Thursday, June 30

Fun With Markov Chains

For the ultra-geek I present you this... Its fascinating to me - I guess I am ultra-geek by my own definition. Fascinating, I say, fascinating!!

Fun With Markov Chains

Wednesday, June 29

Batman...

Saw Batman Begins today and I figured out the mystery behind Dr Levitt's conundrum over where did all the criminals go?! It was BATMAN Mr Levitt. All those numbers are misleading - you got the wrong answer - it wasn't Roe v Wade that eliminated crime (although its a compelling argument for the cause of Pro-choice activists nationwide), it was BATMAN!!! Didn't ya see the movie?!!! Didn't ya get the memo? :)

Monday, June 27

The perfect Vision of Dr. V

Beautiful Article on Dr. V, the catarct surgeon from India. This is a slightly older article. But recently he was discovered by a San Francisco businessman and investor named David Greene. David learned that Dr. V used his profits from cataract surgeries to fund the charitable surgeries that he did for free. They also discussed his business model and found that he spent about 600$ for each pair of artificial lenses he installs on his patients. David Greene then setup a manufacturing plant, which manufactures and sells these lenses to Dr. V for a little over 4$ and still makes a profit. This means that Dr. V now can put in $596/- more of profit towards charities. He has done well over a quarter million free cataract surgeries and restored eyesight for the poor in Southern India. Just simply beautiful.

http://www.fastcompany.com/online/43/drv.html

Tuesday, June 21

Sun Tzu - The Art of Parenting

If you can't teach obedience, then settle for humiliation
Sun Tzu�s The Art of Parenting: A lesson in humility - Blogging Baby - www.bloggingbaby.com _

A conviction worth more than 300 Million

Buffet is sticking to his conviction that the dollar is weakening. Berkshire has lost over 300 million in its bets against the dollar so far this year (thats just about 2 quarters), but the Oracle of Omaha is standing his ground. Read the story and read between the lines if you can.

Thursday, June 16

George Coztanza really exists..

Remember that balding guy with glasses and a yankees baseball hat on his head? Well he's for real - and he has a blog! Read Coztanza's Commentary.

More applied economics...thank you Mr Levitt

Slate magazine has an article published in May, by the two Steve's (Dubner and Levitt), of Freakonomics fame, which mentions some new discoveries behind the mysteries of the inverse male/female ratio in asian populations. The search for the missing ladies is on. Read it here.

Work is for production, Leisure is for consumption

Insightful post by this avid and articulate blogger. Good read.

http://battlepanda.blogspot.com/2005/06/taking-lumps-of-labor-part-ii-work-is.html

Monday, June 13

An impending Housing market bubble "bust" or a "controlled deflation"?

The link at the bottom of this message, goes to an article that discusses Interest Only (IO) loans and gives a list of a major metro cities with percentages of IO loans. It's an interesting study and maybe we can learn something about the housing market "bubble" from it. Naturally, IO financing is not the smartest or wisest form of financing. In a housing market bubbling as fast as this, and in the face of warnings and cautions of a bubble bursting, it is in fact unbeleivable. Leaving people's financing choices and prudence aside, if we look behind the numbers, there may be a different story to tell.

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University's study on The State of the Nation's Housing 2005, the housing price increases do not appear to be speculative in nature. Under 6 % of houses in the most aggresively rising markets were purchased as second homes. According to the study, most households make a house purchase decision despite the fact that renting a similar house can be 30% cheaper in the hottest markets. This indicates, according to the study, that the average home buyer is not being speculative in the classic sense but simply optimistic based on current increases. Also, a very small percentage of homeowners are actually turning over the homes for a quick profit (although that number did rise by 1 % in 2005). This again indicates that it is not speculative. They attribute the housing price increases to restrictive land use and building policies by city councils in townships and counties surrounding burgeoning metro areas. This artificially creates a scarcity of land and thus raises existing home prices in the face of increasing true demand.

To distill something of importance from these two reports, it seems to me that one thing is striking. If housing demand is true, and short term interest rates are rising (thanks to the Fed), then the impending bust that everyone is talking about, will disproportionately affect those markets where there is a large number of unwise borrowers who are not taking into account the possibilty of defaulting when the interest rates rise on their Short Term Interest Only loans (ARMs and such). Thus, if there is a bust, it will most likely affect markets at the top of this list of IO mortgages. If you are looking to buy a home in one of these areas, it would serve to wait for a year or 2 or even 3 to let those homes come back on the market for lesser than they were bought, unwisely. As a corollary, if this were a correct hypothesis, then then so-called housing market "bust" will really be a controlled "deflation" largely localized in such IO islands across the nation and may as well serve to be a "boon" to the economy.

MSN Money - BusinessWeek Business News: The Home Loans Vexing Greenspan

Saturday, June 11

Freakonomics...

Finished the book today. Basically, I did something that I have never ever done in my life, ever. I started and finished the book page to page, start to end, cover t0 cover, prologue, epilogue, acknowledgements, preface, praise for the book, author's bio everything, every printed word in the same day. Non-Stop. Thats how un-put-downnable the book was for me.

It does strike to me that if you liked Freakonomics, the book, then it is likely that you might also like Circles: Fifty round trips through history by James Burke.

Like Levitt, Burke also has a forensic mind when investigating connections between seemingly unrelated events and is an astute student of causality. In fact, Burke has more than one titles that explore such "freak" connections within technology and sociology much the same way as Levitt does in economics and sociology in Freakonomics.

I have read Circles, but it was not as un-put-downnable as Freakonomics, however, the style of the two books was strikingly similar - sort of a journeyistic feeling with an intellectual P.T. Barnum of economics (and, in case of Circles, history).

Wednesday, June 8

Vidz poem and my answer

A few weeks ago, my cousin Viddy posted a cute poem on her poetry blog. It was called who are u god???

Well I have a dark solution to the jingle - you can read it here.

The end of mangoes

The end of Mangoes

Then one year, while the mangoes were still unripe, a fruit wholesaler from Delhi came to visit Ramu's father and offered him a sizeable sum of money for the entire crop. It was an offer that couldn't be refused.

Tuesday, June 7

Damien Rice - And so it is...

Beatiful poetry, bakwaas movie.

From the soundtrack of the movie Closer.


http://www.warnerbrosrecords.com/damienrice/

And so it is..
just like you said, it would be
Life goes easy on me
most of the time.

And so it is...
a shorter story, no love no glory
No hero in her sky

I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you

And so it is..
just like you said, it should be
We'll both forget the breeze
Most of the time

...
...

Monday, June 6

Technically Speaking � For the Love of Science

The worst job in science!

Friday, June 3

Globalization and Poverty - continued...

I do beleive we can make a difference in the world and our understanding of the issues will only help us to make that difference significant.A while ago, the PBS program "Commanding Heights" (a series on global economic history and trends) did a group discussion in which the participants were several high profile "thinkers" of our era. More than "thinkers" many of them were also "doers" meaning they were heads of state, finance ministers, economists, activists.A link to the home page of this discussion is below:

Commanding Heights - Up for Debate

There is a link on the top right of this page called PDF which will launch another page where you can download complete PDF transcripts of all discussions they have had. The "Globalization and Poverty" discussion is towards the bottom of this second page in the "Up for debate" section.

Wednesday, June 1

VoIP - The race is on

More evidence that VoIP is here to stay and catching on fast as the choice for Telephone service. Om Malik's blog gives some numbers to prove.

http://gigaom.com/2005/05/31/the-us-voip-race-is-on/