Don’t expect big tax breaks on losses from flooding, storms by Susan Tompor reportes•Don’t expect big tax breaks on losses from flooding, storms High winds, flash flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, deadly storms and hurricanes keep us glued to the Weather Channel and leave many fearful of what’s next. Most of us, frankly, aren’t stopping to think: What will all the storm damage mean for my taxes? But the next calamity could hit when you file your 2019 tax return if you’re expecting a big break relating to a severe storm or natural disaster. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the rules relating to such deductions have changed dramatically as of Jan. 1, 2018. What’s important to know: You cannot claim a casualty or disaster loss on your federal income tax return unless you’re in a federally declared and designated disaster area. Watch out for word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. See www.fema.org/disasters. „We really look to the FEMA declaration,” said Amy Wang, CPA and senior manager on the tax policy and advocacy team for the American Institute of CPAs. Preparing for tax season: You might get these 4 tax breaks back if Congress reinstates deductionsNew, confusing W-4 form is coming: What to do now to get bigger tax refundDwight Miles, an employee from the City of Detroit General Services Department, tosses sandbags in front of a flooded house in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood in Detroit, Wednesday, May 1, 2019.”It can be a challenge,” Wang said. Taxpayers in a „hard-hit” area for flooding or tornadoes, for example, would not be allowed a deduction for losses unless the area is declared a federal disaster area and their specific county is included, said Mark Steber, chief tax officer for Jackson Hewitt in Sarasota, Florida. „Disasters and casualties, especially for taxes, are a hot and developing topic,” Steber said. „Tax changes are continually being suggested by Congress. Currently, there are no new rules coming but that can change quickly.” So far this year through early June, FEMA has declared disasters in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Montana, selected areas in the Navajo Nation, Missouri, California, Guam, Oregon, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska and elsewhere. In the past 18 months, the Internal Revenue Service said it responded to disasters in 15 states and U.S. territories. The IRS offered tax relief and assistance to victims of hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, tornadoes, severe storms, high winds and floods.
GAO shoots down Peraton’s protest of IT contract award•GAO shoots down Peraton’s protest of IT contract award By Carten Cordell Staff Reporter, Washington Business Journal Updated The Government Accountability Office denied a protest Friday by a Herndon technology company to try and overturn a contract award to overhaul the National Reconnaissance Office’s IT infrastructure. The NRO, an intelligence agency within the Department of Defense tasked with providing space and air reconnaissance, awarded a five-year contract to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) over locally based Peraton Inc. The contract is to help consolidate and modernize its IT network services under a program dubbed “Broadside.”Both AT&T and Peraton solicited bids for the contract that were judged on a best-value trade-off basis with several criteria contributing to the award decision, like technical approach, IT security, proposed cost and others. Peraton’s bid offered a lower cost to the agency — the report redacted the cost figures for both companies — but the GAO’s report said that NRO’s source selection authority “concluded that AT&T’s advantages under the technical and management items, and overall proposal risk, outweighed Peraton’s cost advantage,” representing the best overall value to the government. Following a contract award debriefing, Peraton filed a protest in February, alleging that the NRO’s evaluation of technical approach and program management factors were improper, that the technical evaluations were unequal and disparate, and that evaluation errors unfairly advantaged AT&T’s price proposal. But the GAO refuted those assertions, saying in its decision that the NRO’s evaluations were “reasonable and consistent” with the criteria laid out in the contract solicitation and that despite advantages in areas like prices and command and telemetry network services, Peraton was outscored in other areas related to core foundational network services.A spokesman for Peraton said in an email that the company had received the GAO’s decision some time ago and had moved on. AT&T officials declined to comment on the decision.
Human technology has advanced significantly over the past 5,000 years, and the Earth bears the scars to prove it. We’ve altered the landscape, the climate and the biological diversity. We’ve erected skyscrapers for the living and colossal tombs for the dead. Perhaps most important, we’ve learned to harness a portion of the planet’s energy, but we still thirst for so much more power.
This insatiable appetite for energy will continue to chart the course of human civilization in the 5,000 years to come. As a result, it will also dictate what Earth will look like in A.D. 7010.
In 1964, Russian astrophysicist Nicolai Kardashev theorized that a civilization’s technical advancement directly correlates to the amount of energy its citizens can manipulate. Along these lines, he defined three classifications for advanced civilizations in the galaxy:
- Type I civilizations are masters of planetary energy, meaning that they can harness the sum energy of an entire world.
- Type II civilizations can summon the power of an entire star system.
- Type III civilizations command energy on a galactic scale.
Cosmologists use this Kardashev Scale to predict the technical advancement of future and alien civilizations. Currently, modern humans don’t even rank on the scale. We’re essentially a type 0 civilization, but we’ll eventually become a type I. Kardashev himself predicted that this transition would occur. But when?
Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku forecasts this transcendence occurring within a mere century. Physicist Freeman Dyson raises that estimate to less than 200 years. Back in the day, Kardashev envisaged that it would take only 3,200 years to reach type II status.
If humanity only reaches type I status by A.D. 7010, then it will still have the ability to manipulate and control atmospheric and geothermal forces. Warfare and self-destruction might still pose a threat to humanity’s survival, but ecological concerns will be a thing of the past.
If we achieve type II status by that point, then 71st century humans will wield even greater technological power. Dyson proposed that such a civilization would be capable of encapsulating a star with a swarm of satellites to harvest its energy. Other theorized type II feats include interstellar travel and the ability to move entire planets — and all this on top of whatever breakthroughs have occurred in genetics and computing.
Such future humans will likely differ greatly from us culturally or even neurologically. They may well be what futurists and philsophers refer to as posthumans or transhumans.
Regardless, a lot can happen in 5,000 years. We might destroy ourselves with warfare or unwittingly ravage the planet with nanotechnology. Perhaps we’ll fail to mitigate the threat posed by asteroid and comet collisions. We might even encounter an alien type II civilization long before we achieve that level ourselves.
Explore the links below to learn even more about humanity’s future.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
Berry, Adrian. „The Next 500 Years: Life in the Coming Millennium.” W H Freeman & Co. February 1996.
Cain, Frasier. „How Advanced Can a Civilization Become?”Universe Today. April 16, 2004. (June 3, 2010)http://www.universetoday.com/2004/04/26/how-advanced-can-a-civilization-become/
„Earth may be too hot for humans by 2300: study.” Associated Foreign Press. May 11, 2010. (June 2, 2010)http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jTXA_CTHXzXzc-HxwAVLW-nh-eww
Explorations in Science with Dr. Michio Kaku. (June 2, 2010)http://mkaku.org/
Hawking, Stephen. „Science in the Next Millennium.” White House Millennium Council. March 6, 1998. (June 2, 2010)http://clinton4.nara.gov/Initiatives/Millennium/shawking.html
Perry, Charles A. and Kenneth J. Hsu. „Geophysical, archaeological, and historical evidence support a solar-output model for climate change.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Sept. 5, 2000. (June 2, 2010)http://www.pnas.org/content/97/23/12433.full.pdf
With its odd cigar shape, ‘Oumuamua doesn’t exactly seem like just another asteroid. ESO/M. KORNMESSERIn the classic 1973 Arthur C. Clarke science fiction novel „Rendezvous With Rama,” a mysterious object is detected outside the orbit of Jupiter as it rapidly approaches the inner solar system. Traveling at high speed and on a hyperbolic trajectory, the object is obviously not from our solar system; it’s from interstellar spaceOn Oct. 19, astronomers detected their own „Rama.”An object traveling at 60,000 miles per hour (96,560 kilometers per hour) was detected by the powerful Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii. Follow-up observations revealed that this object had already sped through the inner solar system, having made closest approach with the sun in September. It was on its way back out into interstellar space after being deflected by the sun’s gravity. Analysis of its speed and trajectory confirmed that it had come from another star and had likely been adrift in interstellar space for hundreds of millions of years (at least) before encountering our star system.Although the parallels with science fiction are obvious, the object – designated 1I/2017 U1 (`Oumuamua) – is quite a bit smaller than Rama’s fictional 34-mile (55-kilometer) long cylindrical mass and (probably) not an alien starship.With time of the essence, since `Oumuamua was receding into the dark and traveling at great speed, astronomers were able to use some of the world’s most powerful telescopes to precisely measure the fading light reflecting off its dark surface. `Oumuamua is a 1,312-foot (400-meter) long asteroid with no trace of any dust surrounding it. As it has been careening through space for eons, its surface is reddish, an indication that it has been exposed to high-energy cosmic rays for millions (or maybe even billions) of years. It’s a rocky asteroid, but it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.On studying the interstellar asteroid with the FORS instrument on the ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, its „light-curve” revealed something truly bizarre. Spinning at a rate of once per 7.3 hours, `Oumuamua was revealed to be extremely elongated – like a supersized spinning space cigar.”This unusually large variation in brightness means that the object is highly elongated: about ten times as long as it is wide, with a complex, convoluted shape,” said Karen Meech, who works at the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii, in a statement. „We also found that it has a dark red color, similar to objects in the outer solar system, and confirmed that it is completely inert, without the faintest hint of dust around it.”We know that asteroids in our solar system come in many shapes and sizes, but we’ve never seen something so extreme, and astronomers are at a loss as to how `Oumuamua took this shape, though it appears to be composed of the same materials that are found inside regular asteroids.In a study published in the journal Nature on Nov. 20, Meech’s team writes that the detection of `Oumuamua suggests „previous estimates of the density of interstellar objects were pessimistically low,” and that upcoming upgrades to asteroid survey telescopes (like Pan-STARRS) will likely detect more of these interstellar visitors over the coming years.”We are continuing to observe this unique object and we hope to more accurately pin down where it came from and where it is going next on its tour of the galaxy,” added astronomer Olivier Hainaut in the ESO statement. „And now that we have found the first interstellar rock, we are getting ready for the next ones!”
Although other interstellar vagabonds have been buzzing our solar system for as long as our sun has been burning, this is the first-time astronomers have been able to confirm the origin of an asteroid from another star. And `Oumuamua is a stunning discovery that not only confirms the existence of these interstellar objects, its strange shape will inspire debate because how such an elongated asteroid could form is, for now, a mystery.