Five by 8 – 6/28/10: A year of war

A year in the life of a soldier, litter and the Friday floods, why you should care about the Boeing 787, biking across America, the secret of ‘Psycho.’


The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) The New York Times, predictably, has produced one of the finest pieces of online journalism we’ve seen in awhile. Over the next year, it will follow the members of First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division. “I’m worried I won’t be the same when I get back,” one says. It’s also inviting members of the military to submit their own stories. It’s no secret, perhaps, that many people in the digital world are so jealous of the New York Times. This series, A Year at War, is why.

2) Why did the streets flood in Minneapolis on Friday night? OK, rain; I’ll give you that one. But John Hoff, writing on the blog, Adventures of Johnny Northside has another reason: Slobs. People who throw trash everywhere.


First of all, many of the storm gutters were clogged with crap, and did not drain effectively. Leaves and sticks could have and should have been cleared by the city sooner, I’ll admit, but it’s hard to blame the city for all those (expletive) Flaming Hot Cheeto bags casually tossed into the streets by the perpetual litterbug thugs who pretty much live on the corner all day, eating junk food, and engaging in their independent recreational pharmaceutical sales to passing cars. Even the crews of kids in yellow shirts who go around picking up the litter can barely keep up with the waste stream. This stuff clogs up the storm drains.

Meanwhile, WCCO’s Jason DeRusha experienced the weather up close when his house was hit by lightning.

3) Why should you care about how the new Boeing 787 is built? Here’s why: It’s not made out of aluminum. It’s made of composite material — carbon fiber and epoxy. There’s considerable debate over whether you could survive a crash in a composite airplane that you might be able to survive in a metal one. The Seattle Times has details of tests submitted to the FAA, which is nearly ready to certify for carrying passengers:

In 2005, as design of the Dreamliner advanced, a previously undisclosed Boeing analysis showed a crash that is survivable in a largely metal 777 would be deadly in a 787: The impact would shatter the bottom of the 787 fuselage and deliver a jolt severe enough to kill all the passengers.

Boeing changed the design following the tests, but there’s still concern that we won’t know how the jet holds up to a crash, until one crashes.

4) America is big. That’s the conclusion so far from one of four British firefighters who are halfway through their bicycle ride across the country — assuming North Mankato is halfway. They’re attempting to ride from Oregon to New York in 49 days to raise money for families of firefighters killed in the line of duty. The surprise here is their impressive mission has a relatively small goal: $49,000. They made it to Mankato on Saturday. They hit Worthington on Friday.

There’s another cross-country fundraiser by bike going on. A California teen is riding to Washington. He has another impression of the country. “It’s really hot,” he said.

5) A former colleague has penned a fascinating unveiling of the secrets of Psycho. Anthony Perkins was nowhere near the set when the famous shower scene was filmed:


Perkins added that the director, in effect, broke his own long-standing rule with that decision. “He was outspokenly eager to not play any tricks on the audience in his films, to do anything that couldn’t be thought of as fair play, but in that instance, he in fact did. The guy he chose, from the ‘extra’ pool, was very unlike the silhouette of Norman Bates, as played by me. So in a way, Hitchcock didn’t exactly play by the book when he cast someone else in that scene.”

Bonus: I suspect more images will come in during the day, but here’s the current A Weekend in the Life of Minnesota project results.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings begin today, and Republicans have promised the process will be “vigorous.” What do you want to hear from Elena Kagan?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: While Gen. David Petraeus is expected to win Senate approval as Afghanistan commander, he could face tough questions about the direction of the war at his confirmation hearings.

Second hour: The Kagan Supreme Court hearings

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Both hours: Live coverage of the Senate confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.

(The hearings will probably pre-empt TOTN on MPR, but it will be webcast on the NPR Web site)

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: After Arizona passed its stringent new immigration law, several other states consider similar measures. Host Neal Conan looks at why.

Second hour: Jonathan Weine talks about his new book, “Long

For This World: The Strange Science of Immortality”.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - There are several Native American candidates for state House and Senate this year, as well as local county board. MPR’s Tom Robertson has the story.

New legislation requires the state to create statewide physical education standards. Why does the state need PE standards? Senior dodgeball correspondent Tom Weber will have the answer.

Note: I’ll be off for personal business on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Several people will pitch in to help keep News Cut afloat.