Archive for June, 2011

Five Best Ways to Save Your Money While on Vacation

June 21, 2011

Saving your hard-earned cash can be tough on vacation because of expenses such as buying fast food on the road, going to nice restaurants, doing fun activities, and paying for gas and souvenirs.  You don’t have to skip having fun on vacation since, after working or going to school for half the year, you deserve to have a good summer vacation!  Here are a few tips on stretching your money while on vacation:

  1. Overspending while you are on vacation can create worry that your trip away from home was supposed to get rid of. Here are some tips on how to spend less while on vacation.Watch what you spend your money on; don’t just throw cash away.
  2. The best souvenir is a picture, so bring a camera (they’re built into most mobile phones nowadays) and take lots of them instead of buying silly knick-knacks you can pick up in the hotel lobby.  You can also collect “free souvenirs” like match boxes from hotels and restaurants, room key cards, or ticket stubs.
  3. Instead of paying loads of money at an amusement park, go sit pool side at the hotel or go to the beach.  Quality time there is not just free, it is fun!
  4. Have budgets for hotel rooms, activities, and food.  Don’t overspend!
  5. Make sure your trip is planned out well in advance to ensure that you know what you and your wallet are getting into.

Vacations are a great way to recharge your batteries, but spending money can be difficult to do this summer.  Plan out your vacation right and budget your trip so that you can avoid spending traps.  Remember to have a fun, stress-free time!  You do not have to spend as much money to have fun as you think.

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Taylor P.

Solid Rocket Boosters and the External Tank: the Heavy Lifters for NASA’s Space Shuttles

June 20, 2011

The Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) are a very crucial component of Space Shuttle flight.  They are a pair of large solid rockets used by the United States’ NASA Space Shuttle during the first two minutes of powered flight.  They can be found on either side of the orange colored external propellant tank.  Each one produces 80% more liftoff thrust than the engine on Rocketdyne’s F-1 rocket engine.  SRBs are the largest solid fueled rockets ever flown.  Once the Space Shuttle releases them and they fall in the ocean by parachute, they are recovered refurbished, reloaded with propellant, and reused for several missions.

Without the Space Shuttle Rocket Boosters or External Tank, NASA's Space Shuttle fleet would have been grounded, to say the least.

The Space Shuttle affixed to the External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters, atop a crawler-transporter.

A Space Shuttle External Tank (ET) is the component of the Space Shuttle launch vehicle that contains the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer.  The external tank can be found between the pair of rocket boosters.  The ET is the largest element of the Space Shuttle.  It consists of three major components: the forward liquid oxygen (LOX) tank; an unpressurized intertank that contains most of the electrical components; and the aft liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank.  Over the years, NASA has tried to reduce the weight of the tank in order to be allowed more cargo-carrying capability, and they have been successful in doing so.

To all those who have worked on manufacturing the SRBs and ET: congratulations!  Your achievements in rocket technology have helped the United States reach new heights in space exploration and gain new knowledge and insights from data collected during each Space Shuttle mission that you made possible.  May you carry on our tradition of space exploration with your latest rocket designs that will bring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and researchers to outer space.

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Joie Montoya

Airbus A380: The Largest Passenger Airliner in the World

June 20, 2011

The Airbus A380 is an aircraft manufactured by the European Corporation Airbus.  The airplane is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner and is the largest passenger airliner in the world.  It made its maiden flight on April 27, 2005, taking off at Toulouse, France and, after the test flight, landing back in Toulouse again safely.  The first commercial flight for the A380 was made on October 25, 2007 from Singapore to Sydney, Australia with Singapore Airlines.

The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger airliner in the world. Where would you like to travel?In a three-class configuration, 555 passengers are able to fly in the A380, or 853 passengers in a single-class economy configurationEmirates, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, and Lufthansa are the primary airlines that use the A380.  The Airbus A380 cost about €360 million, or USD $375.3 million.  The A380 has developed and has been duplicated over the years, making it a great choice for many passengers.

Watch the maiden flight of the Airbus A380, below:

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Taylor P.

New Theme: Twenty Eleven (via WordPress.com News)

June 20, 2011

A blog that is easy to navigate earns repeat visitors, especially with the theme, Twenty Eleven.

New Theme: Twenty Eleven Last year on WordPress.com we introduced the world to the first new WordPress default theme in 5 years — the first annual default theme — Twenty Ten. Now it's our pleasure to introduce you all to its successor, Twenty Eleven. It might look familiar. 🙂 Yep, Twenty Eleven started life as the Duster theme before it made the theme big leagues … Read More

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New Theme: Delicious Magazine (via WordPress.com News)

June 17, 2011

WordPress’ newest theme may be “delicious”, but everyone (not just you food bloggers out there) can give this well-designed theme a spin!

New Theme: Delicious Magazine If you've wanted a magazine theme for your blog but haven't found just the right one today's new theme might just do it for you. It's called Delicious Magazine and it's the latest in a series of terrific magazine themes from WooThemes. If you love using images to draw your visitors into your writing, you'll love Delicious Magazine. Righ … Read More

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Post Comments Using Twitter and Facebook (via WordPress.com News)

June 16, 2011

WordPress has made it much easier to post comments from the comfort of Facebook and Twitter.

Post Comments Using Twitter and Facebook Starting today, visitors to your blog can use their Facebook or Twitter account to leave comments. This saves everyone a few steps and gives visitors control over which identity they use.  It’s a win for everyone. As an important touch, we let you stay logged in to multiple services. This means you can stay logged in to Facebook for convenience, but still leave a comment through Twitter or your WordPress.com account. Just click whichever identity … Read More

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Personalize Your Blog with the New Custom Design Upgrade (via WordPress.com News)

June 15, 2011

Custom Design gives you a much larger palette. Your blog becomes your own work of art.

Personalize Your Blog with the New Custom Design Upgrade Today we're excited to bring you Custom Design, a powerful new tool that combines easy to use, code-free font selection from Typekit and a beautiful CSS editing interface with world-class support from our famous WordPress.com Happiness Engineers. You'll find both new features—Fonts and CSS—under Appearance → Custom Design in your dashboard. Custom Design costs just $30 a year, and both features include a free preview so you can try them out first … Read More

via WordPress.com News

Changes to California’s 529 college savings plan: What to expect

June 15, 2011

The 529 plan, implemented in 1996, it is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution formatted to help families set aside funds for future college costs.  Fidelity Investments, the mutual fund giant that has administered California’s 529 plan since 2006, has dropped out of the running to keep managing it, and a state board has met on Monday to pick a new firm.  With a new firm comes new changes leading to the 529 plan’s revamping.

With mutual fund giant, Fidelity Investment, out of the running for managing California's 529 college-savings plan, the newest firm to administer the plan for California is expected to provide more investment options than was previously available.The state board responsible for California’s ScholarShare Plan sought bids from outside providers in March.  Fidelity, which manages 529 plans in four other states, did not bid. “Fidelity made a strategic business decision not to bid,” said Vin Loporchio, a company spokesman.  “We just made a decision that our best strategy is to focus our efforts in California.”  California’s 529 plan has been considered pretty average in comparison to other plans.  With the new changes, California is hoping that not only will the modified 529 plan help with college funds but also go above and beyond the previous plan to achieve more.

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Joie Montoya

$150 Million Donation to USC Medical School is Keck Foundation’s Largest Ever

June 15, 2011

The University of Southern California (USC) received a $150 million donation from the Keck Foundation for its medical programs.  This donation is set out to help scientific and clinical research at the university’s medical school and its two hospitals.  USC received a donation of $110 million for its medical programs 11 years ago, also from the Keck Foundation.

The $150-million donation to USC's medical school by the Keck Foundation comes after the $200-million donation to USC's College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences from alumnus David Dornsife in March and $110-million donation for undergraduate financial aid by alumnus John Mork in April.With the donations, USC hopes to improve the school’s medical research rank as well as add new faculty in the fields of stem cells, cancer, liver disease, and preventative health.  This is USC’s third donation since March 2011, even though the $150 million donation is the Keck Foundation’s largest donation it has given in its 57-year history.  USC will be attaching the Keck name to its medical school and the university hospital.

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Taylor P.

NADCAP Certification

June 14, 2011

The National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program, or Nadcap, is a global cooperative standards-setting program for aerospace engineering, defense and related industries.  The Nadcap Program, which is part of the Performance Review Institute (PRI), was created in 1990 with the purpose of coordinating industry-wide standards for special processes and products.  PRI’s mission is “to provide international, unbiased, independent manufacturing process and product assessments and certification services for the purpose of adding value, reducing total cost, and facilitating relationships between primes and suppliers.”

The National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program, or Nadcap, sets standards for aerospace engineering, defense and related industries. What fields do Nadcap certifications cover?

Spacetron Metal Bellow's Nadcap certification for Aerospace Quality Systems (AC7004)

In order to obtain Nadcap certification, you must complete the following steps that apply to your field of testing such as Fluid Distribution Systems (FLU), Heat Treating (HT), Materials Testing Laboratories (MTL), Non-Metallic Materials Testing (NMMT), or Non-Destructive Testing (NDT).  There are many benefits to being Nadcap-certified.  Showing that your company is Nadcap-certified tells other companies that you are ensuring that the best practices are implemented in your operations.  General quality systems are not enough to satisfy requirements in chemical processing, heat treating, welding, coatings, laboratory testing, NDT, painting, and other processes.  Nadcap goes much farther in ensuring the quality of specific operations based on best practices.  Although receiving Nadcap certification can be a lengthy process, in the end, certifying your company will guarantee more work for your company and happy customers that may very well provide that work in the future.

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Joie Montoya