11:20 AM | Author: Siva
We announce CCTV's, smart video cameras (pdf) (whatever they are), palm tops for TTEs, but we have a suit pending against us for unhygienic waste disposal. Without any data, we stick our neck out and guess our waste disposal methods will outdo the terrorists in population control. So, we declare this year as 'Cleanliness year' and get along with our mundane lives.
3:13 PM | Author: Siva
Estonia with its 940, 000 registered voters is going for an Internet election for the nation's Parliament. Wish this happens in India. We can atleast be spared of the images of 90 year olds carried to polling booths in SUN TV and Jeya TV. There will be other trivial benefits like no booth capturing, no need for the army to be mobilized, no need for a holiday to schools etc. But if the ballot gives me only a choice between laloo yadav and mulayam then do they really matter ?
7:18 PM | Author: Siva
in Indian context starts with IIT and ends with IIT. Okay, may be it goes as far as NIT. But there are some interesting discussions in the recent past that are venturing further ahead. Check out BongoP'o'ndit's take about undergraduate research training in India and Abi's Real Universities, Please?. The discussions, like these two, about second tier Universities and developing them are going to be the key for future

Even if the vital few and trivial many principle has to be trusted, the IITs and NITs are nowhere near 20% of our country's student intake. Spending more resources (money, policy decisions, even discussion space) on improving 1-2% is not prudent. If 80% of our productivity is going to depend on 20% of the students then we need to talk about improving Anna, Madurai Kamaraj or Delhi Universites. As people are pointing out lack of research infrastructure, faculty, badly designed curriculum are part of the problem. But a problem that is almost ignored is the quality of the students joining these second tier universities. Garbage in will imply garbage out. Most students entering these universities are (toppers) from state board schools. We know the quality of state board schools. Scoring 200/200 in higher secondary math doesn't require much knowledge of, well, anything except memory. Even few years back T.N's higher secondary math exam questions has to be from the book, verbatim. When their best known preparation technique, to memorize entire books, fail them in their first semester most students lose track. Only those who still have the energy face the other problems. Expecting the students at these levels to do any research, even the delta problems that BongoP'o'ndit talks about, is simply not possible. The basics for research, the curiosity and the creativity, were never nurtured. But to the higher secondary education's credit it helped develop competitiveness in these students with which they usually survive.

The above scenario is in the second tier engineering schools. The quality of students joining the sciences is usually worse. Gautam Desiraju traces the problem to undergraduate teaching. But I would say the problem starts much before. It is our schools.
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12:29 PM | Author: Siva
Invested based on instinct. Made 200% profit. Followed technical analysis to invest the profit. Lost all of it. Options suck. Or is it the analysis ?
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6:36 PM | Author: Siva
Read Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life by Richard Branson. Its (self) classification as a self help book gave me enough doubts. But Atanu's recommendation and the "Quick Read" tag in amazon helped me overcome that skepticism. Thanks to that. It is a good read. Even with the "self help" tag. But if you expect a n-point, bulleted, step by step recipe for a success then this may not be it. Just take it as some advice from an experienced person. The words of someone who did these things (and successful) is always going to be more inspiring than those of inspirational writers' capitalized advice. It worked for him. Some may work for you. Besides that the book itself was worth the time and the price.
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6:39 PM | Author: Siva
A simple game. There are 2 players, you and some x.

  • Scenario 1 : You have $10. x has nothing. You can give $y to x. 0<= y <= 10. The game ends there.
  • Scenario 2 : You have $10. x has $10. You can give $y to x or you can take $y from x. 0<= y <= 10. The game ends there.

What will you do in both these cases ? The first one is a Dictator Game. The second one is the Ultimatum Game (well, not exactly) . Both used in economics. If you are a rational (in the economic sense) then you should have said 0 $ in scenario 1 and taken 10 $ from x in the second. I am irrational !

Attended a talk delivered by Freakonomics author Steven Levitt. Wall Street Journal relates him to Indiana Jones. His wife thinks Jim Jones will be a better comparison. Well, What are wives for ?
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