Month: October 2014

Fun reading for Freaky Friday – unless the spew hits us, just sayin… s

There’s a giant spot on the sun, and it’s acting weird

BY JENNY MARDER  October 29, 2014 at 4:38 PM EDT PBS NewsHour

The bright light in the lower right region of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014, as captured by NASA's SDO. This was the third X-class flare in 48 hour. Image by NASA/SDO

The bright light in the lower right region of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014, as captured by NASA’s SDO. This was the third X-class flare in 48 hour. Image by NASA/SDO

“It’s kind of like having a rubber band that you twist and twist, and it starts to knot up,” said C. Alex Young, associate director for science at NASA Goddard’s Heliophysics Science Division. “The same sort of thing is happening with magnetic fields. They become more twisted, they get more concentrated, and eventually you have to get rid of that energy.”

The result: a spewing forth of ionized gas.

Releasing this pent-up energy typically takes two forms: a solar flare or a coronal mass ejection, and this is key to what makes the behavior here unusual. A coronal mass ejection is made up of balls of gas ejected from the sun’s outer atmosphere, consisting of charged particles and magnetic field. The fastest CME’s travel up to 93 million miles a day, or millions of miles per hour. A solar flare is a burst of x-rays and energy, typically smaller and shorter-lasting than a CME, and rather than being launched out into space, it is caused by material accelerated back into the sun.

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Yes, you should know this and you should care. Unless you don’t care about your Constitutional rights, of course.

IRS Doesn’t Care That You Haven’t Committed a Crime—It Will Still Steal Your Money.

Writes Shaila Dewan:

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.

The trigger for the seizures is regular deposits of under $10,000, the threshold above which banks are supposed to report financial activity. But depositing money below that amount is considered suspicious “structuring” and is also reportable.

According to the IRS’s rules about reporting cash transactions over $10,000:

The penalties for failure to file may also apply to any person (including a payer) who attempts to interfere with or prevent the seller (or business) from filing a correct Form 8300. This includes any attempt to structure the transaction in a way that would make it seem unnecessary to file Form 8300. “Structuring” means breaking up a large cash transaction into small cash transactions.

The IRS has regularly interpreted this rule to apply to restaurants, corner stores, and other cash-heavy small businesses that undergo the oh-so-suspicious process of bagging up the week’s receipts and taking them to the bank. Keeping lots of cash on hand is, in many cases, an invitation to a stick-up. And, as the Times story points out, some small businesses are insured only up to $10,000 for cash in their possession—so when the mount gets close, they’re naturally inclined to make a deposit. After a few such efforts at safekeeping the proceeds, the IRS feels justified in taking it all.

With nearly 35 years of experience and observations of the IRS, the past 4 to 6 years have been the most aggressive, taxpayer unfriendly and downright scary times to actually know what’s going on in the area.

I guess it’s time for me to stop fighting it, retire and bury my head in the sand with everyone else. Apparently, the electorate are happy with the suspension of due process (that was in the Constitution for those who remember we had one of those) through regulation and interpretation by Administrative Law Judges (these are employees of the Government Agency they are supposed to be keeping and eye on, no conflict of interest there.)

Just sayin…

s

Debating the pros and cons of freezing eggs

PBS Newshour October 22, 2014 at 9:16 PM EDT

For decades, medical advances have made it possible for women to postpone or extend their ability to have children. Now two big tech firms, Apple and Facebook, say they will pay up to $20,000 to allow employees to freeze their eggs for later fertilization.

That decision has sparked a fair bit of conversation about the benefits, the risks and the choices women could face.

Egg freezing certainly was important for women who had to undergo a medical procedure such as chemotherapy and who wanted to at least preserve the possibility of having children genetically of their own some time in the future.

But the prospect of women beginning to do this in order to simply preserve their fertility while they advance their careers is a new phenomenon and somewhat more troubling, because it is simply not as successful as having children through ordinary conception or even through ordinary in vitro fertilization and freezing your embryos.

To advance their careers?  So they get to decide career versus kids?  Does the benefit really give them a choice or create a career conundrum? Can (when will) supervisors pressure women to postpone pregnancy now that they can freeze their eggs on the company nickle?

Just sayin’…

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The most clever have figured out how to get their coffee delivered to their bed.

Portlanders Like Their Coffee Almost As Much As They Like To Sleep

OPB | Oct. 21, 2014 9:58 a.m. | Portland

Portland is known for great coffee, but new data shows that we like our beds a little more than our daily cup of joe.

According to data collected by the alarm clock app, Sleep Cycle, Portlanders spend the most amount of time in bed when compared to other major U.S. cities.

On average, Rose City residents are getting about seven hours and nine minutes of shut eye each night — that’s nearly a half hour longer than Miamians, who get the least amount of sleep.

Our northern neighbors in Seattle come in at No. 4, getting about five minutes less sleep than Portland.

But all that sleep isn’t enough to curb our coffee addictions. Sleep Cycle found that Portland is also No. 2 in coffee consumption nationwide, behind Boston. We’re trailed by other fast-paced metros like Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York, and we’re the only Northwest city in the ranking.

Okay, Seattle behind Boston on the list leaves certain Northwest residents questioning the credibility of the data.

Just sayin’

s

Should I call and order new payment cards today?

Banks in U.S. Moving to Chip-Based Debit and Credit Cards

Why shouldn’t the Government have to prove I’m guilty of something before they can invade my privacy?

James Comey, F.B.I. Director, Hints at Action as Cellphone Data Is Locked

OCT. 16, 2014

“So what do we do, those of us who are appalled by the run of domestic violence, saddened by the brain injuries and utterly in love with the sport of football?”

What I Saw as an N.F.L. Ball Boy