Posts Tagged Houston
American Dream Fades for Generation Y Professionals
The 32-year-old lawyer sold skin-care products in Houston before finding work as the assistant general counsel of a futures-trading firm where an irate customer punctuated a recorded voice-mail message with gunfire.
“No one was left with the impression that he just happened to be phoning from a sporting clays range,” she says.
Eighteen months and two busted jobs later, the daughter of a retired physician and a former editor at Vogue circled back to upstate and hunkered down at a small legal office that pays about one-quarter of her former $165,000 salary.
Generation Y professionals entering the workforce are finding careers that once were gateways to high pay and upwardly mobile lives turning into detours and dead ends. Average for individuals ages 25 to 34 have fallen 8 percent, double the adult population’s total drop, since the recession began in December 2007. Their rate remains stuck one-half to 1 percentage point above the national figure.
Three and a half years after the worst recession since the Great Depression, the earnings and employment gap between those in the under-35 population and their parents and grandparents threatens to unravel the American dream of each generation doing better than the last. The nation’s younger workers have benefited least from an economic recovery that has been the most uneven in recent history.
“This generation will be permanently depressed and will be on a lower path of income for probably all of their life — and at least the next 10 years,” says Rutgers professor Cliff Zukin, a senior research fellow at the university’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Professionals who start out in jobs other than their first choice tend to stay on the alternative path, earning less than they would have otherwise while becoming less likely to start over again later in preferred fields, Zukin says.
, who was chief economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers in 2009 and 2010, says the shift to a downwardly mobile society may be lasting. “Children are not earning as much as their parents, and I think we’re laying the seeds for that to continue into the future,” he says.
Only one-fifth of those who graduated college since 2006 expect greater success than their parents, a Rutgers survey found earlier this year. Little more than half were working full time. Just one in five said their job put them on a career path.
Those who finish only high school or drop out fare worse. Almost four out of five jobs destroyed by the recession were held by workers with a high school diploma or less, according to’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
Middle-income jobs are disappearing for a wide range of young professionals. The number of financial counselors and loan officers ages 25 to 34 has dropped 40 percent since 2007, outpacing the 30 percent drop in total jobs for the profession, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Similarly, the number of hours logged by first-year and mid-level legal associates — a productivity measure of young lawyers — fell 12 percent from 2007 at some of New York’s largest law firms, says Jeff Grossman, national managing director of Wells Fargo Private Bank’s Legal Specialty Group in , . Yet profits per partner climbed $50,697 to $1.5 million on revenue of $66 billion last year, according to a separate survey of 86 of the world’s top law firms by The American Lawyer magazine.
“I had a lot of faith in the system, the mythology that if you work really hard you can achieve anything, and the stock market always goes up,” says 2009 law school graduate Elizabeth Hallock, 33. “It was pretty naïve on my part.”
Hallock is the named plaintiff in one of against some of the nation’s best-known law schools, including her alma mater, the University of San Francisco . The civil complaints, filed in 2011 and 2012, accuse the institutions of overstating graduates’ job-placement results and incomes.
Young Americans are struggling to reconcile their lack of economic rewards with their relatively privileged upbringings by Baby Boomer parents and the material success of their older peers, Generation X, born in the late 1960s and 1970s, says Kathy Sheehan, general manager of GfK Consumer Trends and Roper Reports, a unit of German-based research firm GfK.
“It’s a generation that had really high expectations, in some part driven by the way they were raised by their boomer parents,” she says. “Yet in the past five years they have had reality slammed in their face by the employment situation.”
About 61 million people, one-fifth of the , work at jobs where median earnings declined since 2007 even as the 1.2 million households whose incomes put them in the top 1 percent saw their pay rise 5.5 percent last year. Younger workers are experiencing the worst of the disparity in part because they’re being displaced by older workers. The number of employees ages 55 to 64 is expected to the under-24 working population by 2020 for the first time since at least World War II, according to the BLS.
Dashed expectations crimped even some of the most innovative corners of the economy. Daniel White was wrapping up a week-long vacation to two summers ago when a co-worker at Chicago-based called to share the news that White was about to be fired from the e-commerce discounter.
The 27-year-old business school graduate was living from paycheck to paycheck, cold-calling hair salons and pizza parlors in Youngstown, , from crowded offices at company headquarters when he found himself out on the street.
This year, White says, he hopes to earn $2,000 at his own startup Web-sales venture in Burlington, Vermont, seeing technology as the one path to potentially matching his father’s generation, “the people with the money and power.”
In more traditional jobs, the fallout from the subprime- mortgage collapse a half-decade ago continues to pummel people, including the architects who designed homes. The number of them ages 25 to 34 has fallen by 41 percent since 2007, compared with the total drop in the profession of 25 percent.
At the Seattle architectural firm of Callison LLC, faces and names began to disappear from the staff directory almost immediately after new hire Eli Hardi joined in January 2008.
“People would drop off on a daily basis,” says Hardi, 28, a recent graduate of a five-year architecture degree program in . Within a few months, Hardi rose from an hourly to salaried position. The promotion wiped out overtime pay and reduced his annual income by 12 percent to $39,500, he says.
Hardi worked through Christmas and New Year’s before being laid off during the first week of January 2009, 13 months after his hiring. He walked home in the cold to his apartment and new big-screen TV that was now a symbol of his uprooted ambitions.
“It’s a bit sudden, a bit jarring,” he says. Still, “there’s a certain sense of relief that you don’t have to deal with the sword hanging over your head. I almost felt worse for the people who had to stay, knowing they might lose their jobs.”
Architecture graduates ages 25 to 29 had the highest of 57 degree programs surveyed by the Education Department in 2009. Their 9.6 percent jobless level rivaled the 10.6 percent unemployment for all Americans ages 25 to 29 that year, including those without college degrees. Nursing fared the best with a 1.5 percent jobless rate.
“The hours were long, the pay was low and we got a notice saying the bonus would be minimal,” he says. “The hardest part, I found, is to maintain your own self respect and dignity.” In March, he quit to join a smaller firm where he works on historical renovations.
The same housing crash that hammered young architects and loan officers also slammed lawyers. Law schools are turning out about 45,000 holders a year for about 25,000 full-time positions available to them, according to the National Association for Law Placement Inc. in Washington. The class of 2011 had the lowest placement with law firms, 49.5 percent, in 36 years.
“It is not the perfect path to wealth and success that people may have envisioned,” says Robin Sparkman, editor in chief of The American Lawyer magazine in New York.
Some of the disenchanted have taken their complaints to court. Plaintiffs’ attorneys and recent law-school graduates are pushing to change what they call law schools’ overstated reports of post-graduation employment numbers. The results are used in magazine rankings of the institutions and to recruit new applicants. In state-court lawsuits, the former students allege false advertising and consumer fraud.
The claims are “meritless,” says Angie Davis, spokeswoman for the University of San Francisco . “We are sympathetic to the difficulty faced by law school graduates nationwide in finding employment on the heels of the Great Recession,” she says, adding the university helps students find work, and many have found “successful, rewarding careers.”
This July, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn allowed lawsuits against USF and Golden Gate University to proceed, ruling that some law-school graduates may have a basis for claims that they were deceived. Judges in Illinois and rejected similar complaints.
“It’s hard to look at the information the schools were putting out and say it’s not misleading,” says Derek Tokaz, research director of the nonprofit Law School initiative. It published research showing that the chance of recent graduates getting permanent full-time work in law was far lower than the 80-95 percent total employment rates the schools typically boasted.
Tokaz, 28, worked with Tretter-Herriger at the Manhattan law firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP. She joined the firm in September 2008, the same month that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed, gradually setting off panic on and around the world.
The late nights and long weeks awaited by first-year associates as a grueling rite of passage didn’t come, she says. Instead, there was so little work to do that the hedge fund lawyers and recruiters she worked with frequently retreated after lunch to a street-level pub to watch English soccer.
Tretter-Herriger says she and some other first-year associates were fired 13 months later with the proviso they could keep their desks and look for jobs through October. She found one at the Houston futures trading firm. When it later outsourced some of its legal work, she moved on again and answered an ad on Craigslist for a job in Buffalo, New York.
She now complements her $45,000 lawyer’s salary by training horses and giving riding lessons. She says she’d like to buy a rental property and become self-sufficient in case she loses this job.
“As it is, all of my possessions still fit in the back of my truck,” she says. “I can pack it in a couple hours, pick up the trailer and horses and move anywhere the gas tank will take me at the drop of a hat. What can the system take away from you when you have that kind of freedom?”
- American Dream Fades for Generation Y Professionals (redalertpolitics.com)
- American Dream Fades for Generation Y (dailypaul.com)
- ‘American Dream Fades for Generation Y Professionals’ (cryptogon.com)
- The American Dream: Poor or Prison (truth11.com)
- An American Dream (linesbylinda.wordpress.com)
- Ian Ruhter: The Alchemist Chasing the American Dream (urbantimes.co)
- Poll: 63 percent of college grads think the American Dream is dead (redalertpolitics.com)
- David Koch Gave $50 Holiday Tips at 740 Park Avenue: TV – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- From American Dream to American Reality: Gen Y Coming of Age (thenarcissisticanthropologist.com)
- Mohawk John Kane ‘My Sovereignty is not the American Dream’ (bsnorrell.blogspot.com)
Boeing Dreamliner makes U.S. debut Sunday morning
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Sat November 3, 2012
Go inside Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner
· United will be the first airline to fly the 787 in the United States
· The advanced aircraft has weathered production delays
· It’s made of lighter material and will reduce fuel costs
· Passengers will enjoy bigger windows and more bin space
(CNN) – The celebratory champagne should be well-chilled by now.
After years of manufacturing delays and cost overruns, the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes its North American debut Sunday morning, toting more than 200 eager United Airlines passengers from Houston to Chicago.
It promises to be a morning full of festivities, starting with a ribbon-cutting before the plane departs Bush Intercontinental Airport at 7:20 a.m. The aircraft touches down two and a half hours later at O’Hare International Airport, greeted by a water cannon salute.
United says the 787 — the airline has ordered 50 — will “revolutionize the flying experience for our customers and crew while delivering unprecedented operating efficiency, comfort and lower emissions.”
The Dreamliner saves airlines money on fuel because its body is made from lightweight composite materials. It features passenger comforts such as bigger windows, larger overhead bins and better ventilation.
Sunday’s flight crew won’t need to kick the nose gear tires, size 40×16.0 R16/26PR to be exact, before taking off.
United received the Dreamliner flying Sunday on September 28. It was put through the paces in October before earning Federal Aviation Administration certification.
“Everyone’s very excited, even people who aren’t in the industry,” Phil Derner, founder of the aviation news site NYCAviation.com, told CNN in August. “There’s a ton of new technology on the 787. It’s efficient and performs well, and it’s also a very good-looking aircraft. It’s kind of like a sports car in the sky.”
In September 2011, Japan’s All Nippon Airways became the first carrier to receive the plane, which was three years overdue at that time.
Because of unexpected delivery delays, during November and December some domestic flights originally scheduled to use the 787 will operate with a different aircraft type, United said.
United says its Dreamliners will include 36 first-class seats, 70 premium-economy seats and 113 economy seats. It recently received its second 787.
- Boeing Dreamliner makes U.S. debut Sunday morning (cnn.com)
- You: Boeing Dreamliner makes U.S. debut (edition.cnn.com)
- Boeing Dreamliner makes U.S. debut Sunday (wyff4.com)
- Boeing Dreamliner makes U.S. debut Sunday morning (fox6now.com)
- Boeing Dreamliner makes US debut Sunday (wyff4.com)
- United Airlines’ first 787 Dreamliner flight Sunday (bizjournals.com)
- United launches Boeing Dreamliner with festive first commercial flight (suntimes.com)
- American Says First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Delayed Beyond 2014 (bloomberg.com)
- Investigators find cracks in second Dreamliner engine (cnn.com)
- United’s first Dreamliner ready for take off Sunday (suntimes.com)
Nation’s energy transportation getting a revamp
Updated 01:34 a.m., Monday, July 2, 2012
Union Pacific is upgrading Houston’s huge Englewood Yard. The company has added 785 Texas employees this year, largely to respond to the booming Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.
Photo: Nick De La Torre / © 2012 Houston Chronicle
The nation’s energy transportation network is undergoing a multibillion-dollar overhaul, as oil and natural gas production surges in new regions of the country.
Across North America, pipelines and rail terminals are being built in areas where wells were once scarce. Companies are reversing pipe flows and adding stronger pumps to funnel more crude through their lines.
The changes are transforming the web that carries energy across the country.
“Where it used to be isn’t where it is now. Where it needs to go isn’t where it used to go,” said , president of fuel carrier Enbridge Energy. “You’re seeing this fundamental shift of crude oil across the country.”
Historically, fossil fuels flowed north, from oil fields in Texas toward the nation’s big cities. But energy producers have charged into new areas with technology that can reach oil and natural gas trapped in shale and other tight rock formations.
Pipelines haven’t moved as quickly as drilling rigs, leaving pools of crude and gas stranded far from the Gulf Coast refineries and petrochemical plants that need them.
Now companies charged with moving those fuels are rushing to catch up. Pipeline company Enbridge Energy, a subsidiary of Canada’s Enbridge, made about $2.5 billion in capital expenditures and investments in 2011. This year, it expects to reach $3.6 billion, largely through investments in pipelines carrying liquid petroleum.
Houston-based fuel transport corporation Enterprise Products Partners has more than doubled its annual capital spending from $1.7 billion in 2009 to a projected $3.8 billion this year, according to financial statements. Plains All American Pipeline grew its capital expenditures and acquisition investments from about $770 million in 2009 to nearly $2 billion last year.
“We’re in a renaissance of pipeline construction,” said , president and CEO of the. “There is new North American supply in areas that don’t have a matching amount of pipeline takeaway capacity. So there’s a great demand for transportation of crude and natural gas.”
Pipeline shortages have created wide pricing gaps for petroleum products across regions. Coastal refiners are forced to buy higher-priced imported crude because of limited modes for carrying cheaper domestic oil from the Midwest. As a result, drivers in the center of the country fill their tanks for as much as a dollar per gallon less than those on the coasts.
Besides construction, major pipeline companies also have expanded their reach with pricey acquisitions. Last year, pipeline king Kinder Morgan shelled out $21 billion to absorb competitor El Paso in one of the largest business deals of the year. In April, Dallas-based natural gas hauler announced it would buy Sunoco and its network for $5.3 billion.
“Over $200 billion of midstream infrastructure is going to be needed in the next few years to handle North America, including that coming out of Canada,” said , a portfolio leader in the energy practice for consulting firm . “The whole dynamic and economics of established pipelines are changing.”
Still, the nation’s web of pipes isn’t keeping up with the billions of barrels pumped from the ground each year. It can take years for a pipeline to go from concept to construction. It can require many permits and lengthy negotiations with landowners and environmentalists.
And that is prompting more energy companies to move their loads by rail.
The new cars would allow Phillips 66, which can refine about 2.2 million barrels of crude per day, to carry an additional 150,000 barrels a day from shale regions to its refineries across the country.
“That’s a pipeline on wheels,” Garland said during an energy conference in June. “It can shift as the opportunity shifts around the country.”
Enbridge is building a rail system in North Dakota to move about 80,000 barrels per day. Already, the company has expanded the capacity of its North Dakota pipeline system to 210,000 barrels per day, compared with 30,000 barrels in the late 1990s, said , president of Enbridge Energy Management.
The company has added 785 Texas employees this year, largely to respond to the booming Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas. And it is funneling millions to expand
- Nation’s energy transportation getting a revamp (mysanantonio.com)
- Nation’s energy transportation getting a revamp (fuelfix.com)
- US Energy Transportation Network Gets Multibillion-Dollar Revamp (hardware.slashdot.org)
- Adams Resources & Energy rank 7th in Chron 100 (fuelfix.com)
- Texas Rangers Tickets: Discount On Texas Rangers Tickets For Holiday Weekend – Houston Chronicle (chron.com)
- Shell moves to pre-empt Arctic drilling challenges (fuelfix.com)
- Encryptics Hosts Mobile, Smart Device Encryption Roundtable at Texas State … – Houston Chronicle (chron.com)
- Video killer coached wife’s testimony from jail, judge told – Houston Chronicle (chron.com)
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- A welcome let-up in health costs that may not last – Houston Chronicle (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
Houston’s Strip Clubs Hit by New ‘Pole Tax’
The city of Houston is turning to an unusual source to help fund rape investigations: strip clubs.
The City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday that requires strip clubs to pay a $5-per-visitor fee to help pay for the analysis of biological evidence collected from rape victims in hopes of identifying their attackers.
Police in Houston, and in many other parts of the U.S., lack the money to promptly analyze evidence such as hair particles and blood specimens, gathered by investigators in packets known as rape kits. Houston estimates it has 6,000 rape kits that have yet to be scrutinized by crime laboratories.
Supporters of the ordinance, which was supported by Mayor Annise Parker and approved on a 14-1 vote, contend that strip clubs should shoulder some of the costs of rape investigations because the establishments can cultivate unhealthy attitudes toward women that can lead to sexual assaults.
“There are negative secondary effects associated with adult-entertainment establishments,” said Ellen Cohen, the council member who championed the ordinance, which could generate up to $3 million in annual revenue.
The fee would also apply to clubs that stage occasional adult entertainment, such as “a wet T-shirt contest or naked sushi contest,” according to the ordinance, which states all the revenue is to go toward processing rape kits.
There are an estimated 30 clubs subject to the tax, according to Ms. Cohen’s chief of staff.
Critics strongly question attempts to tie strip clubs to violence against women, calling the fee unfair. “There is no known correlation between people going to nice, high-end gentlemen’s clubs and rape,” said Albert Van Huff, a Houston lawyer who represents local strip clubs.
A 2009 report by the University of Texas at Austin concluded that no study has “authoritatively linked alcohol, sexually oriented businesses, and the perpetration of violence.”
The Texas legislature last year passed a law requiring police departments to report rape evidence backlogs to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has so far tallied 15,000 untested kits—a number expected to grow as more departments file their reports. Nationally, the backlog has reached about 400,000, according to a federal bill introduced in Congress last month that would provide greater funding for the testing of kits.
Of the 6,000 Houston kits, police don’t believe they all would yield useful evidence. In some cases, for example, the victim has decided not to press charges.
In Texas, a state law passed in 2007 already imposes a $5-per-customer charge, dubbed the “pole tax,” on strip clubs around the state. A portion of the fee, which has so far generated about $15.7 million in revenue, can be used to pay for testing rape kits.
The Texas Supreme Court last year rejected a claim that the state fee, sponsored by Ms. Cohen as a state lawmaker, violates free-speech rights by infringing on a mode of expression: sexually suggestive dancing.
Deputy Director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, said no one in her field believes that “if you walk into a strip club you become a rapist.” Still, she said, “the environment that goes on at strip clubs fosters a culture that is more tolerant, at the very least, of sexual violence.”
Houston clubs now face a double fee. “You are going to rip the economic rug out from underneath” the clubs, said Angelina Spencer, Executive Director of the Association of Club Executives, a strip-club trade group.
Council member Jack Christie said the strip clubs will survive. “When you look at videos of these clubs and see women putting $5, $10 and $20 dollar bills in their remaining clothing, I don’t think a $5 tax will hurt anybody,” he said.
- Houston strip-club fee passes: $5 per customer for rape kits (khou.com)
- City Council passes strip club fee to test rape kits (click2houston.com)
- D.C. Strip Club Stadium Will Be Part of New Reality Show (complex.com)
- Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey Relive Their Night Out at a Male Strip Club! (popsugar.com)
- Illinois Lawmakers Pass Strip Club Tax (stlouis.cbslocal.com)
- Fort Worth Senator Wendy Davis Wants to Use Strip Club Tax to Pay for Untested Rape Kits (blogs.dallasobserver.com)
- First They Came for the Hookers… (maggiemcneill.wordpress.com)
- Sesame Street strip club to serve liquor (local10.com)
- Strip club industry: More than Democrats, GOP conventioneers have been ‘our best customers’ (tampabay.com)
- Strip Club Tax Stripped (stlouis.cbslocal.com)
Unusual Sight: Space Shuttle Speeding Across the Ocean
by NANCY ATKINSON on JUNE 1, 2012
Aerial view of the space shuttle replica ‘Explorer’ being hauled via barge to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Credit: Gregory Johnson.
Astronaut Greg Johnson posted a few unusual pictures on Twitter this morning: “Steve Robinson and I were flying the T-38 and noticed this unusual sight in the gulf. Not something you see every day.” Johnson Tweeted.
The space shuttle on barge is a high fidelity replica model named “Explorer,” which was originally at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Center. Since KSC will be housing a ‘real’ shuttle, Atlantis, Johnson Space Center will get the replica. Astronaut Johnson snapped another image, below
Side view of the shuttle replica ‘Explorer’ in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: Gregory Johnson
“Here’s another view from the side,” Johnson said. “The shuttle mockup is enroute to Clear Lake (JSC). It arrives this afternoon.”
Explorer was moved out from Kennedy’s Visitor Center in December 2011 to make way for Space Shuttle Atlantis, and left on the barge on May 24 (see article and images from Ken Kremer here). It wound its way around Florida and along the Gulf Coast to get to the Houston area.
On Sunday, June 3, the replica shuttle will arrive at Space Center Houston where it eventually will become part of a unique display. This weekend (June 1-3) Space Center Houston is hosting a free public “Shuttlebration Weekend.”
Atlantis will be towed to the KSC Visitor Complex in November 2012. The Visitor Complex is constructing a permanent new display hall for Atlantis which is slated to open in 2013.
- Unusual Sight: Space Shuttle Speeding Across the Ocean (universetoday.com)
- Shuttle Replica Departs Kennedy for Ocean Voyage to Houston on a Barge – Enterprise is Next (mbcalyn.com)
- You Don’t See This Picture Of A 63-Ton Space Shuttle Being Hauled Across The Ocean Every Day (businessinsider.com)
- It’s not a shuttle, but Houston will take it (khou.com)
- Why the Hell Is the Space Shuttle Cruising the Gulf Of Mexico Today? [Image Cache] (gizmodo.com)
- Houston happy to get shuttle replica (tbo.com)
- Space shuttle model arrives in Galveston (click2houston.com)
- Space Shuttle Replica is ‘Go’ for Docking in Houston Lake (space.com)
- Shuttle replica heads to Johnson Space Center (click2houston.com)
Shuttle Replica Departs Kennedy for Ocean Voyage to Houston on a Barge – Enterprise is Next
by KEN KREMER on MAY 24, 2012
The Space Shuttle replica “Explorer” towed onto a barge at the Kennedy Space Center. The full scale replica model has set sail today May 24, 2012 on an oceanic voyage for her permanent new museum display home at Space Center Houston, the visitor complex at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas. Workers prepare to weld Explorer firmly to the barge deck. Credit: Ken Kremer
A high fidelity replica of a NASA Space Shuttle orbiter has set off today, May 24, on an ocean going voyage by barge for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This trip by the Shuttle replica gives a taste of what’s to come for the upcoming barge journey by Space Shuttle Enterprise around the southern tip of Manhattan in early June.
The replica model formerly named “Explorer” departed early this morning from the turn basin at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the shadow of the iconic vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where the real Space Shuttles and Apollo Moon rockets were assembled for launch.
The space shuttle replica first moved through the inter-costal waterway and then set sail out from Port Canaveral and into the Atlantic Ocean this afternoon for about a week’s voyage that will take her southwards around the coastline of the Florida peninsula and then into the Gulf of Mexico on a heading for Houston, Texas.
Space Shuttle replica “Explorer” floats on a barge through Port Canaveral and past cruise ships and pleasure boats on the way from KSC to JSC in Houston. Credit: Kirby Corporation
The shuttle model was towed onto the barge at KSC Tuesday afternoon (May 23) by Beyel Bros. Crane and Rigging who are responsible for loading it. Beyel workers then welded the shuttle model to the deck of the barge.
None of the real space shuttles had ever been located at this position at KSC before near the VAB and waterways and provided truly amazing and unique photographic opportunities.
Space Shuttle replica “Explorer” towed onto a barge at the Kennedy Space Center has set sail for her permanent new museum display home at the visitor complex at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com
The full scale replica – with the moniker Explorer removed – is being transported to her permanent new home at Space Center Houston, the visitor complex at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas.
It will arrive in Houston around June 1, depending on the weather, where a free three day public arrival welcome “Shuttlebration Weekend” is planned.
Space Shuttle replica “Explorer” on a barge at the Kennedy Space Center near the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (left) where the real shuttles were processed for space missions. Explorer is sailing to her new home at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Credit: Ken Kremer
The Explorer had been on display alongside a gantry like tower at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) since 1993 and was enjoyed by millions of tourists since then along with full scale replica versions of the shuttle’s twin solid rocket boosters and huge external fuel tank.
The Explorer model was built was built in Apopka, Fla., by Guard Lee using schematics and blueprints provided by NASA. It’s the next best thing to having a real space shuttle. The model’s length is 122.7 feet, its height is 54 feet, and its wingspan is 78 feet.
Having been up close and inside all three of NASA’s real space shuttles, I can say that the Explorer mockup is an excellent representation of the genuine shuttle orbiters and gives a realistic sense of the airframe, heat shield tiles, cockpit and cavernous cargo bay. At KSCVC, visitors could see directly into the cargo bay housing a satellite. The Michelin wheels were genuine and had actually flown in space.
The Explorer was moved out from Kennedy’s Visitor Center on a 144 wheeled trailer in December 2011 by Beyel Bros to make way for Space Shuttle Atlantis. Atlantis will be towed to the KSC Visitor Complex in November 2012. The Visitor Complex is constructing a humongous permanent new display hall for Atlantis which is slated to open in 2013.
The Space Shuttle program was forcibly shutdown for lack of money at the direction of politicians in Washington DC after the final flight, STS-135, lifted off in July 2011, leaving the US with no capability to transport astronauts or cargo to the International Space Station since then.
The two other remaining space flown shuttles were assigned to museum locations near Washington, DC and Los Angeles. Discovery has already departed in April 2012, flying atop a 747 Jumbo Jet to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Annex outside Washington, DC.
The Endeavour will take the last cross country airplane trip of the shuttle program in September to her permanent new resting place at the California Science Museum. The Shuttle prototype orbiter Enterprise will be displayed at the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum in New York City starting in mid-July 2012.
The Explorer is a consolation prize of sorts for the Johnson Space Center (JSC), which lost out on the nationwide bidding to display the three now retired NASA Space Shuttles.
JSC was home to the training facilities for the Space Shuttle crews and home to the NASA astronauts who flew aboard the five shuttle orbiters for the 30 year life of the Space Shuttle program. Many folks feel JSC was shortchanged in the shuttle museum home selections process.
On Sunday, June 3, the replica shuttle will arrive at Space Center Houston where it eventually will become part of a unique display telling the story of the Space Shuttle’s achievements and the nationwide team that made them possible. Further details about Space Center Houston – here
- Shuttle Replica Departs Kennedy for Ocean Voyage to Houston on a Barge – Enterprise is Next (universetoday.com)
- Space Shuttle Replica to Make Houston ‘Landing’ June 1 (space.com)
- Artificial Space Shuttle Explorer readies for launch at sea, journey to Houston (engadget.com)
- Endeavour Unplugged – Last Picture Show from the Flight Deck of a Living Space Shuttle Orbiter (mbcalyn.com)
- Timelapse: Shuttle Enterprise Removed from 747 Aircraft (mbcalyn.com)
- Photos: Inside the Mummification of Space Shuttle Discovery | NYCAviation (mbcalyn.com)
- Shuttle replica to arrive at Space Center Houston next month (bizjournals.com)
- In the News: Space Shuttles on Final Approach (theipl.wordpress.com)
- SpaceX nears ISS, first test successful (refreshingnews99.blogspot.com)
- Space Shuttle Discovery Buzzes New York City on Way to Intrepid (time.com)
Tally Ho Dragon!
by NANCY ATKINSON on MAY 24, 2012
Early today, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule successfully flew near the International Space Station and completed two big tests of its in-space capabilities, all critical tests for tomorrow’s big event: the first berthing of a commercial spacecraft to the ISS. As Dragon approached, astronaut Don Pettit spied the spacecraft first. “I think I can see it now,” he said, and Mission Control in Houston radioed back, “Copy that. Tally ho Dragon!”
- Tally Ho Dragon! (universetoday.com)
- A Look Inside the Dragon Capsule, Now in Orbit (mbcalyn.com)
- Spectacular SpaceX Launch Opens Historic New Era in Spaceflight (mbcalyn.com)
- Space Exploration Technologies Corporation – Dragon (mbcalyn.com)
- Dragon: Space Station Bound (foxnews.com)
- SpaceX Dragon capsule buzzed the space station (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- SpaceX spaceship chasing space station in orbit (foxnews.com)
- Private Spacecraft to Fly Near ISS (blogs.voanews.com)
- SpaceX Dragon makes International Space Station fly-by (slashgear.com)
- Watch Live: SpaceX’s Dragon Performs Space Station Flyby (wired.com)
More Men Enter Fields Dominated by Women
Donning the ‘Pink Collar’: A New York Times analysis finds that more and more men are starting to see the many benefits of jobs long-dominated by women.
Published: May 20, 2012
HOUSTON — Wearing brick-red scrubs and chatting in Spanish, Miguel Alquicira settled a tiny girl into an adult-size dental chair and soothed her through a set of X-rays. Then he ushered the dentist, a woman, into the room and stayed on to serve as interpreter.
The New American Job
A Gender Shift at Work
Michael Stravato for The New York Times
Adrian Ortiz, a former lawyer, teaches kindergarten in Houston.
Michael Stravato for The New York Times
Charles Reed, a sixth-grade math teacher at Patrick Henry Middle School in Houston, once intended to pursue a career in law.
Michael Stravato for The New York Times
Miguel Alquicira, a dental assistant, borrowed money for an eight-month training course that led to his current position.
Michael Stravato for The New York Times
Scott Kearney tried information technology before becoming a nurse at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
A male dental assistant, Mr. Alquicira is in the minority. But he is also part of a distinctive, if little noticed, shift in workplace gender patterns. Over the last decade, men have begun flocking to fields long the province of women.
Mr. Alquicira, 21, graduated from high school in a desolate job market, one in which the traditional opportunities, like construction and manufacturing, for young men without a college degree had dried up. After career counselors told him that medical fields were growing, he borrowed money for an eight-month training course. Since then, he has had no trouble finding jobs that pay $12 or $13 an hour.
He gave little thought to the fact that more than 90 percent of dental assistants and hygienists are women. But then, young men like Mr. Alquicira have come of age in a world of inverted expectations, where women far outpace men in earning degrees and tend to hold jobs that have turned out to be, by and large, more stable, more difficult to outsource, and more likely to grow.
“The way I look at it,” Mr. Alquicira explained, without a hint of awareness that he was turning the tables on a time-honored feminist creed, “is that anything, basically, that a woman can do, a guy can do.”
After years of economic pain, Americans remain an optimistic lot, though they define the American dream not in terms of mansions and luxury cars but as something more basic — a home, a college degree, financial security and enough left over for a few extras like dining out, according to a study by the Pew Center on the States’Economic Mobility Project. That financial security usually requires a steady full-time job with benefits, something that has become harder to find, particularly for men and for those without a college degree. While women continue to make inroads into prestigious, high-wage professions dominated by men, more men are reaching for the dream in female-dominated occupations that their fathers might never have considered.
The trend began well before the crash, and appears to be driven by a variety of factors, including financial concerns, quality-of-life issues and a gradual erosion of gender stereotypes. An analysis of census data by The New York Times shows that from 2000 to 2010, occupations that are more than 70 percent female accounted for almost a third of all job growth for men, double the share of the previous decade.
That does not mean that men are displacing women — those same occupations accounted for almost two-thirds of women’s job growth. But in Texas, for example, the number of men who are registered nurses nearly doubled in that time period, rising from just over 9 percent of nurses to almost 12 percent. Men make up 23 percent of Texas public schoolteachers, but almost 28 percent of first-year teachers.
The shift includes low-wage jobs as well. Nationally, two-thirds more men were bank tellers, almost twice as many were receptionists and two-thirds more were waiting tables in 2010 than a decade earlier.
Even more striking is the type of men who are making the shift. From 1970 to 1990, according to a study by Mary Gatta, the senior scholar at Wider Opportunities for Women, and Patricia A. Roos, a sociologist at Rutgers, men who took so-called pink-collar jobs tended to be foreign-born non-English speakers with low education levels — men who, in other words, had few choices.
Now, though, the trend has spread among men of nearly all races and ages, more than a third of whom have a college degree. In fact, the shift is most pronounced among young, white, college-educated men like Charles Reed, a sixth-grade math teacher at Patrick Henry Middle School in Houston.
Mr. Reed, 25, intended to go to law school after a two-year stint with Teach for America, but he fell in love with the job. Though he says the recession had little to do with his career choice, he believes the tough times that have limited the prospects for new law school graduates have also helped make his father, a lawyer, more accepting.
Still, Mr. Reed said of his father, “In his mind, I’m just biding time until I decide to jump into a better profession.”
To the extent that the shift to “women’s work” has been accelerated by recession, the change may reverse when the economy recovers. “Are boys today saying, ‘I want to grow up and be a nurse?’ ” asked Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for American Progress. “Or are they saying, ‘I want a job that’s stable and recession proof?’ ”
In interviews, however, about two dozen men played down the economic considerations, saying that the stigma associated with choosing such jobs had faded, and that the jobs were appealing not just because they offered stable employment, but because they were more satisfying.
“I.T. is just killing viruses and clearing paper jams all day,” said Scott Kearney, 43, who tried information technology and other fields before becoming a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
Daniel Wilden, a 26-year-old Army veteran and nursing student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, said he had gained respect for nursing when he saw a female medic use a Leatherman tool to save the life of his comrade. “She was a beast,” he said admiringly.
More than a few men said their new jobs had turned out to be far harder than they imagined.
But these men can expect success. Men earn more than women even in female-dominated jobs. And white men in particular who enter those fields easily move up to supervisory positions, a phenomenon known as the glass escalator — as opposed to the glass ceiling that women encounter in male-dominated professions, said Adia Harvey Wingfield, a sociologist at Georgia State University. More men in an occupation can also raise wages for everyone, though as yet men’s share of these jobs has not grown enough to have an overall effect on pay.
“Simply because higher-educated men are entering these jobs does not mean that it will result in equality in our workplaces,” said Ms. Gatta of Wider Opportunities for Women.
Still, economists have long tried to figure out how to encourage more integration in the work force. Now, it seems to be happening of its own accord.
“I hated my job every single day of my life,” said John Cook, 55, who got a modest inheritance that allowed him to leave the company where he earned $150,000 a year as a database consultant and enter nursing school.
His starting salary will be about a third what he once earned, but database consulting does not typically earn hugs like the one Mr. Cook recently received from a girl after he took care of her premature baby sister. “It’s like, people get paid for doing this kind of stuff?” Mr. Cook said, choking up as he recounted the episode.
Several men cited the same reasons for seeking out pink-collar work that have drawn women to such careers: less stress and more time at home. At John G. Osborne Elementary, Adrian Ortiz, 42, joked that he was one of the few Mexicans who made more in his native country, where he was a hard-working lawyer, than he did in the United States as a kindergarten teacher in a bilingual classroom. “Now,” he said, “my priorities are family, 100 percent.”
Betsey Stevenson, a labor economist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said she was not surprised that changing gender roles at home, where studies show men are shouldering more of the domestic burden and spending more time parenting, are now showing up in career choices.
“We tend to study these patterns of what’s going on in the family and what’s going on in the workplace as separate, but they’re very much intertwined,” she said. “So as attitudes in the family change, attitudes toward the workplace have changed.”
In a classroom at Houston Community College, Dexter Rodriguez, 35, said his job in tech support had not been threatened by the tough economy. Nonetheless, he said, his family downsized the house, traded the new cars for used ones and began to live off savings, all so Mr. Rodriguez could train for a career he regarded as more exciting.
“I put myself into the recession,” he said, “because I wanted to go to nursing school.”
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POSTED FEBRUARY 20, 2012
CNN Says Nuclear Attack by North Korea Would Not Affect Whitney Houston Coverage
Wolf Blitzer Promises No Interruption
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – As North Korea ramped up its threats to attack South Korea, CNN reassured its viewers that a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula would have “no effect whatsoever” on its Whitney Houston coverage.
“As viewers, you have come to trust us to deliver the news whenever it happens, wherever it happens, as long as that news is about Whitney Houston,” said Wolf Blitzer, host of the network’s “Situation Room” program. “We will never do anything to break that trust.”
As Mr. Blitzer spoke, 23 of the Situation Room’s 24 video monitors featured images of Ms. Houston, with the 24th featuring an image of her ex, Bobby Brown.
The news from CNN sent a chill through the senior leadership of North Korea, who announced later today that it might postpone a nuclear war until later in the week when the Whitney Houston coverage calms down.
“Good luck with that,” Mr. Blitzer said. “The Oscars are this Sunday.”
Meanwhile, in what some political insiders are calling a sign of desperation, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney today had his first name legally changed to “Not.”
And a new study showed that the election of former Sen. Rick Santorum would solve the U.S.’s immigration problems but create enormous ones for Canada.
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