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Jun 19th 2012 2:32PM Good article -- a few tips that generally only us very frequent travellers know. He failed to comment on one item. The very best way to get good benefits is to have a lot of lifetime miles on one airline. I read about this 32 years ago, and have only flown on one airline since then. I'm glad I chose United, because after the UA/CO merger, I can go anywhere (pretty much) on earth. I sure wouldn't choose Jet Blue or Southwest -- I like a big airline company, one like United or Delta that has plenty of back-up reserves in case something goes wrong. All of those people stranded by JetBlue a couple of years ago were stuck because there is no back-up. They have just enough people to run the airline -- but when something goes wrong passengers are out-of-luck. I've found that it is better to pay a somewhat higher fare, and travel on a large airline company -- and once you choose one, then don't bother to look at fares on other airlines. As a United million mile flyer -- I can say that the benefits you get far outweigh the small amount you save by fare shopping and travel on who ever has the lowest fare.
Feb 23rd 2011 7:54PM Oil almost made it back to $100/bbl today. Problems in the Middle East, and demand that continues to grow at a record pace in China, may drive gasoline prices well above $4. So, I think that the President's numbers may be conservative. $4 to $5 gas will create a large demand for plug-ins.
Dec 22nd 2010 5:55PM My motto, now, and for more than 40 years: If it is advertised on Television, DO NOT BUY IT. I'm surprized that more than 80% of people actually trust advertising. I've been disappointed so many times by advertising that I simply anticipate that anything advertised on television, will not perform as advertised, and/or that important details that would likely cause me to not buy the item will be omitted.
Maybe I'm overly skeptic, but for advertized products, very seldom have I been disappointed that I did not buy something, and later wish that I had.
For example, the zinc containing products, like Zicam. An article that I read in the New England Journal of Medicine had research evidence that due to our diet, more than 50% of the people in the U.S. are zinc deficient. Zinc oxide, which most multi-vitamins contain, is absorbed poorly, and usually has little or no effect. Since zinc is critical for our immune systems to work properly, if we get sick and get some zinc from a product like Zicam, we will get better sooner. But, if we were told the truth, that if we all just took a (much cheaper) tablet of zinc glutenate every other day or so, then we wouldn't be zinc deficient, and Zicam wouldn't help us any at all. In many cases, advertisements leave out important information -- they want to sell the product which contains a very low cost ingredient, for a high price, rather than simply telling us the truth. Yes, of course, a lot fewer of us would buy their product, but a lot of us would be a lot healthier if they told the truth.
Oct 1st 2010 1:49PM Jim: You're wrong. If a driver can't return a message by getting someone else in the car to do it, then he/she may just try to find a way to do it themselves, and certainly, there will be ways around it -- like turning the phone transmitter off and then back on.
Also, as a parent, I am much less distracted when the children in the car are occupied. So, turning the car into a living room with a DVD is much, much safer!
Sep 8th 2010 8:17AM As a small business owner, it would be helpful if we amended our trade agreements to require, or levy a tax, so that goods produced outside the U.S. have to be produced in plants where the environmental and labor laws are enforced. My company can compete with any non-U.S. manufacturer -- on a level playing field. But, when importers out-source to places where they routinely have 10% of their workers out due to work related injuries and they dump pollutants into the river, my costs are too high. We simply need to require that all imported goods are made with the same respect for employees and the environment that we have in the U.S. -- and, if they are not, then we need to levy a tax that is the same as the costs that U.S. companies incur in order to comply with those laws.
Jul 27th 2010 11:52PM If she is a frequent enough flyer, then she probably wasn't treated the way that she usually is. In fact, many airlines will take the seat from a confirmed passenger and give it to one of their elite premium frequent flyers. Let's say that you spend $100,000 on airline tickets each year. The airline can afford to make a few in-frequent fliers unhappy because of the huge profits that they make on the frequent flyers' purchases.
But in this case, yeah, she should shut up and stop complaining -- because she did get a reasonable deal, if they gave her a refund. Very frequent flyers on pretty much all airlines would have gotten about the same deal.
What I'm curious about is why she is a frequent flyer on Southwest. That is as dumb as her complaints.
As a frequent flyer on another airline, I cannot understand why someone would want to pile up miles on Southwest. Once you have all those miles, where will you go with them? Nebraska?
If I'm going to bother to get a million + miles they are going to be on a real airline that actually can take me to a real destination. An airline that has flights to all of the continents on earth every day of the week -- so I can go somewhere that I want to go, if I'm going to have to get on, yet another airplane.
So, go ahead and pile up miles on Southwest -- but don't complain about the lack of choices of destinations, when it comes time to book that great vacation.
My suggestion to her is -- find a real airline to get all of your miles on. Oh yeah, and one more piece of advice "as the saying goes you can catch a lot more flies with a jar of honey than with a jar of vinegar". Southwest is such a tiny little airline that some of their agents are going to remember this incident, and she may not find them as friendly the next time.
May 8th 2010 6:14PM Yes, I agree, there is a lot of disinformation about this law. However, and I'm a Republican, there has been plenty of disinformation about various legislation and candidates spread by the conservatives as well.
Before you criticize too much, just think about "Death Squads" misinformation spread about the Health Care Bill, and "bailout fund" misinformation spread about the Finance Industry Reform Bill
May 8th 2010 6:08PM Well, one thing is for sure, the longer the law is in effect, the more support it will have -- because, there will be fewer Mexicans. Yea!
Mar 30th 2010 6:28PM As for your question about what tests I have run --
Much of my career has been diagnosing weld failures -- on bridges, bicycles, automobiles, electric generating boilers, etc.
I'm a metallurgist, and I can give you the specific details of the testing that is required by ABS. One of the specific ones is called a Charpy V Notch Test. This tests the fracture toughness of the weld. When the Weld Procedure Specification is prepared by the Welding Engineer, he/she has to certify the specific welding rod or wire that is to be used and that the weld metal (which is a melted mixture of the steel being welded and the welding wire has the minimum amount of fracture toughness at various temperatures. Steel gets brittle at low enough temperatures.
ABS requires that several Weld Procedure Qualification Records (PQR) be produced and used to prepare the Welding Procedure Specification. Each PQR is a record of an actual test weld and all of the testing that was done on that weld -- strength, fatigue, fracture toughness, destructive testing to examine the depth of penetration of the weld, and a metallurgical examination.
There are 1100 different steel alloys, some with very tight specifications (which are more expensive) and some with very wide ranging specifications. There are over 1500 different welding rod and wire types. The wrong combination, produces an alloy in the weld metal that may be too low strength or brittle. ABS Standards require that a certified welding engineer prepare all of the Weld Procedure Specifications, and that a certified weld inspector conduct inspections of all of the welds.
To learn about this test and why the U.S. Navy developed it, and why the American Bureau of Shipping requires it -- look up "Liberty Ships". Many of the liberty ships broke apart at the weld seams and sunk -- because the weld metal did not have sufficient fracture toughness.
In many countries, including some European countries, a shipyard can hire welders off the street and just have them weld. If a ship is built to ABS standards, every single weld joint on the ship has to have a Weld Procedure Specification written by a welding engineer, and statistically, a minimum number of the welds must be inspected.
Mar 30th 2010 6:12PM 19 cruise ships have sunk since 1980. Poor maintenance, explosions, collisions, running aground, are all cited as causes. No matter what kind of incident, you have a much better chance of survival if the ship was built, and it inspected, to ABS Standards.
Actually, both the Oceanos and the Jupiter sinkings were contributed to structural failures, but, once a ship sinks, it is difficult if not impossible to make a post-mortem examination.
I fly a lot, but there are many airlines that I would never consider flying on. Aeroflot, the Russian airline, for example, because of their poor safety record. I try to always fly on Boeing aircraft, with Airbus my second choice. Both meet or exceed all U.S. FAA standards.
If you think Europe is go great, consider this. I worked on a welding engineering problem on a particular model of Audi, that was produced both in Europe and in the U.S. The side impact beam (under the dashboard) on the European model was made from thinner aluminum that the U.S. version, because the U.S. Department of Transportation safety requirements required more strength.
There is a reason for ABS, and it’s standards. They are more expensive to meet, but the ships are definitely safer.
Here’s a partial list of Cruise ship incidents, not all of these sunk, but did require at-sea rescue of the passengers. At sea rescue is a hit-or-miss situation. Is there another ship close enough to get there, is the ship within the flight range of a helicopter, etc. If I’m in a ship that has an incident, I want it to be one that was built to ABS Standards and is inspected to ABS Standards. In addtion, both for safety reasons, as well as the economic factor I prefer U.S. built and U.S. owned ships.
Thursday 5 April 2007
All Were Rescued – but at the end of the rescue the bottom 5 decks were flooded – ship was salvaged
October 4, 1980
All Were Rescued – sunk
Only saved passengers because the ship was close enough for the range of both U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard helicopters
May 20, 1999
M. S. Sun Vista
All Were Rescued – sunk Straits of Malacca
February 27, 2004
750 people rescued, at least 100 people missing – sunk
August 4, 1991
French built, Greek owned
All Rescued – sunk – poor construction and poor maintenance were the causes