Saturday, January 10, 2015

Video: US Navy describes Air Asia flight search efforts

Naval Aircrewman 1st Class Joseph Jiardina, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35, describes how he is supporting Air Asia Flight QZ8501 search efforts and helping to bring closure to families affected by the tragedy.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Natural Grocers to open in Tucson

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. will open its first store in Tucson, its fourth in Arizona, on Jan. 20. The store is located at 7220 E. Broadway Blvd.

Natural Grocers will provide the Tucson community with USDA Certified Organic fresh produce and other healthy, affordable natural and organic groceries - a mix of national brands and locally-grown, -raised and -manufactured products from Arizona.

Currently, Natural Grocers has 91 stores in 15 states, employing more than 2,000 people.

The Tucson location is one of 18 Natural Grocers stores expected to open in fiscal year 2015.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Duke Energy asks its customers to reduce electricity use

Duke Energy officials are asking customers to reduce electricity use during the next 24 hours to help avoid potential high-energy demand on the electrical grid caused by frigid temperatures. The low temperatures will put higher stress on mechanical equipment used to generate and deliver electricity. Isolated equipment problems are possible, which could result in unplanned scattered outages.

The most critical time to reduce electricity usage is Thursday between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

"The forecasted conditions are very similar to those we experienced last January during the Polar Vortex, and are affecting a large portion of the country," said Nelson Peeler, Duke Energy vice president of transmission system operations. "We currently have sufficient generation resources to meet our customers' energy needs, but we know from experience that conditions can change quickly, and we need to be prepared."

To help lessen energy demand on the power grid during the next 24 hours and reduce the potential for isolated power outages, Duke Energy offers the following tips:
  • Reduce your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting when home, and bump the thermostat down a degree or two when leaving home.
  • Turn off unnecessary lighting.
  • Postpone household chores that require electrical appliances.
  • Unplug cellphone / tablet chargers. These devices draw energy even when not in use.
  • Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
  • Leave your drapes or blinds open to allow the sun's rays to warm the house.
Duke Energy has a detailed plan to manage the power grid in extreme conditions:
  • Running all available generation units;
  • purchasing power from other utilities.
"If necessary and conditions change, we would need to initiate forced power reductions that would result in rotating or sustained power outages across the grid," Peeler said.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pennsylvania slot machine revenue up in December

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's monthly slot machine revenue report for December of 2014 shows an increase of 5.82 percent in gross revenue generated over 2013.

According to the report, the play of slot machines at the 12 casinos produced over $10 million more in gross revenue this year, $188,426,686, compared to the $178,059,128 in gross revenue generated in December of last year.

The average combined number of slot machines operating daily was 26,377 in December of 2014 compared to 26,591 in December of 2013.

Gross revenue from slot machine gaming for the 2014 calendar year remained above $2.3 billion. Total revenue for 2014 was $2,319,534,380, 2.7 percent below calendar year 2013 when gross revenue totaled $2,384,098,225.

Tax generated from slot machine gaming in 2014 was $1,239,730,997.

Video: NASA learning to go with the flow over Mojave Desert

This video takes a look at the evolution of various ways NASA has observed flow visualization in aircraft structures over the years. Whether in the lab or flying high over the Mojave Desert, capturing these flow visuals is important for the development of future aeronautical concepts and designs.

General Atomics awarded MQ-9 Reaper retrofit contract

General Atomics, Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Poway, Calif., has been awarded a $43 million contract for MQ-9 Reaper field retrofit. General Atomics will provide retrofit kits for the MQ-9 Reaper Block 1 configuration aircraft with field retrofit capabilities. The work will be performed at Poway and is expected to be completed by July 5, 2017.

This contract award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal year 2013 funds in the amount of $27 million and fiscal year 2014 funds in the amount of $16 million are being obligated at the time of award. The contract is being managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (formerly named Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed primarily for the U.S. Air Force.

Officials regret not closing Loudoun County schools during snowstorm

After careful consideration of all available information, including advanced weather forecasts and real-time monitoring of road conditions across the county, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) officials made an early morning decision to keep schools open Tuesday. “Clearly, the conditions became far worse than anticipated,” LCPS officials said in a press statement.

“We apologize for the difficulties the weather caused this morning,” Loudoun officials said Tuesday. “Students are safest at school when parents have not had a chance to make alternate plans for their child's return home. At this time, we are planning to dismiss schools at their normal dismissal time. However, all LCPS after-school activities are canceled for this afternoon and evening.

“LCPS regrets any confusion or stress today’s decisions may have caused. Student and staff safety remains our top priority and policy and procedures around closure and delay decision-making will be reviewed and enhanced using lessons learned today.”

NASA announces new project scientist for Mars rover mission

The new project scientist for Mars Rover Curiosity is Ashwin Vasavada of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Vasavada had been deputy project scientist for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project since 2004.

The project scientist's role is to coordinate efforts of an international team of nearly 500 scientists operating the rover's 10 science instruments, planning rover investigations and assessing data from the Curiosity rover.

Vasavada succeeds John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, who recently became chair of Caltech's Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences and remains a member of Curiosity's science team.

"John Grotzinger put his heart and soul into Curiosity for seven years," Vasavada said.

Vasavada has helped shepherd the project through development of the spacecraft, selection and integration of the science instruments, selection of the landing site in Mars' Gale Crater, activities of Curiosity since its August 2012 landing, and publication of many research findings.

Researchers are currently using Curiosity to investigate the geological layers at the base of a mountain inside Gale Crater. Recent findings indicate that the lower portion of the mountain formed as sedimentary deposits in lakes and streams. During its two-year prime mission, Curiosity found evidence that Mars offered favorable conditions for microbial life about three billion years ago.

Vasavada has also worked on the science teams for NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and for the Cassini mission to Saturn. He holds a 1998 doctorate in planetary science from Caltech and a 1992 bachelor of science degree in geophysics and space physics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Video: New experiment sent to space station will research Alzheimer

During a panel discussions from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, scientists and researchers discussed the onboard science and research studies being carried to space aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft which include the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System and supplies for research on the risks of in-flight infections in astronauts, as well as research on degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's.

The fifth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station will carry more than 3,700 pounds of scientific experiments, technology demonstrations and supplies, including critical materials to support 256 science and research investigations that will take place on the space station.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Dragon cargo ship into orbit on Friday with liftoff planned at 5:09 a.m. EST.

Monday, January 5, 2015

American Airlines seeks to serve Tokyo's Haneda Airport from LAX

American Airlines formally submitted an application Monday to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposing to operate daily, year-round, nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Tokyo's Haneda Airport (HND). Per the U.S.-Japan bilateral agreement, U.S. airlines may only operate a total of four daily round-trip flights at Haneda Airport. Currently that service is provided by Delta Air Lines from Los Angeles and Seattle, Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu, and United Airlines from San Francisco. American's application seeks to transfer an existing route authority from Seattle, and would provide new service to Haneda from American's hub in Los Angeles.

"With only four authorized daily flights for U.S. airlines between Haneda and the United States, it is imperative that American be allowed to compete," said American's President Scott Kirby. "We are the only U.S. global network carrier without the authority to operate our own aircraft at Haneda. American's proposed Los Angeles-Haneda service will increase competition in the Haneda market and make the most of underutilized operating rights by giving millions of consumers and shippers a new, viable travel option to Haneda that they don't have today."

In December, the DOT instituted a carrier-selection proceeding to determine whether current service between Seattle and Haneda should be reallocated to another airline. Citing underutilization of a scarce resource, American seeks a reallocation of the Haneda authority.

American will operate its proposed LAX-HND service with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The airline is retrofitting all 47 of its 777-200s to refresh the cabins and enhance the premium experience on international flights. The retrofitted 777-200 features a Business Class with a fully lie-flat seat and walk-up bar.