Saturday, March 8

Unconditional Love

I had my pets and I know exactly what this feeling is :)

Please adopt a dog, we are desperate for good foster and direct adopter pet owners.

Click here.


Wednesday, March 5

The hard graft of finding a graduate job in the City of London

Note the point being made by the chap who says that he should've applied for internships son. And also look at the competition, 135 applications for every position. I get weekly requests to meet at least 2-4 students every week and do try to meet them.
Even with an internship it's challenging. By the time you graduate son, the banking industry will be even more competitive and shrunken.
So next year, besides you having fun, do try to get an internship. Start looking for these roles son. Otherwise you'll have regrets. Like this chap did. It's very very corrosive son. Avoid. Plan ahead. Be slightly paranoid. Remember you judge yourself with what you think you've done while others judge you by what you're done.
Let me know if I can help in any way.


The hard graft of finding a graduate job in the City of London
By Emma Jacobs
Two Londoners with degrees in Maths took a novel approach to the jobseekers’ market by touting for work in a public square….

Competition for graduate- level jobs is fierce. According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics last month, almost half the UK’s new graduates are working in non-graduate jobs. Forty-seven per cent of those who had finished their degree in the past five years were working in roles such as sales assistants and care workers. Recent analysis by the Financial Times showed that people who graduated this year are earning 12 per cent less than their counterparts before the financial crash.

Typically, positions at investment banks or fund managers are highly contested. These industries receive 135 applications per job, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters…..However, they believe that it was perhaps a mistake not to have applied for internships when still students. “I wanted to focus on my degree. I got the chance to study in Hong Kong for a year and I wanted to do well,” says 23-year-old Mr Abbas.

Read the full article at:

Tuesday, March 4

The problem with high frequency trading

I was working in Solomon brothers son when I first came across algorithmic trading. This is around 2000. You were 5 years of age then. We launched 4 of these models and the limit was 50000$ per day. 3 would propose trades and one would decide and then launch the winning trade. 

Life has moved on hugely since then son. It's become something like skynet from the terminator days lol. The equity markets are really strange. There is no money to be made. Take a look at the major players, hardly anybody on the sell side makes any money because there's no margin. Spreads are so tight. And therefore it's difficult. Good for retail investors like you and I but for the big boys it's getting stupid. The buy side, the asset managers and fund managers, who buy and hold for longer periods are still around and will be so as well but it's going to be a difficult time for equities son. So do think again about your career option of being a stockbroker. Not enough money. 

Be somewhere where technology supports you. Like you come up with new complex instruments and strategies while technology helps. Or go into the advisory business where you need to take nonlinear decisions. Combine your mathematics knowledge with knowledge of technology, philosophy, politics, economics and something that you will pick up later on - psychology. That's what's will help pay huge dividends son. 



The problem with high frequency trading | Felix Salmon

Last night, on BBC Radio 3, I was featured reading an essay about high frequency trading. I hope it’s fun to listen to, but if you want to read it, here you go.

One of the many consequences of global warming is that it’s now, for the first time, possible to drill under the sea bed of the Arctic ocean. The oil companies are all there, of course, running geological tests and bickering with each other about the potential environmental consequences of an oil spill. But they’re not the only people drilling. Because there’s something even more valuable than oil just waiting to be found under the Arctic.

What is worth so much money that three different consortiums would spend billions of pounds to retrofit icebreakers and send them into some of the coldest and most dangerous waters in the world? The answer, of course, is information.

A couple of days ago, I called a friend in Tokyo, and we had a lovely chat. If he puts something up on Twitter, I can see it immediately. And on the web there are thousands of webcams showing me what’s going on in Japan this very second. It doesn’t look like there’s any great information bottleneck there: anything important which happens in Japan can be, and is, transmitted to the rest of the world in a fraction of a second.

But if you’re a City trader, a fraction of a second is a veritable eternity. Let’s say you want to know the price of a stock on the Tokyo Stock exchange, or the exact number of yen being traded for one dollar. Just like the light from the sun is eight minutes old by the time it reaches us, all that financial information is about 188 milliseconds old by the time it reaches London. That’s zero point one eight eight seconds. And it takes that much time because it has to travel on fiber-optic cables which take a long and circuitous route: they either have to cross the Atlantic, and then the US, and then the Pacific, or else they have to go across Europe, through the Middle East, across the Indian Ocean, and then up through the South China Sea between China and the Philippines.

But! If you can lay an undersea cable across the Arctic, you can save yourself about 5,000 miles, not to mention the risk of routing your information past a lot of political flash points. And when you’re sitting in your office in London and you get that dollar/yen exchange rate from Tokyo, it’s fresh from the oven, comparatively speaking: only 0.168 seconds old. If everybody else is using the old cables and you’re using the new ones, then you have somewhere between 20 milliseconds and 60 milliseconds when you know something they don’t.

Monday, March 3

Retracing how a Georgian Queen ended up in Goa

This was a fascinating story about how a Georgian Queen from the Eastern Caucasus region ended up in Goa, India. I quote the main bits from here.

In the year 1613, the emperor of Persia, Shah Abbas I led an army to conquer the Georgian kingdom and Queen Ketevan became his prisoner. The queen was held in Shiraz, southern Iran for approximately ten years, but in 1624, the emperor sent soldiers to convert her to the Islamic faith and to force her into his harem. However, she resisted his orders and as a consequence was tortured and strangled to death on 22 September 1624.

Ruined bell tower of the church of Our Lady of Grace within the St. Augustine convent in Goa.  Image: Ramesh Lalwani (Flickr, used under a <a href=''>CC BY 3.0</a>)<br> <img width="88" height="31" alt=""src="">

Ruined bell tower of the church of Our Lady of Grace within the St. Augustine convent in Goa. Image: Ramesh Lalwani (Flickr, used under a CC BY 3.0)

Remains taken to Goa

In 1623, a year before her death, two Augustinian friars had arrived in Shiraz to start up a mission and succeeded in gaining the queen’s trust, becoming her confessors. At some point after her death these same friars unearthed the remains of Ketevan and hid them. In 1627, some of these remains (the right arm) were taken to Goa and kept in a black box or stone sarcophagus on the second window along the Epistle side of the chapter chapel in the St. Augustine convent.

Over time the convent had been enlarged and rebuilt in places, but in 1835 the church underwent partial demolition, and in 1842 the main vault collapsed. After this episode, the convent rapidly became ruinous and valuable artefacts belonging to the religious complex had been either sold or lost.

Despite the fact that the exact location of the queen’s relics is mentioned in a Portuguese document, all efforts to find them had proved unsuccessful due to difficulties in the interpretation of the convent layout. However, a ground map of the convent was reconstructed on the basis of the literary sources and the help of local historians. After a topographical survey within the convent was carried out, the chapter chapel and window were finally located.

As per the literary sources, the relic box of Queen Ketevan was expected to be at the second window of the chapter chapel towards the Epistle side. Therefore, this area was systematically explored in 2004 for a stone sarcophagus, which was found broken into pieces due to the collapse of the wall. Whilst clearing the rubble the team also found an arm bone. Two other bone relics were recovered from outside the second window area, within intact stone boxes.

More proof

While the archaeological and historical data were consistent with the relic being the remains of Queen Ketevan, the archaeologists needed to somehow conclusively prove that the bone belonged to her. They approached the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad who isolated DNA from the bone. Based on the sequence variation in the mitochondrial DNA, they assigned a haplogroup U1b to the sample.

After surveying the mitochondrial DNA sequence of 22,000 individuals from the Indian sub-continent, none of them belonged to U1b haplogroup. However, two out of 30 Georgians analysed have the same haplogroup, suggesting that the bone excavated in Goa is likely to be the remnant of Queen Ketevan of Georgia.

I found the story deeply moving. how this lady ended up on Goa. Her Wiki entry is very interesting as well. She seems to be a very brave woman. She seems to have actually led the Kakhetian nobles against an ursurper’s attempts to take the crown. She was tortured with red-hot pincers in 1624 and died.

William Forsyth composed a whacking big poem called as the Martyrdom of Kelavane (1861) and thankfully its fully available online here. Here’s the first few lines

Know ye the story of Queen "Kelavane ? 
She was no daughter of the days of joy;
Her tears were countless as the stars of heaven.
The radiant beauty and the queenly graee,
That glorified the morning of her y-ears,
Were sighed away in sorrow long ere noon.
The fervour of her solitary faith,
That burn*d like some lone beacon of the sea,
With no kind ndghbourhood of hopeful hearts.
Kept shining through the tempest all night long.
Until it faded in the dawn of heaven.
And so it was, because she stood alone
This is what she looked like
Nice boots :)

It was good to read about another lady from Iran who was given succour in India…Like the Zoroastrians.