August 2017 Monthly Letter

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August 2017 Monthly Letter
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NASA space pensYou have all probably heard the story of the infamous space pen. You know that one that taxpayers spent millions on so astronauts could write upside down and in weightlessness. Meanwhile, the Russians simply handed their cosmonauts pencils. More on this later… 
 
I recently learned a new word while reading a book. Well actually I was listening to a book on tape. Well, actually I am listening to it on my iPhone while I run (Geez… this is like trying to explain what a broken record means…). Anyway, the new word is Rashomon Effect. It means where the same event is given contradictory interpretations by different individuals involved. This seems to be the case with politics today and our daily news stream. 
 
The Rashomon effect is named after a 1950’s film – who knew they had fake news even back then!
 
Back in the 50’s, you interpreted the news and the facts around you with a thing called common sense. Today it is more like rare sense and common stupidity. My new goal is to make America think again!
 
If you are tired of the news and want the facts, you will find the site; www.USAFacts.org to be an amazing collection of government facts and data. If you want their amazing 2017 Summary Report, you can learn about the state of our nation in numbers; (USAFACTS Summary 2017).
 
If you would like some market facts, I suggest you look at the front page at our website (www.cdccommercial.com) for market vacancy factors and lease and sale asking price trends (note: if you want to look at different variables – cities, days on market etc… then click just beneath the chart.
 
Well Washington has failed to reform health care and will now move onto the tax code. With that I am always reminded that recessions are not caused by time but by policy mistakes. Well, changing the tax code is fraught with opportunity! For commercial real estate two proposals are particularly worrisome. The first is to allow immediate expensing of the full value of improvements. Seems great on the surface – no taxes for the first few years of ownership. However, it will all end in a crash when the write off period ends. Immediate expensing will create a pattern of flipping properties for the tax shelter (sure brokers will be happy to collect more commissions on more turns). This is how bubbles happen and like Jack and Jill, how things come tumbling down.
 
The second proposal would be the elimination of the 1031 exchange. Although this idea has been floated many times before we need to remain vigilant because this is the kind of simple policy change that could negatively ripple through the whole economy.
 
Please know that we are here to help you sharpen your pencil to maximize your returns, fill your space needs and help you understand the facts. None other than Katie Couric recently said, “We need to be less judgmental and we need to listen,” Couric says. “It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t adhere to principles or fight for what you believe in. But you also need to acknowledge that people have different experiences and are coming from a different place.” And until Americans can agree upon some shared sense of reality, they will continue to be manipulated by distributors of fake news.
Hope you enjoy the Rashomon effect and the rest of the story…
Space Pens…the real story – care of Scientific America
 
 
During the height of the space race in the 1960s, legend has it, NASA scientists realized that pens could not function in space. They needed to figure out another way for the astronauts to write things down. So they spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars to develop a pen that could put ink to paper without gravity. But their crafty Soviet counterparts, so the story goes, simply handed their cosmonauts pencils.
 
This tale with its message of simplicity and thrift – not to mention a failure of common sense in a bureaucracy – floats around the Internet, hopping from in-box to in-box, and even surface during a 2002 episode of the West Wing. But, alas, it is just a myth.
 
Originally, NASA astronauts, like the Soviet cosmonauts, used pencils, according to NSAS historians. In fact, NASA ordered 34 mechanical pencils from Houston’s Tycam Engineering Manufacturing, Inc., in 1965. They paid $4,382.50 or $128.89 per pencil. When these prices became public, there was an outcry and NASA scrambled to find something for the astronauts to use.
 
Pencils may not have been the best choice anyway. The tips flaked and broke off, drifting in microgravity where they could potentially harm an astronaut or equipment. And pencils are flammable – a quality NASA wanted to avoid in onboard objects after the Apollo 1 fire.
 
Paul C. Fisher and his company, the Fisher Pen Company, reportedly invested $1 million to create what is now commonly known as the space pen. None of this investment money came from NASA’s coffers – the agency only become involved after the pen was dreamed into existence. In 1965 Fisher patented a pen that could write upside-down, in frigid or roasting conditions (down to minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit or up to 400 degrees F), and even underwater or in other liquids.
 
That same year, Fisher offered the AG-7 “Anti-Gravity” Space Pen to NASA. Because of the earlier mechanical pencil fiasco, NASA was hesitant. But, after testing the space pen intensively, the agency decided to use it on space flights beginning in 1967.
 
The cartridge is pressurized with nitrogen at 5 pounds per square inch. This pressure pushes the ink toward the tungsten carbide ball at the pen’s tip.
 
The ink, too, differs from that of other pens. Fisher used ink that stays a gel-like solid until the movement of the ballpoint turns it into a fluid. The pressurized nitrogen also prevents ir from mixing with the ink so it cannot evaporate or oxidize.
 
According to an Associate Press report from February 1968, NASA, ordered 400 of Fisher’s anti-gravity ballpoint pens for the Apollo program. A year later, the Soviet Union ordered 100 pens and 1,000 ink cartridges to use on their Soyuz Space missions, said the United Press International. The AP later noted that both NASA and the Soviet space agency received the same 40 percent discount for buying their pens in bulk. The both paid $2.39 per pen instead of $3.98.
 
The space pens’ mark on the Apollo program was not limited to facilitating writing in microgravity. According to the Fisher Space Pen Company, the Apollo 11astronauts also used the pen to fix a broken arming switch, enabling their return to Earth.
 

Since the late 1960s American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts have used Fisher’s pens. In fact, Fisher has created a whole line of space pens. A newer pen, called the Shuttle Pen, was used on NASA’s space shuttles and on the Russian space station, Mir. Of course, you don’t have to go to space to get your hands on a space and earthbound folks can own one for the low, low price of $50.00.

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CDC Commercial Inc
About the Author – Don Zech, President at CDC Commercial, Inc.
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