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The pilot who flipped a jet

All Nippon Airways Boeing 737-700 with landing gear down (Credit: you hear about the co-pilot who pushed the wrong button and turned his jetliner upside down?  According to this morning's ABC News website, the pilot was returning from the restroom to the cockpit.  His co-pilot tried to let him back in by pushing what he thought was the cockpit door button.  Turns out it was the rudder trim knob.

The Boeing 737-700 rolled 131.7 degrees to the left, leaving it flying almost belly-up.  At one point the jet's nose was pointing 35 degrees toward Earth.  The plane was carrying 177 passengers; miraculously, none was seriously injured.

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Will there be pumpkins for Halloween?

friendly halloween pumpkin (Credit:  Anders Lageras via, don't walk, to your nearest pumpkin store.  Wet weather on the East Coast has flooded farmland normally used to raise pumpkins.  As a result, we're seeing a rush on pumpkin crisis warnings this morning.  According to Google, these stories have generated about 427,000 hits.

Fortunately for pumpkin pie devotees (myself among them), it turns out all the hubbub was just that.  Other states have picked up the slack and Halloween can continue as normal (if our strangest holiday can be called that).

Continuing this day's appearances-can-be-deceiving theme, I had a strange encounter with Abraham Lincoln yesterday.  I'm in Kentucky this morning, where I'm speaking at Campbellsville University.  This is a gloriously beautiful part of a beautiful state, and the school's red-brick campus looks like a Norman Rockwell painting.  The faculty and staff have been as gracious as their setting is picturesque.  For a guy who grew up in Houston, where our only hills are freeway overpasses, this scenery is amazing.

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Why is Facebook changing?

Mark Zuckerberg introduces Timeline at the 2011 F8  (Facebook) conference Facebook's transforming platform is a fascinating window into the soul of our culture.  First a disclaimer: natives in the jungles of Borneo know more about social networking than me.  The youngest members of our team do most of the posting and maintenance of our Facebook page.  My interest this morning centers on this question: why is the largest social networking site in the world changing its platform so significantly?

We'll soon see "Timeline," a profile that will encourage us to post content predating our time on the social network.  My entire life would appear in chronological order, telling my story to the world.  We'll also be able to add apps that publish content automatically to these timelines.  In this way others will know what we're reading, watching, or listening to.

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How to climb a wall of fear

child climbing green rock wall (Credit: Joanna Zielinska via Fotolia)We're all watching the markets this morning after a tumultuous weekend of economic news.  Today's Wall Street Journal reports that finance officials in Europe have tried to finalize another bailout, but public opposition from Germany and other strong economies threatens their plan.

According to this morning's Financial Post, the global economic slowdown threatens Canada's export-driven economy.  Critics in Great Britain are escalating their pressure on government leaders to make strategic changes.  A growing number of economists are worried about a default in Greece.  Some hoped China would buy debt from troubled economies in Greece and Italy, but Chinese officials made it clear over the weekend that they would not risk their growth rate, currently at 9% a year.

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Where to find hope when markets tumble

stock market bar line chart against world map (Credit: Jut via"Markets rely on confidence and certainty.  Right now there is neither."  So commented one economist on yesterday's market slide.  As you know, the Dow Jones closed down 391 points Thursday.  According to this morning's Wall Street Journal, all blue-chip stocks finished in the red.

The market decline followed news that young adults are suffering from the highest unemployment rate since World War II.  Forty-five percent are without jobs; nearly one in five live in poverty.  Among teenagers, unemployment is more than 70 percent.  As a result, young adults are 25% more likely to live with their parents than before the recession.  Only 44.2 percent of adults ages 25-34 are getting married, another record low.

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