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Regrets of the Flickering

Inspiration and Chai:

My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

That must focus the mind.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.

Here's one that all men shared:

I wish I didn't work so hard.

One should work to live not live to work.

Many people have the habit of acquiring too many things -- thanks to the power of debt -- and then working long hours to pay off the interest-laden bills. It seems so ... unnecessary. They often think that the abundance of physical objects in their possession will provide them happiness which as they soon realize is another one of their regrets.

Too many lack perspective.

In the early 90s, in Pakistan, I had a cap gun -- a gorgeous silver-metallic 12 shooter. I would save up my allowance in Saudi Arabia and spend it on cheap ring caps in Pakistan. The beautiful noise would drive my mother mad. So, one day she took the gun and hid it.

We were planning to visit some relatives on that day. My uncle was driving my mom and myself. While we're in the car, I'm whining and complaining.

"I want my gun!"

"Where did you put it!?"


"I want it!"

Well, actually I was speaking in Urdu but you get the idea.

Suddenly, this noxious smell came out of nowhere. I instinctively started to roll up the windows of the car. Then I realized, we were driving through a garbage dump. It seemed that for over a kilometer, on both sides of the road, bags of garbage had been piled up into sizable hills. The smell was so overpowering and atrocious.

I noticed something that was shocking. People were walking around and searching through the waste. I asked my uncle, "What are they doing?"

"They're looking for food or something to use or sell for money."

I looked at that somber scene in silence from behind the window of an air conditioned car.

I stopped complaining.

Link via Instapundit.

Wow. This is now my second Instalanche of the month!

Thanks again, Professor.

Playing for the Almighty Dollar


Investigators will focus on the currency notes handed over by the News Of The World (NOTW) to Mazhar Majeed as they look for evidence of spot fixing in the Lord's Test involving Pakistani cricketers. Majeed was arrested by Scotland Yard on Saturday night and the investigators will try and determine if the currency notes bear resemblance to those found in the hotel rooms of several Pakistani players.

Pakistan suffered their worst defeat in history in the most recent match. If these allegations are true, then the Pakistani team is rotten to the core. How sad, for they truly have the most talented and thus entertaining bowling attack on Earth.

There's more:

As disclosed by the NOTW, Majeed allegedly said that Sydney was the last instance where he was involved in fixing a match. "Let me tell you the last Test we did. It was the second Test against Australia in Sydney," he told the undercover reporter. "Australia had two more wickets left. They had a lead of 10 runs, yeah. And Pakistan had all their wickets remaining. The odds for Pakistan to lose that match, for Australia to win that match, were I think 40 to 1.

"We let them get up to 150 then everyone lost their wickets," Majeed revealed. ''That one we made £1.3 [million]. But that's what I mean, you can get up to a million. Tests is where the biggest money is because those situations arise.''

If any cricket match was rigged, then that game against Australia is it. Pakistan lost that Test in a most bizarre fashion. They let Australia build a lead of 175 runs and then shockingly crumbled at the finishing line. As reported, as many as 7 out of the 11 players in the team were taking their orders from the bookies.

Canada Not Immune

The Gazette:

There are now eight suspects in a massive police probe into an alleged terror plot to bomb the Parliament buildings, the Ottawa Citizen has learned.

This part is amusing:

Two of the accused — Hiva Alizadeh, 30, a former electrical engineering technology student, and Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, an X-ray technician, both of Ottawa, were arrested Wednesday. The third, Khurram Syed Sher, 28, a doctor who once auditioned for Canadian Idol, was arrested in London, Ont., Thursday.

Doctor, singer and a budding terrorist! I sense a Hollywood movie.

Humanity Denied

The Express Tribune via Jihad Watch:

Khan alleged that 200 families, who have been displaced from Basti Rindan and Basti Sohrani by flooding, took shelter in a state-run school at Jhok Utra but within days the local administration forced them to leave the school. He said the local administration later told them that people from the surrounding areas did not want the Ahmadis in the relief camp. And that the administration could not allow them to stay at the camp as it could create a law and order situation.

Why aren't the Ahmadis worthy of shelter? Because they're not considered to be Muslims by the non-Ahmadi majority. Even in the midst of devastation and chaos, Muslims have little pity for a tiny, poor, powerless - and in their eyes infidel - sect.

Of course, this hasn't stopped these model citizens from taking money and supplies from evil infidels around the world.

Epic Pace


Turn back the clock and you will find many moments where Pakistan's bowlers have stunned the senses with their wizardry: through the tumultuous English summer of '92, then the one-off Hamilton Test a year later when New Zealand plunged from 67 for 3 to 93 all out chasing 127; At Lord's in 1996 England, batting for a draw on the fifth day, were going steady at 171 for 2 chasing an unattainable 408 before being shunted out for 242. Move on to Old Trafford in 2001 when England again were aiming for a draw on the final day before Pakistan snapped up eight quick wickets in the final session. If Australia do not give up till the very last minute, Pakistan have a unique ability to surprise at any time.

Their bowling is, and has been for many years, the key. For whatever reason, Pakistan has continually produced awesome fast bowlers. It's puzzling to look at India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and realize that those three similar countries combined don't have the pace talent to match up against what comes off the assembly line in Pakistan.

Of course, their batting and fielding has been atrocious recently. So, the rest of the cricket world can be thankful for that.

No Fund. No Trust.

Paul Krugman via Market Ticker via Vox Popoli:

Social Security has been running surpluses for the last quarter-century, banking those surpluses in a special account, the so-called trust fund. The program won’t have to turn to Congress for help or cut benefits until or unless the trust fund is exhausted, which the program’s actuaries don’t expect to happen until 2037 — and there’s a significant chance, according to their estimates, that that day will never come.

This is spectacularly misleading. The US government hasn't put the social security surpluses into any type of account. They've spent it all. The "trillions" of dollars of assets in the trust fund is simply an accounting gimmick.

As tax revenues crash and the gross social security payments increase, Americans will hear and read more about this multi-generational fraud in the next few years.


Texas A&M via Code Monkey Ramblings:

Taken very literally, not all students are created equal—especially in their math learning skills, say Texas A&M University researchers who have found that not fully understanding the “equal sign” in a math problem could be a key to why U.S. students underperform their peers from other countries in math.

Here comes an example:

“Students who have learned to memorize symbols and who have a limited understanding of the equal sign will tend to solve problems such as 4+3+2=( )+2 by adding the numbers on the left, and placing it in the parentheses, then add those terms and create another equal sign with the new answer,” he explains. “So the work would look like 4+3+2=(9)+2=11."

“This response has been called a running equal sign—similar to how a calculator might work when the numbers and equal sign are entered as they appear in the sentence,” he explains.

I wonder how this compares to Canadian students. When I was studying math at university I met a lot of Asians, Indians, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Russians and Poles but not many Canadian-born math students. Just what is it about the mathematics curriculum or instruction that makes many North Americans loath the subject by the time they're going off to university?

Bamboozling the Infidel

Raymond Ibrahim explains the Islamic concept of taysir and provides a modern case for illumination:

Qaradawi's Muslim Brotherhood colleague, Tariq Ramadan, provides an ideal example: he recommends that a "moratorium" — a temporary ban — be placed on the Muslim practice of stoning adulterers to death; yet he refuses to say that stoning is intrinsically un-Islamic. This, of course, is taysir in practice: because stoning people in the West is liable to get the stoner incarcerated or worse, upholding the Sharia mandate to stone adulterers is "hard" on Muslims living in the West, so best to put it on hold — that is, till circumstances are more opportune.

That's the idea.

Infinite Space

Tom's Hardware:

Consistent capacity growth in hard disk drives (HDDs) has become something we take for granted. It isn’t so trivial if you think about the fact that there are in fact physical limits to how much data you can store on one disk and every now and then we are nearing a limit that can’t be topped anymore. The last limit was hit in 2005 and the next seems to be arriving in the 2013 – 2015 timeframe. However, a new technology breathes new life into HDDs. HAMR will bring massive storage growth and propel the industry far beyond 100 TB.

So many ... possibilities.

Men, Women and Courage

Dr. Helen:

I am at a law conference in Florida and attended a panel on "Masculinity and Manliness in the Law." Initially, I was a little wary, thinking that it would be some PC twaddle that would get me annoyed, but it was actually quite informative.

The comments to her post are interesting.

Bikini Beats Burqa

A very odd op-ed in the Guardian.

David Thompson:

In the comments following her article, Ms. Gopal inevitably invokes racism as a primary motive, claiming that, “the favoured game in town really is White Men Rescuing Brown Women From Brown Men” - a caricature for which no evidence is deemed necessary. She bemoans “US aggression and violence against Afghans,” as if the Allies were deliberately targeting civilians rather than the Taliban (who of course do deliberately target civilians as a matter of routine, and who buy or kidnap children as young as seven to use as walking bombs). She also objects to “assertions of civilisational superiority,” as if the society in which she lives, and lives quite comfortably, offered women no more opportunity for self-determination than one in which girls’ schools are burned to the ground in the name of piety.

The Western world is, of course, not perfect. However, saying that the West -- Greco-Roman reason fused with Judeo-Christian morality -- is not superior to the systems one finds in the several Trashcanistans in Asia just goes to show how big of a buffoon one really is.

Simple and Much Faster

An interesting peak at Intel's future strategy.

Light Peak is what Intel is calling its first consumer implementation of an external optical bus, and will start at 10 gigabits per second, and will start appearing in products sometime in 2010. The bus will support multiple protocols as well - in theory, you could send USB, ethernet, audio, and video at super fast rates over one unified optical connection. If you think about the same thing happening but on the motherboard, you’ll get a sense for the beginning of how optical data connections will supplant copper.

Cool. It'd be nice to have a motherboard with 10 or more Light Peak connections instead of the current USB 2.0 + USB 3.0 + eSATA + Firewire circus.

Perception of Power

University of Rochester:

Simply wearing the color red or being bordered by the rosy hue makes a man more attractive and sexually desirable to women, according to a series of studies by researchers at the University of Rochester and other institutions. And women are unaware of this arousing effect.

The cherry color's charm ultimately lies in its ability to make men appear more powerful, says lead author Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. "We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it's this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction," Elliot says.

I usually wear a black fleece sweater to work and one day decided to switch to a more comfortable one which had a crimson red hue to it. Within a few hours, I must have had close to a dozen women comment on how nice it looked. It was like visual catnip. Strangely, not a single guy said a word about it.

Link via Instapundit.

Just logged on to Typepad and quickly noticed the graph which shows that my pageviews have spiked -- kinda like the US budget deficit!

Thanks for the link, Professor.

The Expressway to Serfdom

Obama cares:

The new law creates 68 grant programs, 47 bureaucratic entities, 29 demonstration or pilot programs, six regulatory systems, six compliance standards and two entitlements.

Getting that massive enterprise up and running will be next to impossible.

How will the Democrats proceed with this epic failure?

So Democrats streamlined the process by granting Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the authority to make judgments that can’t be challenged either administratively or through the courts.

But, of course.