Archive | January, 2010

Super Freakonomics – Go Read It

22 Jan

image Just finished reading "Super Freakonomics"… Freaking awesome it is.. Absolutely entertaining,mind-boggling,insightful and full of information..

What a read it was, right from the first alphabet of the book till the last note. Riveting, absolutely informative. A person like me who likes to read out of the box things, this was an aphrodisiac. Lately I have taken a huge interest in economics and International business. This book literally adds a flavor to these interest levels.

The first one "Freakonomics" landed in my hands, when I was in TCS. I read  few chapters but could not complete it. And now post Super Freakonomics, I am sure I would complete it too.

If you think any of the following questions interest you even a bit, go and read this book.

  • Why walking drunk can be fatal as compared to driving drunk?
  • How is a street prostitute like a department store Santa?
  • What is a "PIMPACT"?
  • What the similarity between prostitution and real estate?
  • Why a May-birth in Uganda can have 20% increased chances of hearing or learning disabilities?
  • How a failed act of terrorism can still levy a huge tax on the common man?
  • What is relation between cognitive drift and death of patients?
  • Why chemotherapy may not be helping cancer patients at all?
  • Why people are altruistic and selfish at the same time?
  • Why the death rate post delivery was high in the doctors’ section in the General Hospital in Vienna as compared to the midwives’’ section?
  • Why "cheap fixes" or "jugaad" can be much more effective than solutions worth millions?
  • Why is ammonium nitrate so much of a vital chemical?
  • How pushing warm water down into the ocean will help reduce the formation of life threatening Hurricanes?
  • Why Co2 may not be the prime reason for the Global Warming?
  • How a hot air balloon and a long pipe hose can reduce the average temperature of Earth?
  • Why big-fat volcanic eruptions are good for the planet?
  • Who is "Nathan Myhrvold"?
  • How "Geo-engineering" may help reduce the threat of Global Warming?
  • Why "incentive" is the single most important factor that decides the behavior of a human irrespective of whether it is good or bad?
  • How a bunch of researchers taught a group of monkeys the value of money and how the first Monkey-trade happened?

Steven J. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have done a marvelous job with this book. Apologies for putting few points out of the book on the blog, although I haven’t quoted anything that takes away the sheen, it will only build curiosity. All credits to the original authors.

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IDIOT = I DO IT

11 Jan

3 Idiots is one of those rare movies, in bollywood, that actually has a morale from a student perspective. One never knows what a so called “idiot” might do or become.

Lot of times, they are the so called “IDIOTS” who do a lot of things in life.

They are idiots, for they are unconventional. They look for an inherent value add in everything they do.

 

never underestimate the power of idiotsI was attending my sunday session( which has become a normal thing for me now)  in college. As always my mind was randomly struck by the word IDIOT, And I realised that…

IDIOT = I DO IT

Just an anagram, but has a powerful meaning. Nobody is an idiot. It may really not be about the potential. It is about the ‘will’. Idiots may just want to do, speak, activate, try, reach out to, experiment something different which the regular “folk” is not able to fit into the routine. So for the folk, people like the formers are idiots. A person, when called an idiot, must be in a position to double up what he is actually saying. It may happen, that the person is seriously an idiot, but that should not deter one from pushing oneself back.

 

Those who don’t push themselves back and still are able to sustain the word are DOUBLE IDIOTs.  Idiot++ or simply 2+ idiots.

DOUBLE IDIOT = BE LOUD (when you say) I DO IT

By now you know that it’s not about the literal meaning of word “idiot”. It is really necessary to be loud at times when there are forces around you, that are ready to curb what is being said. It does not mean, one has to be rude. Being loud is about taking a more focused approach to communicating what one has to say, finding out the ways to do it. Loud is not be decibel, but by the buzz-bel that you generate.

 

And then when you are done being loud, and then you have said it all, outright, clear and straightforward, you are on the way to becoming a CANDID IDIOT. Then you question yourself, about a lot of things, about what you said, what you did, what you did not do. Question yourself, question the very existence of what things are, how they work, why they work the way they do.

CANDID IDIOT = (you) CAN (ask yourself) DID I DO IT?

 

The biggest reality in life is that we all are situational idiots and circumstantial fools. And we must accept the fact.

The 4th IDIOT

3 Jan

I am generally not much keen about watching bollywood movies, but since Munnabhai, have become a great fan of Rajkumar Hirani (For few of you who may not know, he was also there in the very first of Fevicol Ads “Jor laga ke….”, a slim “aam aadmi” standing and smiling). “3 IDIOTS” has been subjected to so much publicity that even I cannot avoid to know about it. And being a Hirani film, I was also looking forward to watching it.

Lot to talk on this movie. It grips you till the end. Life is just not about securing marks and trying to bag the first position in a race that has been started long back by people who make us run and run. At a point I did not really think that trying to gun the first position is wrong. Everyone wants to win. So do I. 3 IDIOTS refreshed my memories of what my school and college life was like.

My early school days were also filled with always being first in class. I was always a topper till I reached a stage when I realised there is much more in life to study. I used to read a lot of philosophy then. Being first became no more a regular affair. But I now think back and laugh at people who thought that my slipping rank on school-walls was equivalent to me going down. Thanks to my parents who were always positive on everything, I have learnt to a great extent that in life what matters the most is the respect you have. And thanks to professors who have till date been inspiration for me that life is about learning and trying out new things.

My first three semesters during engineering were also a race. Against time and against self. To hit for the 1st position again. But yes, I was pretty unconventional. I had learnt the power of “Mindmaps” way before engineering. I used them during my X and XII exams and then used them in engineering too. I was being looked upon as a genius at a point (only I knew, I wasn’t one. For then I thought I would have been in one of the IIT’s :-)) Race against time stopped after my 2rd trimester. I took up to reading a lot. I was mostly found with my books. Read biographies, read books that a lot of engineers would not even know or would not even touch. Bought myself books whenever I went out. Yes had parties, spent on food, and watches, but still loved the books so much that even if I felt I wouldn’t read them, I would buy them and bloody hoard them.

Being unconventional, going against the norms, challenging useless conformism was something that developed in me unknowingly then. My class mates were afraid of me asking continuous questions in class and that too out of the world kind of. Used to call me stupid. At times, my profs were pretty bugged coz of me bugging them a lot.

Thing I have noticed is that in engineering colleges, they don’t teach you to challenge, they teach you to conform and standardize yourself and listen to what is being said (not taught).

So this unconventional attitude remained when once I was denied, during a lab experiment, the power supply kit, and I ran to another lab and picked one and started walking, when the caretaker told me that I couldn’t possibly take it like that (mind you it was  Govt College then) and that I need to write an application to borrow it. WTH, I told him, I am taking it, ago and complain to Principal if you want to. Yeah, but this does not always remain all the time.

After being  a TCS-er for almost 3 years, am a am back to college to learn more, this time about business. Will be a holder of a degree called MBA in a couple of months from now. But the learning in these two years has been much more than just the degree.

Everyone who must have watched this movie, must have seen his/her own image somewhere there embedded. I too saw mine. May be I was reassured that being different, unconventional and absurd is not that bad. Having a thinking that is too out of the track than what the mob thinks, may not be so bad at all..

Hoping for the best.

FACEBOOK Status trends of 2009

2 Jan

Facebook has come up with top 15 status trends of 2009 based on what people update in their statuses. Facebook calls it the study of ‘memes’, ideas that are in minds of people which they want to share.

Facebook says

To generate the list, we started by looking at how many times each phrase with length from one-to-four words occurred in U.S. Facebook status updates, then we computed the rate at which each phrase occurred in 2009 compared to 2008. Using some data-mining methods detailed here, we analyzed important bursts in activity around words and series of words to find the key trends for the year. All personally identifiable information was removed from the status updates to conduct this analysis, and no one at Facebook read the individual status updates.

 

The top 15 memes were as follows

image

For detailed explanation of all the 15 memes, click here

 

Facebook has done a great job by posting this whole analysis. This kind of data will be much helpful to a lot of marketers. Looking at the trends, and getting more deeper into the data may help the marketer to know what kind of communication messages need to be created.

Specific area/country wise data and analysis can be sought from FB, to use it effectively to generate online strategy on FB.