Saturday, June 28

My first visit to Disha

I wrote earlier about a small charity that I got involved with some months back. Finally managed to get myself to Bhopal to see it. The full essay is on the main site.
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these are girls from the local basti who come in to the centre to learn about the 3 R's

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here are the actual boys

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the teacher stands behind the boys, these 5 boys are singing a welcome song for us.

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this standing boy cannot speak Hindi, a language which nobody understands...

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they know their letters and numbers..

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there was almost a fight over who gets to do this...

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this is the boy who was giving the radio commentary 

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they are reciting the sanskrit shloks which they recite before every meal.

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listening raptly

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here are the cupboards

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digging into his locker

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very nicely arranged, the little that they have. It is well arranged. wallpapered with old newspapers. 2 sections, they also have put up photographs of film actresses. the only little place they can call their very own.

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my home, and that's the curtain.

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the main room 

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the boy and his drum

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the kids off for lunch

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sitting in disciplined rows for their food.

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this is where they sleep

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the courtyard

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the bathrooms

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the toilets

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the washing

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getting served

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good wholesome food being served. They don't start eating till everybody has been served. Very disciplined, very impressed.
Here is the full slide show if you are interested in seeing it.
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Banking regulators move to tackle liquidity risk

The Banking regulators are getting excited about liquidity risk, but I am afraid I still have issues with this. And that's because nobody thinks of the implementation aspects of these regulations. Here's an idea, nobody actually has thought about why the previous liquidity risk proposals did not work. And nobody is thinking about how these current proposals will actually operate, much less think about how they will be rolled out.

And we will, most probably be here, in 10 years time, thinking about more regulation. We keep on being told about back testing of our risk models, but has anybody ever tried to do back testing of the regulatory models? I have written a fuller essay on this and hopefully will come up next week.

India drops the ball on protection of freedom of speech

Now this is something that I read about and discussed in India. Two incidents both driven by the howling fanatics and blithering morons. But first, the Hindu Government  idiots on the Gujarat side who took umbrage on an article written by Ashis Nandy. They went and launched a criminal case against him. Well, the basic anti-intellectualism of these goons is very clear, anybody who has even the basics of civilisation would know to protect freedom of speech, but lets not use the word civilisation and these idiots in the same sentence.

And then, lest you forget, there is the other side. A conference by the Ahmadiya community was canceled by the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh. This party, for those who have forgotten, are the true fathers of communalism in India, have actually committed genocide on Sikhs and now turn around and pander to Islamist extremists by banning conferences run by people who are objected to by some other foaming morons who think that only they have the right to define what a religion can or should look like.

So what do you end up with? Two of the main parties in India, the BJP and Congress I, both pandering to extreme religious notions. Welcome to the land of India, full of morons in white, pandering to rage boys in the Hindu and Muslim worlds. We have seen the enemy and they are us.

An interesting fraud letter

My sister, Dr. Neela Mukherjee (nee Dasgupta), has a brain the size of a planet. Make that two planets. She was the first in our family to get a PhD, and that too in Physics. She is perhaps, the smartest theoretician in the family. But I actually have pity and sympathy for her, every summer she was tasked to teach this dunderhead the basics of mathematics. And boyo, was that trouble for her or was it? But those were the days.

Anyway, she contacted me out of the blue and started giggling at me. Here's an email she received. Obviously a fraud, but I thought of showing it to you guys. I have pasted it just as she sent to me. Curious, no? the ways these chaps go about trying to defraud you are amusing, and this has all the signs of a classical Nigerian 412 fraud.

I know some people in BP, so I forwarded it to my friend who works in the technology office. He started laughing and promised to show me more such letters on so many different types of fraud that they get hit with.

Fascinating. Enjoy.


Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.



1st ,St. James Square London,SW1Y 4PD

Ref No: 01/007/HRD/BPPLC


It will be an excellent opportunity to join one of the world biggest Oil and Gas company that is focused on growth and sharing that success with employees.

The Company has approximately 875 employees spread between offices in United Kingdom . It is now seeking to strengthen its team with the addition of challenging team of new employee.

On behalf of the entire recruit team, I will like to formally notify you on your appointment for an interview with our great company.

Invitation have been sent to the British Embassy Home Office here in London for notification, so that all your immigrations documents needed for the interview will be processed by the official traveling Agency attached to BP by the British Embassy. This is also to avoid Delay/problem of not been able to process the immigration documents for the interview before the actual date.

Benefit will be paid to qualified applicant for favorable at the end of the interview.Recolation allowance, children education allowance, six (6) salaries upfront, maximum of  four (4) members will be granted UK immigration papers. Full benefit details will be given to qualified applicants after the interview.

Take Home Salary Bases: A base salary in the range £6K-£19K Monthly (GBP), dependent on experience, plus attractive Stock Grant (from day one), Target Bonus (circa 20% at present) and other Oil Company benefits. This take home salary exclude all tax fee payable by all non citizen of Britain working around United Kingdom.

Accommodation: Accommodation will be provided for all newly employed staff of BP, this apartment will be able to accommodate staff and family for the time duration working for BP.Apartment will be changed for staff upon promotion in position.

Family Education: Education entitlement will be given to staff before resumption of new office with our company.

Full summary of the entire package will be couriered to qualified applicant before resumption of duty.

The Immigration document will be processed within a short period of time three (3) weeks, so applicants are expect to make arrangement, so the immigration documents reaches your hand before the arrival date.

You are requested to send the following details to the official traveling agencg(Diplomat Travel Agency).

1.Full Name
2.Ref No
3.Marital Status
4.Passport No
5.Date of Birth/Gender
6.Full Contact Address/Mob Tel No
8.Traveling Purpose

You are required to pay the sum of (£650)to our official traveling agency (Diplomat  Travel Agency) as the 33% charge.BP has already sent its 67% to Diplomat Travel Agencyat the time of file your invitation.

British petroleum Company will re-imburse all applicants on their arrival to London for the interview, please be informed that BP will only re-imburse applicant will proof of payment. Therefore applicants are advice to keep safe their payment receipt of the 33% and also endeavor to come with it while coming for the interview.

British Petroleum has in the past incurred 100% of our applicant travel expenses, on arrival of some of the applicant to UK ; we don’t see them to pick up at the Air-Port. That means some applicant use our job opportunity come over to Uk,without showing up for the interview, which was the reason while the immigration documents were been proceeded for the applicant by BP.Due to this BP Recruit Officers  had to work more on our recruitment policy.

Diplomat Travel Agency will only submit all your immigrations details to the British Embassy Home office after you most have effected the 33%(£650) Charge. You have to follow all instruction given by the Visa Processing officer’s your immigration document can be processed and delivered to your resident before the arrival dateof applicants.

Do update this office with all progress.

Attached to this mail, are all required information regarding your interview invitation to London .Do contact Diplomat Travel Agency via  email and Telephone for all required information needed to process your immigration documents for the interview.

Stated Below is all required contact to Diplomat Travel Agency:

Visa Processing Officer: Dr.Kenny Chapman



You are advice to contact Diplomat Travel Agency on this email address stated above.

Do contact Diplomat Travel Agency London via email immediately for urgent attention for processing your Visa Work Visa and all other British Government immigration documents required for you to come into London for our interview. You should work strictly with instructions to enable them processing the complete documents which you need.

On your first contact to the Diplomat Travel Agency via email,do request the officer to provide you with the details to transfer the funds to them immidiately,so they can start processing your immigration document with the details whic they will requirer from you.

Note that you are to effect payment of (650GBP) to Diplomat  Travel Agency before they can attend to your work.Any delay from you side will lead you to miss out from the interview as the traveling agency will be processing all applicants immigration document with in the shortest period as we have informed the British High Commissioner about our current recruitment.

On behalf of the entire recruit team we congratulate you once more on your success through our recruitment excise.

Do contact us for any update required from our office, and also you are advice to send a mail of acknowledgement to this office.


Mr. Tony Edward

Chief Recruit Officer

British Petroleum Company UK


Tel:+447 031863740

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A fascinating paper on peer-review

This does make you think, no? Let me put this in another way, price formation happens in the financial markets based upon supply, demand and expectations of what and how the stock will perform in the future. Similarly, citations and public review are sort of the same thing, you judge your work on the basis of how many people think it makes sense and provides future value. If your research was a dud or boring or didnt provide future value, people will simply not refer to it...

Therefore, just like in the stock market and real life, more the value, more the success and more the research grants...

I loved one quote in the article:

Criticism of peer review in funding and publishing is nothing new. Drummond Rennie, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1986 that triggered the birth of an entire sub-discipline scrutinising peer review, with regular conferences and a stream of papers.

He wrote at that time: “There seems to be no study too fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature citation too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure and too contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or unjustified, and no grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print.”

lovely, brilliant.

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Thursday, June 26

Prostitutes offer petrol discounts

Wow, now that's selling...Again, nothing wrong with it, but it clearly goes to show that the laws of economics are biting hard. I was in a conference dinner yesterday at the Canadian High Commission where I was hearing about how Nova Scotia is giving tax breaks for people who want to go invest in Nova Scotia. Very good, and that's what all the countries around the world are doing (personally speaking, i think that's a wrong move because once you have prostituted yourself for a sales tax, what's stopping you from prostituting yourself for another region for another sales tax?) Now read this:



American prostitutes are offering free fuel after finding that high petrol prices were keeping customers away.

In the Nevada desert, where it is legal to run brothels, truck drivers make up a significant proportion of the men who like to pay to stay awhile.

But with bowser prices making filling the tank of the big rigs which ply their trade on America's highways almost prohibitively expensive, something has had to give.

The Nevada Brothel Owners Association claim they are bearing the brunt, with revenue in some establishments dropping by up to 45 per cent since the oil crisis began.

UK seeks private bids on welfare delivery

Now this is a good step(Britain's entire welfare system is to be opened to offers from the private and voluntary sectors, in a drive to shrink the role of the state and improve service delivery), credit where its due. Labour minister, you are to be congratulated for taking this step. Now delivery is another thing, but still, this is good. The fact that citizens need welfare is not in doubt, even if I can quibble about the levels and the recipients. But I can and will quibble about service delivery.

There is no reason why the state has to be directly involved in service delivery just like there is no reason why the state has to provide electricity to me. This will hopefully reduce taxes (dream on, BD..) and make government less intrusive. But this will need good regulatory models. Here in the UK, we have seen both the best and the worst of the regulatory worlds such as in the electricity market, the phone markets, the railway market and the financial institution market.

But good step none the less.

Wednesday, June 25

Rites of Passage

Once upon a time, dad's used to take their son's out to kill lions or deer or stuff. Once people used to say, give some hours of your time to your child, well, now its like give some investing tips to your child, because the most powerful force in the world is compound interest. Now, they help them do their first transaction.

How life has changed. I have been carrying out an experiment for the past 2 years and I can now declare it to be successful. My son is a smart chap, but unfortunately not that much interested in hunting. So we had to turn to intellectual pursuits. For the past 2 years, I have been teaching him about the stock exchange, investments, PE Ratios, industry averages, growth potential, fundamental and technical analysis, diversification, portfolio theory, value investments, etc. etc. He did pick them up quite quickly.

From end of last year, I got him hooked up to a free exchange site and he has been coming to me with his stock picks. His first few stock picks were dreadful and I challenged them with financial logic. Smart kid, he did not blink or get disheartened.

Then after 6 months of this, I was convinced that he has got the hang of it and we have now invested £100 in Anglo Pacific. It is an interesting stock, has diversification built into it but obviously will have a margin cut because of the transaction and management fees built into it. But given the current situation of inflation, surging demand from China and India, demand for minerals and mines can only go up. And he found out this stock all by himself, he has created a nice spreadsheet and has plonked his analysis into it.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of him. My son is becoming a man.

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