Gas falling under $3 per gallon nationwide







NEW YORK (AP) — The sight is so surprising that Americans are sharing photos of it, along with all those cute Halloween costumes, sweeping vistas and special meals: The gas station sign, with a price under $3 a gallon.
"It's stunning what's happening here," says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. "I'm a little bit shocked."
The national average price of gasoline has fallen 33 cents in October, landing Friday at $3.00, according to AAA. Kloza said the average will fall under $3 by early Saturday morning for the first time in four years.
When the national average crossed above $3 a gallon in December of 2010, drivers weren't sure they'd ever see $2.99 again. Global demand for oil and gasoline was rising as people in developing countries bought cars by the tens of millions and turmoil was brewing in the oil-rich Middle East.
Now demand isn't rising as fast as expected, drillers have learned to tap vast new sources of oil, particularly in the U.S., and crude continues to flow out of the Middle East.
Seasonal swings and other factors will likely send gas back over $3 sooner than drivers would like, but the U.S. is on track for the lowest annual average since 2010 — and the 2015 average is expected to be lower even still.
Trisha Pena of Hermitage, Tenn., recently paid $2.57 a gallon to fill up her Honda CRV. Like many around the country these days, she was so surprised and delighted by the price she took a photo and posted it on social media for her friends to see. "I can't remember the last time it cost under $30 to put 10 or 11 gallons in my tank," she said in an interview. "A month ago it was in the $3.50 range, and that's where it had been for a very long time."
Here are a few things to know about cheap gas:
— Crude prices came off the boil. Oil fell from $107 a barrel in June to near $81 because there's a lot of supply and weak demand. U.S. output has increased 70 percent since 2008, and supplies from Iraq and Canada have also increased. At the same time, demand is weaker than expected because of a sluggish global economy.
— In the past, a stronger economy in the U.S., the world's biggest consumer of oil and gasoline, typically meant rising fuel demand. No longer. Americans are driving more efficient vehicles and our driving habits are changing. Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute calculates that the number of miles traveled per household and gallons of fuel consumed per household peaked in 2004.
— The drop from last year's average of $3.51 per gallon will save the typical U.S. household about $50 a month.
— The drop will save the U.S. economy $187 million a day, and also boost the profits of shippers, airlines, and any company that sends employees out on sales calls or for deliveries.
— It will take an extra 1.5 years to make purchasing a higher-priced, better-mileage Toyota Prius instead of a Toyota Corolla pay off.
— New York's average of $3.37 is the highest in the continental U.S. South Carolina and Tennessee are the lowest, with an average of $2.75.
— Politicians are either going to take the credit for lower gasoline prices or blame the other party for not helping them fall further. Don't listen. There are small things politicians can do over long time horizons, like implement fuel economy standards or ease drilling regulations, but the decline in prices is mainly due to market forces.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes: 1 Dead, 1 Injured

Image: Wreckage from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is shown in this still image captured from KNBC video footage from Mojave California
Crash site of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo





Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane exploded and crashed during a test flight on Friday, killing one crew member and seriously injuring another, authorities said.
The explosion came after the plane dropped away from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane and fired up its hybrid rocket engine, said Stuart Witt, CEO and general manager of the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The blast scattered debris across a two-mile swath of the desert floor north of Mojave, which is about 95 miles (150 kilometers) outside Los Angeles.
One of the two test pilots aboard the plane was killed, said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who was among the officials dealing with the crash's aftermath.
The other parachuted to the ground and was injured. That pilot was transferred to Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California, according to Kern County Deputy Fire Chief Michael Cody. 

"We hope that the survivor will be just fine," Youngblood said during a news briefing.
The pilots have not yet been identified, but both of them worked for Mojave-based Scaled Composites, according to Scaled's president, Kevin Mickey. Scaled has played a key role in developing and testing SpaceShipTwo for Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic had planned to use this SpaceShipTwo to fly passengers on suborbital trips to the edge of space, beginning as early as next year. A nearly identical rocket plane is already under construction inside a Mojave hangar. More than 700 customers, including celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber, have paid as much as $250,000 to take a ride.
George T. Whitesides, Virgin Galactic's CEO, said the company would press on despite the setback.
"Space is hard, and today was a tough day," Whitesides told reporters. "We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened today, and we're going to get through it. The future rests in many ways on hard, hard days like this. But we believe we owe it to the folks who were flying these vehicles as well as the folks who are working so hard on them to understand this and to move forward."
Witt said Mojave's close-knit aviation community was hit hard by the tragedy.
"When we have a mishap from the test community, we find that the test community is very small," he said. "We are human, and it hurts." 

View image on Twitter

First powered flight in months

SpaceShipTwo's crew was testing the rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months. The plane was slung beneath WhiteKnightTwo for takeoff from the Mojave Air and Space Port at about 9:20 a.m. PT (12:20 p.m. ET). When the paired planes reached a height of about 50,000 feet, about 40 minutes later, SpaceShipTwo was released for the test.
Witt said the anomaly occurred about two minutes after SpaceShipTwo dropped away and fired the rocket engine, but he didn't see any explosion. "It wasn't because something did happen. It was what I was not hearing and not seeing," Witt said.
Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw an explosion high in the air and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert. The WhiteKnightTwo plane and its pilots, meanwhile, landed safely.
Authorities cordoned off the crash site pending an investigation. A National Transportation Safety Board team was expected to get to the crash site Saturday morning. The Federal Aviation Administration said it was also investigating the incident. 

New kind of fuel tested

During the nine months since the previous rocket-powered test in January, Virgin Galactic switched SpaceShipTwo's fuel mixture from a rubber-based compound to a plastic-based mix — in hopes that the new formulation would boost the hybrid rocket engine's performance.
Mickey said engines using the new type of fuel had been thoroughly tested on the ground. The final pre-flight qualification engine firing took place earlier this month. Friday's test marked the first time the new fuel was used in flight, but Mickey said "we expected no anomalies with the motor today."
Before Friday's flight, the most recent aerial outing was on Oct. 7, when SpaceShipTwo took an unpowered, gliding flight back to the Mojave runway.
The fatal flight was part of SpaceShipTwo's years-long test program, following up on the successful suborbital spaceflights of the smaller SpaceShipOne rocket plane in 2004. Virgin Galactic had said SpaceShipTwo's first test flight to an outer-space altitude — usually defined as 100 kilometers, or 62 miles — could have taken place before the end of the year.
The company's billionaire founder, Richard Branson, was hoping to ride on the first commercial flight next year. Over the past decade, he and his investment partners have put hundreds of millions of dollars into the Virgin Galactic venture. After Friday's crash, Branson said in a Twitter update that he was "flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team."
Image: SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo Jason DiVenere / Scaled Composites
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane is slung beneath the WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane before Friday's takeoff.
NBC News' Julianne Pepitone and James Eng contributed to this report. NBCUniversal has established a multi-platform partnership with Virgin Galactic to track the development of SpaceShipTwo and televise Branson's spaceflight.

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Mexico archaeologists explore Teotihuacan tunnel


Photo released by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) shows a sculpture unearthed at the Teotihuacan archeological site in Mexico. Mexican archaeologists have concluded a yearslong exploration of a tunnel sealed nearly 2,000 years ago at the ancient city of Teotihuacan and found thousands of relics. Teotihuacan dominated central Mexico centuries before the rise of the Aztecs in the 14th century. 


Mexico City (AP) — A yearslong exploration of a tunnel sealed almost 2,000 years ago at the ancient city of Teotihuacan yielded thousands of relics and the discovery of three chambers that could hold more important finds, Mexican archaeologists said Wednesday.

Project leader Sergio Gomez said researchers recently reached the end of the 340-foot (103-meter) tunnel after meticulously working their way down its length, collecting relics from seeds to pottery to animal bones.

Shells unearthed by investigators at the Teotihuacan archeological site in Mexico. Mexican archaeologists have concluded a yearslong exploration of a tunnel sealed nearly 2,000 years ago at the ancient city of Teotihuacan and found thousands of relics. Teotihuacan dominated central Mexico centuries before the rise of the Aztecs in the 14th century. (AP Photo/Proyecto Tlalocan, INAH)


A large offering found near the entrance to the chambers, some 59 feet (18 meters) below the Temple of the Plumed Serpent, suggests they could be the tombs of the city's elite.

"Because this is one of the most sacred places in all Teotihuacan, we believe that it could have been used for the rulers to ... acquire divine endowment allowing them to rule on the surface," Gomez said.

Unlike at other pre-Columbian ruins in Mexico, archaeologists have never found any remains believed to belong to Teotihuacan's rulers. Such a discovery could help shine light on the leadership structure of the city, including whether rule was hereditary.

Sculptures and shells unearthed by investigators at the Teotihuacan archeological site in Mexico. Mexican archaeologists have concluded a yearslong exploration of a tunnel sealed nearly 2,000 years ago at the ancient city of Teotihuacan and found thousands of relics. Teotihuacan dominated central Mexico centuries before the rise of the Aztecs in the 14th century. (AP Photo/Proyecto Tlalocan, INAH)


"We have not lost hope of finding that, and if they are there, they must be from someone very, very important," Gomez said.

So far Gomez's team has excavated only about 2 feet (60 centimeters) into the chambers. A full exploration will take at least another year.

Sculptures unearthed by investigators at the Teotihuacan archeological site in Mexico. Mexican archaeologists have concluded a yearslong exploration of a tunnel sealed nearly 2,000 years ago at the ancient city of Teotihuacan and found thousands of relics. Teotihuacan dominated central Mexico centuries before the rise of the Aztecs in the 14th century. (AP Photo/Proyecto Tlalocan, INAH)
 
Initial studies by the National Institute of Anthropology and History show the tunnel functioned until around A.D. 250, when it was closed off.

Teotihuacan long dominated central Mexico and had its apex between 100 B.C. and A.D. 750. It is believed to have been home to more than 100,000 people, but was abandoned before the rise of the Aztecs in the 14th century.


Today it is an important archaeological site on the outskirts of Mexico City and a major tourist draw known for its broad avenues and massive pyramids.

Honduran Paola Quinonez speaks to Reuters in Mexico City
Honduran Paola Quinonez speaks to Reuters in Mexico City September 3, 2014. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Study: Too much milk may be bad for your health




Excerpt from metronews.ca

Drink lots of milk to strengthen your bones and boost your health, doctors say.

But a study in The BMJ medical journal Wednesday said Swedes with a high intake of cow’s milk died younger — and women suffered more fractures.

The findings may warrant questions about recommendations for milk consumption, although further research is needed, its authors said, as the association may be purely coincidental.

A Swedish team used data taken from 61,000 women aged 39-74 and monitored for about 20 years, and more than 45,000 men aged 45-79 followed for 11 years.

The volunteers gave details about diet and lifestyle, body weight, smoking habits, exercise frequency, education level and marital status.

By the end of this long study period, 25,500 of the group had died and 22,000 had suffered a fracture.

Higher milk intake was not accompanied by a lower risk of fractures but “may be associated with a higher rate of death”, the study said.

Among the women, 180 per 1,000 in the group which drank three glasses of milk or more a day died during a 10-year period, compared to the group average, independent of milk consumption, of 126 per 1,000.

Among those who drank a glass or less per day, the rate was 110 per 1,000, co-author Karl Michaelsson of Uppsala University told AFP.

The figures for hip fracture was 42 out of 1,000 women who drank a lot of milk, 35 per 1,000 on average, and 31 per 1,000 of women who drank the least milk.

“Women who consumed three glasses or more per day had a 90 percent higher risk of death, 60 percent higher risk of hip fracture and 15 percent higher risk of any fracture compared to those who drank less than a glass,” said Michaelsson.

For men, the difference in death rate was less pronounced: 207 per 1,000 among the three-glasses-a-day group over 10 years, 189 per 1,000 on average, and 182 per 1,000 among low consumers. There was no difference in fracture rates.

“The higher risk of mortality was evident with all types of milk: full-fat, half-fat and skimmed milk,” Michaelsson added — and started from a daily intake of about two glasses of milk.

At a lower consumption of half a glass to one glass per day, “there was a tendency of slightly reduced hip fracture risk” compared to zero intake, but the same was not true for mortality risk.
The team found that fermented milk products like cheese or yoghurt were associated with lower mortality and fracture rates, particularly in women.

One reason, the authors speculated, is that milk, but not cheese, is high in D-galactose, a type of sugar that in animal studies was shown to hasten ageing and shorten lifespan.

Caution
The researchers said it was impossible to draw any conclusions or make recommendations on milk consumption until further work is carried out.

The results may not apply to people of other ethnic origins with different levels of lactose tolerance, they said.

Milk also has different nutrient levels that depend on factors like food fortification and cow diet.

And the results could be skewed by a phenomenon called “reverse causation” — osteoporosis sufferers at high risk of a bone break increase their milk intake, which then gets blamed when they suffer a fracture.

Other experts noted shortcomings in the study, including that milk consumption was self-reported, often a flaw in dietary research.
Nor did the authors define the type of physical activity the men and women did — whether it was weight-bearing and therefore bone-strengthening, or not.

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Amelia Earhart plane fragment identified



EarhartFragment2.jpg
A piece of aluminum debris recovered in 1991 appears to belong to Earhart’s lost plane. (TIGHAR)


Excerpt from foxnews.com

A fragment of Amelia Earhart's lost aircraft has been identified to a high degree of certainty for the first time ever since her plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

New research strongly suggests that a piece of aluminum aircraft debris recovered in 1991 from Nikumaroro, an uninhabited atoll in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, does belong to Earhart’s twin-engined Lockheed Electra.

The search for Amelia Earhart is about to continue in the pristine waters of a tiny uninhabited island, Nikumaroro, between Hawaii and Australia.

According to researchers at The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 77 years ago, the aluminum sheet is a patch of metal installed on the Electra during the aviator’s eight-day stay in Miami, which was the fourth stop on her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

The patch replaced a navigational window: A Miami Herald photo shows the Electra departing for San Juan, Puerto Rico on the morning of Tuesday, June 1, 1937 with a shiny patch of metal where the window had been.

“The Miami Patch was an expedient field repair," Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News. "Its complex fingerprint of dimensions, proportions, materials and rivet patterns was as unique to Earhart’s Electra as a fingerprint is to an individual."

TIGHAR researchers went to Wichita Air Services in Newton, Kans., and compared the dimensions and features of the Artifact 2-2-V-1, as the metal sheet found on Nikumaroro was called, with the structural components of a Lockheed Electra being restored to airworthy condition.

The rivet pattern and other features on the 19-inch-wide by 23-inch-long Nikumaroro artifact matched the patch and lined up with the structural components of the Lockheed Electra. TIGHAR detailed the finding in a report on its website.

“This is the first time an artifact found on Nikumaroro has been shown to have a direct link to Amelia Earhart,” Gillespie said.
The breakthrough would prove that, contrary to what was generally believed, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, did not crash in the Pacific Ocean, running out of fuel somewhere near their target destination of Howland Island.

Instead, they made a forced landing on Nikumaroro's smooth, flat coral reef. The two became castaways and eventually died on the atoll, which is some 350 miles southeast of Howland Island.
In 10 archaeological expeditions to Nikumaroro, Gillespie and his team uncovered a number of artifacts which, combined with archival research, provide strong circumstantial evidence for a castaway presence.

“Earhart sent radio distress calls for at least five nights before the Electra was washed into the ocean by rising tides and surf,” Gillespie said.

The search for Amelia Earhart is about to continue in the pristine waters of a tiny uninhabited island, Nikumaroro, between Hawaii and Australia.

Previous research on a photograph of Nikumaroro's western shoreline taken three months after Earhart's disappearance revealed an unexplained object protruding from the water on the fringing reef.

Forensic imaging analyses of the photo suggested that the shape and dimension of the object are consistent with the landing gear of a Lockheed Electra.

Moreover, an “anomaly” that might possibly be the wreckage of Amelia Earhart's aircraft emerged from analysis of the sonar imagery captured off Nikumaroro during TIGHAR’s last expedition.

The object rests at a depth of 600 feet at the base of a cliff just offshore where, according to TIGHAR, the Electra was washed into the ocean. An analysis of the anomaly by Ocean Imaging Consultants, Inc. of Honolulu, experts in post-processing sonar data, revealed the anomaly to be the right size and shape to be the fuselage of Earhart’s aircraft.


On July 3, TIGHAR researchers left Honolulu, Hawaii, aboard the University of Hawaii oceanographic research ship R/V Ka Imikai-O-Kanaloa. 


The new research on Artifact 2-2-V-1 may reinforce the possibility that the anomaly is the rest of the aircraft.

“The many fractures, tears, dents and gouges found on this battered sheet of aluminum may be important clues to the fate and resting place of the Electra,” Gillespie said.


Documentary Coming in August
The high-tech underwater search, which will be captured by a film crew from Discovery Channel and aired as a documentary in August, will rely on a topedo-shaped Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) called Bluefin-21 made by Bluefin Robotics and a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV). 


In June 2015, TIGHAR will return to Nikumaroro to investigate the anomaly with Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) technology supported by Nai’a, a 120-foot Fiji-based vessel that has served five previous TIGHAR explorations.

During the 24-day expedition, divers will search for other wreckage at shallower depths and an onshore search team will seek to identify objects detected in historical photographs that may be relics of an initial survival camp.

“Funding is being sought, in part, from individuals who will make a substantial contribution in return for a place on the expedition team,” Gillespie said.

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DNA-based electrical circuits are almost a thing of the present


DNA helix
Electrical circuits made from DNA have been a theoretical possibility - and never created - until now. What could this mean for the future of computing?


Excerpt from techtimes.com

Electrical circuits based on DNA could soon become a reality. Computer circuits could be designed based on the genetic structure of all living beings, providing processors significantly faster than current technology.

Computers have become smaller over the last sixty years, as well as more powerful. Transistors are critical to the operation of the machines, but a minimum distance between the components is required to prevent interference between the devices. This has limited designers from creating processors much smaller than modern technology.

Molecular electronics could get around this challenge, if researchers could find a way to develop molecules that self-assemble into complex circuits. So far, that has not been achieved by any of the groups working on the task. The only molecules that self-organize in complex forms in nature are DNA, making these structures obvious choices for researchers looking to develop electrical processors. However, no large DNA molecules have been successfully shown to carry an electrical signal in a manner which could prove useful in a processor.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers collaborated with other scientists from around the world to develop four strands of DNA capable of carrying such a charge.

Researchers believe this could be the greatest breakthrough in DNA-based electrical circuits in the last ten years.

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Science-laden Cygnus spaceship ready for takeoff


http://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cygnus_approach_iss.jpg
Artist’s concept of a Cygnus supply spacecraft approaching the International Space Station. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.



Excerpt from
spaceflightnow.com

A commercial Cygnus supply freighter set for launch Monday will transport a motley mix of experiments to the International Space Station, helping scientists engaged in a range of research disciplines from studying the birth of the solar system to helping astronauts survive marathon missions in space.

Materials carried aboard the Cygnus supply ship include a high-resolution camera to detect meteors from the space station, a study to measure blood flow from the brain to the heart in astronauts, and an array of experiments from grade school and university students, officials said Sunday.

About one-third of the nearly 5,000 pounds of cargo stowed inside the craft’s pressurized cabin will go toward scientific endeavors, according to Camille Alleyne, NASA’s assistant space station program scientist.

The rest of the supplies will sustain the space station and its crew with spare parts, tools, food, clothes and other essential gear.

Owned and operated by Orbital Sciences Corp., the Cygnus spacecraft is set for launch at 6:45 p.m. EDT (2245 GMT) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Va.
The unpiloted cargo carrier will take off on top of Orbital’s expendable two-stage Antares rocket. Named SS Deke Slayton in honor of the Mercury astronaut, Cygnus is due to arrive at the space station Nov. 2 after an automated laser-guided final approach.

Its docking with the space station will punctuate a busy week of comings-and-goings at the outpost.

Once the next Progress spacecraft docks to the station a few hours after its launch Wednesday, Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft will be cleared to rendezvous with the orbiting research laboratory.



The series of four arrivals and departures in eight days represents a particularly busy period for traffic at the space station, but officials said a regular cadence of resupply missions is indicative of the station’s scientific utility.



Technicians loaded last-mnute cargo into the Cygnus spacecraft last week. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.
Technicians loaded last-mnute cargo into the Cygnus spacecraft last week. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.