Friday, June 21

One photo to say it all


Just says it all, doesn't it? On a list I am on, I am constantly amazed at the number of people who protest against Gay Marriage and Homosexuality.

Fascinating to see how this entire population of morons is slowly dying away, person by person. kicking and screaming, held down by their demons of illiteracy, illiberalism and barbarism. They should sell peanuts..its vastly amusing. Individual Rights!

Thursday, June 20

Buzz Bissinger Shopping Addiction Story

At first, son, when I read this, I was amazed and felt quite superior thinking of this chap as a muppet. As a person whose clothing skills range from boring off the shelf ill fitting suits to crack exposing shabby jeans, the idea of spending 1/2 million dollars on Gucci clothes is preposterous. 

Then I figured, actually I'm guilty of obsessions and addictions as well. I used to smoke for decades! So that was an addiction. 

I'm obsessed with buying books and to a lesser extent watches and cuff links. It's long past the point that I can logically justify buying more books as I already have more than enough unread books to last me couple of years. It's tough to beat addiction and obsessions. 

So salutary lessons kannu. Avoid. 

Then again, what are the heights of humankind other than obsessions and addictions? Where would we be without Michelangelo's magnificent obsession with art? 

Tough one eh? 



Buzz Bissinger Shopping Addiction Story: Newsmakers: GQ


    In the past few years, I’ve bought eighty-one leather jackets. Dozens of boots and leather gloves. I’ve purchased pants that cost $5,000. I own a $22,000 coat. This winter I took a tour of Milan’s Fashion Week (all expenses paid by Gucci, in appreciation of my many, many purchases), where I spent tens of thousands more and began to seriously grapple, once and for all, with a compulsion that could cost me more than just my life savings. My name is Buzz Bissinger. I am 58 years old, the best-selling author of ‘Friday Night Lights,’ father of three, husband. And I am a shopaholic

    Wednesday, June 19

    Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?


    Here's an interesting take and I agree with it. To get ahead help others. More you help the more you get better. 

    I'm not talking about a Mario Puzo style godfather help in terms of 'I collect favours' son but just helping out. 

    Do read that book if you get a chance son

    Really is good strategy :) 



    Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead? -

    Just after noon on a Wednesday in November, Adam Grant wrapped up a lecture at the Wharton School and headed toward his office, a six-minute speed walk away. Several students trailed him, as often happens; at conferences, Grant attracts something more like a swarm. Grant chatted calmly with them but kept up the pace. He knew there would be more students waiting outside his office, and he said, more than once, “I really don’t like to keep students waiting.”

    Grant, 31, is the youngest-tenured and highest-rated professor at Wharton. He is also one of the most prolific academics in his field, organizational psychology, the study of workplace dynamics. Grant took three years to get his Ph.D., and in the seven years since, he has published more papers in his field’s top-tier journals than colleagues who have won lifetime-achievement awards. His influence extends beyond academia. He regularly advises companies about how to get the most out of their employees and how to help their employees get the most out of their jobs. It is Grant whom Google calls when “we are thinking about big problems we are trying to solve,” says Prasad Setty, who heads Google’s people analytics group. Plenty of people have made piles of money by promising the secrets to getting things done or working a four-hour week or figuring out what color your parachute is or how to be a brilliant one-minute manager. But in an academic field that is preoccupied with the study of efficiency and productivity, Grant would seem to be the most efficient and productive.

    Tuesday, June 18

    Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go


    An interesting article on doing a PhD in humanities. 3 down and 4th in planning, I can well recognise this situation. Nobody will pay you to teach others which really don't show clear economic value. 

    You may not like it but the brutal truth of the matter is that your main piece of education is to ensure you get paid for the value you add. 

    Take it forward as a teacher. If what you teach isn't valued then you won't get paid. As simple as this. When I became a professor, I got into trouble with my senior colleagues when I would say things like, ' if a student hasn't learnt then the teacher hasn't taught'. That kind of personal responsibility is unfortunately missing in quite a lot of teacher which is the reason why they tend to blame parents, universities, governments, students, porn, you name it. 


    So my advise is to do a good first degree what will give you skills to earn a shed load of money and add huge amounts of value.  Then do a graduate degree to boost your earning potential. 

    Then comes a PhD. Or two. Or if you are mad as me then more. Study for a PhD for pure pleasure and the fun of learning. Otherwise it's a bit dodgy. Of course the situation is better in economics and business PhD's :) but if you want to do a history or English lit PhD then forget it. 



    Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education

    By Thomas H. Benton

    Nearly six years ago, I wrote a column called “So You Want to Go to Grad School?” (The Chronicle, June 6, 2003). My purpose was to warn undergraduates away from pursuing Ph.D.’s in the humanities by telling them what I had learned about the academic labor system from personal observation and experience.

    It was a message many prospective graduate students were not getting from their professors, who were generally too eager to clone themselves. Having heard rumors about unemployed Ph.D.’s, some undergraduates would ask about job prospects in academe, only to be told, “There are always jobs for good people.” If the students happened to notice the increasing numbers of well-published, highly credentialed adjuncts teaching part time with no benefits, they would be told, “Don’t worry, massive retirements are coming soon, and then there will be plenty of positions available.” The encouragement they received from mostly well-meaning but ill-informed professors was bolstered by the message in our culture that education always leads to opportunity.

    All these years later, I still get letters from undergraduates who stumble onto that column. They tell me about their interests and accomplishments and ask whether they should go to graduate school, somehow expecting me to encourage them. I usually write back, explaining that in this era of grade inflation (and recommendation inflation), there’s an almost unlimited supply of students with perfect grades and glowing letters. Of course, some doctoral program may admit them with full financing, but that doesn’t mean they are going to find work as professors when it’s all over. The reality is that less than half of all doctorate holders — after nearly a decade of preparation, on average — will ever find tenure-track positions.

    Monday, June 17

    Islamic vs. conventional banking: Business model, efficiency and stability

    This paper was quite an interesting one. I quote the abstract:

    How different are Islamic banks from conventional banks? Does the recent crisis justify a closer look at the Sharia-compliant business model for banking? When comparing conventional and Islamic banks, controlling for time-variant country-fixed effects, we find few significant differences in business orientation. There is evidence however, that Islamic banks are less cost-effective, but have a higher intermediation ratio, higher asset quality and are better capitalized. We also find large cross-country variation in the differences between conventional and Islamic banks as well as across Islamic banks of different sizes. Furthermore, we find that Islamic banks are better capitalized, have higher asset quality and are less likely to disintermediate during crises. The better stock performance of listed Islamic banks during the recent crisis is also due to their higher capitalization and better asset quality.

    Given the financial crisis, this new model has quite a lot of lessons for the modern Anglo Saxon world of banking. I've been keeping track of Islamic Finance for some time now and this has changed quite a lot since the early days.


    Full-size image (26 K)

    The profit sharing element has quite an interesting behaviour as they end up being better capitalised with lower loan losses. In other words, they become a sort of private equity type of firm. Interesting, I wonder if these lessons will be learned by the regulators? Or force bad performing loans to be converted into equity like the CoCo’s? Not for the banks but for the firms to which the banks have lent to?