The Chinese Coronavirus. What you might want to know.

Posted By on January 29, 2020

Read an outstanding article in the WSJ this past week as the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to spread and take lives. It is currently a China-based virus that likely stems from bats that mutate and spread through other mammals.CoronavirusCases200127 Efforts are being made in China to prevent spreading within their country, but with travel and aviation, every country is at risk. A chart as of January 27, 2020 highlight the number of cases and deaths.

Since Katelyn worked on SARS detection research when she was pre-Med with NASA Sharp as an intern in New Mexico, the quick detection and hopefully eventual vaccine are at the top of my mind.

Before we panic, let’s put this in perspective with the contagious influenza virus. The vaccine is offered every year yet people are pretty casual about getting it … EVEN though thousands in this country die every year (2017 – 2018 deaths were estimated at 61,000 according to the CDC), so let’s keep this current scary contagion in perspective.

Here are a few points:

How dangerous is the new coronavirus?

It appears to be less deadly than a related pathogen — severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which erupted in China in 2002 and spread globally in 2003. SARS killed about 10% of the people it infected, while about 3% of the people confirmed to be infected with this new coronavirus have died. Many of those who have died are elderly or have other illnesses such as diabetes. But the new virus may spread from one person to another more easily than SARS, some early disease modeling suggests.

What is a coronavirus?

This new virus belongs to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses. Named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces, they infect mostly bats, pigs and small mammals. But they mutate easily and can jump from animals to humans, and from one human to another. In recent years, they have become a growing player in infectious-disease outbreaks world-wide. (more…)

What car guy didn’t/doesn’t dream of owning a Porsche 911?

Posted By on January 28, 2020

FlatNosePorsche

Porsche_914_(1970)_-_9579225634As a German car guy from way back (VW, Mercedes, BMW), there was time I really wanted to also have a Porsche. When I was looking for my first car, it was an economical 914 with a Targa top … but ended up with a 1974 Mercury Capri (probably a smart move). Later in life I though "maybe" we could start looking at older 911s or maybe a newer Boxster? But once again, commonsense prevailed and I bought a Volkswagen Jetta TDI diesel. MercuryCapri1974_screenshot

Although I’m a bit off topic. This past week an interesting article in Hemmings Daily highlighting the 50 years of flair: 1970 Porsche 911 Options and Accessories brochure.

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I especially enjoyed the "strapped in luggage" … no doubt we all know how this car was to be driven!

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Things modern 911 drivers take for granted were still extras a half-century ago; can you imagine buying a base 911 today with roll-up windows, steel wheels, non-tinted glass, and no stereo? Of course, sporting types in 1970 would opt for front and rear anti-roll bars, Fuchs forged light alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential, and full (911S-style) instrumentation.

Music Monday: Jackson and Buffett – It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

Posted By on January 27, 2020

JerryMoodyJeffPitts1981

Last week I was exchanging jabs back and forth with my best friend Jeff (in photo on right) and realized it has been nearly 40 years since I took this photo. He was sitting in the kitchen of our Ada, Ohio apartment playing chess with one of my roommates, Jerry Moody (on left). The photo was one that I stubbled on a couple weeks ago when clearing space for some folders in my file cabinet.

We were having a mid-day conversation about network and online security (he is a cyber security analyst)  … but we ended up in a personal conversation before suggesting we save them for later and get back to the “security” problem. Eventually I told him it was “ok” to discuss non-work memories … because as Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett concluded, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere and sent him this linkbesides I needed a Music Monday song (video below)!

  Alan Jackson and Jimmy BuffettIt’s Five O’Clock Somewhere | 2003

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The new SECURE Act requires rethinking retirement planning

Posted By on January 26, 2020

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graphic credit – Enza Financial

There was an excellent podcast on Charles Schwab‘s WashingtonWise Investor (link) last week with Mike Townsend and Dan Stein that summarized the 2020 changes for those planning their retirement – hopefully everybody. Most of the new changes made by Congress last year in the SECURE Act are based on AmericansRMDs living and working longer than in the past, hence one of the big changes has to do with RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) from tax differed accounts used by Americans in saving for retirement (IRAs, 401Ks, etc). Oh, if you are wondering about the Washington DC acronym SECURE, it is: Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement.

The big change from my perspective is when we are required to take money out (and begin to pay taxes on) retirement savings that has been put aside pre-tax. Prior to the SECURE Act in 2020, that age as been 70½. Under the new law, you do not have to take distributions until the year you turn 72. The new rule gives more time for your retirement savings to grow before you need to begin drawing it down. That dollar amount come from an IRS published table based on life expectancy and the amount saved. Under the current rules, your first few RMDs are less than 4% of the account value, but they escalate as you get older, getting closer to 7% of the account value by age 85 and close to 9% by age 90.This is important because distributions from traditional retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income, so as the size of your distributions increase, your tax burden may as well.

Probably the other big change is how "inherited" IRAs are handled. Under current law, non-spouse designated beneficiaries can take distributions over their life expectancy, but for many retirement account owners who pass away in 2020 and beyond, beneficiaries will have ‘only’ 10 years to empty the account.

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Watching the Boeing 777X first flight today

Posted By on January 25, 2020


EDIT – A Boeing 777X airliner lifts off for its first flight at Paine Field on January 25, 2020 in Everett, Washington. Getty images – Stephen Brashear

The new Boeing 777X enters the next phase of its rigorous test program. Based on the most successful twin-aisle airplane ever, the Boeing 777, and with advanced technologies from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the 777X will be the largest and most fuel efficient twin-engine jet in the world, with an exceptional passenger experience.

LINK

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Old jack stands: A friend shared this as an automotive PSA

Posted By on January 24, 2020

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Just your average PSA guys. Just because you use jack stands, doesn’t mean you’re safe. Always throw something else under the car if you’re going to be under it.

My father and I just had a trusty old jack stand fail. Folded right over unexpectedly, luckily he was just rotating tires at the time, so no one was under the car. 2019 Subaru Forester with 6k miles resting on its rotor at front tow hook point. Luckily no damage at all, and thank whatever deity is out there that no one was underneath.

I’ll clarify- these are super old 1.5 ton stands that my father has used for 20 years. Not my first choice, I use HF 3 and 6 ton.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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