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Severe Winter Weather in American Southeast; Babies and Morality

Aired February 13, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: From the snowbound southeast, I`m Carl Azuz with CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`ve got some interesting info today on winter weather, and we`re starting in the district that`s pretty used to it. The District of Columbia. Congress has raised the roof on the U.S. debt limit. Currently, the national debt is $17.2 trillion. What lawmakers did is suspend the limit. They didn`t raise it to a specific dollar figure. They just voted to allow the government to continue borrowing money. However much it believes it needs to borrow until March of 2015. The bipartisan policy center estimates the government will add about a trillion more dollars to the debt between now and then. The House of Representatives passed this plan on Tuesday. The Senate passed it yesterday. President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

The story here at the American southeast can be summed up in this headline and the ice that covers it. The Georgia capital virtually shut down by winter weather two weeks ago, it`s getting hit with another snow and ice storm. We`d show you what that looks like from our roof here at CNN, but this is the current view from our tower cam, so you see why that wouldn`t work. It`s a relatively rare event for this part of the country. You can see the line of freezing precipitation curling up the eastern seaboard yesterday, expected to last through Thursday from the South to Maryland and Delaware.

Atlanta was expecting three to five inches of accumulation. Charlotte, North Carolina, up to ten inches. Parts of Virginia, 14 inches. Roads were closed, schools and businesses were closed, church and entertainment events canceled. Emergency workers were doing all they could to keep people safe. With winter advisory stretched over 22 states.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not kidding. We`re not just crying wolf. It is serious business.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Weather-related incidents killed at least five people including three in Texas and two in Mississippi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re facing an icing event that is very unusual for the metropolitan (ph) region in the state of Georgia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officials say once you get past a quarter-inch of ice, power lines are in big trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re talking about places seeing even upward of an inch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And officials warn those power outages could be widespread. Look at that. It`s like a ghost town in the entire city of Atlanta.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sleet, ice and snow canceling thousands of flights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your batteries out to get your flashlights out, to get your transistor radio out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wherever you are, you need to plan on stand there for a while.


AZUZ: One major danger here is ice. Part of the reason so many flights were canceled is because ice coats airplane wings, disrupting in the way air flows over them, hindering their ability to fly. Pilots can`t land on it, just like drivers without tire chains can`t drive on it. Ice coats trees, weighing them down and branches eventually break, taking out power lines as they fall. Almost half of million Americans were in the dark, many without heat yesterday. Utility company said they expected more to lose power as precipitation continued.

Some folks ask, why we don`t bury power lines to get them out of the way. For one thing, it could cost about six times more than suspending them above the ground. It takes a long time to do, and when underground power lines fail, it takes longer to fix them.

Another winter danger in areas that get a lot of snow, avalanches. The snowmobiler who captured this on his helmet cam, says he was pushed about 100 feet. He made it out OK.

When officials know the conditions are right for an avalanche, one that way they can deal with it, is by setting off explosives, causing an intended controlled avalanche. But they can`t keep tabs on every mountainside people will visit. And six people have recently been killed in avalanches in Colorado, Oregon and Utah. In the back country, remote areas where skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers enjoy untouched powder, the snow isn`t groomed. It may not be monitored. The danger is higher, so the need for emergency equipment is higher.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A back country ski outing in Switzerland that is about to turn into a horrifying experience. Christopher Carlson, who was wearing a helmet cam, came very close to documenting his own death. It`s an avalanche. He`s buried about five feet under the snow, unable to move.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carlson is hoping the skiers he was with, find him before he suffocates.

And they do. He`s a very lucky man.

On the average, in the U.S., 28 people die each year from avalanches, often with hundreds of tons of snow plummeting down the mountain. I skied at Colorado`s Copper Mountain with one of the top avalanche experts in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are the conditions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good for skiing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ethan Greene is the director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. His state agency`s responsibility in part, to forecast the probability of avalanches.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he takes me away from the resort and into the back country, where most avalanches occur to learn about the three essentials for back country skiers.

GREENE: beacon, probe, shovel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (on camera): beacon, probe, shovel.

GREENE: That`s right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are the three things you have to have with you.

GREENE: That`s right.


GREENE: We all put on one of this and turn them on, so they are transmitting. They are sending out a signal and then later in the day, if you get buried in an avalanche, I`ll be able to set mine to receive, pick up your signal and locate you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The probe and the shovel.

GREENE: Yeah. This is a three meter probe poll. So what this allows me to do, is once I get your general location with the beacon, I can pinpoint you with this probe and then use the shovel to dig down to the tip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): There`s also this fourth (inaudible). And that can keep you above the rampaging snow threatening to bury you. The airbag pack.


AZUZ: Time for "The Shoutout." Which of these words is a synonym for morality? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it vitriol, rectitude, mortality or acrimonious. You`ve got three seconds, go!

Call it rectitude, morality or virtue, but it all has to do with choosing right over wrong. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

If you`ve spent any time around babies, so we are talking children three to six months in age, you know they can express themselves. Smiling when happy, crying when - well, whenever. But do they know right from wrong? Good from bad? Do babies have a sense of morality? A scientist at Yale University says psychologists have long felt that babies knew nothing in that area. One study is changing that, but there is a caveat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These babies at Yale University`s Infant Cognition Center are here to watch a puppet show. A show designed to illustrate examples of good and band behavior. Watch as this puppet struggles to open a box. A green bunny comes along and helps to open the box. Green bunny is nice and helpful. Then, an orange bunny comes along and slams the box shut. The orange bunny is mean and unhelpful. But what does this mean to six-months old and three months old babies? After repeated shows, they are presented with two puppets. The nice green bunny and the mean orange bunny. Which one will they choose?

Over 80 percent of babies like the nice puppet. So we see babies recognizing good and bad characters. But do they then try to avoid the bad guy? The good bunny has one graham cracker, the bad bunny has two. Which one will the babies choose? Over 80 percent of babies will take one cracker from the nice guy avoiding the mean guy, even though he has one more cracker.

But if the mean guy has eight crackers, and the nice guy just one cracker? Now, which one will the baby choose? 65 percent of babies will take the crackers from the mean guy. According to the study, more crackers means more willingness to overlook dealing with the bad guy.


AZUZ: No bunnies, but plenty of birds in today`s CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call." Watching us with eagle eyes from Lancaster, California, the Lancaster High School Eagles are on today`s roll. Flying north for the winter, we`ve got the Cardinals of Fairmount Junior Senior High School. Hello to everyone in Fairmount, Minnesota. And we`ll fly down the Mississippi River to get a bird`s eye view of the blue jays. Glad you`re watching in Liberty, Missouri.

Wail now. Here`s something you don`t see every day. Sky diver was taking a camera along for the ride, but the camera apparently jumped before the sky diver, falling out of the plane. The sky diver never found it, but somebody did. A person who owns this pig pen says the camera was found with this footage on it eight months after it fell from the sky. The proof posted on YouTube. For the skydiver, it was one trough break. It`s a poor sign of camera handling. For the animal, no pig deal. For the rest of us, pretty oink credible. But that probably won`t happen again until pigs fly. You knew we`d be bacon up some puns. It`s inporcent to me because I`ve always been kind of a ham. It eats up our time for today, but CNN STUDENT NEWS will be back on camera tomorrow. I`m Carl Azuz.