February 1, 2004 |
The kids may still be in school and the calendar may still say winter, but vacation time will be here before you know it. For single parents trying to fill two roles, however, a vacation may seem more like work. Travel agents, resorts, touring companies, hotels and cruises have recognized single-parent travel as a niche market and are beginning to cater to them, offering special rates and package deals and eliminating single supplement fees. "Single parents need a vacation even more so than the average parent because they are doing double-parent duty," said Brenda Elwell, author of "The Single Parent Travel Handbook" and the founder of http://www.singleparenttravel.net . "They have to take care of the children, do all the chores, take care of all the finances and be all of the emotional support to the children, so they need a vacation to just have fun. " Be prepared for the single-parent difficulties on vacation, such as an amusement park that seats only two in one car or doing something that one child wants to do and another doesn't.
January 11, 2004 |
Rio de Janeiro This is a city of coexisting extremes: Wealth and opulence adjoin poverty and squalor; courtesy counterbalances crime; sensuality shares space with spirituality. The topography pulls you abruptly from sea level to cloud level and beyond, as mountains burst randomly through the cityscape. At times I felt as though I were resting in the hollow of a giant's hand whose massive fingers curled protectively upward. In fact Christ the Redeemer, Cristo Redentor, Rio's signature statue, stands with arms outstretched at the top of Corcovado Mountain, almost a half a mile high.
January 5, 2004 |
Peter C. Theisinger exudes Zen-like calm as he tackles one of the most demanding engineering jobs on Earth — leading NASA's twin missions to place robotic explorers on Mars. He's a rumpled, heavyset man with large, metal-rimmed glasses and a degree in physics from Caltech — a perfect fit in the nerdy informality of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. But his work is anything but casual. Theisinger, 58, manages about 1,000 Mars lander scientists, engineers and technicians, a job that requires not just technical smarts but well-honed diplomatic skills to referee competing ambitions to squeeze every possible experiment from the probes.
January 4, 2004 |
Have you ever been awakened at night by a "hoot -- hoot -- hoot" sound? This is the call of a great horned owl -- the largest owl in North America. It is sometimes called a "cat owl" because it has large tufts of feathers on its head that look like a cat's ears. Tina Nagai, 8, of Sherman Oaks uses feathers instead of paint to illustrate what a great horned owl looks like. Tina learned that "owls sleep during the day and come out at night to hunt for food. " She learned too that owls have a large head and large eyes that face forward.
December 24, 2003 |
Fragments of Columbia were laid out on a vast concrete floor like broken bones on an autopsy table. Seared shards, wet with pine needles and caked with mud, were barely recognizable as fuselage, wings, tail and flaps. Once-sleek contours were crusted with charcoal-colored stove canker. Wing parts had been honed to a razor's edge by superheated gases. For weeks, wreckage poured into the isolated hangar at Florida's Kennedy Space Center - 27 tractor-trailer loads in all delivered by Lone Star Trucking.
December 23, 2003 |
By the Milk River on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana, Chauncy Birdtail woke up the day Columbia crashed the way he did most mornings - worried. As a part-time firefighter, Birdtail, 26, spent too many weeks in smoldering mountain wastes far from his wife and three children. Like many members of the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes, he struggled for steady work. To make ends meet, he had a part-time job filling in for an elementary school janitor. Now his wife was pregnant again.
December 22, 2003 |
Columbia was a white butterfly bolted to a bullet. It was more robust than any other spacecraft ever built, more fragile than anyone dared acknowledge. It was a daring departure from all that preceded it. Columbia was the world's first reusable spaceship and the first to take flight on wings. It was the first to be sheathed in a reusable thermal protection system. No single machine at the dawn of the 21st century was so complex, so consuming of national resources or so emblematic of a nation's vision of itself.
December 21, 2003 |
Carrie and Carl are twins and Laketon's youngest detectives. They were talking as they walked to the video store. "Too bad this movie has to be back this morning," Carrie said. "We didn't even get to see it. " Carl sighed. "Yeah, that power outage messed up the whole neighborhood. " "Carrie! Carl!" Ashley Matson was calling. "Someone egged our house last night during the power outage. Mom said I could only have two friends over, so I couldn't invite Kaylin, Leslie or Myra. They were kind of upset.
December 21, 2003 |
James Hallock discovered just how little it takes to bring down a space shuttle. He did it by playing with pencils. As a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, the pear-shaped, bewhiskered expert on flight safety had a New Englander's flinty skepticism and a physicist's distaste for untested accident theories. On this day, Hallock, 62, scowled at specifications for the reinforced carbon panels that shielded the leading edge of Columbia's wings from the heat of reentry.