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What's in Your Car?

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With the holiday driving season upon us, many Americans will be taking to the road for long trips this weekend. I'll be heading up to Seattle (only about a three-hour drive), but I'm already planning everything: I'll be carrying core beverages, backup beverages, a selection of audiobooks, a pile of outdated maps, and of course a trunk full of weird junk that might be used in case of emergency (an unopened AAA "Emergency Kit," a squeegee on a stick, oil, a lot of bungee cables, an expired Washington license plate that came with the car, and for some reason about a thousand paper napkins). I think I'm prepared. But what about you?

Blogger Mary Wheeler recently wrote up a list of what's in her car. I reprint it here in its entirety (emphasis added):

• ancient iPod Nano -- not worth stealing (I hope)
• persimmon (from my mom's tree, for the fresh scent, 'natch)
• back scratcher -- especially for those long drives (I use it a LOT!)
Whoopie cushion -- you know, for hitchhikers
• iPhone adapter (in case the Nano runs out of batteries)
• inspirational Tarot card
• rubber beetle
• ecdysiast button -- this just appeared in my car one day -- I think it might have been left there by a hitchhiker.

Not pictured: napkins, flashlight, screwdriver, electrical tape, hose clamp, rubber belt of some kind (like I'd know what to do with it if I needed it), pens, maps, rags, extra oil, tire gauge, dirt. What I don't have, but should: flares, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, money.

In case of hitchhikers, all I have is additional audiobooks.

So what about you? What's in your car? Share in the comments. Also, if you realize you really need a whoopee cushion, now would be the time to stock up.

(See also: The Items We Carry and On My Desk.)

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Live Smarter
Why the Best Time to Book Your Thanksgiving Travel Is Right Now
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You're never going to get a true steal on holiday plane tickets, but if you want to avoid spending your whole salary flying to visit your relatives over Thanksgiving, the time is nigh to start picking seats. That's according to the experts at Condé Nast Traveler, who cite data from Expedia and Skyscanner.

The latter found that it was cheapest to secure Thanksgiving tickets 11 weeks before the holiday. That means that you should have bought your ticket around September 4, but it's not too late; you can still save if you book now. Expedia's data shows that the cheapest time to buy is 61 to 90 days before you leave, so you still have until September 23 to snag a seat on a major airline without paying an obscene premium. (Relatively speaking, of course.)

When major travel holidays aren't involved, data shows that the best time to book a plane ticket is on a Sunday, at least 21 days ahead of your travel. But given that millions of other Americans also want to fly on the exact same days during Thanksgiving and Christmas, the calculus of booking is a bit more high stakes. If you sleep on tickets this month, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings. In the recent study cited by Condé Nast Traveler, Expedia found that people booking during the 61- to 90-day window saved up to 10 percent off the average ticket price, while last-minute bookers who bought tickets six days or less from their travel day paid up to 20 percent more.

Once you secure those Turkey Day tickets, you've got a new project: Your Christmas flights. By Hopper's estimates, those flights rise in price by $1.50 every day between the end of October and December 15 (after which they get even more expensive). However, playing the waiting game can be beneficial, too. Expedia found that the cheapest time to book Christmas flights was just 14 to 20 days out.

Before you buy, we also recommend checking CheapAir.com, which tracks 11,000 different airfares for flights around the holidays to analyze price trends. Because as miserable as holiday travel can be, you don't want to pay any more than you have to.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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History
How the Wright Brothers' Plane Compares to the World's Largest Aircraft
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The Wright brothers famously built the world’s first powered, heavier-than-air, controllable aircraft. But while the siblings revolutionized the field of aviation, their early plane looks tiny—and dare we say quaint-looking—when compared to the aerial giants that came after it.

In Tech Insider’s video below, you can see how the Wright brothers’ flyer stacks up against the scale of other aircrafts. You'll notice that size doesn't always guarantee a successful journey. The Hughes H-4 Hercules—the largest flying boat ever made—never made it past the prototype stage, performing only one brief flight in 1947. And the Hindenburg, which was 804 feet long and could fit 80 Olympic swimming pools, famously exploded on May 6, 1937.

Today’s longest commercial airliner is the Boeing 747-8, which measures 251 feet from nose to tail. While slightly shorter (238 feet), the Airbus A380 is certified to hold more people than any other plane in the air—a total of 850 passengers. That record won't last long, though: In a few years, the Stratolaunch carrier—the widest aircraft ever built—will dwarf its contemporaries when it takes to the skies in 2019. Built to launch rockets into orbit, its wingspan is about the size of a football field, even bigger than that of the Hughes H-4 Hercules.

Still, what the Wright brothers’ plane lacked in size, it made up for in ingenuity. Without it, these other giants may never have existed.

[h/t: Tech Insider]

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