CPP and Survivors Benefit

Pension Planning

Unlike other felines this old cat has only one life. I am trying to decide what my retirement is going to look like and do a little bit of planning for that day. A number of my friends have opted to take their CPP (Canada Pension Plan) early. In Canada you have the option of taking CPP as early as the age of 60 or delaying it past the normal age 65 to as late as age 70. If you take it early it is reduced by a certain percentage for each month or if you delay it it is increased by a certain percentage for each month it is delayed. In addition these percentages are being changed each year for the next few years. see… http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/services/pensions/cpp/publications/changes.shtml . The net effect of this is if you take it early you are money ahead for a period of time (you are getting a pension, abet at a lower rate than if you waited) but at some point you break even and then after that you have left money on the table. This crossover point seems to happen at about age 75 to 77 (assuming taking it at 60) for most people. Conversely, if you delay your CPP you don’t get to collect it until later but the amount is more. This crossover where you are money ahead seems to happen at about age 80 (assuming you delayed until 70). It would be an easy question if we lived forever. There is also a cap ($1012.50 in 2013) to the total amount of CPP that you can collect that is increased or decreased by that same formula.

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Life and other stuff

Life and general interest (well I think it’s interesting).

I did some research on Canada Pension Plan and the Survivors Benefit – The results are here along with a spreadsheet that may help you with your planning. See the CPP and Survivors Benefit page.

On a lighter note I’ve had almost as much fun building tools to track sports pools (hockey and golf) over the years as I have had participating in them. I think I’m better at building spreadsheets than I am at picking winning teams. The spreadsheet that we use for our 2015 PGA golf pool is on the Golf Pools page.

IPTables Script to Fend Off DDOS Attacks

We recently have had a number of sites that have been hit by DNS amplification DDOS attacks. You can turn off recursion and do other things in NAMED to prevent you from being a target but once they target you the attack can go on for a long time after your server has been properly configured. This script is also good for thwarting SSH, IMAP, and POP3 probes. Just change the port number and tune the limits.

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  1. I am not a physicist, just a citizen scientist. I have read (mostly in popular publications like Scientific American and Sky and Telescope) about the theories of the origins of our universe for the last 40 years. A lot has happened, more will.
  2. I do not understand quantum mechanics or my wife though I believe that entanglement plays a part in both.
  3. In an infinite universe, anything…

Black Holes, the Instant of Creation

The idea of an object so massive that light cannot escape from it actually goes back to the 18th century. It wasn’t until early in the 20th century that the modern concept of a black hole was put into a theoretical framework by Einstein, Schwarzschild, and Chandrasekhar (among others). (5) This has been built upon since by many notable physicists including Penrose and Hawking. A black hole has only three measurable properties, mass, electrical charge, and angular momentum or spin. (7) Black holes also have a non-zero temperature due to Hawking radiation. When an object falls into a black hole all information about these three properties becomes part of the event horizon. All other information such as size, shape, or the properties of the particles that it was composed of is supposedly lost.

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Black Holes

I’m not going to go into too much depth on what black holes are or how they come into being. The concept itself is pretty basic. It’s a region of space in our universe that has so much mass that the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light. They are defined by the event horizon, the surface that surrounds them where the gravitational pull of what is inside the black hole equals the speed of light. In other words, if you are inside a black hole and shine a flashlight towards the inside surface of that event horizon the light will never escape out into the rest of the universe. Black holes, although they can not be observed directly, can be observed by the gravitational effect that they have on their surroundings. Astronomers have “observed” these effects, weighed their masses, and have generally proven that they exist. The radius of this event horizon (called the Schwarzschild radius) is defined by a simple formula that is a function of the mass and rotation. Most of the references for this article are to Wikipedia (5) where you can find lots of fascinating details.

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The Infinite Multiverse

Let’s spend a bit of time on the concept of what a multiverse is. Most people are familiar with the concept of our universe. It consists of everything around us including all of the stars and galaxies that we can see as well as what is beyond the visible horizon, that part of space and time that has not had time for the light emitted from it to reach us.

The theory of the Big Bang says that our universe began as a very hot and dense dimensionless point some 13.7 billion years ago (2). A very small fraction of time later it went through a tremendous expansion or inflationary phase which smoothed it out. This inflation spread the tiny variations of density that were on sub atomic scales out to the size of what eventually became galactic super-cluster size. The universe literally expanded faster than the speed of light leaving most of it so far away that we can not see it. As time goes by light from an ever increasing sphere around us has time to reach us. This visible bubble is estimated to have a radius of about 46 billion light years (3). What lies beyond that can not be seen and can have no effect on us (perhaps not true – see note).

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Big Bangs and Black Holes

Philosophers have discussed and theorized for ages about the origin of our universe. It is such an important question that every culture on our planet has a story or mythology about how they and the world around them came to be. These frameworks were constructed on what they knew of their surroundings or of their recent history. The Ojibwa first nation in Canada believed the world was found by a muskrat and is carried on the back of a turtle. In the last couple of hundred years our framework has changed and is based on scientific experiment and theory. Instead of inventing our origin we build theories based on scientific experiment and then test them with new experiments. One of the most significant contributions to this framework came from Albert Einstein when he developed his theories of special and general relativity. Most of what we hold to be true about our universe is based on relativity and quantum mechanics. (As an aside, I do not understand quantum mechanics, I can grasp some of the effects, but I do not understand the fundamentals. By the same token, I don’t understand my wife, but I do comprehend how she modifies my universe.)

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