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September 2010
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November 2010

An Expensive Hobby

Trey Ratcliff:

So, while here on the shaky south island of New Zealand, I had to swing by a camera store in Christchurch to pick up the new 28-300 Nikon lens. It’s expensive here… probably an extra $700 over the 28-300 cost in the US… That kinda sucks eh? Does anyone know why its so expensive? Are there tariffs and taxes? Why do governments do this? (I come from the Milton Friedman schools, as some of you know…)

The situation is similar in Canada. I know a guy who has close to a dozen Nikon lenses and in the past two years those lenses have appreciated in value. After owning them for several years, he can sell them used for the same price that he paid!

Good for lens owners, sucks for new customers.

Barbaric Islam

Compass Direct News:

Uddin said his family was fishing at his pond on Sept. 17 when eight to 10 Muslim neighbors led by Islam appeared and began speaking abusively about their Christian faith.

“Nazrul told us, ‘You are polluting society by deviating from Islam. Come back to Islam, otherwise we will not allow any Christian to live here in this village,’” Uddin said.

He told them that his family would not return to Islam, Uddin said.

“I replied, ‘Invite Islamic scholars, and if they can satisfy us in light of the Quran, then we will go back to Islam. Otherwise nothing can affect our unshakeable faith in Christ,’” Uddin said. “They beat me, my wife and two sons for objecting to their proposal to come back to Islam.”

Later, the ex-Muslims are accused of attempted murder.

Since Uddin became a Christian in 2007, some of his neighbors have threatened to kill him or expel him from the village, he said.

Apparently, they didn't get the memo about the peaceful nature of Islam.

This is Madness!

Approximately two thousand five hundred years ago, the Greek city-states -- led by the fearsome Spartan hoplites -- annihilated the Persians in the Battle of Plataea. Given the nature of nukes, this time there might not be much of a battle:

I sought out Martin Kramer in Jerusalem because I knew he would give me an analysis well outside the box on Iranian nuclear weapons. He’s a scholar, not a politician or pundit. And while he certainly has his opinions, he doesn’t conveniently fit into anyone’s ideological category.

I was not disappointed, and I don’t think you will be either. What he has to say is different from anything you’ve read from anyone in the media, including me.

Religion of Terror

Bruce S. Thornton:

Consider, for example, the following description, by the Muslim historian Ar-Razi, of the battle of Valdejunquera, fought in 920 between the Christians of northern Spain and the army of ‘Abd al-Rahman III. (Al-Rahman was the self-styled caliph of Córdoba — that mythical paradise of interfaith tolerance and cooperation, which in fact was the center of the Muslim imperialist occupation of Spain.) Before the battle, Ar-Razi writes, “he [al-Rahman’s general al-Nasir] penetrated deeply into enemy territory, laying it waste, destroying the fortresses of Osma and San Esteban, and many monasteries and churches.” After the Spaniards’ defeat and the capture of the survivors, “The combatants among them were put to the sword in the presence of al-Nasir, more than 500 of their counts and knights.” Another account, by the writer Arib ibn Sa’id, informs us that there were too many heads of slain Christians for the mule-trains to take back to Córdoba. Those heads that did make it were put on stakes around the city walls.

It's amazing just how ignorant modern folks are of the ultra-violent beginnings and history of Islam. Islam was started by a mad man in a tiny city in Arabia. This evil creature waged war against neighboring tribes and most infamously ordered the slaughter of all the men of a Jewish tribe who had surrendered. Then, he took their women as slaves.

After his death, Muslims spread the religion in a blitzkrieg fashion through Asia and Europe. The present-day Jihadists dream of repeating such history. They want an Islamic super-state spanning through continents with themselves in charge.

No Cure

Vox Popoli:

Now, not everyone is capable of blowing $120,000 in only four months and winding up with nothing but another notch on the old bedpost. But this sort of behavior is seen all the time, from professional athletes to lottery winners. So long as an individual's time preference is limited to the short term, he will never amass any wealth because he will immediately spend any amount of money that is given to him or earned by him.

Yet, their poverty is often blamed on the greedy rich!

It's not about how much you make but how much you save.

The Religion of Zombies?

The Daily Mail via Jihad Watch:

Saleh Patel, was recorded saying: 'When they say to us 'the Islamic state teaches to cut the hand of the thief', yes it does!'

'And it also teaches us to stone the adulterer.'

'When they tell us that the Islamic state tells us and teaches us to kill the apostate, yes it does!'

'Because this is what Allah and his messenger have taught us and this is the religion of Allah and it is Allah who legislates and only Allah has the right to legislate.'

What refreshing honesty from the chap. By the way, all that was said in a university in London, England.

The Religion of Peace II

I wrote this a few days ago:

Too many Westerners are idiotically polite in stating that the terrorists are mutilating and misinterpreting Islam. Such is not the case. In fact, the biggest difference between Muslim terrorists and the rest of the Muslims is that the terrorists are a bit impatient. They want sharia to be implemented in their relevant geographic location and soon everywhere. The non-terroristic Muslims are patiently waiting for the West to crumble and then, with strength in numbers, sharia will be enforced on Western soil.

Yehoshua Friedman left a comment:

How do you explain the existence of Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi of Italy, an ordained imam who supports the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and has visited several times, supports western democracy and greatly circumscribes the concept of jihad (and is still alive)?

I realize now that I had made an error. I had presented a false, binary option. I should have been more clear. The Islamic world can be divided into not two but three categories:

  • Sharia-now Muslims: Terrorists and their financiers.
  • Sharia-soon Muslims: Non-terroristic, majority of the Muslim world.
  • Sharia-whatever Muslims: A minority in the Islamic world.

It is a fact that most Muslims support sharia and a global Islamic superstate (the Caliphate) which can enforce sharia.

Specifically, the World Public University of Maryland poll (released February 25, 2009) indicated the following about our putative Muslim ally nations of Egypt and Pakistan: 81% of the Muslims of “moderate” Egypt, the largest Arab Muslim nation, desire a “strict” application of Shari’a, Islamic law; 76% of Pakistan’s Muslims — one of the most important and sizable non-Arab Muslim populations — want this outcome. Furthermore, 70% of Egyptian Muslims and 69% of Pakistani Muslims desire the re-creation of a “single Islamic state or caliphate.” Elsewhere, I have detailed the totalitarian impact of these fulfilled Islamic desires — based upon their doctrinal and historical application across space and time.

What part of killing apostates, beheading alcohol consumers, stoning adulterers etc. is moderate? Of course, some Muslims don't support such barbarity (and they should re-examine why they continue to call themselves a Muslim) but their presence doesn't negate the reality of the majority -- which is ideologically as murderous as the terrorists.

The Gift of Death

National Post: Family rallies around accused father.

What is the father accused of? Here's a hint: It's a Muslim family.

That's right! The father killed his daughter.

The extended family of a 71-year-old father charged with aggravated assault in the death of his 13-year-old daughter has rallied in support of both victim and accused.

But, of course.

She was "beautiful, intelligent and a brilliant student, much like her father." Two years ago, she won a math prize and was making plans to follow her sisters academically, hoping to become a lawyer.

Which leads me to believe that she wasn't very religious. That would've been reason enough for the wicked father to murder slap her.

The Religion of Peace

Francis W. Porretto links to a powerful video: Three Things You Need To Know About Islam.

Too many Westerners are idiotically polite in stating that the terrorists are mutilating and misinterpreting Islam. Such is not the case. In fact, the biggest difference between Muslim terrorists and the rest of the Muslims is that the terrorists are a bit impatient. They want sharia to be implemented in their relevant geographic location and soon everywhere. The non-terroristic Muslims are patiently waiting for the West to crumble and then, with strength in numbers, sharia will be enforced on Western soil.

The ideology is the same. Only the tactics differ.

The Cost of Fun

Vox Popoli:

Madonna/Whore is more than a male psychological complex, it is also a significant life choice that women have to make regardless of whether they are consciously aware of making it or not. There are exceptions, of course, as there must be in applying a binary principle to a population of 150 million, but in general, if a young woman has reason to believe she has a reasonable shot at attracting an alpha with whom to settle down, she has to forgo the short-term option of spending four to twelve years riding the alpha carousel if she wants to marry one.


Far too many young, single women are not happy with what they have. Their hearts desire more! Someone more attractive; someone a few inches taller or, er, bigger; someone who possesses a higher credit limit; someone who drives a "good" car; someone who votes the right way; someone who appreciates nature ...

In the end, they're left with bitchy cats.

How Taxes Destroy

Greg Mankiw:

Suppose that some editor offered me $1,000 to write an article. If there were no taxes of any kind, this $1,000 of income would translate into $1,000 in extra saving. If I invested it in the stock of a company that earned, say, 8 percent a year on its capital, then 30 years from now, when I pass on, my children would inherit about $10,000. That is simply the miracle of compounding.

Read the rest to fully understand how the numerous taxes in the US annihilate such simple savings.

It's For the Common Good

Human Events via The Market Ticker:

under the GRA system government would seize private 401(k) accounts, setting up an additional 5% mandatory payroll tax to dole out a "fair" pension to everyone using that confiscated money coupled with the mandated contributions. This would, of course, be a sister government ponzi scheme working in tandem with Social Security, the primary purpose being to give big government politicians additional taxpayer funds to raid to pay for their out-of-control spending.

It makes sense. Of course, anyone who opposes this must hate blacks, women and gays.

They Know Not

A reader writes in at Instapundit:

Our current home had a 60’s rotary wall phone in the kitchen when we bought it, and we have kept it for – I must be honest here – purely comedic reasons: It gives my wife and myself no end of amusement watching our kid’s friends trying to make a phone call. Never fails – they put their fingers in the holes, press as hard as they can…

That is so mean and awesome.

2012: A New Hope?

Right Wing News polls conservative blogs to find out who is liked and disliked as a 2012 presidential candidate.

The bloggers voted on three different groups of candidates. The first grouping included the big name candidates that were likely to run, the second asked which of those candidates the bloggers would be LEAST LIKELY to support, and the last list was expanded out to cover 20 candidates, including some that are currently considered unlikely to run.

Interesting stuff.

An Epic Hope


What we have today are the official specs of the second-generation SandForce SSDs, the SF-2000 series. Drives will be sampling to enterprise customers in the coming weeks, but we probably won’t see shipping hardware until Q1 2011 if everything goes according to plan. And the specs are astounding.

A good USB flash drive usually gets around 20 MB/s. Recent hard drives about 120 MB/s. Most current SSDs are at 275 MB/s. SandForce is hoping to provide 500 MB/s transfer speeds with their next generation firmware.

I currently use an OCZ Vertex and would definitely consider buying the newer SSD if that insane performance materializes.

This now makes Intel's next generation SSD look mighty weak. It seems Intel will push for lower, affordable prices instead of super-high speeds.

The 40-Year-Old Doofus

The Globe and Mail:

It didn’t seem like Stephanie MacGregor was in trouble. The 40-year-old fundraising consultant pulls in $85,500 annually, owns a condo in Ottawa, and has only one dependent: her five-year-old daughter.

But a few years ago, she had a wake-up call when a friend pushed her to track her debt on a spreadsheet.

How can one not be aware of their debt? I guess if one doesn't bother paying it off, then it's easy to lose track. Thank you, compound interest!

Mortgage aside, her $50,000 in debt was spread over four credit cards and three lines of credit. She paid her bills as they came in and had an RRSP, but she dipped into it.

Holy Schnikes! She ought to get Christmas cards from Visa and MasterCard.

When I lived in Saudi Arabia, my dad gave me one Saudi riyal for each day I attended school. That's about US$1.25 for a week. Unlike my siblings, who also got this luxurious pocket money, I would actually save the pennies. They would spend it on junk food at school; I would take my own lunch from home.

Why did I save? Well, we used to visit our relatives in Pakistan once a year. There, my saved riyals could buy a lot more. I would rent movies, buy magazines, detective novels, music, food from street vendors and -- my personal favorite -- play arcade games. By saving my pocket money for one week in Saudi Arabia, I could buy around 60 coins at a Pakistani arcade!

Strangely, my siblings didn't pick up on this simple concept. Now, I know that my behavior was abnormal. They, like too many people, couldn't delay gratification or think long term. Of course, I might have expected too much; at the time, we were pre-teens.

That's why it's stunning to read of people who after going through university still don't get the basic idea: save and live within your means.

Not Another Useful Idiot

A lot of good material here. The sweep of economic and political history is simultaneously grand and asinine. I'll take on the following point:

social security is nothing but the idea that none of our old people — people who have worked all their lives — should actually starve to death. Not only that, but social security is largely paid for by the same people it benefits: the working class and lower professional-managerial class. Why should anyone even mildly dislike, much less hate social security? Does this faction just hate old people with the same intensity that they hate blacks, women and gays?

Don't forget midgets. The capitalist class hates them the most. And don't even get me started on those female, lesbian, midgets who just happen to be black. I don't think they even exist anymore since the capitalist class wiped them all out!

The US government takes away a sizable chunk of everyone's income and promises (ha!) to provide an income in retirement. A small problem: The government doesn't save or put away your money when it confiscates it from you; the government spends it.

Now, fifty, sixty years ago, this wasn't much of an issue. A lot of people paid into social security and relatively few collected social security. Today, the greatest Ponzi scheme ever is now hitting the wall.

Cost of social security from the years past.

1950 - < $1 billion
1960 - $11.2 billion
1970 - $31.8 billion
1980 - $120.5 billion
1990 - $247.8 billion
2000 - $407.6 billion
2008 - $615.3 billion

In a recent month, the social security revenue collected by the federal government wasn't enough to cover the social security payments. The US government had to borrow cash! All that money -- trillions of dollars stolen from Americans over many years -- is gone.

This maybe, just maybe, why some people mildly dislike social security.

Isn't it strange: those who support social security are rooting for a totalitarian system that is not fiscally viable and will fall apart and do tremendous damage not to a few individuals but to an entire society. The road to hell is paved with ...

I'm a communist, but I'm not stupid

But, of course.

What's Better Than Four Fisheyes?

Considering that NASA uses Nikkors, it's not much of a surprise to see a locomotive use it as well. What is surprising is why they use it:

Inside the housing, there are five cameras equipped with Nikon DX AF Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED lenses. The view of the cameras is reflected sideways by 90 degrees using five mirrors mounted on the backside of the front cover. The images from all five cameras are then stitched together into a ring shaped view of the surrounding and is captured as a video stream.


The system is used to check the clearance of the track in an automated way – it can detect and document even the smallest deformation in tunnel walls, while driving at full speed.