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Teen Kids News (Episode 1339)

23 minutes

(Describer) In computer animation, different news scenes in rectangles move fast around a turning globe.

(Describer) In front of a blue background with a triangle and circle, title: Teen Kids News. A boy sits at a desk with monitors behind him.

Welcome to Teen Kids News. I'm Brandon. Let's begin with our top story.

(Describer) The Teen Kids News logo is on curved screens that form a turning cylinder. Passing around it, title: Top Story.

If any of you never feel stressed out, now's a good time to get a snack. If you're part of the 99% of us who feel stress, listen up. Emily gets tips on how to deal with stress. The first thing you need to know is that stress is normal unless you're a genius, a gifted athlete, or a music or art prodigy. I wouldn't call them normal. Some stress is actually good. It can release adrenalin when we need it to avoid danger or accomplish a goal. Too much stress can be a problem. It can throw you off your game, make you sick. Knowing how to avoid being overstressed is something everyone needs to have in our toolkit. We're talking today with Dr. Megan Jones, a psychologist from Stanford University. Hi, Doctor. Hi.

(Describer) She’s on a screen beside her.

Whenever I have to take a big test, I feel lots of stress. What can I do about that? I think we all feel lots of stress before a big test. What you can do is pay attention to the thoughts that are making you feel so stressed. So, the way that we think affects how we feel. And you might want to pause and go somewhere where you have some privacy. Take a few minutes, and write down your thoughts. So, write down... ...whatever those thoughts are that are making you stressed. Then try to think positively and think confidently. So, what you tell yourself really matters. Let's go back to that stress thought, "I can't do this." What can you say instead? So revise that thought to: "I'm going to do well if I try hard enough." Or: "I can do this. I just need to focus." Things that make you feel more confident will help reduce that stress. Interesting. Now I've made myself feel more confident. Any other tips you can give me? Yes. A great in-the-moment tool for reducing your stress is to focus on your breathing. You can do that in a lot of different ways. One tool I find really easy and effective is counting your breaths. So, what you want to do here is count the number of breaths that you're taking. You say "one" when you're breathing in, and say "two" when you're breathing out, "three" when breathing in, "four" when breathing out. Just keep going until it feels right. It might be ten times. It might be 15 times. So let me show you what that looks like. My feet are on the floor. I'm sitting comfortably in a chair.

I'm going to breathe in. [inhales]

One. And breathe out.

[exhales] Two.

Breathe in. Three. [inhales]

Breathe out. Four. [exhales]

I'm feeling calmer. I hope you are too. I think I could definitely try that, Dr. Jones. Thank you. Thank you. The bottom line is, don't let stress take control of you. There are ways you can take control of your stress.

(Describer) Brandon:

We've got lots more to tell you about on Teen Kids News. There's an entire history lesson in the state flag. You just need to know what to look for.

(Describer) Different flags flash by, with various colors and seals. A couple dozen are shown together, then appear in the word “flag”. Title: Flag Facts. It’s on a flag. Veronique:

[military drum solo]

Virginia is often called "the mother of presidents." Four of our first five presidents were born there. Since then, four more presidents have been Virginians.

(Describer) Randy Howe:

Virginia's state flag is a reference to overthrowing King George. You see the Roman goddess Virtus standing atop a tyrant. She's holding a sword in one hand, a spear in the other. The tyrant is laying on the ground with his crown knocked off his head.

(Veronique) It's hard to see, but the tyrant holds a broken chain and a broken whip. "Sic semper tyrannis" means... With "Flag Facts," I'm Veronique.

(Describer) Eric:

Bet you didn't know one of your favorite childhood books was written on a bet. The publisher of the Dr. Seuss books challenged the author to write an entire book using fewer than 50 different words. Dr. Seuss rose to the challenge and wrote Green Eggs and Ham. Glad I am that he wrote Green Eggs and Ham.

(Describer) Brandon:

This important message is brought to you by the National Road Safety Foundation.

[hard rock music]

(Describer) A race driver gets his sunglasses, gloves and helmet.

[slow synthesizer music]

(Describer) In a house, a boy gets his phone, backpack and keys.

[hard rock music]

(Describer) They each get into a car, and put on their safety belts. The racer puts on the helmet.

I'm ready to go. [engine revs]

(Describer) He drives off in his race car. On the phone...

Dude, I'm running late. I'll be there as fast as I can.

(Describer) The boy ends the call, and backs his car out of a driveway.

[engine revving]

(Describer) The racer speeds around a track, and the boy drives down a street.

(Describer) Title: Fact: Speeding is one of the leading causes of teen crashes.

[engine revving]

(Describer) The racer speeds by a checkered flag. The boy speeds by a stop sign.

[brakes screech] [car crashing]

[siren wailing]

(Describer) The racer holds up a trophy and the boy is carried into an ambulance.


(Describer) Title: Fact: Speeding is one of the leading causes of teen crashes. A fan shakes the racer’s hand. A doctor talks to a crying mother.

[crowd cheering]

[cheering continues]

(Describer) One of the race car’s headlights shines. An emergency room light is turned off over the boy. Title: Fact: Speeding is one of the leading causes of teen crashes.

[heartbeat pounding]

[prolonged beeping]


(Describer) A viewer email says, “Who needs other news teams when you have Teen Kids News.” Signed, Eddy.

(Describer) Outside a glass skylight...

Coming up, I'll tell you how a hole in the Tucson desert helped to keep our country safe from nuclear attack.

(Describer) Brandon:

Nuclear power, when used for peaceful purposes, it can light up entire cities. When used for war, nuclear power can devastate entire cities. Nicole reports on how weapons based on splitting a tiny atom set in motion a global arms race.

(Describer) In a black and white government film, an explosion forms a mushroom cloud.


(Nicole) Nuclear weapons put an end to World War II. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused terrible destruction and the surrender of Japan. Nuclear weapons have never been used since, except as a threat to prevent further war, not with the Japanese, but with the Soviet Russians. One of those threats was here in the Arizona desert. It's now a fascinating museum.

(Describer) Yvonne Morris:

This site was built because it was in the 1960s during the Cold War where we were sort of at war with the former Soviet Union.

(Nicole) When the Soviets aimed nuclear missiles at the United States, we aimed missiles at them, missiles called ICBM's.

(Describer) In the museum...

ICBM stands for "intercontinental ballistic missile." That means it can fly from our continent to another continent carrying a nuclear warhead.

(Describer) In another film, a rocket rises into the air.

One kind of ICBM was the Titan II. It was a giant rocket kept armed and ready to launch in an underground chamber called a "silo." In all, there were 54 silos spread across uninhabited areas of the U.S. They're no longer in use, but you can take a tour of one, thanks to the Arizona Aerospace Foundation.

(Describer) Outside...

Welcome to Launch Complex 571-7. Thank you. We're going to go underground. Whoo-hoo. Nuclear missiles are always kept underground because that is the safest place you can be in a nuclear war. We're going to go down about 35 feet.

(Describer) They start down stairs.

Watch your step here.

(Nicole) Chuck explained what it was like to visit the site when it was manned by the Air Force and fully operational. Visitors didn't just drop by.

(Describer) Leading her around corners, Chuck Benson:

This area we came through is called the "entrapment cage." We're going to keep everybody that comes in locked in this cage until we figure out they belong here. Looking at 'em on a close-circuit camera, they got to read a special code to get in.

(Describer) They move on.

What's the code? The special code changes with every person on the complex. It's what's called a "one-time code."

(Describer) They go down more stairs.

(Nicole) Now that it's a museum, we don't need a code, but we still need to get past these special doors. They're designed so that one door only opens after the other door closes. And the walls down here are super thick-- four feet of concrete. Chuck led us to the nerve center of the big underground complex. This is the control center. Wow. And this is where the crew waited while they were waiting for the order to launch. Lucky for us that they never got that far and we're all still here. The cool thing about the control center is that it's a three-story building. The crews quarters is upstairs. Think about that. It's like a Motel 2. Downstairs is an equipment room. The three floors are not attached to the walls. The entire structure is bolted together and suspended from eight huge springs around the perimeter of the room. So, in response to a nuclear shock wave, we would just bounce up and down or sway from side to side, and we'd be safe. What all of this equipment is, all this is just designed to keep the missile in a constant state of readiness and to let us launch it if we get the order to do that.

(Nicole) When we return, I get to experience what it meant to be responsible for launching a Titan II nuclear missile.

(Describer) Title: Coming up, Launching a Missile.

(Describer) In front of the circle and the triangle, title: Teen Kids News.

(Describer) Nicole:

We're in the command center at the Titan Missile Museum near Tucson, Arizona. Chuck is running me through the complex procedure of launching a Titan II nuclear missile. I'm going to ask you to have a seat in the commander's chair there,

(Describer) She sits front of a board of lights and switches.

and we'll talk about what's the process for actually launching the missile. First of all, the only person in the United States who can authorize the use of nuclear weapons is... The president. I knew you would know that. Wherever the president goes, he's followed around by this guy with a briefcase they refer to as the "football."

(Nicole) If the president were to open the briefcase and send the message to launch, it'd set off a response like this at every missile silo.

(Describer) Work is shown in the command center in a government film.

[alarm blaring]

[man over radio] One, two, three,

Charlie, hotel...

(Describer) In the center today, Nicole has a binder open.

[distorted transmission continues] You and I are going to grab our decoder books and start writing down the message in these notebooks. We're going to write every letter and number that we hear. It goes on and on for 35 characters. When we're done copying the message, we're going to check each other's work. They'll read the message again. If we're convinced that we've copied the right message, then we have what is called a "valid message," an authorization to take these locks off this safe. There are two locks on the safe-- a lock for me and a lock for you. We know our own combinations. We don't know each other's. We have to agree to open the safe. Out of the safe we're going to take a couple of things. We're going to take a group of authenticator cards. In our message, they gave us a code word. Look at the first two letters of the code word. Say it's Q5. We're going to open this envelope. Inside, there's the whole code word. If that code word matches the code word in our message, then this is a legitimate order from the president. We have a valid launch order. Would you acknowledge?

(Describer) In the film, a command center worker goes through a notebook.

Have an update. The next thing we take out of the safe is our launch keys. It takes two to fire the missile. You put a key in here, because you're the commander. I put a key in here. The keys need to be turned within two seconds of each other and held for five seconds to start the launch. That guarantees that two people are required to do this. One person can't run back and forth. Also in our message we get the time of launch. Write it with a crayon across the face of the clock. And last but not least, we get the secret unlock code for the missile.

(Nicole) This next secret code will unlock valves to fuel the missile. It comes in with the launch order. The code is complex to make sure the launch is very deliberate. You need to accomplish four things to launch the missile: authenticate the message, install your keys, figure out the time of launch, enter the BBL combination. Once you've done that, you are good to go. All set, Commander? All set. Let's just reiterate that this is a retaliatory weapon. So we would not be asked to launch this unless the enemy had already fired at us. So we can assume that topside, up there, nuclear bombs are going off someplace. So this is our cue to go. Commander, you need to give me a countdown, like, "Three, two, one, turn keys." All right? By the way, crew always use their left hand to turn the key. Is there a reason for that? The reason the crew used their left hand is because, if you use your right, you obscure your view of these lights. It's important to see those lights. Commander, give me the countdown. Okay, three, two, one.

(Describer) She turns the key.

Turn keys, and hold.

(Nicole) I see a light come on. You may release. That's all there is to it. The green light says "launch enable." For all intents and purposes, that light should say: "Welcome to World War III."

(Describer) The missile is shown rising in the air again.


(Describer) Two huge flames rise on either side of it.

(Nicole) It's comforting to point out that these missiles were only launched in drills. Red alert. Red alert. Red alert. Can I have contact, please? G-E-O loud and clear. Roger. Initiate terminal. Order has been received. Start locks only. Launch exercise. Checklist, please.

(Nicole) And one more thing. The museum wants everyone to know the missile here is no longer armed and dangerous.

(Describer) Above ground...

This is the top of the silo. Behind me is the silo door. It rides back and forth on railroad tracks, weighs 760 tons, can be fully opened in 20 seconds. The missile is right under that glass window. We put a window there to satisfy the Soviets so they can look down with spy satellites and figure out that it's not active. In time of war, this is where the missile would come out and begin its flight.

(Describer) In archival footage, another missile rises from its silo.

(Nicole) We'll continue our tour of this incredible museum when Teen Kids News returns.

(Describer) In the silo, the missile is pointed at the window.

(Describer) In front of the circle and the triangle, title: Teen Kids News. Nicole and Chuck go down stairs.

(Nicole) We're below the surface of the Arizona desert. Today this is the Titan Missile National Historic Landmark, a museum. But for many years, this missile site was on constant alert. Just sitting in the commander's chair gives you the feeling of the tremendous responsibility these officers had. Yvonne Morris used to sit in it, for real. I spent four years in this chair, from 1980 to 1984, because I was a Titan II missile combat crew commander. I was stationed at this site.

(Nicole) She helps run the museum. Back in the day, she was in the hot seat. I was in charge of the crew that would have launched the missile based here. How did it keep us safe from attack? The Titan II, its job was peace through deterrence. That meant that we were supposed to show the former Soviet Union that if they ever launched their missiles against us, we would launch Titan II missiles, among others, against them, and that we would retaliate with such force that they would not be able to survive it. And that's called "mutual assured destruction."


(Describer) A mushroom cloud rises.

(Nicole) It's mad, all right. The memory of that tense time is the reason this museum exists. We made it into a museum because you can't know what the future is gonna be. You can't influence the future if you don't understand where you came from. So, in the future, people are going to have to make very important decisions about nuclear weapons and how they're used. They can get at least some of the information they need to make those decisions right here.

(Nicole) Interesting as the control center was, there was still a lot more to see.

(Describer) Walking with Chuck...

Let's head down toward the silo. While we're going, we're going to stop quickly along the way. There's something I'd like to show you.

(Describer) They walk down a hall to two white suits hanging from hooks.

These are propellant-handling suits. Wow. The propellant for Titan II is really toxic. To be working with it, you got to wear these suits. They're like moon suits, but they're not air-conditioned. If you're wearing one on the surface, and it's 105 degrees, 15 minutes is all you can stand. You want to try the helmet? Absolutely.

(Describer) He hands her the helmet.

Check this out. Oh, it's heavy. Yeah, the whole suit, everything-- the oxygen, everything--

(Describer) She gets it on.

weighs almost 50 pounds.

(Describer) After taking it off, they move on.

To get to the silo, we need to walk through this tunnel. It's called a "cable way."

(Describer) It’s shown in a diagram of the whole facility.

A cable way is fully shock-isolated. These are springs on both sides. The reason is, it's carrying electric power cables from the silo. It's carrying missile telemetry cables over here. It's carrying piping to the control center on this side. The whole thing is shock-resistant? Right. If we got a hit, it'd all stay together. It never got tested? It never got tested. That's a good thing. We're going to go where we never take visitors. Right this way.

(Describer) They go through a glass door into the silo.

Wow. Here it is. This is the missile? This is the missile. This is Titan II. And the only purpose of this whole big missile is to deliver that nuclear warhead to a target on the other side of the world. That bit of black at the top? That cone is the only part that makes it to the target. Everything else is thrown away. This huge missile. How big is it? I'll show you. Look over the edge.

(Describer) She looks down.

[gasps] Wow!

There's ten stories straight down.

(Describer) Later, they get into an elevator.

(Nicole) It's such a long way down that to visit the bottom of the missile, we had to take an elevator.

(Describer) Chuck closes its doors, and they go down.

(Describer) At the bottom, he open the doors.

All right. All righty. This is so cool. You'll love this.

(Describer) They get to the bottom of the missile.

Wow! Look up.

[gasps] Oh, my goodness.

(Describer) It towers above them.

Is that something? Whoa!

(Describer) Above ground...

Fortunately, America has never had to fire a nuclear missile in wartime and hopefully never will. For Teen Kids News, I'm Nicole.

(Describer) Brandon:

That wraps up our show. Be sure to tune in to Teen Kids News again next week. Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

(Describer) Titles: Director: Alan J Weiss Producers: Tania Wilk, Marilou Yacoub. Writer: Deborah Gobble. Original Theme Music: Michael Karp. Copyright Eyewitness Kids News LLC, 2016, all rights reserved. Funding to purchase and make this educational program accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Department of Education by telephone at 1-800-USA-LEARN, or online at

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In this episode, get some tips on how to deal with stress. The top news story for this episode includes a special tour of the Titan Missile Museum in Arizona. Other segments include facts about Virginia's state flag, a children's book that was written on a bet, and driver safety tips. Part of the "Teen Kids News" series.

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