As of noon New York time, today March 30, U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell another 5.67% to $20.29 a barrel. International benchmark Brent dropped 9.83% to $22.45 a barrel. That's an 18-year low for oil. And worse is yet to come.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said today that it will begin human testing of its experimental vaccine for the coronavirus by September and that clinical data on its effects is expected before the end of the year. If the vaccine works well, the company said it could be available for emergency use in early 2021. I'd stress the "could" but this is still great news.
A new normal has arrived— an oddly universal predicament. Odd in that, for the last few years, our public has been less “mono y mono” and more “mono vs mono.” Us vs them. Right vs Left. Blue & black vs white & gold. Now, it’s we versus it.And unexpectedly, this common enemy has brought on a unique sense of togetherness in a time when our government talking heads mandate we stay apart. However, despite the “in this together” newfound comradery, the quarantine life is driving us all nuts.And so, in good spirit, we’ve scoured the internet to see what our fellow Americans are doing to keep themselves sane. Maybe it will for you too. We hope.Play 36 Questions with Your Lovebug36 questions is a game, made famous by a viral NY Times article, proven to make any two people fall in love (or re-fall in love). The study claims it can actually generate intimacy in a lab setting, supporting the notion that emotional vulnerability and profound connectedness (of course, along with physical attraction) is all we need for compatibility.The game includes minutes of sustained eye contact, crust-to-core personal questions and, well, fun.This could be a great way to find some good giggle-time with your spouse, reliving some good ol’ days and relearning some personal trivia you may have forgotten over the years.Don’t believe it works?Just ask the article’s author, Mandy Len Catron, who fell victim to the love-spell questionnaire, herself. Play now.Listen to Curious Music from Around the WorldSpotify is a streaming app (there’s a free version) that allows you to discover new music and podcasts from anywhere on Earth. Their “Tastebreakers” feature compiles songs of genres you, according to your play history, don’t normally listen to.It’s an interesting way to discover the voices of genres and subgenres unbeknownst to you.Let me offer a personal antidote. One time, I discovered a band (if you call it that) whose music is wholly Native American—Northern Cree to be exact. Interestingly, they mix old tribal chant styles with new age dubstep and other modern genera. The biggest treat came from a song called Facebook Drama, which features the traditional drum-and-chant we all know in their native tongue. They have a rare portion in the song that is sung entirely in English, giving the listener a unique insight into how ancient composers worded phrases against the rhythm and strung sentences together. What otherwise sounds like chanting now seems to take on the form of understandable music. Pretty neat. Take your own chance‚ who knows, maybe you’ll find cool music before your kids or grandkids do.Read—a Lot.Not all of us are readers, but now is a more than convenient time to dive into America’s (old) favorite pastime. Ol’ Abe Lincoln learned everything he knew from burying his nose in endless novels and manuscripts. And science has long touted its health benefits, including staving off cognitive degeneration, improving empathy, curbing stress and even fighting depression.One study found that reading actually elongates your life by about 2 years. More time to read!By the way, these benefits are linked to reading books, alone. In other words, this doesn’t count your cousin’s blog post, the credits at the end of Star Wars or the never-ending list of ingredients in SPAM—which might even be better for you than reading…Soak Up the SunSheryl Crow may not have known all the health benefits of a little sunshine, but she certainly had the right idea. A little light from our centermost, hottest celestial body can boost not only our mood but our energy, weight control and even memory.Conversely, a little sunlight actually lowers some unwanted blood pressure which could improve cardiovascular health. Not bad.But before you break out the flip flops, fix a tall drink of sun tea, and shamelessly sprawl out on a lawn chair in the front yard, be sure to lather on that sunscreen. You wouldn’t want to exchange some health benefits for others. Interestingly, on that note, a study found that people who avoided sun light actually had higher rates of skin cancer than those who sunned normally. Can’t extract the irony out of that one.(See, yet another thing you’ve learned from reading.)Make a Call. Seriously.Loneliness has already been on the minds of the public ever since it was declared a national epidemic by the HRSA. The elderly, of course, are especially susceptible but studies have also found that millennials and Gen-Z report high levels of unhappiness due to lonely feelings.However, the antidote doesn’t have to always come from a doctor. Checking on your friends and family will go a long way in times of isolation. Gone are the days when people picked up the phone just to talk. Just to catch up. Just to check-in.Letting others hear your voice and know that you’re thinking about them is one of the most wonderful things we could do for one another. Yeah, you may not want to hear all about your mom’s squabbles with the old ladies from her bunco group. But making a little time to chew the fat with loved ones will probably go a long way to making you feel pretty good, too.
Coronavirus stimulus package offers relief for retirees with RMD waiver and penalty-free 401(k) withdrawals
Key retirement-related provisions are included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act.”