My latest photos on flickr

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Song of the day ( also the best dumping song ever )

Lyrics from sing365
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)

Whoa Woman, oh woman, don't treat me so mean,
You're the meanest old woman that I've ever seen.
I guess if you said so
I'd have to pack my things and go. (That's right)

(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)

Now baby, listen baby, don't ya treat me this-a way
Cause I'll be back on my feet some day.
(Don't care if you do 'cause it's understood)
(you ain't got no money and you just ain't no good)
Well, I guess if you say so
I'd have to pack my things and go. (That's right)

(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
The video is on youtube take a look. 1000 points to whoever names the advertisement in which this song was used.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Appreciating Rupee - who gained ?

They did. Check out this article on Financial Express titled - New billion-dollar babies on the bourses.

One year ago, there were just 98 companies in this club, which has expanded by 48 now, taking the combined market value of all listed companies in the country to a little below one trillion dollars.

Among these, the dollar-market values of 25 companies have doubled since the beginning of 2007, while just 16 have seen a two-fold jump in their market capitalisation in rupee terms.

In the past one year, since May 21, the market cap of 27 companies has doubled in dollar terms, while the rupee-market value of only 17 companies has witnessed a similar jump in the same period.

The rupee has gained about 8% in 2007, and over 10% in the past one year.

And me. Got this fabulous deal from Dell. 15.4" might be a little bit bulky. I am not complaining though. :)

Who looses ?

The exporters are having a hard time coping with this. [Article Link]. Exporters are resorting to trading in Euros. Remember Chinese Yuan has remained constant!

Although concerned about maintaining competitiveness, many exporters said that they had no option left other than negotiating an upward revision in the prices for their products – a task, which they were finding extremely difficult. Several exporters also displayed their keenness to hedge against the exchange rate risk using instruments like forward contracts.

Exporters were also on the lookout for clients and markets where euro could be used as a medium of exchange rather than the dollar. Some said they were trying for a shift in the medium of exchange from the dollar to euro in their existing contracts. A few exporters suggested that they would be looking at a short period of validity of quotations for greater safety.

The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been affected the most by the escalating rupee, the survey revealed. The SMEs, unlike large enterprises, neither have the option of reducing their cost burden by resorting to external sources of finance like ECBs nor have the knowledge about how to safeguard and hedge their currency exposure using sophisticated techniques like forward contracts.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Corporation - A documentary you need to watch

I have taken some time to put these videos on this post. These videos make up A documentary titled "The Corporation". An award winning documentary downloaded 5,00,000 times is a must watch. Do take a look.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

We, the monkeys

Something to bring you back down to the earth.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

O Crap

Two nights back hitting one of my usual haunts, Blossoms, my eyes chanced upon a copy of O Jerusalem. "Hmmm, I have never read about the Israel-Arab conflict - isn't this a nice way to start ? at 90 bucks isn't this a bargain ? - Oh, yes , Oh, yes. Just take it ra", I thought.
[Cut to the next morning] I wake up with the book still inside the carry bag I brought it home in - so much for reading about the Israel-Arab conflict. The compulsive maximizer that I am, I wanted to find out the savings made by going for the used book. Digging beyond the price tag I discovered the killing I made - 5 full rupees. Swindled. Will somebody punch the proprietor please!
BTW this is my wish list for this year. :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mr. Gohar Ayub's revelation

I think this is quite stupid.

In a clear insinuation against Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, former Pakistan foreign minister Mr Gohar Ayub said tonight that an army officer "who rose to the highest position" had sold India's battle plans to Pakistan in 1950s, an allegation that was dismissed as "malicious and scurrilous" by two former
And, Mr. Gohar Ayub let us assume you are speaking the truth, are you implying that Paksitan's General/President or whoever runs the army, could not defeat the enemy even though they had detailed plans about their moves. Tch. Tch.

O Crap

Monday, May 07, 2007

It has crossed my mind multiple times and has been the topic of several debates - Religion/Culture should change with time. I found a very good page that justifies this.

Why Can't I Own a Canadian?
October 2002

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,

Friday, May 04, 2007

Can economic policy ruin your life, your country?

In Yugoslavia between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent. That’s a 5 with 15 zeroes after it.
Stumbled upon this article on StumbleUpon.
Under Tito, Yugoslavia ran a budget deficit that was financed by printing money. This led to a rate of inflation of 15 to 25 percent per year. After Tito, the Communist Party pursued progressively more irrational economic policies. These policies and the breakup of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia now consists of only Serbia and Montenegro) led to heavier reliance upon printing or otherwise creating money to finance the operation of the government and the socialist economy. This created the hyperinflation.

By the early 1990s the government used up all of its own hard currency reserves and proceded to loot the hard currency savings of private citizens. It did this by imposing more and more difficult restrictions on private citizens' access to their hard currency savings in government banks.

The government operated a network of stores at which goods were supposed to be available at artificially low prices. In practice these store seldom had anything to sell and goods were only available at free markets where the prices were far above the official prices that goods were supposed to sell at in government stores. All of the government gasoline stations eventually were closed and gasoline was available only from roadside dealers whose operation consisted of a car parked with a plastic can of gasoline sitting on the hood. The market price was the equivalent of $8 per gallon. Most car owners gave up driving and relied upon public transportation. But the Belgrade transit authority (GSP) did not have the funds necessary for keeping its fleet of 1200 buses operating. Instead it ran fewer than 500 buses. These buses were overcrowded and the ticket collectors could not get aboard to collect fares. Thus GSP could not collect fares even though it was desperately short of funds.

Delivery trucks, ambulances, fire trucks and garbage trucks were also short of fuel. The government announced that gasoline would not be sold to farmers for fall harvests and planting.

Despite the government desperate printing of money it still did not have the funds to keep the infrastructure in operation. Pot holes developed in the streets, elevators stopped functioning, and construction projects were closed down. The unemployment rate exceeded 30 percent.

The government tried to counter the inflation by imposing price controls. But when inflation continued, the government price controls made the price producers were getting so ridiculous low that they simply stopped producing. In October of 1993 the bakers stopped making bread and Belgrade was without bread for a week. The slaughter houses refused to sell meat to the state stores and this meant meat became unvailable for many sectors of the population. Other stores closed down for inventory rather than sell their goods at the government mandated prices. When farmers refused to sell to the government at the artificially low prices the government dictated, government irrationally used hard currency to buy food from foreign sources rather than remove the price controls. The Ministry of Agriculture also risked creating a famine by selling farmers only 30 percent of the fuel they needed for planting and harvesting.

Later the government tried to curb inflation by requiring stores to file paperwork every time they raised a price. This meant that many store employees had to devote their time to filling out these government forms. Instead of curbing inflation this policy actually increased inflation because the stores tended to increase prices by larger increments so they would not have file forms for another price increase so soon.

In October of 1993 they created a new currency unit. One new dinar was worth one million of the "old" dinars. In effect, the government simply removed six zeroes from the paper money. This, of course, did not stop the inflation.

In November of 1993 the government postponed turning on the heat in the state apartment buildings in which most of the population lived. The residents reacted to this by using electrical space heaters which were inefficient and overloaded the electrical system. The government power company then had to order blackouts to conserve electricity.

In a large psychiatric hospital 87 patients died in November of 1994. The hospital had no heat, there was no food or medicine and the patients were wandering around naked.

Between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent. This number is a 5 with 15 zeroes after it. The social structure began to collapse. Thieves robbed hospitals and clinics of scarce pharmaceuticals and then sold them in front of the same places they robbed. The railway workers went on strike and closed down Yugoslavia's rail system.

The government set the level of pensions. The pensions were to be paid at the post office but the government did not give the post offices enough funds to pay these pensions. The pensioners lined up in long lines outside the post office. When the post office ran out of state funds to pay the pensions the employees would pay the next pensioner in line whatever money they received when someone came in to mail a letter or package. With inflation being what it was, the value of the pension would decrease drastically if the pensioners went home and came back the next day. So they waited in line knowing that the value of their pension payment was decreasing with each minute they had to wait.

Many Yugoslavian businesses refused to take the Yugoslavian currency, and the German Deutsche Mark effectively became the currency of Yugoslavia. But government organizations, government employees and pensioners still got paid in Yugoslavian dinars so there was still an active exchange in dinars. On November 12, 1993 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 1 million new dinars. Thirteen days later the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6.5 million new dinars and by the end of November it was 1 DM = 37 million new dinars.

At the beginning of December the bus workers went on strike because their pay for two weeks was equivalent to only 4 DM when it cost a family of four 230 DM per month to live. By December 11th the exchange rate was 1 DM = 800 million and on December 15th it was 1 DM = 3.7 billion new dinars. The average daily rate of inflation was nearly 100 percent. When farmers selling in the free markets refused to sell food for Yugoslavian dinars the government closed down the free markets. On December 29 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 950 billion new dinars.

About this time there occurred a tragic incident. As usual, pensioners were waiting in line. Someone passed by the line carrying bags of groceries from the free market. Two pensioners got so upset at their situation and the sight of someone else with groceries that they had heart attacks and died right there.

At the end of December the exchange rate was 1 DM = 3 trillion dinars and on January 4, 1994 it was 1 DM = 6 trillion dinars. On January 6th the government declared that the German Deutsche was an official currency of Yugoslavia. About this time the government announced a NEW "new" Dinar which was equal to 1 billion of the old "new" dinars. This meant that the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6,000 new new Dinars. By January 11 the exchange rate had reached a level of 1 DM = 80,000 new new Dinars. On January 13th the rate was 1 DM = 700,000 new new Dinars and six days later it was 1 DM = 10 million new new Dinars.

The telephone bills for the government operated phone system were collected by the postmen. People postponed paying these bills as much as possible and inflation reduced their real value to next to nothing. One postman found that after trying to collect on 780 phone bills he got nothing so the next day he stayed home and paid all of the phone bills himself for the equivalent of a few American pennies.

Here is another illustration of the irrationality of the government's policies: James Lyon, a journalist, made twenty hours of international telephone calls from Belgrade in December of 1993. The bill for these calls was 1000 new new dinars and it arrived on January 11th. At the exchange rate for January 11th of 1 DM = 150,000 dinars it would have cost less than one German pfennig to pay the bill. But the bill was not due until January 17th and by that time the exchange rate reached 1 DM = 30 million dinars. Yet the free market value of those twenty hours of international telephone calls was about $5,000. So despite being strapped for hard currency, the government gave James Lyon $5,000 worth of phone calls essentially for nothing.

It was against the law to refuse to accept personal checks. Some people wrote personal checks knowing that in the few days it took for the checks to clear, inflation would wipe out as much as 90 percent of the cost of covering those checks.

On January 24, 1994 the government introduced the "super" Dinar equal to 10 million of the new new Dinars. The Yugoslav government's official position was that the hyperinflation occurred "because of the unjustly implemented sanctions against the Serbian people and state."

Source: James Lyon, "Yugoslavia's Hyperinflation, 1993-1994: A Social History," East European Politics and Societies vol. 10, no. 2 (Spring 1996), pp. 293-327. Link.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Nerd! me ?

I am nerdier than 64% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!