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US House bars limitating lithium-ion battery shipments on planes

Lithium-ion batteries planeThe U.S. House of Representatives has passed a law that would bar the Obama administration from limiting shipments of lithium-ion batteries by air.

The proposed rule by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the FAA would have eliminated exceptions for small lithium batteries, classifying them as "Class 9" hazardous cargo, and requiring a number of labeling and other safety regulations.

The House will have to reconcile its legislation with the Senate before President Obama can sign a unified joint bill, as Bloomberg noted.

There have been numerous incidents of batteries short-circuiting, and many of those have involved airplanes. (The last major battery incident involved Sony, in 2008; that recall then, however, did not cover airplanes.) The proposed rule noted that out of 21 and 44 incidents involving lithium batteries since 1991 involved passenger aircraft; of those, 16 involved carry-on luggage, and one involved checked baggage. Twenty-three incidents involved cargo aircraft, presumably in pallets of batteries being transported by air.

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TV on DVD: January 18, 2011

DallasHere are some of the options available this week:

  • 21 Jump Street (Season 4)
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Collection 5, Pt. 2)
  • Dallas (Season 14)
  • Dark Skies (Complete Series)
  • Hey Vern, It's Earnest (Complete Series)
  • Justified (Season 1)
  • Merlin (Season 2)
  • Nite Tales (Complete Series)
  • Stingray (Complete Series)
  • Waking the Dead (Season 5)

Make sure to also check out the film options for this week.

Read More | Amazon

Word Lens for iPhone review

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Travel, Utilities, Reviews, Free Apps,

 

 Word Lens review 

There was a time when a jaunt through a foreign country meant stashing a translation guide on your pocket so that you could whip it out at a moment's notice to read a sign or understand a spoken word. It's a rudimentary system that's worked for ages, but Quest Visual looks to change the game with its Word Lens free iPhone (free, but language packs cost $4.99) app, which translates printed text on the fly.

How It Works
The concept behind Word Lens is a simple one: You point your iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, or fourth generation iPod touch's camera at printed text and the app translates the word on the fly simply by tapping the green button in the toolbar. That ability isn't included by default; you have to purchase one of the $4.99 language packs. Unfortunately, only two packs are available at the moment—English to Spanish, and Spanish to English—so the selection is extremely limited. Other undisclosed languages are in the works.

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Expert Verdict self-weighing suitcase

Expert Verdict Self Weighing Suitcase

Self-weighing luggage. What an awesome idea. No, seriously—have you traveled lately? The airlines are going crazy with their checked baggage fees, number of bags checked fees, cost per pound fees (what is this, the produce section?) and the like. The folks over at Expert Verdict have built a roller suitcase that sells for just $100 that has a built-in scale and digital display. You pack your stuff, and it will tell you how much it all weighs. You can even have it give you that information in pounds or kilograms. Yeah, we know. Why didn’t we think of this first?

Read More | Expert Verdict

Gaming gear I wish I had on this 12-hour flight

As I write this, I am squeezed into a coach seat on a 12 hour flight from an undisclosed location in the middle east to New York City. Once I get done with this, I have another 6-hour jaunt to Los Angeles, and the memory of my last 2-hour flight here fades with every drop of overpriced airline beer. In these trying times, a man needs to keep entertained. My DS is charged, but alas, I have completed Castlevania already.

There are three - no, four crying infants on board. The man to my left has clearly not showered since the Reagan administration. If I don’t survive, let me leave you with these thoughts of what could have been, if only I had taken this frightening possibility into deeper consideration.

Hit the jump for my last coherent thoughts before the chilling onset of complete madness.

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Superhero Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham travels like a stylish superheroVictoria Beckham fights fashion crimes and changes clothes just like “Superman.”

The former Spice Girls star makes herself comfortable as quickly as possible when she takes a long haul flight and often changes clothes while in the air.

Referring to superhero Superman, who changed into special costume in a phone box whenever his powers were needed, Victoria explained, “I think it’s the way I was brought up—when you travel you always look nice. I always have a tracksuit or my pajamas in my bag, so I go into the toilet—I’m a bit like Superman when I get in there, I put on something comfortable.”

The British star, who has three sons with soccer star husband David Beckham, also insisted her famous pout is not a deliberate pose but is her natural expression when lost in thought.

She explained on The View, “I just think that’s just me. Maybe it’s the way my face falls, I don’t know. At the end of the day I do what I do. Half the time I’m just doing it, thinking, getting it done, sorting out the kids, you know.”


Hugh Grant Gets Around

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Movies, Sports, Charity,

Hugh Grant loves to travel, especially for golf

English actor Hugh Grant flies from New York to England just to play golf. The Notting Hill star is obsessed with the game and travels thousands of miles to play 18 holes.

Speaking at the launch of his father James Grant’s watercolor exhibition at a Southampton gallery, the 48-year-old actor said, “I come out here to play golf, since I’m a golf fanatic.”

Hugh also took time to praise his 81-year-old father’s artistic skills: “I’m so proud of my dad—he’s been painting all my life. My dad, who lives in London and is originally from Scotland, follows the tradition of Scottish colorists and I really love his colors in these nature scenes.”

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Exit Strategy NYC cuts down subway travel time

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Travel, New Apps, $1.99,

We’ve got a couple of NYC MTA-related subway apps we want to share with you today, the first being Exit Strategy NYC. A simple app, Exit Strategy NYC basically shows you which car you should ride in depending on where you plan on getting off the train. You tell it what line you are riding, and which direction you are going, along with telling it your final destination. It will then show you which train cars are closes to the exits and staircases for transferring.

We do know that a majority of the lines and stops in all of New York City are covered, but there are a few that aren’t complete. Still, those will come in a future update, and this app can really end up saving you a ton of time. Even better, it’s only $1.99, which means it costs less than a ride on the subway. This one is highly recommended, and you can purchase Exit Strategy NYC now in the App Store.

Read More | Exit Strategy NYC

TripIt Introduces TripIt Pro Premium Flight Monitoring Service

TripIt Pro

Make no mistake, we are huge fans of TripIt, and have been using the trip managing site for two years now. I’d always wondered when I would be able to pay for the excellent service, and that answer came with today’s launch of TripIt Pro. TripIt Pro, first and foremost, stays on top of your flight plans and sends you text messages about flight delays, cancellations, and even gate changes (which is awesome.) In the event that a delay will mean you missing a connecting flight, TripIt will even let you know of alternate flights that will get you to your destination, including flight status and what seats are available. As you can see, TripIt is definitely trying to bring it with TripIt Pro.

According to the company, another much-requested feature has been added, that being a point tracker that keeps track of frequent flyer miles and hotel points that you rack up during travel. It’s nice to have that in your travel dashboard. Lastly, there is the Inner Circle, which basically let’s you set other specific TripIt members as contacts who can always view any of your itineraries, helpful for those of us with spouses or office assistants, where it would be helpful for them to just get those details without any action needed to be taken on your own.

TripIt Pro will cost $99 per year, and at that price, is well worth it if you travel often. Even better, though, is that from now through July 31, you can sign up and pay just $49 per year. If you sign up now, you will stay on a $49 per year price for every renewal period, until you cancel the service.

Read More | TripIt Pro

Martin Jetpack Goes Public

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Science, Transportation, Videos,

Perhaps Steve Wozniak will give up his Segway now. Nine months ago it could only go about 2 feet off the ground, but now the Martin Jetpack can soar up to about 8,000 ft. A typical trip will last about 30 minutes at a speed up to 60mph. This is no simple toy for the curious, Due out later in the year, purchasing one of the first 10 will cost you $100,000.00, training included.

Read More | Martin Jetpack

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