1) It's September 10, 2001, and the two big buildings in New York are still there, just as -- it seems -- they've always been. The Lens blog (link fixed) has an impressive series of images of the World Trade Center as they stood 8 years ago yesterday.
2) Sign of the times? In Boston, a community college has so many people coming through the door, it's shoehorning classes in that run from 11 at night to 2 in the morning.
A sign of the time closer to home: Enrollment of full-time students at Minnesota West Technical and Community College in Worthington is up 11 percent.
3) I'll bite. How on earth do you lose a bra at the Minnesota State Fair? One high-heel shoe? How do you lose just one high-heel shoe?
4) If you point a finger at something, most everyone will be able to tell what you mean. Besides us, there's only one other species in the animal kingdom that can do that, according to researchers at Duke.
5) I can't play Guitar Hero and sing at the same time. How do you play, say, a trombone while -- essentially -- dancing?
Another question (unrelated, of course): President Obama speaks at Target Center on Saturday. The doors at Target Center open three hours beforehand. If you're going, how on earth are you going to kill three hours inside Target Center?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
I'll have a News Cut Quiz ready by mid-afternoon.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: How much poverty is there in America? Really?
Second hour: Spirituality and the films of Joel and Ethan Coen.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller will be in the studio to answer questions about this week's "leadership" summit about state finances.
Second hour: Highlights from this week's memorial service for CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - It's Science Friday! Effects of climate change in the Arctic, the musical ability of monkeys, and who wants a one-way trip to Mars?
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Officer Richard Crittenden is being laid to rest today in St. Paul. MPR's Tim Nelson is covering the North St. Paul police officer's funeral.
Chris Roberts gets inside the heads of the actors portraying iconic singers Ella Fitzgerald and Patsy Cline on Twin City stages.
NPR has plenty of September 11 stories this afternoon, including how the New York Police Department is reaching out to the Muslim community, the people who volunteered on 9/11, and the tracking of foreign students.
The Friday night lights series from NPR continues with a stop at a small school in Vermont, the football capital of.... the Green Mountains.
CNN today framed a Coast Guard training exercise on the Potomac River near the Pentagon as "felony stupidity." But the case actually shines a light on the journalistic rules of CNN.
A few minutes after the president appeared at a ceremony honoring the dead in the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon, CNN reported that the Coast Guard had fired shots at a boat on the Potomac, sending the nation, apparently, scurrying for word of a terrorist attack.
It turned out to be a training exercise, which sent the CNN anchor team into hyperbole over the Coast Guard decision to have a training mission on 9/11, where it could be mistaken for an actual terrorist attack.
"Is there any admission on the part of the Coast Guard that they made a terrible mistake?" a CNN anchor asked a reporter. But the mistake was CNN's. There were no shots fired, and along the Potomac, there was little indication anything was wrong, and a Coast Guard statement suggested the training exercise was primarily on a radio frequency. A CNN staffer heard the words "bang bang" on a newsroom scanner, and the news organization went with its report.
Later, a CNN reporter cited "sources in the newsroom" while saying the news network put the story on the air before calling the Coast Guard -- or anyone else -- to ask what was happening. It once was a well-observed rule in the news media that journalists don't report anything heard on a news scanner without verifying its truthiness.
"Coast Guard Confusion: Training Exercise Sparks Panic on 9/11 Anniversary," the headline on ABC News' Web site screamed. Well, no, it was CNN that caused whatever panic might have ensued (Note: There's actually no indication anyone outside the CNN newsroom had panicked.)
Try as CNN might in the aftermath to focus the spotlight on the Coast Guard, Washington officials weren't biting. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says if law enforcement felt there was a need for the exercise it's "best not to second-guess." the Associated Press reported.
Gibbs sharply criticized CNN for airing an inaccurate report that shots were fired during the exercise, saying "before we report things like this, checking would be good."
As an old colleague-comic in a newsroom used to say, "Never check the facts, son. You ruin a lot of good stories that way."