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tv   Teen Kids News  NBC  April 14, 2012 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT

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learning how to kick flip 6 stairs takes determination. so will getting into college. i've got what it takes. so do you. >> here's what's happening on "teen kids news." >> asteroids -- we're bombarded by them all the time. i'll report on nasa's efforts to make sure we don't get hit by a big one. >> greek gods, hidden tunnels, and world war ii spies -- they're all part of the nation's largest train terminal. join us as we take a tour. >> i'll tell you why kansas owes a lot to louisiana. >> when it comes to plastic bags, is your family following the three "r's"? >> and we're just getting started, so stay tuned.
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>> welcome to "teen kids news." i'm mwanzaa. >> and i'm livia. here's our top story for this week. >> scientists call them "neos" -- near-earth objects. they're asteroids and comets that might someday be on a course to collide with our planet. it might sound like a movie plot, but tyler tells us that nasa takes neos very seriously. in fact, all should. >> so, do you worry that something from outer space may crash into the earth? >> i think the chances are pretty slim. >> sometimes, like when i'm daydreaming in the middle of history class. >> no. i don't worry about something from outer space crashing into the earth. >> i don't worry about it a lot because i feel like we would have had a lot of warning fr a lot of people and on the news, so i don't think that it's much
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to worry about. >> the universe isn't quite as empty as it seems. icy comets and rocky asteroids have been hurtling through space since time began. they're formed and propelled by explosions, collisions, and gravity. and they can be gigantic. this asteroid is 36 miles across. that's almost as wide as the state of rhode island. fortunately, most of these celestial wanderers are a lot smaller. >> pebble-sized objects hit the atmosphere on a daily basis. that's what you see when you see a shooting star. basketball-sized objects hit the earth's atmosphere a couple times a day, and if you're lucky enough to see one, it'll be a fireball event, but they don't cause any damage. >> home base for the neo program is the jet propulsion laboratory at the california institute of technology. their mission -- to watch the skies. >> back in 1998, nasa started a program to actually discover near-earth objects and track them for 100 years into the
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future. >> they also study neos of the distant past, like the one they think wiped out the dinosaurs. >> it is thought by most scientists that a near-earth object about 6 miles in diameter actually struck the earth, threw up dust and debris into the earth's atmosphere, shut down much of the sunlight, which, of course, killed the plants and the animals that lived on the plants, so the dinosaurs checked out about 65 million years ago as a result of a near-earth-object impact. >> another neo carved this crater in arizona about 50,000 years ago, and the big ones are still coming down. in 2008, there was a strange explosion above the african desert. scientists say it was caused by a neo that almost hit the planet. >> and pieces were found on the desert floor, and so scientists are now studying those pieces -- or meteorites -- to understand what this asteroid was made of. >> the whole world needs to know when another big neo might hit,
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so nasa is part of an international effort to watch and plan. >> so the goal is to find them and track them and predict that they might make an earth impact, say, 10, 20, 30 years into the future, and if we have that much time, we have the technology to deal with it. for example, you could run a spacecraft into them, slow them down just enough so that in 10 or 20 years, when they're predicted to hit the earth, they wouldn't. >> it's not science fiction. in the 1990s, nasa sent an unmanned spacecraft to study a giant asteroid named "eros." not only did the craft orbit the asteroid several times, it actually landed on it. [ crash ] you can check out the latest on neos by going to nasa's website. there's a link to it at teenkidsnews.com. >> we're currently tracking well over 7,000 near-earth objects, near-earth asteroids, and comets. none of them represent a serious threat for the next hundred years. >> but we do get close calls, like this one, named "yu55."
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nasa saw it coming back in 2005 and projected a path that would bring it within about 200,000 miles -- just a stone's throw away in galactic distance. its recent flyby gave us an opportunity to study it closely, and that's good, because neos could serve a purpose in the future. >> so, near-earth objects are not just threats, they may be the watering holes and fueling stations for future interplanetary travel. >> so, next time you see a falling star, make a wish. wish that we don't hatoo close an encounter with a neo. for "teen kids news," i'm tyler. >> there's a lot more ahead, so stick with us. >> "teen kids news" will be right back. you don't disappear at midnight. and now, you've met your match. new revlon® colorstay™ 16 hour eyeshadow. 64 colors that will take you from night to day without smudging, creasing or fading away.
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>> ever take a close look at your state flag? you should, because you might be surprised at how much you can learn from it. here's scott with this week's lesson. >> in 1803, president jefferson made one of the greatest land deals in history. the louisiana purchase doubled the size of the united states. eventually, the area would make up all or part of 15 new states, including kansas. >> kansas is a flag meant to represent "manifest destiny." there are three separate images of people on the flag, all moving westward. >> manifest destiny was the belief that the american expansion across the continent was both inevitable and justifiable. >> in the foreground, you see a farmer plowing his land. just beyond the farmer, you see a wagon train, also heading west.
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in the background, you see native americans hunting bison. there's also a steamboat on the kansas river, meant to represent commerce. life for the pioneers was not easy, and the state motto is "ad astra per aspera," which means "to the stars through difficulties," which is certainly a reference to how hard it was to settle the land. >> within the state seal, 34 stars represent kansas' place as our 34th state. >> above that state seal, there is a blue-and-gold band meant to reference the french and the louisiana purchase. >> and at the very top is the state flower -- the sunflower. believe it or not, in kansas, it used to be illegal to serve ice cream on cherry pie. i have no idea why. if you know, send us an e-mail at teenkidsnews.com. with flag facts, i'm scott. >> this reminder is brought to you by the national road safety foundation. don't forget! february 29th is the deadline for the "drive 2 life" contest.
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>> it's rich in history and host to more than half-a-million visitors each day.
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kristen gives us an insider's tour of one of new york's most magnificent landmarks. [ loudspeaker chatter ] >> welcome to grand central terminal, the busiest train station in the country. >> grand central was built because there was a new technology in the mid-1800s, which was trains. [ train whistle blows ] and it was rapidly replacing the earlier modes of transportation. in order to understand theation. importance of grand central, you have to understand the importance of the railroads to the united states and to the world at that time. before the railroads came along, the only way to get across the country or from any point was either by horse-and-carriage or by canal, which was very slow. the railroads revolutionized the ability to move quickly across the country, and they became an extraordinarily powerful business. >> so powerful, in fact, that in 1947, over 65 million people -- the equivalent of almost half our nation's population at the time -- passed through
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grand central in just one year. that gave birth to a popular saying in the 1940s -- "busier than grand central station." except, that name is not quite correct. >> the real name of this building is grand central terminal, and the reason for that is that the trains terminate here. >> of course, trains also originate from here. grand central is a sprawling complex of ramps, stores, tracks, and huge spaces. >> what you see, actually, here, we like to say is "the tip of the iceberg." there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes. this is just the public portion where the actual people come through after having gotten off of their trains or coming in from the street. >> one of the things the public never saw was the secret train platform hidden below. it was specifically designed for one very special passenger. >> we shall send you... >> there was a private platform that was built underneath the waldorf-astoria hotel, which is one of the nicest hotels in new york and is built directly
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above the train tracks. and the platform was used for presidents. franklin roosevelt himself, who was not able to walk, got off of his private train car in his wheelchair and go directly to a private elevator that would take him up and into his suite at the waldorf-astoria. >> roosevelt was president during world war ii. at the time, there was concern that grand central could be the target of sabotage. >> there's one area of the terminal which is very, very deep below the ground, where power was converted, electrical power was converted, for use by the trains, and it was such a sensitive area that it's very heavily protected. there was fear, at one point, that spies would be able to get in there, and one handful of sand thrown into any of that machinery would shut the entire railroad system down and cripple the city. so it was very, very carefully protected, and even to this day, the public is not allowed to go down there. >> don't worry, there's plenty to see in the public areas. to give us a greater appreciation for this historic building, frank took me on a walking tour.
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>> well, this is one of the great ramps that was the invention of the architects who designed the building. there were two groups of architects. one was responsible for the architecture and the other for the movement through the building itself. and the ramps were to enable people to move very quickly from upper levels to lower levels if they were carrying their baggage with them. >> originally, a skyscraper was supposed to be built above grand central, but it was too expensive, so plans were scrapped. >> so instead, at the very last minute, relatively, the architect decided to put in this barrel-vaulted ceiling with a painting of the constellation. this mural was repainted on a new surface in 1940 because the original had become so dirty from automobile pollution, from smoke, from the trains, from cigarette smoke. it's kind of hard to see -- you really have to be looking for it, but that hole was cut in 1958 so that a wire could be suspended through the ceiling.
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it was connected to the steel structure that holds the roof of the terminal of the main concourse up. and an atlas rocket was suspended right in the middle of the space here, and the reason for that was that russia had just launched sputnik, its first satellite, and the space race was off in the united states, and americans were very nervous about russia being ahead of us technologically, by launching this rocket. so the united states chose grand central, which really is a town hall where important news is delivered to the most people, as a place to reinforce the strength of america so that people could be patriotic and feel confident that we were in the race and we could also launch our own rockets, just like the russians. >> you'd think a building that represented so much that was great about america would be considered a historical treasure, yet it came surprisingly close to being torn down. that and more, when we return.
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>> grand central terminal dates all the way back to 1870. then, in 1913, it was totally rebuilt. >> the railroad companies built their terminals in order to show off the strength and the power of their companies. this building was a symbol of the speed and the power and the success of the railroads and the railroad companies that owned them. >> but by the 1950s, the nation's new highways made traveling by car more popular, and flying was really taking off. it looked like the end of the line for passenger railroads. in the 1960s, proposals were made to tear down grand central, but jacqueline kennedy onassis, president john f. kennedy's widow, came to the rescue. she helped save the beautiful building.
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today, the emphasis is on preservation and restoration. >> what you see, kristen, is what the terminal looked like in 1913, when it was finished. but in 1927, because they needed additional room for the ticket sellers, they built a ceiling over this space, right at this heavy cornice line here, so that when you came down the ramps, you felt like you were going down into a basement of grand central. as architects, we thought that there was an opportunity to remove all of that, put that somewhere else, and once again restore this magnificent view of the skylights, of the chandeliers, and, more importantly, of the sky ceiling and the main concourse beyond with all the natural light coming back in, and we think it's probably the most important and successful change that we made, as restoration architects, to make the terminal great again. this is known as the "whispering gallery," where we have our -- they're called "guastavino tiles." and it's a vaulted structure, which is self-supporting and very strong. it has this wonderful quality that, if you go off into the corner, you have two people on either side, and you whisper into the corners, you can hear
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very clearly what someone is saying on the other side. so we should try it. why don't you go in that corner, and i'll go over here. >> this is really amazing architecture. >> it is. it's very exciting architecture. this is one of many examples of the acorn and oak-leaf clusters that are displayed throughout the terminal. the acorn and oak leaf was the motif for the family crest of the vanderbilts. >> cornelius vanderbilt created a railroad empire in the 1800s. it helped make the vanderbilts one of the richest families in america. >> so, they used their crest and put it in different materials throughout the entire terminal, and it's very fun to go through the building and find different examples of them. >> it's not just grand central's interior that's impressive. >> this was intended to be seen as a triumphal entry into new york city. it's modeled on the great roman arches, which were intended to be monuments to the great war battles of the romans. so it has that same kind of idea of entry into and outside of
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new york city. and it has many symbols on top of it and throughout the facade -- symbols of new york city. you see thalf moon, which was henry hudson's ship. on the other side is a windmill, which refers to the original dutch settlers of new york. and then on the top is the great monumental sculptural element, which has three gods. >> the gods -- hercules, mercury, and minerva -- came from greek and roman mythology. they represent strength, commerce, and wisdom. even the clock is special. tiffany glass lines the numbers and the hands. >> it's very difficult to see, but when the light shines on it, it's quite beautiful and picks up in different colors. this is a really wonderful -- probably one of the most spectacular places to be in grand central and in the entire city. not very many people actually get to come up here. but what you can see from here that you can't see from down below -- first of all, you get a sense of the scale of the building, how large it really is. you get to experience the many different kinds of motion that
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occur here. kristen, behind you is the information booth, which is really at the center of the main concourse. it's probably -- we like to think of it as one of the most famous places in new york city. if you tell someone to meet you at the clock in grand central, they know exactly where to go. it's at the center of 43rd street to east-west and park avenue to north-south, and it really is right in the center of the main concourse, and we like to think it's the center of new york city. even if another train were not to come through here, it would still be an important place in new york city for people to come and visit and to see one another and to treat it as a town hall. >> reporting from the nation's largest train terminal, i'm kristen for "teen kids news."
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>> your opinion matters. that's why we call this segment "speak of the week." >> in recent years, many states have passed laws to cut down on wasting plastic. so, does your family make it a point to avoid using the plastic bags at grocery stores? >> yeah, my family usually uses the reusable bags that we get at the store, like the $1 ones. >> yeah, and if we ever do get, like, plastic bags or used plastic bags, we reuse them, like, for, like, trash bags. >> i save bags, and i recycle all the time. >> like, my mom is, like, really strict about reusing -- like, recycling and reusing. >> yes, we're a green family. we try to use reusable materials as much as possible. >> no, they do not make a point in using plastic bags at grocery stores. >> like, if i would throw, like, a plastic bottle or glass bottle into the trash and not to the
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recycling bin, my mom will make me either do, like, 10 or 20 pushups and then take them out and put them in the recycling bin. so, my family is kind of like that, so... >> here's some encouraging news from one of the nation's largest grocery-store chains. kroger reports that over the past five years, recycling plastic bags is up almost 200%. not bad, but can do better. remember the three "r's" -- reduce, reuse, and recycle. i'm kennedy for "teen kids news." >> this report is brought to you by dreamworks animation. it's no secret that "puss in boots" is a crowd-pleaser. >> hah! >> the critics love it, too. in fact, it's nominated for an oscar. antonio banderas is the voice of the coolest cat in town. >> i am but a humble gato in search of his next meal. >> now the film full of felines is available on dvd and blu-ray, with lots of special features. you get to see the cast behind the scenes. here, selma hayek is creating her character. >> don't worry.
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i'll take care of it. i know how to speak "meow." >> zach galifianakis says his role was a new challenge for him. >> i'm kind of, maybe, a quiet person, but to come in here and kind of scream and yell and get that out is a lot of fun. we go up the beanstalk outlaws, and we come down legends. >> the animation is really cool, and the dvd and blu-ray show you how it's done. here, animators are turning antonio banderas into a feline that's both funny and "fur"-ocious. >> if it is to be a dance fight, then i will tuesday night dance-fight you to the death. >> from scenes that are a "litter" bit funny to moves that amuse and amaze, there's nothing like dancing with thestars. the dvd "cat"-apults into stores february 24th, and the combo pack includes an all-new adventure -- "puss in boots: the three diablos." >> can you feel me? >> as your grand-"paw" might say, "it's the cat's meow." i'm scott for "teen kids news."
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>> hah! >> that's it for this week. thanks for joining us. >> we'll see you next week on "teen kids news."
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