Links on Friday

It’s Friday and these are some good stories I found on the internet, enjoy.

14 things you didn’t know about government shut downs:

15 ways the world will change:

Military adviser to World War Z:

A challenge for you:

Stars you didn’t know were black:


Optional items to invest in: Guns (4)

One of the interests I have is things that can be invested in that will
have value regardless of the state of the economy. So far I have
included silver and gold on the list along with Watches. These are items
that can be bought and would have value even during economic upheaval.
This is speculation for the most part, however looking at the mood of
the country many people wouldn’t want to invest in the stock market. I
personally do these investments alongside investments in the market.
Either way the economy goes I have some security that these investments
hold value. The following invest is the only one I do not actively
engage in due to the prohibitive costs of guns.

While I do not encourage violence in any way, owning guns for defense,
hunting and collecting is something I do encourage. Guns are and will
always be valuable regardless of what happens in the world. The best
scenario is one where you don’t ever have to use one for violence.
However at the end of the day how you deal with defense of your home and
family is up to you. A gun is probably preferable to using your fists to
intimidate a person coming into your house (barring you are a self
defense expert).

Guns can cost a lot or not so much depending on what you are looking
for. Also people can debate indefinitely what the best guns are for
hunting or home defense. My personal feeling is that nothing beats the
sound of a shot gun being racked, it’s the international sound of “I
mean business”. Because of this I won’t delve into recommending one kind
of gun over another. If you want to start a long conversation with
someone, just as them about guns and which one to buy. Also realize that
some brand names will probably hold up better and have a long term value
higher then others. This is just one other item that might be invested
in if one was so inclined.


Why libertarianism?

Many people recoil at the word libertarianism and will write it off, because it doesn’t fit into their way of thinking. Yes; libertarianism has its flaws and there are definitely tough critiques on it. However there are many real pros to it that make it a very attractive way of thinking for all people regardless of back ground. I will address the liberal and conservative critiques and also why this world outlook is so freeing.

 Conservatives general critique of libertarianism boils down to three things. Libertarians are weak on defense. Libertarians are basically anarchists and want lawlessness. Now each of these points is valid and good critique. First of, libertarians are not weak on defense most libertarians are pro gun and are definitely for having an available defense. However, they don’t see much of a point of a having a gigantic military that intervenes in every part of the world when ever a countries business interest are threatened. This is the difference between being isolationist i.e. North Korea and Non interventionist i.e. Switzerland. It is why most people like Switzerland and most people dislike North Korea. Also NK’s economy is in the toilet while Switzerland has a very strong economy. It also makes more sense to trade with other countries then to go to war with them, how else would we get delicious Vodka if we went to war with Russia?

 I could go on for long time on the subject of war and having massive armies but I won’t. As for anarchy and lawlessness, most libertarians believe in little to no government interference in the economy and on people’s personal freedoms. So if you like to drink go ahead, if you like being married to a person of the same gender go ahead, if you want start a coffee shop go ahead, if you want to do what ever if it is you want to do then do it. However the catch is, always be truthful in your words and don’t infringe on people and their property. So this is essentially the golden rule. This doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be a government there would be a very limited government, sort of like the way the founding fathers had set things up with a limited centralized government.

 As for modern day liberals their general critiques are who would hold big business in check, who would take care of the sick and poor. Well each of these has an answer and many of them basically come back to the issue of crony capitalism. Governments cause many of the issues that you bring up. Most big businesses are essentially sanctioned by the government. They do this through special tax exemptions, subsidies and specially crafted legislation that helps businesses. If the government did not get involved in these industries like this there would be much more work and jobs available. It all comes back to the golden rule. Next, who would take care of the sick and elderly well if there was more work and more money and not as many taxes people could pay for these things themselves? Yes people would help themselves and their families. Libertarians believe in the golden rule and this is also the rule when it comes to any one regardless of back ground.

  What I see around me is that conservatives are as bad as liberals when it comes to government’s use of force. Conservatives want to ban things that they don’t like such as drinking on Sunday and the like. So do the liberals, they don’t like guns, churches, trucks and the list goes on. Essentially they are using the exact same argument for the banning of things, not because of any scientific merit but because of an opinion they have. This is what it sounds like: “Guns are bad because they are bad, because I think they are bad.  Cursing is bad because I think it is bad. Pollution is bad because I think it is bad….and the government should use violence to back my opinion because it is my opinion.”

 To me, much of the conservative v liberal side comes down to this; who is allowed to use force against who.  Using the force of government, instead of trying to educate and convince others their position is superior. If you don’t want people doing things that you think are bad for them, convince them that they shouldn’t do it. Libertarianism embraces what is best of the two party system in the US, the one side embraces free markets and limited government the other side embraces freedom of expression and choice and anti war. This is what true liberty is, freedom for everyone.


Health, wealth and links

While there is not a direct connection between health and wealth there definitely is something to be said for it. With out health it is difficult to enjoy your wealth because you can’t get around to enjoy. Also if you were to die at an early age due to bad health all your hard work could not be enjoyed. This is why I recommend that people get in shape. Whether that is working out or engaging in a diet.


How do you feel about being a stay at home mom?

How much gun control should there be:

 Top 100 gadgets that changed your life:


WHat if you had to defend paradise? (My review of Elysium)

My dad is in town and we went out to watch the movie Elysium. I have to admit that being in a theater is amazing, I haven’t been since Toy Story three came out. But back to the subject at hand, Elysium is a mixed bag of everything. It has adventure, special affects, good acting, a good story and lots of symbolism. At first glance you’d figure it is essentially The Bourne Identity set in the future. But there is a lot more too it then that. I will be telling how the story ends so don’t read it if you don’t want to find out what exactly happens.

(spoiler alert)

The movie is set in 2150 and essentially the world has been drained of all resources and is now overpopulated. The higher classes have created a star shaped space station and are living up there. The contrast is very stark, it is Mac white up in the station and the situation on the ground looks like Mexico City, which is coincidentally where it is shot. The contrast is every where. The elites live in the sky and the lower classes on the ground. The lower classes work in the factories that the rich own. The dichotomy is very striking.

The main character, Matt Damon, ends up being irradiated at his work and only has 5 days to live before his body functions stop. So he makes it his mission to get up into the space station to get into a machine that heals any infirmity. However you don’t just travel up there willy nilly you have to either be smuggled up there or be a member. So Matt Damon’s character talks with an underground criminal boss to get him up there. The criminal boss will do if he does a really dangerous job for him. Damon ends up succeeding in this mission. The story then proceeds with a lot of action and Damon reuniting with an old friend who has a daughter who has lymphoma and also needs to get up to the station. They end up going up there but essentially time runs out for Damon and instead of him healing himself in one of the machines the friends daughter is healed.

What really struck me about this movie is that has a lot of symbolism in it but there is also a much deeper question that is being asked. First of Matt Damon’s character is Christ like in many ways. He dies at the end of the movie however because of his sacrifice all the people on earth are made citizens of the space station and there by receive medical aid from the station. Also guardian robots of the station don’t allow violence against other citizens so the space station dwellers could not continue being oppressive to the earth dwellers. Apparently there is also a white horse at one point in the movie, which might be a reference to Christ in Revelations about him riding on a pale horse. I don’t know entirely. I had a couple more questions about the movie. Was the director also making a point about the occupation of Iraq/Afghanistan with its no fly zone and robot enforced peace? Why was Matt Damon the only white guy in LA?

But the real underlying question to me was, what would you do to preserve paradise. If you had attempted to make the world a better place and every one had rejected this would you end up making a space station paradise? What would you do to protect it? The defense minister of the space station asks this question to the president of the station. Would you share this with the people on the earth? When they just take and take? It is a very valid question to ask. When you have made this amazing place would you just share this with everyone when it is likely they will just exploit it and leave the station in the same shape as earth?

 There are many more issues and motifs that this movie brings, but it is covered in the mantle of an action movie which is maybe where this movie truly excels at. The cool technology and the fighting are top notch. I heartily recommend this movie not just for the action but also for the many questions that it asks.


the debt snow ball

Debt is always fascinating subject because is affects everyone and every one has an opinion on it. Things like student loans, mortgage and loans are considered your debt this is because they build up credit and can have tax benefits to them. However, credit card debt and other loans are bad debt because if you only pay the minimum balance you never pay them off. I was about 10,000 dollars in debt at the beginning of 2008. This really drove me crazy and I wanted to do something about this. At this point in time having any debt to me is a bad thing and it should be paid of as fast as possible.

How my wife and I started to pay down debt and be debt free (outside of a car loan) was to sit down and look over our expenditures. The program helped out a lot to show where our money was going. You can link all your various account to and it show were you are spending your money. To break it down, we were spending more then we were making on eating out and other such luxuries that were pushing us deeper into debt. Once we analyzed our spending we started to point out what we shouldn’t do any more and what our necessities were.

Our necessities are: rent, gas, utilities, food and a little bit for fun. This together broke down to be about 3000 dollars and I earned about 3500 a month. This extra 500 would be used for some savings and to pay into our debt. We would line up our debt from smallest to largest and we would pay off each one at a time. This is known as the snowball effect.

David Ramsey is famous for this tactic, but it is not original. My Wife and I would pay one additional 300 on top of our minimum for our smallest credit card which had 4000 dollar balance on it. Lastly we went to a cash budget. Dearest Wife (DW) would get 800 for groceries and other stuff and I would 60 for fun money. It is amazing how much more of an impact it has when you are physically spending dollars versus swiping a card. You learn very quickly how much you are actually spending when you run out of your paper dollars within a couple of week.

We used this tactic to start paying down our debt and about 3 ½ years later we were debt free. We are putting money away and saving up for a house or a trip to Disney land ;). This paying of the debt has given me great self assurances that if I can do it so can you. It does require a sacrifice and some mental resilience, but when you look at your positive bank account you will feel happy and liberated.