Living with credit

Emily’s list: Hubble telescope edition

Emily Crone
The Hubble telescopeAstronauts replacing gyroscopes on the Hubble Telescope during a mission in 1999.

On this day in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the largest and most versatile space telescopes in the world, was launched into space. It was taken into orbit 380 miles above Earth on the Discovery space shuttle. The Hubble took 20 years and billions of dollars to create, but the images it continues to send back to Earth are nothing less than stunning.

In this week’s roundup of the best credit card-related posts from the blogosphere, we celebrate the ups and downs of this incredible piece of engineering that took astronomy to an entirely different level.

1. Some parents who think their kids can be trusted with credit cards may have their heads in the clouds, yet some children seem perfectly capable. Trent at The Simple Dollar discusses the common debate of whether teenagers should be allowed to have credit cards.

2. The Digerati Life explains how you can avoid bankruptcy and outlines the five steps that she took to prevent it. It will feel fantastic once you get that old, aging debt cleared away! With the Hubble Telescope, older is better. In fact, the telescope has had improvements in recent years that allow it to view so far into space that it captured the first stars starting to shine 13.7 billion years ago, just moments after the universe was created.

3. Clever Dude recounts a recent experience that reminded him why it is so important to pay attention to all communications from your credit card company. Many people think extraterrestrials are trying to communicate with us, but that we just aren’t looking closely enough. Should aliens decide to contact us, I hope they are more subtle than in the movie “Independence Day.”

4. Every year, many Americans find themselves overwhelmed with medical debt. Bargaineering says it’s possible to negotiate your medical bills and provides tips on doing so. Those working on the Hubble had to negotiate when they found out their planned launch date wouldn’t happen due to space exploration being shut down after the Challenger launch.

5. Along the same lines, Jenna at Ask Mr. Credit Card answers in great detail a reader who asks what takes priority when it comes to improving credit — pay off medical bills or pay off credit card debt? Some scientists prefer that priority to use the Hubble Telescope goes to legitimate scientists, but actually, anyone can apply for time to use it. The Hubble’s director allocates several hours of usage each year for amateur astronomers, but competition for the time is tough.

6. The Consumerist provides a PowerPoint presentation that can help you identify an ATM skimming device when you see one. In a related post, they provide a video of how a skimmer works. Fortunately, it is significantly simpler than the optical mechanics of the Hubble.

7. Does your current state of finances make you shudder? Are you afraid of opening the bills that arrive in the mail? Money Under 30 provides tips on how you can stop worrying about money. The scientists who built the Hubble sure were worried when their first images came back blurry! It turns out the telescope’s mirror was made too flat (by one-50th of the width of a human hair). This was repaired on a manned space flight in 1993.

8. Paul at Wise Bread ponders how you should answer the oh-so-familiar question: “Debit or credit?” Perhaps the Hubble will one day help us answer this common question: “Are we alone?”

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