Five at 8 – 12/10/09: Flight 188 mystery solved?

1) CBS claims it may have solved the mystery of Flight 188, the Northwest flight that overshot its intended Minneapolis destination because the two pilots were “distracted.” The report out of Denver says the pilots were talking to controllers in Canada.

My take: The possiblity that the pilots set their radios to the wrong frequency makes more sense than any other excuse we’ve heard so far. That happens all the time. But it doesn’t explain why such a mistake would lead a flight to be out of communication for an hour. It only takes a minute for a controller to say, “You’re on the wrong frequency, bub.”

There’s more heat than light here, especially considering how many of the TV reports on the incident (“they were sleeping,” or “they were actually out of contact for three hours” etc.) have been discredited. This might be a piece of the puzzle. But it’s not the puzzle.

2) The official snowfall total at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport: 7.4″. That makes Patrick Hammer of KSTP the winner of the first leg (of what, apparently will be many) of News Cut’s Golden Snowball Challenge. He predicted 7.5″ of snowfall under the rules (available here). So after the first leg, here are the current standings.

Meteorologist
Prediction
Points
Patrick Hammer (KSTP)
7.5"
10
Paul Huttner (MPR)
7"
8
Augustyniak, Mike (WCCO)
8.5"
-5
National Weather Service
9"
-5
Moldenhauer, Don (Bring Me The News)
6"
-5
Marler, Keith (KMSP)
5.5"
-5
Douglas, Paul (MinnPost)
10"
-8

We need a logo for this thing. Volunteers?

3) Former Minnesota high school basketball standout Royce White, now a troubled and suspended University of Minnesota basketball non-player, promised a YouTube video that would explain, perhaps, what’s been going on with the reigning “Mr. Basketball.”

“The Real Royce White Story” From me, Coming 12am now, World Premier, 100% truth since nobody else wants to tell it the right, I invite the whole facebook to watch it. I’m Back!!!’” he wrote on is Facebook page.

The resulting video — if authentic — says nothing of the sort:

White has pleaded guilty to shoplifting and assault charges stemming from an at the Mall of America.

4) It’s been more than a year since the collapse of the economy. What has been done to fix the problem? Almost nothing, says Andrew Ross Sorkin.

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At the same time, opponents of regulation are sounding the alarm. “But in reality the ‘Wall Street reform’ bill isn’t about them,” the Wall St. Journal says. “Instead the bill threatens to impose a massive tax on America’s most successful companies by subjecting them to bank-style regulation.”

Meanwhile, Congress is working on settling the great NCAA football playoff crisis.

5) Embrace Winter (continued): How to build a backyard ice rink (like this one in Richfield):

I like this one better, however.

Bonus: One man’s quest to improve the taste of milk: Let the cows out!

TODAY’S QUESTION

The storm that swept through Minnesota and the Upper Midwest transformed the landscape, snarled traffic and changed human plans in untold ways. What was your most memorable moment in this week’s snowstorm?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The discovery of Asian carp DNA near Lake Michigan has ecologists and officials from Great Lakes states concerned that efforts to prevent the voracious fish from entering the lakes have failed. The Asian carp is one example of an invasive species that can have a devastating impact on the environment, but one biologist says not all invasive species need to be eradicated.

Second hour: The most reliably showy meteor shower of the year comes around on Sunday (Dec. 13) and Monday (Dec. 14). Astronomer Ken Croswell talks about meteor showers and the continuing controversy over Pluto, which was declassified as a planet in 2006.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Sen. Al Franken discusses health care reform, the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, political scientiest Steven Smith gives Congress a year-end report card.

Second hour: President Obama’s speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Should Barack Obama have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

Second hour: Stories of family members reconnecting after falling out of touch with one another.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MnSCU and U of M officials are looking apprehensively at the state’s budget deficit, knowing they’re likely to bear some portion of it. They say it will be hard to do without raising tuition. What’s the forecast? MPR’s Tim Post will have a look.

Two Minnesota natives who have created a franchise showing cheesy videos recovered from dumpsters, come through with this years selection including a soul-scarring video-dating service from the ’80s. Does that sound Euan Kerr material? It is.