NC Tax Refund Delay

money bagI e-filed my 2009 taxes on January 24th.  The IRS acceptance occurred the next day for my federal return.  The NC Dept. of Revenue has yet to accept my electronic filing.

Last year I filed at the end of January and NC accepted and processed my refund faster than the feds.  It will be interesting to see how long the delay is for NC this year as their income tax base and overall state revenue has decreased.  I speculate the NC delay in acceptance and processing will be intentional this year.

Zachary Singleton

My third son, Zachary Taylor, was born on January 14th at 8:08 PM weighing 8 lbs. 1 oz.   Since everyone asks… no he wasn’t intentionally named after our 13th President.  All three of our boys were born at the Rex Birth Center in Raleigh.  Below are pictures of each just about five minutes after they were born.    Zachary has been the quietest baby of all three.  He better learn how to get loud fast if he’s going to keep up with Connor and Logan.  He’ll always be our baby.

Zach was the only one Amy had without an epidural or any pain killers at all.  He came too fast.  We arrived at the hospital at 7 PM and he was here one hour later.  They nurse hardly had time to get an IV started.  We have a lot more pictures on facebook.

Baby Zach
Baby Logan
Baby Logan
Baby Connor
Baby Connor

How far is a light year?

Within the next decade scientists believe they may find planets with atmospheres capable of sustaining life as “close” as 63 light years away.  So just exactly how far is a light year?  Pretty damn far.  Here’s the math:

5,000 years ago the Myans (and Egyptians) determined the earth completes one orbit around the sun (1 year) in 365 days 5 hrs. 48 min. and 46 seconds.
5x60x60 = 18000
48×60 = 2880
46 = 46

That’s 31,556,926 seconds in one Julian calendar year.

Light travels 186,000 miles per second.  So an interstellar body one light year away is about 5,869,588,236,000 miles away. That’s five trillion, eight hundred sixty-nine billion, five hundred eighty-eight million, two hundred thirty-six thousand.  Give or take a city block or two.

The fastest speed that can be reached by a space shuttle is 17,500 miles per hour.  At this speed it would take slightly over 38,263 earth years to travel one light year into space.   Or if someone wants to make the trip in six earth years we will need a ship that travels 111,600,000 miles per hour.  Consider that nuclear fission occurs at about 7% of the speed of light that’s much faster than our greatest source of power will ever achieve.  Of course this is all based on perspective because traveling in a space craft at these speeds would slow time compared to a stationary object on earth.  You know, that pesky relativity formula Einstein discovered.

While science fiction is cool, it’s just that….fiction.  Man will never travel 63 light years from earth in our current form.  All the more reason digital and electronic storage technologies will continue to progress as a part of human evolution.  Once the human psyche can be “digitized”, as in dumped on to a hard drive, we will not only be immortal but we may be able to travel in forms that could one day take us to these planets capable of “sustaining life”.  So in all probability the mere act of searching for such biologically hospitable planets or moons is pointless in terms of travel.  By the time we achieve a way to get there we will not even need a environment capable of sustaining life in biological form.  However such environments could sustain other life forms….. which have very little probability of ever meeting us.

So if there is other intelligent life out there it can’t get to us unless it (they) know how to fold space and time.  As depicted in the movie Dune they would need to be able to “travel throughout the universe without moving”.

How bad is America’s health care spending?

This chart by Columbia University Statistician Andrew Geldman pretty much sums it up.  When the Congressional and Administrative idiots in Washington look at a chart like this and think that nothing more than a mandate for all Americans to buy into an already broken and overpriced system it’s beyond ignorant and partisan.  It’s practically criminal.  And once Obama signs this catastrophic mandate into law any remaining support I have for him is over.  That’s $7681 per person, per year folks – sick or not.  It’s embarrassing.  All of the corporatist ass-clowns supporting the insurance and health care provider profits are an embarrassment to the nation.  We should be insuring peoples health, not profits to shareholders.


Two Thumbs Down for the IMAX theater at Marbles Kids Museum

Over the holidays I went to see Avatar at the Wachovia IMAX theater at Marbles Kids Museum.  Yuck.  While standing in line like cattle we watched as the people leaving the theater from the previous showing returned their 3D “glasses”, more like goggles, into a rolling metal rack.  This rack was then rolled over to the theater entrance doors where the goggles were handed to us as we were herded through the cattle stalls into the viewing area.  No cleaning, no sanitizing, and some even looked like they still had makeup on the nose bridges.   That’s just gross.

The 3D goggles were horribly uncomfortable.  Give me the regular, smaller, Real 3D glasses at a normal theater any day.  They come in a sealed plastic bag which has a notice insuring they’re new or sanitized if recycled.  So the IMAX screen is bigger.  Annoyingly bigger in my opinion.   I was expecting some type of other super surround effect because of all they hype.  But aside from the size I didn’t see any difference between the IMAX screen and a typical 3D movie theater screen.

Then there was the warehouse.  That’s what it felt like I was entering from the cattle stalls in the lobby, a warehouse.  The theater did not strike me as comfortable at all and they seats quickly proved my first impression correct.  They were no where near as comfortable as the seats at North Hills Cinemas.

For all the IMAX hype it was not an enjoyable experience.  The goggles were dirty and hurt my nose, the seats were uncomfortable and the warehouse theater itself was inhospitable.  I won’t do it again.  I’ll go see every 3D release at good ‘ol North Hills and leave IMAX experience to those who buy the hype.