEILAR: But for some families, like the Epsteins, it's a bargain alternative to keeping their freshman daughter Melissa on the family's out-of-state insurance. Why the student plan for Melissa?

HOWIE EPSTEIN, MELISSA'S FATHER: We were able to save probably about $400 a month by putting her on her separate plan.


Recession Gardening

AZUZ: A lot of people are looking into strategies to save money, whether it's with health insurance or horticulture, growing your own plants and foods. According to officials, so-called "recession gardens" are cropping up all over. Christine Romans talks with some folks who are willing to get their hands dirty in an attempt to save some green.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some nice ones back there.

ROMANS: Here are the real green shoots in the economy. Karen Simonson and Grisella Feliciano work together in the business office at the Queens Botanical Gardens. Before this spring, there wasn't a green thumb between them.

GRISELLA FELICIANO, GARDENER: Since we didn't know how to do it, we figured if we'd do it together it would, you know, save time and just be easier for both of us.

ROMANS: With help from Simonson's daughter Rebecca, they found abundance in a recession.

REBECCA AGURTO, GARDENER: I planted the tomatoes and the string beans and the peppers.

ROMANS: Theirs is one of 43 million food gardens this year. The National Gardening Association says 19 percent of the households growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs are doing it for the very first time. Vegetable seed sales are up 30 percent. Ball, the popular maker of canning supplies, also saw sales jump 30 percent. And one of the oldest seed catalog companies, a 19th and early 20th century stalwart, is finding new and newly frugal 21st century gardeners.

GEORGE BALL, W. ATLEE BURPEE & CO.: It's not that a vegetable is going to make you money. It's that you're not going to be spending that money in the produce section or the farmer's market or the supermarket. If you spend, say, a hundred dollars on vegetable seeds, you're going to save $2,500, on average, in savings at the supermarket. That's money you can spend on your child's college fund or, you know, buy something, or get the house down payment further advanced.

ROMANS: Saving money, taking control, getting back to basics, and bringing green to your greens.

DAVID ELLIS, AMERICAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY: You're controlling how you're growing it. And often, homegrown produce, which you can pluck right off the vine, is very, is really much tastier than vegetables that have been harvested a couple of weeks ahead in the supermarket.

ROMANS: New gardener Simonson says fresh and pesticide-free produce is what got her gardening in the first place.

KAREN SIMONSON, GARDENER: Having my daughter, I've become a little more conscious about what she eats. And being that she's eight years old right now, I thought it was a good activity for us to do together.

ROMANS: And recession or no, next year they'll do it again.


Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally today, from harvesting food to harvesting energy. This may look like a normal workout. That may look like a normal knee brace. But the technology connected to it is anything but normal. That's because with every step this man takes, he is generating energy! The brace stores it up and transfers it to batteries. About one minute of walking makes enough power for 10 minutes of talking on a normal cell phone.


AZUZ: A walking power generator? Sounds like a big step for technology. We have to hit the road, but the cool thing is, we broadcast on Wednesdays, too, so we hope to see ya then!

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Student News: August 31, 2009

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's the last day of the month, the first day of the week, and for some of you, the start of a new school year. So, welcome to CNN Student News. With your commercial-free source for classroom news, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Japan Election Day

AZUZ: First up, a big shift in political power as Japanese voters weigh in at the ballot box. The Liberal Democratic Party has run Japan's government for decades. Not anymore. Early results from yesterday's parliamentary elections show that the Democratic Party of Japan won in a landslide. The country's current prime minister announced his resignation based on this outcome. That's because the position, which is similar to the U.S. president, is filled by someone from the majority party. Kyung Lah explores some of the reasons behind the transition in Japan's ruling party.



KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the sound of a political earthquake in Japan. A landslide victory for the opposition, the Democratic Party of Japan, booting out the prime minister and his ruling party. Supporters wept as candidates for the Liberal Democratic Party lost seat after seat in the parliament. A crushing defeat for a party that had run Japan's government almost continuously since 1955.

Here at the opposition party headquarters, they're watching the final vote tally to come in. At the end of it, the opposition expects to win Japan's parliament by 3 to 1, a mandate by the voters. A change that's long overdue, says longtime Japan watcher Richard Jerram.

RICHARD JERRAM, MACQUARIE CAPITAL SECURITIES: It's tremendously exciting. You've got a change of government, probably on a lasting basis, for the first time in 50 years. You've got the prospect of changing how they run the government by reducing the bureaucracy and trying to increase the political influence on policymaking. So politically, it's very exciting.

LAH: What led voters to line up at polling places was a sense of frustration over domestic scandals, but more importantly, the economy. Voting for an untested party like the opposition is a sign of how much anger there is about the slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

YOSHIKO SHIRAISHI, VOTER [TRANSLATED]: "I want them to change something," says this voter, punching her card for the opposition.

MASAYUKI NAKAMURA, VOTER [TRANSLATED]: "The money's been going the wrong way," says this man. "I hope the money will now go towards jobs and creating a safety net."

LAH: Voters are now counting on sweeping change to match the sweeping political victory of Japan's new ruling party. Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


Fast Facts

ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for some Fast Facts! When a U.S. Senate seat opens up, how is it filled? It depends on the state. In 37 states, the governor picks the senator's replacement. The remaining 13 states can schedule a special election to replace the senator, but when and how those special elections are held can vary by state. Massachusetts, the state that Senator Ted Kennedy represented, has a special election. It's held 145 to 160 days after the Senate seat becomes vacant.

Replacing Kennedy

AZUZ: It's a situation that's taking place right now after Senator Kennedy's death last week at the age of 77. Funeral services were held in Boston on Saturday. President Obama and the first lady attended, along with past presidents and many of Kennedy's colleagues in the U.S. Senate. People gathered to honor the late senator, both in the streets of Boston and on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Senator Kennedy was laid to rest Saturday evening in Arlington National Cemetery.

We just mentioned how Massachusetts selects a Senate replacement. But recently, someone asked that the state's law be changed: Ted Kennedy. He wanted his seat to be filled quickly. Jessica Yellin looks at why.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Before he died, Sen. Kennedy sent a letter to his state's top officials writing, "I believe it is vital for this commonwealth to have two votes in the Senate." He asked that state law be changed to allow the governor to appoint someone to Kennedy's seat as soon as it became vacant. Massachusetts' new senior senator echoed that request.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: He's asking simply for a temporary ability to appoint someone who will not run, who will not get in the way of other people who want to run, who will be there for a moment only.

YELLIN: Currently, the state is required to hold a special election, which would happen January 19th at the earliest. That's probably too late for a vote on health care reform, the issue Kennedy called "the cause of my life." In this climate, Democrats need every vote they can get. The math is not good. With Kennedy's death, Democrats are one vote shy of a 60 vote super majority. They could try to pass reform using a special tactic called "reconciliation," that requires only 51 votes. But Senator Robert Byrd is ill and top Democrats worry at least six of their own Senators plus independent Joe Lieberman could vote no, depending on the contents of the bill. If they pick up no Republicans and lose all fence sitters, Democrats have barely enough votes to pass health care reform. Massachusetts' governor is pressing lawmakers to change the law and give Democrats that vote.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I'm hoping that the legislature will turn to it and turn to it soon, and if they send me a bill, I will sign it.

YELLIN: State leaders have not made clear whether they favor a temporary appointment, but top national Democrats tell CNN they believe lawmakers will ultimately support it.



TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Snidman's current events classes at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in Ladue, Missouri. How many more space shuttle missions has NASA scheduled? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Three, B) Six, C) Twelve or D) Fifteen? You've got three seconds -- GO! NASA is planning six more shuttle missions, with the last one launching in September 2010. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Shuttle Liftoff

AZUZ: Those six planned trips we mentioned don't include the current mission of the space shuttle Discovery, because it already took off. The shuttle launched just before midnight Friday night, and was scheduled to meet up with the international space station last night. Discovery will be connected to the ISS for eight days, transferring supplies and equipment to the orbiting station. This marks just the second time that thirteen people -- the full crews of Discovery and the ISS -- will be on one spacecraft at the same time.

California Wildfires

AZUZ: Coming back down to Earth, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency because of a raging wildfire in Los Angeles country. This move will help free up resources to help fight the blaze. As of yesterday afternoon, no deaths had been reported, although several people had been injured. The flames are threatening more than 12,000 buildings in the area, forcing thousands of people to evacuate. More than 1,800 firefighters were battling the blaze, which Gov. Schwarzenegger says is one of more than half a dozen wildfires burning across the state.

Jimena Path

AZUZ: Experts say residents in southern California also need to keep an eye on Hurricane Jimena. Yesterday afternoon, the storm was a Category 4, with winds of 135 miles per hour. It was approaching Baja, California, which is actually part of Mexico, and moving through the Pacific Ocean heading north. Jimena is the 10th named storm of the Pacific hurricane season. That's a totally separate list from the Atlantic season, which so far has seen storms like Bill and Danny.

Blog Report

AZUZ: Following up on last Friday's story about schools reducing bus service to save money, here's what some of you guys had to say about it. Katie says "schools have to do whatever it takes to survive in our economy. If it takes budget cuts and fewer school bus stops, then that's what they have to do." But Syera disagrees, writing that "some students might not have rides to school; they should not have to walk. And some students don't own a bike." Janai felt the same way, noting that "not all parents had other options -- besides the bus -- on getting their child to and from school." Thomas wrote this on Facebook: "Cutting busses... Encouraging students to walk to school... It's helping both the environment and improving your health." But back on the blog, Austin said, "You hear about all kinds of money being spent on other somewhat useless things. Can't they give just a little more to the school systems?" Tell us what you think about all this on our blog at And for the blog, please remember, it is first names only.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, trying to set world records can be a slippery slope, especially when it involves an attempt at the world's biggest slip 'n slide. Or slip 'n scoot. Maybe slip 'n crawl. Are you sure you guys know how this is supposed to work? Looks like organizers pulled out all the stops to break the record. They laid out a 575 foot slide, they turned on the water, then they sent 235 people down the hill.


AZUZ: It's just too bad that wasn't enough to break the record. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. You guys have a great day.

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White Wedding: Literal Video #3

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Student News: August 27, 2009

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Crescent City construction, high-tech helmets, and a campsite crasher. They're all coming up on CNN Student News. But first, a political giant passes on.

First Up: Sen. Edward Kennedy

AZUZ: Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who was diagnosed with brain cancer 15 months ago, died Tuesday night at the age of 77. Kennedy was known as the "Lion of the Senate," and during his decades of service, he put together a long resume of accomplishments. The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act: Kennedy played a major role in all of them. Sandra Endo looks back at his life and legacy.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not many little brothers turn into father figures for powerful families. But Edward "Ted" Kennedy was not the typical youngest of nine children. He was only 31 when his big brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. But he was already a year into his first term as a U.S. Senator. He eventually became one of only six Senators to serve more than 40 years. Kennedy was lionized by many Democrats, who saw him as the champion of their ideals.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The reason that he has accomplished more than any of the others who are there, the reason that he has been able to help deliver voting rights and immigration rights and helped people who are vulnerable, is because he fights.

ENDO: He was equally demonized by many conservatives. But despite his predominantly liberal voting record, Kennedy often reached out to Republicans to compromise. Even four decades in, Kennedy's passion and powers of persuasion impressed ideological opposites.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: He remains the single most effective member of the Senate.

ENDO: For many years, however, it seemed as though Kennedy's allegedly wild conduct would overshadow any legislative accomplishments. In 1969, he drove off a bridge, and a young female aide named Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. Kennedy received a suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately.

ENDO: In 1980, Kennedy took on a vulnerable President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination. He lost and focused his energies on the Senate for the next three decades. Kennedy suffered a seizure at his family's Cape Cod compound in may of 2008. An MRI revealed it was caused by the brain tumor that eventually killed him. I'm Sandra Endo, reporting from Washington.


AZUZ: Reaction to Senator Kennedy's death has come in from around the globe. Here in the U.S. President Obama talked about the impact of Kennedy's personality on his political career.

OBAMA: The seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He could passionately battle others and do so peerlessly on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintain warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest Senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.

Money Word

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Here's the deal: Today's Money Word is mortgage. It's a form of debt in which someone owns a property but pays off the entire price of it, plus interest, over time. Put that in your word bank!

New Home Sales

AZUZ: One expert says lower mortgage rates, the amount of interest that homeowners pay, is one of the factors that led to a surprising jump in new home sales. In fact, the number of newly-built houses sold in July was the highest since last September. And it's not the only good news for the housing market. Sales of existing homes, houses that aren't new, are up as well. One economist says the reason for all this is that buyers realize home prices won't stay this low forever.

New Orleans Economy

AZUZ: Construction is helping the entire economy of New Orleans as the city rebuilds from Hurricane Katrina. This coming Saturday marks the 4th anniversary of when the storm, one of the worst in U.S. history, slammed into the Gulf Coast. It caused more than $81 billion in damages. But as Sean Callebs explains, the reconstruction process is offering the city a chance for renewal.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New Orleans has been shielded in the aftermath of Katrina not by levees, it has been an economic buffer. Federal and private money as the city rebuilds. Jazz great Irvin Mayfield recently opened a club in the French Quarter, but he wants to talk about his job as commissioner of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

IRVIN MAYFIELD, NEW ORLEANS REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: Redevelopment is just another word of self-investment to citizens. And I think that passion has always been important to New Orleans. We're now trying to figure out how to transform that passion for music and food into different areas of redevelopment in our neighborhood.

CALLEBS: After Katrina, close to 80,000 homes had to be rebuilt, attracting legions of construction workers. It's helped keep New Orleans' unemployment rate at about 7.2 percent, while the national average is closer to 9 percent. With its hotels and night life, New Orleans has a share of service jobs. For entrepreneurs who are also investing here, finding there are benefits to being in this city. Nic Perkins is CEO of the Receivables Exchange. He could have started his business anywhere.

NIC PERKINS, CEO, THE RECEIVABLES EXCHANGE: Donny from Pennsylvania, Darrell from England, John from Boston.

CALLEBS: New residents know about the problems: crime, a poor education system, the slow pace of rebuilding. But they are convinced the positive outweighs lingering, deep-rooted problems.

PERKINS: We have an operation like this, would be literally five or six or seven times more for us in New York or San Francisco. The quality of life that we have here, you can live in New Orleans exceptionally well under a start-up salary.

CALLEBS: Home prices are up about 1.1 percent from 2008 to 2009. Nationally, they plunged about 10 percent over that same period. New Orleans is a long way from being whole. Entire neighborhoods remain in ruin, and thousands are still displaced.

MAYFIELD: I think a lot of people who see this may say, "Look, you guys have been at this for four years, why isn't this done already?" And I think people need to really understand the volume of things that we have done and we're doing.

CALLEBS: And in many ways, the city has something it couldn't claim four years ago: optimism. In many ways, New Orleans remains a tale of two cities. The central business district, the French Quarter and areas the tourists see are coming back in a big way. However, many outlying areas are still in dire need of repair and revitalization. Sean Callebs, CNN, in New Orleans.



JONES: Time for the Shoutout! What's the scientific term for an abnormally high body temperature? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Hypothermia, B) Hypoglycemia, C) Hyperthermia or D) Hypertension? You've got three seconds -- GO! In Greek, hyperthermia means "high heat," and that's literally what it is: when the body overheats. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

High-Tech Helmet

AZUZ: Football is a fall sport, but you players have been practicing in the summer heat, and that heat can take its toll. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and, heat stroke. That's a form of hyperthermia when your body temperature is over 104 degrees. According to the National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research, 39 football players have died from heat-related causes since 1995. Gary Tuchman tells us about a new technology that could help keep players safer.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA: High school football is back. A big concern for players and coaches this time of year is sweltering temperatures, which can increase the risk of heat stroke and in some cases, death.

MAN ON STREET: It's getting toasty. If we get that cloud cover we'll be all right.

TUCHMAN: To beat the heat, a Georgia company has developed these dime-sized sensors, worn inside players' helmets.

JAY BUCKALEW, HOTHEAD TECHNOLOGIES: What we're trying to do is to just give that early warning alert system that that athlete is getting dangerously close to heat stroke.

TUCHMAN: The sensors constantly monitor the body temperature of a player on the field. Every 10 seconds, updates are sent to a small device carried by coaches or trainers. And if a player exceeds 102.5 degrees for more than 30 seconds, an alert sounds.

PRESTON BAZEMORE, BLESSED TRINITY ATHLETIC TRAINER: We want to prevent the injury before it happens. This is just another tool in our little back pocket that we can use to make sure these kids are participating safely.

TUCHMAN: A few high schools and colleges are using the system this season at a cost of about $100 per player. The technology could also be used by firefighters and military personnel. But for these players, it's safety first, then Friday night lights.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN.



AZUZ: So, do you think players should be required to wear this heat sensor during practice? That's one of the questions in today's Daily Discussion! It's a free resource that helps students talk about the stories in our show, and it includes the Media Literacy Question of the Day. Find it every day at!

Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally, there are some rules when you go camping. One of the big ones? Keep your food locked up, and this is why: a foraging forest dweller. Pretty cool jump coming up right here. And since the coolers were closed, he just grabbed a bag out of the open food locker. Campers scared him away, but he still made off with a mouthful of grub. So, how did the people who lost their food react?


AZUZ: We guess they just had to grin and bear it. Remember to check us out on Facebook -- -- we will see you right back here tomorrow.

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Literal Video Interpretation - Part II

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Student News: August 26, 2009

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Today marks a major milestone in the fight for equal rights. The reason why is coming up in today's edition of CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: H1N1

AZUZ: First up, flu season is just around the corner, and officials are preparing for the return of one specific virus: H1N1, or what's known as swine flu. You probably remember it from back in the spring, when the virus spread around the world and was declared a global pandemic, claiming more than 1,400 lives. A new report is looking at the potential impact of the virus this fall and predicts that it could cause between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths in the U.S.

Now, there are a couple points to keep in mind here. First, those numbers are based on a variety of factors. Second, the report says that the exact impact of H1N1 is impossible to predict. And third, about 40,000 deaths are connected to the regular flu each year. The government is working on an H1N1 vaccine that should be ready by mid-October. And there are some simple things you can do to help prevent it from spreading, like washing your hands regularly, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and staying home from school if you're sick.

South Korea Launch

AZUZ: Moving to South Korea, where the country's space program has suffered a bit of a setback. After years of delays, Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, the nation's first space rocket, lifted off yesterday, carrying a satellite that was supposed to be put in orbit. Only problem: The satellite didn't separate from the rocket when it was supposed to. It ended up overshooting the planned orbit by about 36 miles. Yesterday evening, Korean experts and Russian scientists, who provided the technology for the launch, were working to figure out what went wrong.

I.D. Me

GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a U.S. government organization that was created in 1913. I was established to help make America's financial system more stable. I'm the country's central bank. I'm the Federal Reserve, or Fed, and I'm in charge of the nation's monetary policies.

Federal Reserve Chairman

AZUZ: The man in charge of the Fed is Ben Bernanke. As the Federal Reserve chairman, he's played a big role in the government's response to the economic crisis, and how he responded is part of the reason why President Obama says he'll nominate Bernanke for a second term as fed chairman. Jim Boulden checks out the report card on Bernanke's first term.


BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: It's been a particular privilege for me to serve with the extraordinary colleagues throughout the Federal Reserve system.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tuesday's announcement may have come in the midst of summer vacation, but Ben Bernanke's time as Federal Reserve chief has been no picnic.

BERNANKE: I, Ben F. Bernanke...

BOULDEN: Firstly, he had to follow in the footsteps of a legend in 2006, at a time when Alan Greenspan was credited with an unprecedented boom in the U.S. economy. Then Bernanke was tasked with having to clean up the mess of an economic crisis. In 2007, critics pounced when Bernanke made this statement after the American mortgage market started to falter:

BERNANKE: We do not expect significant spillovers from the sub-prime market to the rest of the economy or the financial system.

BOULDEN: In fact, the spillover was the worst since the Great Depression. Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, General Motors: the U.S. economic landscape changed forever. So, how does financial analyst Todd Benjamin rate Bernanke's first term?

BOULDEN: Think of an old American report card, where A is very good and E is failure. Where would you place Bernanke for the first three years?

TODD BENJAMIN, FINANCIAL ANALYST: Well look, I think if you were dealing early on in his term, you'd probably give him let's say a D, alright? But early on, because he didn't realize the severity of the sub-prime crisis. But you know, the job he is doing now, you've got to give him a B+, and probably an A- or maybe even an A, because he took the economy from the brink. It's getting back on track.

The big challenge for Ben Bernanke going forward, I'm not saying in the next six months, maybe not even in the next year, but in the next four years, is going to be his exit strategy. How does he reign in all this liquidity that they've got out there? Because there is oceans of it.

BOULDEN: Critics often say that the Fed was too interventionist, that the political aims of the White House influenced the Fed. But to anyone who might have wanted Bernanke replaced, supporters say what would have been the alternative? Jim Boulden, CNN, London.



TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Snidman's current events classes at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in Ladue, Missouri. Which U.S. constitutional amendment guarantees women the right to vote? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it the: A) 18th Amendment, B) 19th Amendment, C) 20th Amendment or D) 21st Amendment? You've got three seconds -- GO! Women's suffrage, or the right to vote, is guaranteed by the 19th Amendment. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Women's Equality Day

AZUZ: It takes a lot of people to turn an idea like women's suffrage into an amendment. The House, the Senate and three-fourths of the states all have to pass the Bill. But it also takes a lot of effort, not just by lawmakers, but by the rest of us. When it comes to equality, the end result is worth the work.


AZUZ: During an election, it'd be bizarre to drive by a public polling station and see only men lined up to vote. But until 1920, men were the only people allowed to vote! Extending that right to women was once considered a "radical change" to the U.S. Constitution, so it took decades of marches, protests, parades and vigils until women achieved that change.

That's why today is recognized as Women's Equality Day, commemorating women's struggles to get the vote and their overall fight for equality in America. Why August 26th? Because that's the day ratification of the 19th Amendment was certified in 1920.

Section one: "The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Sounds simple, but for those who fought for it, it was a milestone.


Donating Dragster

AZUZ: Shifting gears now to the world of drag racing, where cars can go from zero to 100 miles per hour in less than one second! In that same amount of time, a devastating crash changed Darrell Gwynn from the king of the road to a former dragster driver. But as John Zarrella explains, Gwynn still takes inspiration from his life's work on wheels.


JOHN ZARELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The walls are covered in a montage of racing memories.

DARRELL GWYNN, FORMER DRAG RACING CHAMPION: This is the race everybody dreams of winning.

ZARELLA: Twenty years ago, Darrell Gywnn was a rock star in the world of drag racing. If you knew anything about the sport, you knew Darrell Gwynn.

GWYNN: This is probably one of my most memorable wins. It was my last win: the 1990 Gator Nationals.

ZARELLA: His last because that same month, Gywnn's dragster came apart in a ball of flames during an exhibition in England. He lost his left arm and was paralyzed.

GWYNN: The worst thing that kind of haunts me today is just the fact that I can relive every single second, moment.

ZARELLA: But Gwynn won't allow those memories to consume his life. Today, wheels do.

GWYNN: That's a natural, you know? My whole career has been about wheels.

ZARELLA: Wheels that he gives to others.

GWYNN: Do you like your chair?

ZARELLA: Chad Russell is severely handicapped. His old wheelchair constantly broke and didn't fit him right. His insurance wouldn't cover an upgrade. At the Daytona Speedway, Chad received his new, custom power chair courtesy of the Darrell Gywnn Foundation.

GWYNN: This feels like we've won the race today.

TINA RUSSELL, CHAD RUSSELL'S MOTHER: It's gonna make a huge, huge difference in his life, be able to make him a lot more independent.

ZARELLA: Over the past seven years since it began, Gwynn's foundation has donated to children and young adults in need more than sixty custom wheelchairs.

GWYNN: We felt with our niche in the sport and the people we knew, we could start helping those people.

ZARELLA: Many of auto racing's top drivers help raise money for Gwynn's foundation, which has brought in more than three and a half million dollars. For Gwynn, the victories don't come anymore in four and a half seconds at 290 miles an hour. Today, victories are recorded in smiles. John Zarrella, CNN, Davie, Florida.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, it can be a pain sometimes to find a parking space. So why not let the lot do it for you? That's the plan behind this parking garage in Portland, Oregon. No one has to search for a spot. You just pull in and let the robo-parking attendant go to work. It uses lifts to stack the cars on three different levels, so 30 cars can park in what would normally be a 10-car garage.


AZUZ: Sounds like a wheel space saver. That puts the brakes on today's program. CNN Student News returns tomorrow. I'm Carl Azuz.
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Student News: August 25, 2009

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Your commercial-free source for classroom news is pondering probes, planets and pumas! I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now.

First Up: Interrogation Report

AZUZ: First up, the U.S. government launches an investigation into methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency to question suspects. Attorney General Eric Holder, the country's top law enforcement officer, said he knew it would raise controversy when he announced the investigation yesterday, but he's seen enough information to move forward.
That information comes from a report written by the CIA in 2004 about the techniques used by some of its agents. Former President George W. Bush authorized what were called "enhanced interrogation" methods after the September 11th attacks. Those methods were used on suspected terrorists. The CIA report refers to some of the techniques that were used as unauthorized. Attorney General Holder's investigation is looking into whether or not the interrogations were illegal. The CIA says it didn't endorse any behavior that went outside the bounds of official guidelines.

Holder says this investigation will not focus on the people who carried out the questioning, who were following the guidance of the Bush administration. The second most powerful person in that administration, Vice President Dick Cheney, says that the interrogation methods and the program as a whole were needed to keep the country safe.

FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people.

AZUZ: Attorney General Holder is also considering the country's safety, and says the investigation won't pose a threat to it.

U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, ERIC HOLDER: We will not be doing anything that would endanger the American people or in some way lessen our national security.

New Interrogation

AZUZ: In the meantime, President Obama is making a change when it comes to who handles the questioning of suspected terrorists. That responsibility is shifting from the CIA to the FBI and a special unit of terrorist interrogators. The change is based on a recommendation of a task force that the president created after he took office. The new unit will make sure that future interrogations meet certain restrictions outlined in a U.S. Army manual.

Is this Legit?

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? There are officially nine planets in our solar system. Not legit! According to the International Astronomical Union, there are eight planets, after Pluto was downgraded three years ago.

AZUZ: Two U.S. states -- Illinois and New Mexico -- have voted to re-instate Pluto's status as a planet. Three years ago, the International Astronomical Union voted that Pluto was a dwarf planet, and that knocked it off the list of official planets. So, what is a planet? One: it orbits the sun. Two: it must be nearly round. Three: there can't be other objects in its path. That last one was the sticking point; Pluto's orbit has ice and rocks in its path. Other scientists argue that any round object that orbits the sun should be a planet, and that would include Pluto.

Iraq Dust Storms

AZUZ: Moving from planets to plant life, or the lack of it. It's a problem in parts of Iraq, and it's being caused by a process called desertification. That's when plants and soil dry up and the land turns into a desert. Arwa Damon examines the impact that this is having in the Middle Eastern nation, not just on the plants, but on the people.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a typical dust storm: the unnatural and eerie orange glow, minimal visibility as suffocating tiny particles stirred up by desert winds descend on the people, causing obvious respiratory health concerns. Over the last few years, the frequency and intensity of these storms have increased, and experts say that's an indication of a much more ominous problem: the desertification of Iraq.

FADHIL FARAJI, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE: "This is a real catastrophe," Fadhil Faraji of Iraq's agriculture ministry says, "because this crisis threatens food security in this country."

DAMON: Iraq was among the region's most fertile areas thanks to the flowing rivers of the Euphrates and the Tigris. But take a look at the Tigris today: it's anything but flowing. In fact, no one who we have spoken to has ever seen its levels this low. Jawad Khadim and his father take us on a tour of their once fertile land, which has been in the family for generations. They show us their now dying crops.

JAWAD KADHIM, FARMER: "The risk with the increase of desertification," he explains, "is that farmers will leave their farms and start looking for new jobs."

DAMON: Their farm, for example, only produces around 50 percent of what it used to, barely enough to feed and clothe this extended family of 45 that relies on these lands.

KADHIM GAZI, FARMER: "There has been no rain in the past three years," Khadim's father tells us, "and we've had more sandstorms. We've never experienced weather this bad."

DAMON: Iraq's agriculture ministry estimates that 90 percent of the country's lands now produce unprofitable food.

FARAJI: "When there is a food shortage," Faraji warns, "people will turn to other methods to get what they need, and that includes violence."



JONES: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm an island nation that's located in the Caribbean Sea. I was settled by Spain, but I got my independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. My capital city is Kingston. I'm Jamaica! And I'm home to around 2.8 million people, including the fastest man in the world!

Bolt Mania

AZUZ: It's like he's got lightning in his shoes. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the "fastest man in the world," recently set two new records at the Berlin World Championships. Bolt bolted 100 meters in 9.58 seconds, 200 meters in 19.19 seconds - I don't think I drive that fast. And while he was in Berlin, Fred Pleitgen found out that Bolt's shoes are seeing success both on the track and in the bank.


PEOPLE ON THE STREET: Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a one-man show. Fans lined up for hours at this Puma flagship store to meet the fastest man in the world. Bolt mania in Berlin.

USAIN BOLT, FASTEST MAN IN THE WORLD: I think it is all my hard work and dedication. I'm really dedicated to being a champion. I want to be a legend. So, I have to work really hard if I want to be a champion. So, I'm just doing that and that's it.

PLEITGEN: How about this for legendary: Berlin dedicated an original piece of the infamous Berlin Wall to Bolt to be displayed in his homeland, Jamaica.

BOLT: It's definitely it's an honor. I got my face painted all over it. I'm going to put it in front of my house if I can get it there. I'm looking for that. It was an honor getting a piece of the wall.

PLEITGEN: Many are trying to grab a piece of the pie. There's the Jamaican tourism board, and Puma's Jamaica collection is flying off the shelves. Usain Bolt's big success means big money for his sponsor Puma. You have the Usain Bolt hoodie shirt, a whole Jamaica collection, including t-shirts, and the Usain Bolt shoes, which are sold out in almost every store.

JOCHEN ZEITZ , CEO, PUMA: He's not just an athlete, he's just an amazing personality, which I think for the first time gives a great opportunity to promote an athlete beyond his sport. He's about fun, he's about the Jamaican lifestyle, and that's something that we're also trying to incorporate into our collections.

PLEITGEN: Puma believes Bolt's advertising value goes into the hundreds of millions. Even Bolt's dad says he's never seen so many people sport Jamaica's colors outside Jamaica.

WELLESLEY BOLT, USAIN BOLT'S FATHER: That surprises me. Everybody wants to be Jamaican now.

PLEITGEN: But Puma may want to watch out. Head hunters are prowling their star athlete, even at this Puma event. Listen:

MAN ON THE STREET: Here is a million dollar contract for you. We will make a million dollar contract. Here's my contacts for a German company. Here's my contacts, an advertising contract we would make.

PLEITGEN: Bolt seemed less than interested, but for a man who can mobilize the masses like this, other offers are sure to follow.

BOLT: Yes, yes this is a good one.

PLEITGEN: Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.



AZUZ: If you teachers want to have a Shoutout dedicated to your class, and we know that a lot of you do. Make yourself stand out. Send us an iReport. You can see how at Include a picture of yourself, your class or your school. It's easy to do, and it might get you a dedicated Shoutout on our show.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, you might dream about showing up to your class reunion in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Any exhotic set of wheels. This guy decided he only needed two wheels - old school. But his wheels still impressed all his former classmates, especially since he rode them 800 miles to get there! Oliver Seikel -- that is really his name -- he biked from Cleveland, Ohio to Boston, Massachusetts for his 50th college reunion just to prove to himself he wasn't getting old.


AZUZ: Normally, we'd make a pun here, but how can you top a biker who's name is cycle? Even if you tried, the wheels would just come off. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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Remember this video?

It was a great video 20 years ago, but it's even better with a literal interpretation.

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Home Again

Hi everyone. I was out of the country for two weeks so that's why you haven't seen any posts recently. Now that I'm home, I'll be posting regularly again very soon!

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Don't Eat the Marshmallow!

I'm here because I have a very important message. I think we have found the most important factor for success. And it was found close to here, Stanford. Psychology professor took kids that were four years old and put them in a room all by themselves. And he would tell the child, a four year old kid, "Johnny, I am going to leave you here with a marshmallow, for 15 minutes. If after I come back this marshmallow is here, you will get another one. So you will have two." To tell a four year old kid to wait 15 minutes for something that they like, is equivalent to telling us, "We'll bring you coffee in two hours." (Laughter) Exact equivalent.

So what happened when the professor left the room? As soon as the door closed... two out of three ate the marshmallow. Five seconds, 10 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, two minutes, four minutes, eight minutes. Some lasted 14 and a half minutes. (Laughter) Couldn't do it. Could not wait. What's interesting is that one out of three would look at the marshmallow and go like this ... Would look at it. Put it back. They would walk around. They would play with their skirts and pants.

That child already, at four, understood the most important principle for success. Which is the ability to delay gratification. Self discipline, the most important factor for success. 15 years later, 14 or 15 years later, follow-up study. What did they find? They went to look for these kids who were now 18 and 19. And they found that 100 percent of the children that had not eaten the marshmallow were successful. They had good grades. They were doing wonderful. They were happy. They had their plans. They had good relationships with the teachers, students. They were doing fine.

A great percentage of the kids that ate the marshmallow, they were in trouble. They did not make it to university. They had bad grades. Some of them dropped out. A few were still there with bad grades. A few had good grades.

I had a question in my mind: Would Hispanic kids react the same way as the American kids? So I went to Colombia. And I reproduced the experiment. And it was very funny. I used four, five and six years old kids. And let me show you what happened.


So what happened in Colombia? Hispanic kids, two out of three ate the marshmallow. One out of three did not. This little girl was interesting. She ate the inside of the marshmallow. (Laughter) In other words, she wanted us to think that she had not eaten it, so she would get two. But she ate it. So we know she'll be successful. But we have to watch her. (Laughter) She should not go into banking, for example, or work at a cash register. But she will be successful.

And this applies for everything. Even in sales. The sales person that -- The customer says, "I want that." And the person says, "Okay, here you are." That person ate the marshmallow. If the sales person says, "Wait a second. Let me ask you a few questions to see if this is a good choice." Then you sell a lot more. So this has applications in all walks of life.

I end with -- the Koreans did this. You know what? This is so good That we want a marshmallow book for children. We did one for children. And now it is all over Korea. They are teaching these kids exactly this principle. And we need to learn that principle here in the States. Because we have a big debt. We are eating more marshmallows than we are producing. Thank you so much.

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TOEFL TV: Reading Tip

Ok basically when you are taking your TOEFL test, generally in the reading part you take a long time trying to read from top to bottom of the reading. What you need to do is read the last paragraph of the reading and then read the first one. Then read the whole reading and you will see that it is very easy to complete all of the questions. This is anticipation. When you anticipate every single thing that you do in reading, you are creating schema in your brain and you can process the reading faster. This is my experiential learning process. Thank you.

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