Unnecessarily fragile

I had a pizza slice at work a few years ago. Afterwards, after thoroughly washing my hands, I went to get a paper towel but the sensor on the machine was broken. I could easily see a gigantic roll of paper in the container but there was no peaceful way of getting it out. Something so basic as a backup button or lever was absent from the design. "Technology" had made the whole simple process more aggravating.

The following is much worse.

Vacuum doesn't work. The door bell doesn't work. A cooking appliance doesn't work. Why? Because Amazon servers are down! Who the hell decided that an internet connection or a web server was necessary for these devices?


Big vs. Huge

Most people don't really comprehend the sheer size of wild animals. I once asked a group about the weight of a tiger relative to a small house cat that weighs five pounds. They thought that a tiger was anywhere from five to fifty times bigger. A male Siberian tiger can be a hundred times bigger!

Now, let's see an animal that can grow to be 3x heavier than a Siberian tiger.


Poor and lazy decisions

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has sparked backlash after saying that Americans are obese because they make poor choices, in an interview with the New York Times.

Mackey said that the world is getting fat but that Americans are leading the way. He also said that the U.S. has had "more of a problem" with COVID-19 due to obesity-related comorbidities like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure.

Mackey has come under fire for saying that obesity is not an access problem, and instead said that ignorance and poor choices are to blame for obesity.

Most people are also lazy and stuck in their bad habits.

At the most basic level, people have to severely limit their sugar and carbohydrates if they want to cut weight and not gain it back. Eating sugary foods and drinking sweet beverages on a daily basis is very gratifying. Eating potatoes and broccoli and drinking water is just sad! However, those "sad" choices don't lead to devastating consequences down the road.


Spend less

Rory Sutherland is quite astute:

There are two ways to become richer. One is to earn more. The other is to spend less on things you are forced to buy. Given the extraordinary centralising forces of the past 40 years — where the gains of the knowledge economy have disproportionately accrued to rent-seeking city landlords and transport networks — the freedom to work remotely is an instant 20 per cent pay rise. And sorry Boris, but if I travel to work in order to buy a £6 sandwich, in the short term, yes, I am bailing out Pret A Manger, but in the long term I’m bailing out the Duke of Westminster.

The cost of driving a car is staggering for the average person in Canada.

The total cost of ownership for a car is $955 per month when you include all your car payments, gas, maintenance, and auto insurance costs. After 3 years, you’ve paid for your car in full, and your payments drop to $502 per month.

That's $6,000 a year if you buy and use a prudent car for a long time. A cost that's not mentioned? The hundreds of hours burned in miserable traffic. I knew a colleague who often took over one hour to get home after work. During a horrendous snow storm it took him close to four hours. Living close to work (if it's not crazy expensive) or working from home (if possible) is definitely a huge income boost.

Of course, the landlords and, by extension, the banks won't be very happy about that.


Sugar is the villain

My family would have plenty of junk food for a birthday celebration during my early teenage years. Cakes, sweets, samosas, chocolate bars, sodas, etc. I would eat as much as I wanted but then be ravenous in 2-3 hours! This confused me since I could go 24 hours without food if I had a big dinner. That's the insidious thing about sugar: it makes you hungry more quickly.

That's what a lot of people including many so-called experts don't get: Why do people get fat? The answer from most would be: it's because fat people are eating too many calories. Yeah, that's not the answer. Let's see if that answer makes sense if we ask that question in a slightly different manner: Why are people consuming too many calories?

Understanding that question will lead one to the answer. Of course, the mainstream is hopelessly wrong. It's almost impossible to not gain weight on the recommended diet of low fats and high carbs. Fats and proteins are your friends.


Everybody is racist

Curiosity and compliments are now evidence of RAYCISSSM.

Racist: "Nigger." "Beaner." "Chink." "Paki."

Also, racist: "You speak English very well."

I was having a conversation with an Indian woman at my workplace many years ago. She was talking about her daughters. During the conversation, she said, "Like you, they don't really get Bollywood movies."

I gave her a confused look.

"Oh, they were born in Canada. They didn't learn Hindi."

I said, "I wasn't born here. I can understand what they're saying in the filims."

"You weren't born here!? But, but, you speak English very well!"

I calmly and politely informed her that she was a RACIST BITCH.

I thanked her for the compliment.


Another dumb privilege

Deal prices in Ontario, Canada:

  • Dozen eggs: $2
  • Potatoes: $0.2 per pound
  • Chicken legs: $1 per pound
  • Chicken breasts: $3 per pound
  • Frozen turkey burgers: $1 for 1 (100 grams)
  • Burger buns: $2.5 per 8
  • Minced beef: $3 per pound
  • Coleslaw salad: $1.5 per pound
  • Ketchup: $3 for 1 liter
  • Miracle whip: $3 for 0.9 liter
  • Sriracha sauce: $2.7 for 0.7 liter
  • Olive oil: $10 for 1 liter
  • Apples: $1.25 each
  • Tangerines: $0.25 each
  • Mini-cucumbers: $0.5 each
  • Tomatoes: $0.75 each

Add in salt, pepper, chili flakes, garlic power, paprika, and oregano, and you've got the essentials for healthy and inexpensive meals. 

Eating healthier isn't a privilege. It's simply inconvenient. Waiting in line for under a minute to get a calorie-packed meal combo is just easy. The average adult watches five hours of TV in a day in America. "I got no time," isn't a legit excuse.


Crooked polls, again!

This made me laugh:

[...] the odds right now are about as generous as they are likely to be before Trump exposes Creepy Joe in the debates. So, while I would not recommend betting the house, it's probably a very good time to put down $10 or so for post-election bragging rights.

Four years ago, a colleague said that Trump had little chance of winning the election. I disagreed. We made a bet in early 2016.

The amount? $10.


New Consoles in 2020

Microsoft and Sony will release their new gaming consoles before Christmas:

The new generation of consoles will bring big increases in CPU and GPU capabilities, but we get that with every new generation and it's no surprise when console chips get the same microarchitecture updates as the AMD CPUs and GPUs they're derived from. What's more special with this generation is the change to storage: the consoles are following in the footsteps of the PC market by switching from mechanical hard drives to solid state storage, but also going a step beyond the PC market to get the most benefit out of solid state storage.

It's about time. Solid state disks have become cheap enough that it doesn't make sense to not use them for gaming devices. Those who do have blazing fast SSDs don't see the full benefits yet because the game designers haven't pushed their requirements higher. That will change soon.

Microsoft and Sony are each using custom NVMe SSDs for their consoles, albeit with different definitions of "custom". Sony's solution aims for more than twice the performance of Microsoft's solution and is definitely more costly even though it will have the lower capacity. Broadly speaking, Sony's SSD will offer similar performance to the high-end PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs we expect to see on the retail market by the end of the year, while Microsoft's SSD is more comparable to entry-level NVMe drives. Both are a huge step forward from mechanical hard drives or even SATA SSDs.

The new XBOX will have a read speed of 2.4 GB/s. It's the slower one. Sony's PS5 will be at 5.5 GB/s. When dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I used floppy disks to store my word documents. It would take a few seconds to transfer the files over from my laptop. The total capacity of those disks was 1.44 MB. Now, we'll have media that can transfer an entire DVDs worth of data in one bloody second.

Eventually, PC gamers will also benefit as the new games will be designed to use the lightning speeds of NVMe SSDs. As the games can load GBs of data almost instantly, they should look absolutely stunning.


A Sinister Shortage

As health restrictions ease and stores, restaurants, and other services start to reopen, some employers complain they cannot entice workers back to their old jobs. Perhaps their employees changed careers or enrolled in higher education; others may be reluctant to come back while community spread of COVID-19 is still widespread.

It’s another headache for business owners trying to restart after the shutdowns. The President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business went so far as to declare that Canadian employers now face a “shortage of labour.”

Technically, he's correct. If I was an employer and I offered jobs that paid $10 per hour, then there would definitely be a shortage of labour.

The correct solution to this "shortage"? Increase the wage. The solution that the employers want? Import peasants who'll work for low wages and not complain. Of course, if you oppose this, then you're a HORRIBLE RACIST WHO SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY AND PERMANENTLY CANCELED.

In theory, if something is in short supply, its price should increase. But the laws of supply and demand are suspended whenever employers complain it’s too hard to fill job openings — and then inevitably demand that government do something about it.

Yup. It's a neat trick. Keep wages low ... get almost zero local workers ... cry, whine, gnash teeth ... get cheap foreign workers!

While low wages are a big part of the problem, meager and irregular hours make matters much worse.

Employers’ recruitment problems are partly due to stingy wages. But their failure to offer decent, reliable hours is actually the bigger issue. Most retail and hospitality workers are scheduled for inadequate and irregular hours. As a result, weekly incomes are very low: a median of just $450 a week in the hospitality sector. Who wants to return to work and risk infection, for a handful of hours’ work at minimum wage?

I know that at my local grocery store, the workers are scheduled in an utterly unstable manner. It's not unusual to have the following work week for an average employee:

MON: 11 AM - 6:30 PM
TUE: 6:45 AM - 3:30 PM
WED: 3:30 PM - 8:30 PM
THU: OFF
FRI: 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM
SAT and SUN: OFF

Then, the next week brings a completely different schedule. And yeah, that's a minimum wage job. 25 hours a week, on average. Take home monthly pay? $1,300. What's really insidious is that a motivated employee can't really fit another regular, part-time job in the mix because the hours are unpredictable.


Logic is too cold

Nothing changes a woman's mind faster than pure fear.

A few years ago, there was a conversation about guns at my workplace. Of course, everyone thought that guns are uncouth. I said that self-defense is basically impossible in Ontario. Carrying a handgun is illegal. Worse, tasers and pepper sprays are also banned. I asked the women, "How will you defend yourself when a bad guy breaks into your home?"

"Call the police!"

"Yeah, make sure you have some chalk ready for them."

Confused looks.

"It'll be easier for them to draw an outline around your body."

A few weeks later, one of the women told me about her weekend. A guy in a hoodie was going around the neighborhood and checking cars and front doors. She called the police. Her mind started racing. "Is he a thief? Is he going to break into my home? Is he going to hurt my children? How can I ... defend my family!?"

In that moment, she understood.


White vs. Blue

People with physically demanding jobs take more sick leave. They also have higher unemployment rates and shorter work lives, a new Danish study finds.

"This study showed that high physical work demands are a marked risk factor for a shortened expected working life and increased years of sickness absence and unemployment," study co-author Lars Andersen and colleagues wrote. Andersen is with the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen.

The difference was much smaller than what I expected.

For men age 30, working life would be expected to last almost 32 years for those with physically demanding jobs and nearly 34 years for those with physically undemanding jobs. Among women, the figures were just over 29.5 years and nearly 33 years, respectively, according to the researchers.

Old high school teachers and professors almost always have the option to teach a course or two in a given semester. Retired laborers, however, would seriously injure themselves in their old jobs. I knew a mathematics teacher whose husband was a car mechanic. They didn't need the money but he just loved his work. Eventually he had to give in as the body couldn't take the toll. A few years later, she retired as well. Funny, how that anecdote fits the data.


Vicious Criminals

Muslims expect children to fast during Ramadan. It's a great source of pride for a father when his five-years-old daughter is about to go into a coma has been fasting for the whole day. It's child abuse masquerading as piety.

There's tremendous social pressure to fast in schools as well. The cafeterias are closed! When I lived in Saudi Arabia, I could go without eating food the whole day but not drinking water was beyond me. After coming back from school, I would gulp a liter of water and have a snack. My parents didn't mind. Unfortunately, many have to hide from their mom and dad to commit the horrible sin of eating food:

Hiding snacks under their beds or behind piles of clothes, young Tunisians are finding ways to subvert the Ramadan fast -- despite being locked down with their Muslim conservative parents.

The generation gap in religious observance is not new but it took on a new dimension this year as the fasting month coincides with strict movement restrictions to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A Facebook group for Tunisians seeking to circumvent social pressures and eat during the day has attracted some 12,000 members.

This isn't merely an issue of a few strict parents. The thugs with badges will throw you behind bars for this "crime": 

The North African country's post-revolution constitution guarantees freedom of conscience, but there are no clear laws against eating in public during the holy month. But every Ramadan, the police arrest people caught eating or smoking during the daylight hours, citing vague "public decency" legislation or a decades-old directive.


Not all about luck

There are a few big ways luck plays a part:

  1. Wealth.
  2. Genetics.
  3. Religion.
  4. Economic system / stability.

A mentally retarded girl born to poor Muslim parents in a hardcore socialist country in the midst of a war would definitely qualify as very unlucky.

However, most people don't really mean luck in that sense. Usually, when they say "you got lucky", they're referring to someone in a similar environment as themselves. A kid who studies hard to ace a test or practices for months to win a sports competition wasn't just fortunate relative to his peers. Telling him that "you got lucky" would be a cruel way of dismissing his hard work.

This thinking is quite common among adults. For example, most people have no clue about the risks a person has to take to succeed in business. Their contempt is obvious when they say, "that jerk just got lucky." These mediocrities trash those who thrive. The prudent ones recognize the golden opportunity to emulate the successful and better their lots.

Anyway, if one can boil it down to its essence, then:

Success = Knowledge + Willpower + Luck


Debt Deflation

I exchanged a few Canadian dollars into US dollars at the end of February. I thought that the pandemic with its tremendous downside would decrease the price of oil and lead to a stronger US dollar. Still, I was shocked by the sheer speed with which it appreciated. The US to CAD exchange rate had been in the range of 1.29-1.36 for over a year and then in under a month, it went from 1.31 to 1.46! It wouldn't surprise me to see that by the end of this year, a) the USD to CAD exchange rate cracks 1.5, and b) the Grand Financial Casino aka the US stock market is down by a significant amount; let's say SPY under 200.

Also, as one reader at Vox Day writes, the dollar will continue to get stronger. The economists in charge have pumped up staggering amounts of debt for decades. The debt-powered GDP growth can't last forever. This just might be the beginning of the end.


The Excellent Eco

Umberto Eco was a supremely knowledgeable and magnificent writer. His Foucault's Pendulum was maddeningly chaotic and confusing but ends with profound clarity. As an Agatha Christie fan, his The Name of the Rose was rich and glorious. It must have been quite an experience for Taleb to have met the great man.


No CNE in 2020

A once-in-a-century pandemic leads to the cancellation of the Canadian National Exhibition:

The Canadian National Exhibition has cancelled its 2020 event, marking the first time since the Second World War that Canada's largest fair will not be held.

The annual fair had been scheduled to run from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

"Safety always comes first at the CNE, and the decision to cancel our event is the right decision during this critical time to protect the health of all Canadians," said John Kiru, president of the Canadian National Exhibition Association, in a statement.

I went there last year. Physical distancing at an event of that scale is basically impossible. It's very sad but the organizers had no choice.

Organizers say the CNE generates $128 million for the Ontario economy each year and attracts more than 1.4 million visitors.

The pain isn't over.


Math is very hard

These people don't understand the basic reproduction number: R0. So, of course, they don't get that reducing that number, even by a small amount, has HUGE benefits. Let's take a simple example in which a virus spreads very quickly every day. Let's say a person returns from travel with this virus. He spreads it into the local community by visiting family, friends, and various markets. In this case, R0 is 3. After one week, a staggering 2,187 people would be infected.

Days after infection R0 = 2 R0 = 3
1 2 3
2 4 9
3 8 27
4 16 81
5 32 243
6 64 729
7 128 2,187

Now, let's say, a similar city a few hours away implements a mask protocol. The masks reduce the risk of transmission by only 33%. Then, the R0 would be 2. One infected person who visits that city would end up infecting only 128 people after one week.

So, a 33% reduction in R0 improves the situation by 94% in ONE WEEK. A month or a year later, the reductions would be even more staggering.


Should have listened to N. N. Taleb!

The Canadian government didn't understand the risk till it was too late:

A March 10 department-drafted briefing note prepared for Health Minister Patty Hajdu ahead of question period said that, with just 12 cases being reported nationwide at that point, "the risk of spread of this virus within Canada remains low at this time." The note also said the public health system is "well-equipped to contain cases coming from abroad, limiting the spread in Canada."

A month later, Canada has more than 21,000 cases.

21,243 cases now. That's a 177,000% increase in the number of infected people in Canada in one month! That's what happens when you have a politically correct, totally not-racist, unlike that horrible Trump attitude to public health.

Between Jan. 22 and Feb. 18, 58,000 travellers arrived in Canada from China — 2,030 of them were coming from Hubei province.

Only 68 were pulled aside for further assessment by a quarantine officer and only three passengers were actually flagged for a medical exam — the other 65 passengers were sent away with a pamphlet.

It's impossible to know how many pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic passengers were released into the general Canadian population.

The Ontario government sent text messages in late March -- telling recent international travelers to "self-isolate". The problem? There is no way for the government to check up or enforce that policy. Many who came back from long trips immediately went shopping to stock up. I know of a grocery store nearby where a guy was chatting on his phone describing his recent trip to Florida! The store manager found out and asked him to leave and go home. He only did so after he finished shopping.


Foods and supplements

Vox Day posts a translated message; an excerpt:

Anyone who has symptoms should take only and exclusively PARACETAMOL (except, of course, medical prescription), drink plenty of water, and very often (if possible sips every 15 minutes). We also have natural antivirals such as Garlic, Ginger, Propolis, and almost all aromatic plants (Mint, Melissa (Torongil), Rosemary ...) Cinnamon, Curcuma, Fruits with Vitamin C ... in direct infusion.

He adds:

I've also heard from various sources that large daily doses of Vitamins C and D3, as well as zinc, have been reported to be efficacious.

I've found that the following four foods / supplements provide a powerful boost to the immune system:

  1. Garlic or garlic powder
  2. Cayenne pepper or sauce
  3. Vitamin C (1,000 mg per day)
  4. Vitamin D3 (2,000 IU per day)

The combined cost is quite impressive. Under $2 per month!


SPYfall 2

I've been paying attention to the financial markets for the last eight years. Never have I seen such volatility and pessimism. The NYSE has halted a few minutes into the open because of a steep 7% drop.

U.S. stocks hit critical circuit breaker levels on Thursday minutes after the opening bell for the second time this week as global markets plunged amid investor fears about the coronavirus global pandemic.

SPY has gone from a high of $339 to $250 in under a month. That's a staggering 26% drop. TVIX has gone from $40 to $420 in about three weeks.


Day and night

Minneapolis police officers will no longer ticket motorists for broken headlights or turn signals, instead handing out vouchers to pay for vehicle repairs under a new department policy unveiled Wednesday.

Too dumb to change a bulb.

A 2018 Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office report found that more than half of motorists stopped citywide for equipment violations were black, even though blacks make up only about a fifth of the city’s population. The disparity was particularly glaring in the ethnically diverse neighborhoods of north Minneapolis, where the study found that 80% of drivers pulled over were black, compared with 12% who were white.

The trillions in welfare wasn't enough.

Vox Day:

If, at this point, you still believe in equality, of any sort, you're a) an idiot and b) are not intelligent enough to be reading this blog. The fact that European civilization requires Europeans to maintain it is not merely a truth, it is a freaking tautology.

Unknownsailor comments at Vox Day:

Ever wonder why Saudi Arabia has to pay white contractors to maintain all their fancy military hardware? Because there are few and far between people inside their own military who are a) smart enough to do so and b) want to do so.

1400 years of inbreeding does not happen without consequence.

(Nods head.) These Arabs have made trillions of dollars from petroleum but they need thousands of White people to maintain their oil infrastructure. They still don't have an educated and interested workforce after a century of oil money!


There is no equality

A few years ago, I heard a woman who was talking about boys and girls. She said that the sexes are equal and the differences are "socially constructed". An older woman, a grandmother, seating nearby was shaking her head. That didn't faze the ignorant fool who kept on talking about the horrible oppression of society.

Her profession? Science teacher.

Of course, reality provides concrete lessons:

Your average guy has twice the upper body strength of a woman. After a few months in the gym, that guy can double his strength. So, now, he is roughly four times stronger than a woman when it comes to lifting, pushing, and punching. A man with gifted genetics and discipline can become more than ten times stronger than the average woman. He might as well be a different species at that point. Yet, we get stories in which women are stunned and surprised when their slim boyfriend gets to showcase his strength. This is what happens when you swallow the GRRRL power nonsense from the media.


The Thin Veneer of Civilization

Nope. The Internet allows us to more clearly see the ugliness of greed and envy. Too many people will never get close to becoming rich but they'll take great pleasure in burning the wealthy. Human nature is what it is. The smart thing to do is to protect yourself against the savagery as best as you can.


Canada. January. Life.

A snow storm rolled by yesterday in my area but it was nothing compared to the epic blizzard that smashed Newfoundland as you can see above. The only way it could get worse is that the snow doesn't have time to melt and then ... another storm hits! That's when the best way to exit the house is to simply walk out of the second floor bedroom window.

Records were broken:

St. John's and other communities in Newfoundland remain under a state of emergency after a historic snowstorm dumped closer to a metre of snow on parts of the province. St. John's recorded 76.2 cm of snow with the storm, crushing the single-day record for snowfall in the capital.

You can see more crazy photos here.


Chernobyl in Canada?

I got the message and thought, "Oh, shit!"

An emergency alert warning of an unspecified "incident" at a Toronto-area nuclear power plant Sunday morning was sent by mistake.

Phones in Ontario received emergency notifications alerting them to the supposed incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in Pickering, Ont. shortly before 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

It took them over an hour to send another text to state that the previous message was false. The following brief video shows the party responsible for this colossal mistake.


999 for $999 each

That's the price ASRock is charging for their rare and premium motherboard:

One of the most important aspects surrounding performance on AMD's Ryzen 3000 series is temperature. It is no secret that the AMD 7nm chips run somewhat warmer than previous generations, but the unique ASRock X570 Aqua looks to shake things up. The ASRock X570 Aqua features a full-cover aluminium water block cooling the power delivery, CPU socket, and the X570 chipset all at once, and can be integrated into custom water cooling loops. There are plenty of promises made with this super halo product, and so we've put it through our testing.

I remember building an entire PC which cost $900 before tax. So, this is way beyond my price range. Though, it does look intriguing in a Terminator T-1000 sort of way.


That perfect texture

Merely walking in that kind of weather can be dangerous. Nearly 21 years ago, I was walking to my dormitory in Vermont with a few guys when my left foot slipped backwards and my knee crashed to the ground. The sheer speed of it was stunning. Forget reacting to it, there wasn't even any time to process it. I just froze for a few seconds and then slowly got up. No damage. One has to be extra cautious with that unpredictable mixture of snow and ice.


Hatred of Debt

Too many people don't have the willpower and the discipline to save and invest. Mortgage payments act as forced savings for them. At least, they have something after decades of running in the rat race.

What Molyneux says is true. Though, it's amusing to see the reaction of normies upon finding someone who adamantly refuses to saddle himself with an epic house loan. Instead of being curious about other options, they react with shock, horror, and indignation. YOU RENT! OMG, YOU'RE WASTING MONEY! OWNING A HOUSE IS THE BEST THING EVER!


Ok Boomer

I have had more than one Boomer tell me that renting is stupid because YOU ARE THROWING YOUR MONEY AWAY! Get a mortgage and buy a house! Yeah, about that:

The average millennial’s after-tax household income is $44,093 a year, yet the national average price for a bungalow is $521,250. Even if the buyer comes up with a 20 per cent downpayment of $104,500 — monthly mortgage payments of $2,205 on a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2.49 per cent will eat up around half of their income. That doesn’t include property tax and other expenses.

A 1% property tax on that house will eat up $5,200. The mortgage plus property tax gives us a total of $31,660 a year. So, the basic Millennial will have to pay 72% of his after-tax income for the privilege of owning an average house in Canada today.


George gone

Hussein Mohammed was the name he was given at birth. But when the Muslim-born Mohammed came to faith in Jesus Christ, he preferred to be called by his baptismal name of George. George was killed on October 6 in a family honor killing after the Egyptian Christian posted pictures on Facebook acknowledging his conversion from Islam to Christianity.

Why did he showcase his apostasy on the Internet where he was instantly recognized? I don't use my name on this blog and I don't even live in a Muslim country. 


Tempting fate

Forbes: This Popular Solo Female Travel Vlogger Thinks Pakistan Could Be The World’s No. 1 Tourism Destination.

With all my friends and all the media outlets I knew warning me against traveling to Pakistan, the moment I stood in the queue to board my first flight to Islamabad, I admit I wasn’t sure whether I was in the right place. It’s very hard to extract yourself from all the common preconceptions about Pakistan as a person living in the Western world and consuming Western media. After all, the one single image of the country we are given is that of an unsafe, unwelcoming place – which is of course very wrong. [...]

I feel that over the years, Western media has contributed to building a very one-sided, and one-sidedly negative picture of Pakistan. From news stories on TV, to shows like “Homeland,” much of what we hear about the country internationally can lead us to believe that it’s an empty and violent land filled with dangerous people; a no-go zone.

I'm genuinely surprised that she hasn't been raped and slaughtered yet.

This whole story reminded me of a small part from The Black Swan by N. N. Taleb. A turkey is fed, protected, and sheltered by a butcher for a 1,000 days. The turkey thinks that the butcher absolutely loves her! Hey, just look at the "evidence" of over thirty three months! Then, on day number 1,001, the turkey learns the deadly truth.

Lesson: Don't be a turkey!


More Woke

I was once listening to an audiobook of an Agatha Christie novel and decided to read it instead and soon realized a discrepancy: the word jew in the book had been replaced with something similar to solicitor! Changing the Ten Little Niggers title was just the start.

Editors in recent years have "edited" older books to alter or remove unwoke language but that's not enough, apparently. Now, they're putting the problematic books in trash:

This woman is the head of “English Language Arts” for the public schools in Washington Township, NJ. That’s right: the head of the English department for public schools in this town celebrates throwing books into the Dumpster. She’s a self-described “servant leader,” and apparently a Christian. Who throws unwoke books into the Dumpster so all the geniuses in her school (and they’re all geniuses) won’t be tainted by what’s in the pages.


Four orders of magnitude

My first laptop had a 2.1 GB hard drive 21 years ago. I very quickly had to choose between playing Quake II or keeping my music. Thank God for CD burners! Now, Western Digital is releasing a real beast:

As operators of cloud datacenters need more storage capacity, higher capacity HDDs are being developed. As data hoarders need more capacity, higher capacity HDDs are needed. Last week Western Digital introduced its new Utrastar DC HC650 20 TB drives - hitting a new barrier in rotating data.

That's roughly 10,000 times bigger than the cramped drive I had in the previous century.


The Pyramid of Death

Some time ago, I was discussing the coffee consumption of Canadians during lunch time at my workplace. Almost everyone said that they definitely needed that jolt to wake up. One guy asked me about my breakfast.

"Three boiled eggs," was my reply.

He recoiled in horror. Eggs are bad for you! Too much cholesterol! Bagels and toast are much better options.

If you think that eggs are villains and carbs are your friends, then it'll be near impossible for you to be not overweight.


Imagine my shock!

The many wonderful dividends of diversity:

Robberies targeting children in Sweden have hit a new record high, with young men with migrant backgrounds being blamed for the spike.

According to figures published by Sweden’s crime prevention agency BRÅ, 637 robberies were reported against young people under 18 in the second quarter of this year, the highest ever number. During the same period in 2017, the corresponding figure was 358, while in 2018 it was 505.

The prime targets of such predators: children, old people, and women.

There have been a few simple and efficient instances of theft in Ontario as well. For example, a teenage girl will be walking on the sidewalk while talking on her cellphone. A diverse fellow will swoop by on his bike, grab her phone, and then race away.


The Hall welcomes the Master

The Indian cricketer is inducted in to the Hall of Fame:

Former India captain Sachin Tendulkar, former South Africa fast bowler Allan Donald and former Australia Women's fast bowler Cathryn Fitzpatrick have become the newest additions to the ICC Hall of Fame. The trio were inducted in a ceremony in London on Thursday.

I watched tons of Tendulkar on TV in the 90s. It was always a pleasure to watch his shots race to the boundary with not a single fielder in the frame. His timing and placement was so precise, that the opposition had zero chance of stopping the ball. He made it look so easy.

Tendulkar's victorious battles against Warne and Akhtar make him the greatest of his generation. For me, only Brian Lara and Saeed Anwar came close in elegance and pure entertainment value.


The Divine Deflection

My father had setup the receiver for new TV channels. He wanted to watch the Cricket World Cup as it happened. The New Zealand team had done well but they stumbled at the end. England had earned a spot in the final match but they were set to chase a tricky total. They fought hard for glory but wickets kept falling at regular intervals.

At the end, England lost. Pakistan won. That was the first live ODI cricket match I had ever watched. My dad provided his colorful commentary and cheers. I was familiar with veterans like Imran Khan and Javed Miandad. He talked of a new, chubby kid who had dismantled the undefeated Kiwis in the two prior games; some guy named Inzamam-ul-Haq. Of course, there was also the greatest bowler Pakistan had ever produced -- the Man of the Match of the 1992 Cricket World Cup final: Wasim Akram.

That was the third World Cup final for England and their third defeat. They had been set imposing totals to chase on each occasion and they failed every time. The country that invented the game still hadn't won the ultimate trophy. After the loss in 1992, England waited 27 agonizing years for another appearance in a World Cup final.

****

England crushed Australia, the defending World Champions, in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup. New Zealand punched above their weight and beat the mighty Indians to make it to their second successive finals appearance.

After 44 long years of failures, this new, powerful, energetic England side had the chance to become champions. They had beaten New Zealand before in the same tournament. Surely, it won't be so difficult this time. It should be a simple, straightforward, and a sensible victory for England as they are ranked number one in the game. Right?

The Kiwis won the toss and, of course, decided to bat. The weight of history was against England. Chasing sides often lost in this tournament and England had lost all their previous finals while chasing. The pressure built up right from the start. Pakistan scored 249 in 1992. The Kiwis managed 241 this time; a very tricky and competitive total. Nothing exciting or fancy so far.

Then, England started the chase. Matt Henry was getting excellent movement and Jason Roy edged and got out for a slim 17 runs. England 28/1.

After a few quiet overs, the best batsmen in the English side couldn't handle the mounting pressure. His body language clearly signaled his increasing frustration as he shockingly tried to charge and hit the ball but missed! He again attempted a strike but, like Roy, edged and got out for a painful 30-ball 7. England 59/2.

Bairstow was playing quite well. He tried to hit a four but chopped the ball back on to his stumps. England 71/3.

Morgan, the captain of the side, couldn't control his shot selection and hit the ball in the air, only to shout a NO! as the ball flew to Ferguson who took an extraordinary catch. England 86/4.

New Zealand had the momentum. Their fans were making a lot of noise. They needed only two more wickets and England would fall for the fourth time at the biggest stage of cricket!

The sixth man to walk out and bat for England was Jos Buttler who played the most significant and stunning innings of his life. He had made 59 runs off 59 deliveries before he got out to another spectacular catch. The game was truly alive. Either team could win at that point. England 196/5.

Only one man stood between New Zealand and their first World Cup triumph. Ben Stokes had been batting for nearly 22 overs. He had five overs to get 46 runs. It was all on him. He was fatigued. He looked shaken. The pressure on this man was unimaginable.

The Kiwis had choked the second-best team in the world a few days before. Now, they were utilizing their bowling talent to squeeze the top side in the world. "What a thrilling match! This game is going to the very last delivery," I thought and I was super right.

Over 46.1: Woakes hits the ball high in the air and the wicket keeper calmly collects it. England 203/6.

Over 48.3: Plunkett wants to hit a much needed six down the ground. Instead, it finds a fielder. England 220/7.

Over 48.6: Jofra swings the bat and the wickets are rattled. He leaked wides with his bowling and then: a golden duck. England 227/8.

England needed 15 runs off 6 balls for victory in the World Cup final. Few batsmen in history have felt the absolute maximum pressure. Ben Stokes had reached that level.

Over 49.1: Dot ball.

Over 49.2: Another dot ball. 15 from 4 balls. Advantage: NZ.

Over 49.3: Stokes gets down on one knee and smites the ball into the spectators. 9 from 3.

Over 49.4: The drama hits the stratosphere. The jaw-dropping moment of this final had arrived. The teams will swap the emotions of hope and despair. Stokes is running for his life to get back for two. He extends his bat and dives to make the crease, the fielder throws the ball which hits the bat and then runs away, and away, and away to the boundary. God must have looked down and said: Not today, Kiwis! No one who watched this match will ever forget The Divine Deflection.

The stadium erupts. England need 3 runs from two balls.

Over 49.5: Stokes isn't hitting any more sixes. He wants to run and reach 242. He gets one run while the other guy is run out. England 240/9.

Over 49.6: Stokes, again, wants two runs but the other guy has no chance. Run out! England 241 all out.

England needed 242 runs to win. They managed 241. This most epic of epic failures makes this the greatest World Cup final in history. After 100 overs of the most intense and thrilling cricket, we witness a tie!

We got Super Overs at the grand stage. Each team scored 15 runs each in their over. It's another tie! England hit more boundaries. The trophy comes home! England fought till the very end and with unbelievable luck won their first World Cup. Ben Stokes is the man. Williamson, the New Zealand captain, earns the Man of the Tournament award for his exceptional batting and captaincy. The Kiwis didn't let the opposition score more runs in the final but then they went home without the ultimate prize. It was just not their day.

The historical context, drama, pressure, intensity, emotion, the double ties, and that deflection makes this the greatest ODI match of all times.


Expensive real estate

Renting an apartment alone is a bad choice; better to share one:

New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. are often spotlighted for their astronomical housing prices. But a new report finds that it’s not just the coasts that are facing an affordability crisis: A full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour cannot rent an affordable two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country, where affordable is defined as comprising up to 30% of a renter’s budget.

A year after I started working, I had two jobs. In total, I made around $900 a month. My monthly rent for one room in a three-bedroom apartment was $300. So, not affordable. That was twelve years ago. It's a lot worse today.


The costs of diversity

Something the MSM should have done:

Over half a million people a day avoid paying their "fare" share of transit by jumping the turnstile and other means. I went out and investigated how bad it actually is.

Of course, the law isn't enforced since it would impact those oppressed, colored, poor people. So, we get more of this:

I was in a streetcar in Toronto last year when I noticed something similar. A lot of people would waltz in the streetcar and not bother tapping their Presto smart card for fare deduction. I noticed over a dozen culprits in just half an hour. Strangely, every single one of them was colored.

So, this isn't only a NYC problem.


Millennials and real estate

Debt, immigration and restricted housing supply is crushing the younger generation:

For the purposes of this study, Statistics Canada considered millennials to be between 25 and 34 years old in 2016. The agency then compared them with the same age group in 1999 (generation X) and young people in 1984 who are today's baby boomers.

The millennial cohort had a median after-tax household income of $44,093 in 2016, by Statistics Canada's calculations. That compares with $33,276 for gen-Xers and $33,350 for boomers at the same age. And those figures are inflation adjusted, which means it's an apples-to-apples comparison.

I was chatting with an older gentleman last month who was very surprised to find out that I don't own any real estate. He said that owning a house is one of the best financial decisions he made. I asked him, "How much did you pay for your house?"

"$54,000."

"Do you remember your annual income at that time?"

"Hmm, about $20,000."

"Did you have a mortgage?"

"No, I borrowed from family and paid them back in a few years."

Yeah. The average annual income today is roughly $40,000 but the average house price has skyrocketed to $600,000. If you want a nice neighborhood, then we're talking a million dollars in Ontario. That's a mountain of debt that no reasonable person would carry.


Dogs FTW

The Supreme Dark Lord is kind:

We have four in the house now, although one is a friend's dog who is staying here while she's travelling. It can get a little chaotic at times, especially when the someone comes to the door, but if there is one thing you can do to instantly improve your quality of life, getting a dog is it.

We've kept a friend's dog whose owner has traveled in the past. The dog is inconsolable for a couple of days and then she adapts to her new family. Her bed is kept in the bedroom. So, she doesn't feel alone. Once, when I was sleeping, she came to me and barked. I woke up almost instantly, looked at her, realized that she wanted attention, and obliged in my groggy state. She wagged her tail and went back to her bed.

I was dozing off when I opened my eyes again, and said, "Wait ... did you just wake me up ... so that I would pet you!?" Cheeky monkey!

I did feel sad when she went back to her real family.


Miserable Millennials

Millennials are now truly understanding the pain of increasing interest rates. The mortgage payments go up!

Nearly half of all homeowners have buyer’s remorse, according to a new survey from Bankrate. While 44% of all homeowners have regrets, that number swells to 63% for millennial homeowners. It’s the highest proportion of any generation, and nearly double that of baby boomers – 35% of those aged 55-73 regret buying a home.

I was doing a house search online a few years ago. I narrowed the search to two houses that were roughly the same size but about one kilometer apart. The house which was closer to grocery stores and bus stops was twice as expensive. That is a staggering premium in a time when average wages are stagnant.

Homeowners also say that bad location, high mortgage payments, and buying the wrong size home can cause them to think differently about their purchase.

Millennials should think differently before they make the biggest purchase decision of their life. Renting for a few years can definitely be a sensible option.


Diversity tech is upset

Vox Media is leveraging copyright strikes against YouTube channels that mocked The Verge's infamous PC build video. The company has allegedly manually filed a copyright strike against Kyle of Bitwit for creating a parody video of The Verge PC build video.

This is really strange behavior by Vox Media. The truly atrocious PC build happened five months ago. I had fun writing about it. Why bring it up again? Idiots.

Anyway, here's the entertaining video mocking that horrendous PC build:

Yup, Vox Media went after the above video with a copyright strike. YouTube took down the video and then restored it very quickly. Now, more people are clicking and watching the epic incompetence. Absolutely brilliant!