How The Wealthy Rock On Your Dime Part I — Private Charitable Foundations

Wealthy people can navigate the tax system in ways that are not available to middle class people. For example, this year, I am going to write a large check to Uncle Sam because I sold some investments. If I had a whole lot more shares to unload last year, I could have set up a charitable trust and donated publicly-traded stock to the trust, and as long as the ‘gift’ of stock was less than 20% of my adjusted gross income for the year, I could deduct the entire amount of my ‘gift’ from my income tax.  The ‘gift’ would not be taxed and I would not have to pay capital gains tax on it either.

Now, here’s where it gets good. I set up the foundation, and now I can put relatives in charge of the foundation, which is tax-exempt, and give them big salaries.  As long as I distribute 5% per year, everything is gravy.   Meals, travel, you name it can be part of the overhead.

Here’s an example of someone doing things right: Roger Staubach. I looked up the info on the Staubach Foundation. Even though his daughter runs the foundation, she doesn’t draw a salary, and program expenses are minimal. source,


Renewed interest in nuclear fusion for energy including muon-catalyzed fusion

My friend DJ referenced a good article on  nuclear fusion on his blog. One promising area of fusion research is Muon-catalyzed fusion — that is, if the energy obtained from the reaction is more than the energy put in. According to this power-point from University of Illinois, hybrid reactors (combination of fission + fusion) reactors stand the greatest chance of being practical.


Here’s a probe my friend Neven made to probe analog pins sensitive to low frequencies for EMC testing. The wood stick is used so that the capacitance of your hand does not couple 50-60Hz hum into the circuit while probing .  The ferrite clamp is used to suppress common mode signals. The duct tape is used to make it ghettotronics.


Nothing like the smell of burning tantalum in the morning

Blew a cap today. You never get used to the smell. It smells like burning metal and charred pumpkin.

US Air Force Station For Sale

The motion picture lab and film studio formerly owned by the US government is for sale. If you wake up one day and discover that you must have a house with 50,000 square feet and a jacuzzi in the media room, well, you can have it for only $6.3 million, which believe it or not is quite cheap for a property with 2.5 acres in that part of LA. CLUI has more info.

More homebuyers paying cash

CNN Money had an article about more people paying cash for houses. Nationwide 1/3 of all home sales are cash.