April 15th is tax day, except this year it isn’t. Because of the pandemic, this year the tax filing deadline has been delayed. I however filed my taxes way back in January and got my Federal refund shortly afterwards. It only took three years, but this year I finally got my state taxes settled to the point that I didn’t have to pay any penalty on them either. I still had to pay, but it was a mere pitance, thanks to finally getting my quarterly payments right. I didn’t have to, but yesterday, I went ahead and paid that pitance and because I was unsure as to whether today’s tax holiday extended to my quarterly payments for next year, I made that payment too. So, I’m good with Missouri now. It is probably just serendipity, but we got our stimulus checks today too. They were electronically and individually deposited, so I didn’t have to witness any signature from that person who shall-not-be-named. No, not Voldemort, but that other evil guy.
In other good news, I read an article today on how an Ohio couple has gone a long way in addressing our nation’s critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). A few weeks ago, the engineer husband and doctor wife were discussing this problem over the dinner table, when an idea hit them on how to clean used N95 face masks. With lightning speed, their eureka moment led to the development of a system do just that. Using a steel shipping container that has racks setup in it for hanging the masks, it is then filled with a hydrogen-peroxide gas that bathes and sanitizes the gear. A cycle takes about four hours, but by running it twenty-four hours, each unit can clean up to 80,000 masks a day. It is calculated that a mask can be cleaned in this way up to twenty times and still remain effective. Three units have already been deployed to the virus hotspots of NYC, Seattle and Boston. This week the Pentagon signed a contract for the deployment of sixty units. Plans are underway to see if these systems can be used to clean other types of PPE. An example of American ingenuity at work!