Saturday, November 14, 2009

Potpourri CXII

First, I need to get this out of my inbox because it hit there about 12 times. For those of you not in the know--or not Time Magazine subscribers--the Ares rockets were named Time's Invention of the Year. Apparently there's a voting process, though, so go to the site here and work with their system and cast your vote. Nice to have a little moral support, even if the aerospace press is trying to write off Ares as dead on arrival.


From Lin, several articles on the "progress" of nationalized healthcare and other activities by the Obama administration. I must confess I've stayed tuned out from the news and even talk radio for awhile now. It improves the mood, and I've got more fun things to do with my free time like exchange text messages with Dr. OZMG. Anyhow, if you are interested in such things, here you go:

  • An editorial by Thomas Sowell (part 4--no doubt parts 1-3 are available online as well).
  • An Investor's Business Daily article on the state of the financial industry.
  • A Michelle Malkin editorial on the tactics used by ACORN.
  • A editorial on the state of capitalism.


This might actually be a bigger story than Ares I-X, but what the heck, my work priorities come first: the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) impactor has produced data indicating the presence of water ice on the Moon. This is HUGE. As I indicated in a previous posting on the day of the impact, if we find water ice on the Moon, we can build long-term bases and permanent settlements there. Human civilization can expand this one world with its limited resources and at-risk biosphere. Bravo to the LCROSS team for this historic find!


On a completely personal note, I spent some time with a "planned giving" counselor from my Lutheran church synod setting up an outline for a will. No, I'm not planning to die anytime soon, but then neither did a young couple I worked with at Disney 15 years ago, and their affairs were left entirely in the hands of their respective families as the two died without a will. The end result was that the couple were buried in separate states. Do the deceased care? Probably not, but human beings tend to be sentimental about such things; and the only end result was probably a lot of bad blood between the survivors. Now being a single guy I don't have inlaws to argue with, nor do I have a particularly complicated or dire financial state. But there are things I would like to do for my family and friends in the event I shed this earthly coil. It's really a simple process, so if you haven't done it and you're no longer living in your parents' home, you should probably have a will. Here was a general overview of the items we discussed:

  • Assets - what kind I have and what they're worth.
  • Debts - what kind I have and how much I owe.
  • Beneficiaries - whom I want to get what out of my estate; in my case, members of my family would get the bulk of my estate, with specific items going to other individuals, as I see fit.
  • Distribution - which assets it makes most sense to give to whom; for example, it's better to distribute the items with the largest monetary value and lowest tax rates to those highest on your priority list and to work your way down from there.
  • Planned Giving - how much of my estate I wish to donate to charitable causes (in my case my local church and the Wisconsin Synod in general).
  • Terminal Care Instructions - What sorts of statements I want in my will regarding "terminal care" in the event I'm incapacitated.

No, this isn't particularly fun to think about, but it is useful for assessing the state of your life and your priorities. Next up: talking to a financial planner about increasing my assets so there's more for me on this side of death and more for my inheritors afterward. Jeez, this turning-40 thing is

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