When NASA's space shuttles launch into orbit, they don't just carry astronauts and supplies into the final frontier. There's a lot of other weird stuff that makes the out-of-this-world journey, too. NASA's last space shuttle mission will launch Friday, July 8 on the Atlantis orbiter to deliver spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission will be the 135th and last flight for the program, which began in 1981. But over the course of 30 years, the space shuttles have flown some peculiar objects into orbit. The list of odd stuff that flew aboard the shuttles is a long one, and includes the Olympic torch, a replica of the golden spike from the First Transcontinental Railroad, and rocks from the top of Mount Everest and the surface of the moon, just to name a few. Here nine recent space oddities carried into orbit on NASA shuttles:
Car repair -- just like other aspects of car ownership -- is getting expensive. So car owners are getting creative in driving down car repair costs. One way is that they buy their own auto parts. That's no surprise for do-it-yourselfers. But even people who don't do their own maintenance are buying parts and taking them to their mechanic or repair shop for installation. The trend appears to be growing. An October 2010 survey by my company, AutoMD.com, found that 90 percent of car owners (who rely on mechanics) would buy their own auto parts and take them to the repair shop if they could save money. Here are four tips to do it the right way:
Surprise! It turns out America's problem with runaway budget deficits is solvable, after all. That, at least, is the opinion of some prominent think thanks that have been offering ready-made blueprints. As Republicans and Democrats seek to boost the limit on federal borrowing while reining in future deficits, here are six proposals, ranging from liberal to conservative, that grew out of a "solutions initiative" sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Some of this summer's most interesting books will take you places – all the way from the moon to Korea to the seemingly placid Midwest, and from tales of masked vigilantes to the inside workings of the Church of Scientology. Here are five of the July 2011 titles that are drawing the most enthusiastic thumbs-up from the editors at Amazon.com.
Affordable colleges might be easier to track down now with a new online tool out from the US Department of Education, which compares the cost of attending different kinds of institutions. We put together a list of the most and least expensive 4-year or longer institutions, in three categories: public institutions, not-for-profit institutions, and for-profit institutions. Prices are based on the "net cost" of each, which is the average price after grants or scholarship aid is subtracted from the total cost of attendance. Often, the average net cost is quite different from an institution's listed tuition. The numbers here are based on costs for the 2008-2009 academic year.
Thaddeus McCotter, the GOP’s surprise dark horse, is stirring up the race. The five-term Michigan congressman declared his candidacy for president on July 2 in his home state. A Beatles-loving, guitar-playing son of the heartland, Representative McCotter has strong conservative credentials and populist appeal. But there’s a problem. Thaddeus who?
Sexual assault cases rank among the most difficult to prosecute, as the one against ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is demonstrating. Held under house arrest since being charged with sexual assault of a maid at a New York hotel, the French politician was released on his own recognizance Friday amid questions about his accuser’s credibility. The “he said, she said” nature of such cases is one complicating factor (as is getting victims to report sexual assaults in the first place). But so are prosecutorial zeal, power politics, personal troubles of accusers, and even false accusation. Here are five high-profile sex-crime cases that fell apart, in which one or more of those factors played a role.
Is world travel on your horizon this year? Bringing the right credit card is as fundamental as packing the right wardrobe. While there are great benefits to using plastic abroad – such as travel assistance and fraud protection – the cards’ foreign transaction fees can eat into your travel budget. And traditional magnetic strip credit cards aren't universally accepted overseas anymore. Picking the right card for a foreign trip depends on the perks you’re looking for, the fees you’re willing to pay, and the kind of credit you have. Here are Credit Karma’s Top 5 credit cards for world travel:
If Defense Secretary Robert Gates feels any twinge of wistfulness when he departs the Pentagon on Thursday, it probably won't last long. Even during the Bush years, Mr. Gates spoke often of the clock in his office by which he counted down the days until he could retire to his beloved Washington State. When President Obama asked him to stay on as defense secretary, Gates made no secret that he did so out of public duty, not an affinity for Washington, D.C. But Washington insiders certainly had an affinity for Gates. Here are three reasons America’s longest-serving secretary of Defense will be missed – and legacies that many hope will last after he's gone.
This summer, many teens are working summer jobs and, perhaps for the first time, earning money that doesn’t’ come from family. It’s an exciting feeling of independence – and a key time to learn the basics of money management. That’s where parents come in. Even if communicating with your teenagers about money is sometimes difficult, it is natural for you to be involved because their income from summer jobs will have tax implications for you. Here are three easy financial lessons to teach your teens this summer:
The economy may be looking better for some states this year, but budget woes are a challenge from east to west. In its fifth annual ranking of America’s Top States for Business, CNBC for the first time took into account state budget gaps among the 43 metrics that go into its rankings. That made for some interesting changes this year, with last year's Nos. 1, 3, and 5 states falling while other states climbed in rank. Here are the Top 5 states for business:
The International Criminal Court issued international arrest warrants today for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, and intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi, charging them with crimes against humanity in the early weeks of Libya's uprising. It is only the second-ever international arrest warrant for a sitting head of state and the inquiry that preceded it was one of only a handful into crimes committed by world leaders. Below, a look at prosecution of current and past world leaders:
The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia from 1975 until 1979 and is blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people. The Maoist group tried to build an agrarian society purged of foreign influences. Until now, none of its senior cadre has gone on trial, and Pol Pot, its paramount leader, died in 1998 in a jungle camp after losing power to Vietnamese occupiers. The Khmer Rouge tribunal, a joint effort between Cambodia’s judiciary and the United Nations, opened in 2006 and has so far spent more than $100 million on investigating and trying surviving members of the senior leadership. Only one has been prosecuted and found guilty. Here are five frequently asked questions answered:
During these tough economic times, saving money on clothing and accessories is important. Shopping in consignment stores is one way to do it. You can get high quality designer clothes at affordable prices – sometimes, ridiculously affordable. I once bought a Chanel jacket for $4. The retail price for a brand new one: $1,500. Here are five tips to find designer clothes at consignment store prices:
After President Obama outlines his strategy Wednesday for winding down the 10-year war in Afghanistan – including the rate of US troop withdrawals – it will be the duty of three men, all new in their roles, to get it done. It will be a tough job, and there is likely to be plenty of second-guessing not only about the strategy itself, but also their handling of it, from Congress, pundits, and ex-military types. Here are some clues into what priorities these three defense leaders might set and a look at the particular skills each brings to the task of managing America’s longest war.
Mexico declared a major victory Tuesday when it arrested the leader of the La Familia drug gang and 50 of its members, calling the group finished after the arrests. But the deadly drug war in Mexico is far from over. Many experts expect the remaining La Familia members to join allied groups and for its territory to be absorbed by other traffickers. Here’s a look at Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels: