The sole survivors (5×8 – 8/16/12)

Living with ‘why me,’ selling eggs to fly, is college worth it, Rushford’s flying lawn chair squadron, and reinventing the toilet.


1) LIVING WITH ‘WHY ME?’

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Twenty-five years ago today, a Northwest Airlines flight crashed on takeoff in Detroit. One-hundred-fifty-four people on the plane were killed, as were two on the ground. There was only one survivor: Cecelia Cichan. Her father and mother, as well as six-year-old brother were killed. She was just four and has never talked publicly about the crash — one of the worst in U.S. history — until now.

“I never go a day without thinking about the people on Flight 255,” she says in a documentary about sole survivors. “It’s kind of hard not to think about it. When I look in the mirror, I have visual scars.”

She was married a few years ago. Among those who attended her wedding was the firefighter who found her in the plane’s wreckage.

2) WILL SELL EGGS TO FLY

There are a lot of things wrong with this country, and a lot of people who couldn’t get through the day without dwelling on them, but it’s still a place where a kid can sell 1,397 eggs, buy a ride on a B-17 and meet the last man to walk on the moon.

Here’s a little more background on the kid

More enterprising kids: Illinois teen’s invention helps school buses run more efficiently. (Midwest Energy News)

3) IS COLLEGE WORTH IT?

College is supposed to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier. But how does it do it? A lot of kids in college don’t see the payoff. Freakonomics Radio tackles the subject, including with several Minnesota students…

4) THE FLYING LAWN CHAIR SQUADRON

It’s been awhile since we’ve provided one of Steve Russell’s fabulous videos from his flights over southeastern Minnesota. He posted a new one this week.

5) REINVENTING THE TOILET

What if your toilet helped generate electricity in your home? Bill Gates hosted a “toilet fair” this week in Seattle, showcasing the designs and working prototypes of eight design finalists from around the world, Mashable reports. The challenge is to create a toilet that doesn’t use water or pipes.


The winning toilet came from California Institute of Technology, receiving $100,000 for its model of a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity. The second place toilet, hailing from the UK”s Loughborough University receives $60,000 for its toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals and clean water. The third prize winner, from the University of Toronto, receives $40,000 for its toilet that sanitizes human waste.

Bonus I: What would it take to get you to stash your smartphone when dining at a restaurant? A restaurant in Los Angeles is taking 5 percent off the tab for people who check their phone at the door. (h/t: Chris Worthington)

Bonus II: Gary Eichten and Cokie Roberts. Talking politics.

Bonus III: Blogger v. Progressive Insurance. There may be legal standing, but this story is an example of what happens when a blog post picks up steam.

TODAY’S QUESTION

A media campaign by a group of former U.S. intelligence and Special Forces operatives admonishes President Obama for taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden. A video released by the group tells the president to “shut up” because high-level leaks are putting U.S. forces at risk. Today’s Question: Is it fair game in politics to accuse the president of a security breach?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Obama’s energy policy.

Second hour: Do the national political conventions still matter?

Third hour: A new learning model for third-year medical students.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A Chautauqua Lecture by Lawrence Lessig about the influence of money in politics. He’s the author of “Republic, Lost.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Aging in America.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Like judges a century ago, District Judge Jerry Seibel rides a circuit, sometimes overseeing criminal proceedings in as many as seven counties in a month. But often he doesn’t have to leave his chambers in Morris MN. Interactive television that lets him conduct criminal hearings, see witnesses and remotely issue orders for protection is making better use of time for scarce judges and saving time and money for law enforcement and defendants alike. MPR’s Jennifer Vogel will have the story.

What can be worse than a ruptured pipeline of crude oil? A ruptured pipeline of tarsands oil. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of the thick, sticky and sandy oil spilled in Michigan two years ago. And that disaster serves as a cautionary tale for many states in a new pipeline’s path. NPR will report.

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