60 Minutes November 21 2021: Reimagining Police, Supersonic, Caligula’s Gardens

On Sunday November 21 2021 at 7:00pm ET/PT and 6:00pm CT, CBS broadcasts an episode of 60 Minutes featuring a story on a new way of policing where civilians are responding to calls once answered by armed officers, a story on supersonic flights with NASA and the startup Boom and a story on the gardens of the Roman Emperor Caligula which have been excavated and displayed for the first time.


Reimagining Police

Scott Pelley reports from Austin, Texas, one of several U.S. cities experimenting with a new way of policing in which trained civilians, such as mental health clinicians, are responding to calls once answered by armed officers. Nicole Young is the producer.

Supersonic

Could commercial supersonic flights make a comeback? Several start-up companies think so, and NASA thinks it can solve one of the problems that grounded supersonic planes the last time around: the “sonic booms” that break windows and rattle nerves. Bill Whitaker reports. Rome Hartman is the producer.

United Airlines is already promising customers a faster future for commercial aviation. In-flight videos tout sleek “concept jets,” flying twice as fast as today’s passenger planes, and United has ordered 15 such airliners from a start-up company called Boom. As of now it’s more aspiration than fact, but even NASA – which knows something about flying fast – is betting on supersonic by building a new experimental “X plane.” Bill Whitaker reports on the possibilities on the next edition of 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Nov. 21 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

“Boom” is one of several private American start-ups trying to revive the supersonic commercial flight business, which has been grounded since the Concorde made its last flight nearly 20 years ago. Company CEO Blake Scholl has a dream. “When I look several decades out, you know, what I want is to be able to be anywhere in the world in four hours for 100 bucks. Now, that’s not where we start. But that’s the end goal,” he tells Whitaker. When Whitaker reminds him that passengers paid many thousands of dollars to fly the Concorde just one-way between the U.S. and Europe, Scholl responds with this analogy: “Electric cars when they first came out, they were pretty expensive. But we kept working on them. And the price came down. They got better and better. And so, we’re going to do the same thing with supersonic jets.”

“This industry needs people dreaming big. That is essential. This industry was built on that,” says Jon Ostrower, editor of the commercial aviation publication The Air Current. Ostrower believes a venture like Boom will need “at least 15 or 20 billion dollars” to turn the supersonic dream into reality. “I think you cannot ignore the obstacles that will be on the path to getting there. And I think the amount of money that is required to make this happen makes this a very long shot,” says Ostrower.

Boom and United plan to fly many of the same routes as the Concorde, but NASA has commissioned Lockheed Martin to build a plane that could help open up thousands of new passenger routes, by showing that supersonic flight can happen without producing the loud sonic booms that rattle nerves and shatter glass. Part of the Concorde’s downfall was that it could only fly super-fast over the ocean; over-land supersonic flights have long been banned around the world because of the boom. Mike Buonanno, of Lockheed Martin’s famous “Skunkworks” airplane design division, believes their test plane, the X-59, will produce a muffled “thump” rather than a loud boom. “I think that real ‘aha’ moment for me is going be when I hear that first shaped boom from X-59….a thump, thump.”

It’s an important step in a process that could help supersonic commercial flight really take off, but Buonanno’s boss, David Richardson says patience will be needed before that ban on over-land flights is lifted. “There’s a long line of things that have to happen, starting with the X-59. But I think 2035 is your answer, if everything marches along the way that it’s supposed to,” Richardson tells Whitaker.

Caligula’s Gardens

The gardens of the Roman Emperor Caligula have been discovered and excavated, and some of the most remarkable finds are now on display for the first time. How does this affect scholarly efforts to take a new look at the emperor and whether he was as cruel and depraved as he’s been made out to be? Anderson Cooper reports from Rome. Andy Court is the producer.


The oldest and most-watched newsmagazine on television gets the real story on America’s most prevalent issues. CBS News correspondents contribute segments to each hourlong episode. Topics range from hard news coverage to politics, lifestyle, pop culture, business, health, and science. The correspondents and contributors include Sharyn Alfonsi, Anderson Cooper, Steve Kroft, Lara Logan, Norah O’Donnell, Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose, Lesley Stahl, Jon Wertheim, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Whitaker. 



About 60 Minutes

The oldest and most-watched newsmagazine on television gets the real story on America’s most prevalent issues. CBS News correspondents contribute segments to each hourlong episode. Topics range from hard news coverage to politics, lifestyle, pop culture, business, health, and science. The correspondents and contributors include Sharyn Alfonsi, Anderson Cooper, Steve Kroft, Lara Logan, Norah O’Donnell, Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose, Lesley Stahl, Jon Wertheim, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Whitaker.

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