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December 2010
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February 2011

A New Set of Thugs

Vox Day:

What those who make a political fetish of democracy repeatedly fail to understand is that it is nothing more than a means; it is not an end in itself. The collective will of the Egyptian people, who have repeatedly voted for the Muslim Brotherhood party in parliamentary elections despite it being banned, has very little in common with that of the American people. The voters in the Palestinian Authority gave Hamas 76 of the 132 seats available, and it can be expected that if Mubarak is chased from power, his dictatorial governance will be replaced with radical Islamic rule that is more similar to the regime in Tehran than the one in Washington, D.C.

It is true. Most Egyptians, like most Muslims, support sharia. Classical liberalism is not going to flourish in Egypt any time soon.

Why Create?

The Sweet Hereafter is one of my favorite movies. This vivid essay by Timothy Dalrymple reminded me of a scene from it:

Lifelong singles can, of course, lead joyful and fulfilling lives and there are other ways in which they are shaped. In retrospect, however, my life prior to parenthood was like a symphony constrained to a single note. In the year that followed my daughter's birth, I felt—really felt—the whole spectrum of human emotions, the depth and richness of human experience. Through my daughter's eyes, I remembered wonder. Her laughter and unbridled joy reminded me why the world is good. She was a vessel of grace, a sacrament, and she returned me to life.

Link via Instapundit.

Beheading or Behind Bars

World Net Daily:

Those who leave Islam and preach against the Muslim religion must be jailed, declared the imam who has become the new face of the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York City.

That, by the way, is the "moderate" view. The centuries-long historical punishment for apostasy has been death.

Adhami, speaking to a non-Muslim audience, claimed Islamic law only calls for punishment for public apostates and that most Islamic scholars demand only that public apostates be jailed as opposed to killed.

Now, he's just blowing smoke.

"The Quran distinguishes between public and private apostasy," he said, failing to note most medieval Islamic scholars did not make such a distinction.

The distinction that he's trying to make is utterly meaningless. Imagine if the Western world said to the Muslims: "Hey, you can believe in Allah and praise your vile prophet; just don't mention such atrocious things in public. Otherwise, we'll throw you in prison."

Quite a "moderate" view, isn't it?

They Also Implode

If it's chaos in the cricketing world, then it must be Pakistan:

Any tinge of happiness at Pakistan's Test series victory over New Zealand is rapidly vanishing courtesy of a farce orchestrated by the Pakistan Cricket Board. The national team's chances of winning the 2011 World Cup look wobbly enough without more self-inflicted damage.

It's the only country that has yet to name its captain for the World Cup which starts next month.

In the last World Cup, Pakistan made a first-round exit and their coach was found dead very soon after. Let's see if they can top that insanity.

Batman 3


Warner Bros. Pictures announced yesterday that Oscar-nominated actress Anne Hathaway will co-star opposite Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan's much-anticipated Dark Knight sequel, The Dark Knight Rises. The big news for Batfans, however, is that after months of feverish speculation, Rises has finally announced its villains: Hathaway as Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman), and Inception's Tom Hardy as Bane.

I figured Catwoman would be in after Nolan whacked the Bat's squeeze in the previous sequel. But Bane!? Now, that's definitely a surprise.

On a related matter, let's see if DC and WB can get their act together with the Kal-El franchise. Maybe, many years down the road, they can have the both of them together in the same movie ...

Maximum Boost

Clayton Cramer:

I installed 2 GB of RAM in my notebook, and the performance gain when I am, as usual, doing too many things at once (editing videos, blogging, putting together PowerPoint slides for lectures, reading email), is definitely quite noticeable.

The absolute best upgrade one can make today is to replace the hard drive with a solid state drive as their boot disk.

I gave this advice to a fellow at work a few months ago. Recently, he upgraded to a new PC which, of course, has an SSD. His response upon using the new machine?

"It's a beast!"

Most Want A Free Lunch

What else is new?

Americans overwhelmingly say that in general they prefer cutting government spending to paying higher taxes ...

Of course, but ...

Yet their preference for spending cuts, even in programs that benefit them, dissolves when they are presented with specific options related to Medicare and Social Security, the programs that directly touch the most people and also are the biggest drivers of the government’s projected long-term debt.

So, who's going to pay for it all?

If Medicare benefits have to be reduced, the most popular option is raising premiums on affluent beneficiaries. Similarly, if Social Security benefits must be changed to make the program more financially sound, a broad majority prefers the burden fall on the wealthy.

But, of course.

Link via Calculated Risk.

Appeasement Incites Contempt

Vox Popoli on women:

In the end, it is only what she has done in the past that is informative and what she decides to do now and in the future that matters. And if she doesn't want to be with you, why would you want her to stick around anyhow? There are literally three billion other members of the opposite sex out there, after all, and the chances are pretty high that at least one of them will appreciate you considerably more than a woman who has gradually come to dislike or even loathe you.

So true.

Christian Suffering in Pakistan

Express Tribune via Jihad Watch:

Two Christian women were beaten and publically humiliated by an angry mob over apparently frivolous blasphemy allegations and they and their family are now in hiding for fear of being killed, The Express Tribune has learnt.

“None of our relatives is ready to let us stay with them. They fear the wrath of the extremists, particularly after the assassination of Salmaan Taseer,” a male member of the family said over the phone from an undisclosed location.

How did it start?

According to the family, the allegations stem from a dispute between Amina, a Muslim, and her sister-in-law Zahira, a Christian, in an East Lahore locality. The two got into an argument on Tuesday night and though it appeared to have been settled, on Wednesday morning, after her husband Zahid had gone to work, Amina walked out onto the street and started shouting that Zahira had abused the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

What a vile, malicious bitch.

Sameer added that he was very proud of his wife’s performance during the mob beating. “She beat Zahira more than anyone else. Her hand is so swollen that she hasn’t been able to make rotis since the day of the incident. I’ve been getting my meals from a restaurant,” he said.

Such lovely Muslims.

So Many Burned Nights

A gamer completed the original Quake title for the PC in just over 52 minutes, killing off all enemies and discovering all secret areas.

Damn. Quake was one of the first video games I ever played on the PC. It used up 25 MB of hard disk space. Ah yes, the last few years of the 20th century ... seems such a long time ago.

Doleful Aussies

Australia had ruled the Test arena for more than a decade but after their two bowling superstars retired, it has all been downhill for them.

Their final innings of the series, 644, was their highest of all time in Australia, and only their third 600-plus total in Ashes cricket since the second world war - the second of which, 5 for 620 declared, came three Tests ago in Adelaide. With 513 at Melbourne and that unforgettable 1 for 517 in the second innings at the Gabba, England even outstripped the Wally Hammond-powered campaign of 1928-29 in passing 500 on an unprecedented four separate occasions.

What makes England's performance staggering is that they annihilated Australia in Australia.

The World Cup will start in just over a month. The Aussies have won the last three in a row. Let's see just how badly they lose the title.

Morbid Masks

This link about Amazon selling gas masks (via Prof. Reynolds) reminded me of events twenty years in the past:

My father had brought enough for all of us. My siblings were playing around with them and putting them on. At the time, they looked quite funny on our faces. Even my father had an uncomfortable grin. Today, looking back, the gas masks don’t provide much humor.

It was 1990. Saddam Hussein had broken the cardinal rule in the Middle East. He decided to enslave, torture, and murder people that were not his own countrymen. Many thought that Saddam wouldn’t stop with Kuwait. He might attack the country in which we resided. Naturally, everyone in Saudi Arabia was scared. There was tremendous fear of chemical weapons. My father had therefore brought everyone a gas mask, and taped shut all the windows in our apartment. All the unused electrical outlets were also taped. We tried to make our apartment as air tight as we possibly could.

No Tolerance in Transhcanistan


On January 4, 2011, one of Taseer's bodyguards, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, shot him 26 times with a submachine gun at Kohsar Market, near his home.

What crime had he committed to merit such deadly violence?

He advocated that the clause in the Constitution declaring the Ahmadi community to be non-Muslims should be revoked.

In an interview with Meher Bukhair on Samaa TV, Taseer commented on his view about the country's blasphemy law and on filing a mercy petition for Asia Bibi who has been sentenced to death by a court under the Blasphemy Law.

He disagreed with discriminating against a tiny religious minority and he wanted clemency for a poor woman who had allegedly uttered a blashphemous remark.

The death itself is not the main problem. It's the demented culture and the vile religion which celebrates the loss and considers the killer to be a hero that ought to worry us because in their eyes, we deserve the same fate.

Saturating the Bandwidth


Today at CES, OCZ previewed its first SF-2000 based drives: the Vertex 3 Pro and Vertex 3 EX. Both are based on SandForce’s SF-2582 controller, the highest end offering in the SF-2000 family. The drives won’t see the light of day for months (sometime in Q2) and what OCZ is showing today is very, *very* early silicon and hardware. The drives are using 32nm Toshiba toggle-mode NAND (effectively DDR NAND), however OCZ will go to market with 25nm Intel NAND when the drive is ready.

The early, impressive benchmark:

When running highly compressible data (pseudo random in Iometer) at low queue depths, I get 518MB/s sequential write speed and nearly 500MB/s for sequential read speed. Remember this is the very first version of the drive and there’s months of tweaking ahead to get it ready for production. Performance may even increase by the time OCZ actually ships the drive. Furthermore, this is the performance of a single drive with a single controller - there’s no funny on-board RAID going on, we’re just talking about the performance of a single drive.

The vast majority of computers have SATA 3.0 connectors which means they're limited to a maximum of 300MB/s transfer rates. That's okay for hard drives which rarely push 150MB/s but not with lightning fast solid state disks which will debut later in 2011.

King of Speed

Micron has introduced the next generation of its SSD.

Micron is claiming sequential read speeds of 415MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 260MB/s (256/512GB drives). The 128GB drive is good for up to 175MB/s sequential writes. Random write performance is unknown at this point but I heard Micron mention something around 50,000 4KB random write IOPS.

That is fast.

There is no question: If you don't have a solid state disk as your boot drive, then getting one is the best upgrade you can make.

The Canadian

At the end of 2007, after getting an uneventful background check from the FBI, I had fulfilled all the requirements for becoming a permanent resident of Canada. Thus, my status was changed from a convention refugee to a permanent resident.

I could only apply for citizenship after two years had passed since becoming a resident and so I did in late 2009. I got a letter from Citizenship Canada informing me about the time for the citizenship test in late 2010.

After a quick search, I found a database of multiple choice questions which test your knowledge of Canadian history, politics and geography. A couple of hours before the test, I plowed through one hundred questions on this website and got all of them right. The actual test had twenty questions. I know for sure that I got eighteen correct. The other two I'm not so certain; they were worded in such a way that more than one answer could be technically correct.

Unfortunately, Citizenship Canada does not specify the exact mark on the test. They only inform one about passsing or failing. To pass, one has to correctly answer at least sixteen out of the twenty questions. A couple of weeks after writing the test, they informed me of the time for the citizenship ceremony.

I arrived at the government building half an hour before the main event. I stood outside in the cool morning chill. I remembered that in Saudi Arabia one has to avert the eyes away from shiny objects -- cars, windows, any reflective surfaces -- because of the intense, scorching sunlight. So, the only place one can look is down.

I looked up and breathed in the free air. My heart thanked all those strangers who donated money for my lawyer whose expertise was valuable in front of the Refugee Board four years ago. How kind is fate. Most of my former countrymen consider it their religious duty to slaughter me but here in the West, a small Army of Infidel Davids saved my life.

I noticed some peculiar clouds but they couldn't be as I saw a plane high in the ether. Then one more, then another. All flying in the westward direction, leaving those long puffy lines behind them.

Sixty people, at that place, were becoming Canadian citizens on the day. The judge talked a bit about Canadian history. She shared some personal information with us. Her Asian grandfather was moved and put in a camp during the Second World War. Now, two generations later, his granddaughter was welcoming new immigrants to Canada.

There was a strange moment when we had to pledge allegiance to the Queen in English ... and then in French. I guess that makes the new Canadians doubly loyal.

I applied for a Canadian passport today. The process was surprisingly quick. By the end of this month, international travel for me will be a bit more comfortable.

The Core Refreshed


Intel never quite reached 4GHz with the Pentium 4. Despite being on a dedicated quest for gigahertz the company stopped short and the best we ever got was 3.8GHz. Within a year the clock (no pun intended) was reset and we were all running Core 2 Duos at under 3GHz. With each subsequent generation Intel inched those clock speeds higher, but preferred to gain performance through efficiency rather than frequency.

Today, Intel quietly finishes what it started nearly a decade ago. When running a single threaded application, the Core i7-2600K will power gate three of its four cores and turbo the fourth core as high as 3.8GHz. Even with two cores active, the 32nm chip can run them both up to 3.7GHz. The only thing keeping us from 4GHz is a lack of competition to be honest.

Intel has been thrashing AMD since the summer of 2006. It seems that's not about to change.

Cowered Infidels

National Post:

A man used a Muslim woman’s religious garment as a disguise to rob a bank in an Ottawa strip mall on Thursday, police say.

It's quite simple: any kind of face covering ought not be allowed in public institutions. Otherwise, some will continue to take advantage of this ridiculous situation.

[Sgt.] Myers said there have been a handful of similar robberies in Ottawa since the summer. He could not say whether police suspect they have been committed by the same person.