March 5, 2010

Smartphones have changed the way we travel

Business traveler Mike Monroe no longer rummages through his bag at the airline counter fishing for his flight ticket or confirmation number.

The consultant from Lakeland, Fla., has gone paperless, thanks to Continental Airlines' electronic boarding passes. Once he checks in online, the carrier e-mails a bar code to his phone. That code is scanned at security checkpoints and gates instead of a boarding pass. "It takes away a lot of annoyances."

USA Today

March 2, 2010

Postmaster delivers bundle of bad news

The U.S. Postal Service estimates $238 billion in losses in the next 10 years if lawmakers, postal regulators and unions don't give the mail agency more flexibility in setting delivery schedules, price increases and labor costs.
Estimates released Tuesday also predict that letter carriers will deliver just 150 billion pieces of mail in 2020, a drop of about 26 billion pieces from 2009. Customers will continue to migrate to the Internet and to cheaper standard-mail options, and away from the Postal Service's signature product, first-class mail, Postmaster General John E. Potter reported Tuesday to a Washington meeting of congressional staffers, government watchdogs, postal union officials and major postal customers. Mounting labor costs are also complicating the agency's path to firm fiscal footing.

The Washington Post

Chile earthquake may have shortened days

The massive 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile may have changed the entire Earth's rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet, a NASA scientist said Monday.

The quake, the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history, hit Chile Saturday and should have shortened the length of an Earth day by 1.26 milliseconds, according to research scientist Richard Gross at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth's axis," NASA officials said in a Monday update.