Saturday, June 09, 2007

Google making us dumber?

I would actually think of it terms of the much larger question: are google and wikipedia making us dumber? On first thought my answer would be no- both are just tools of information dissemination. Considering that information control has been a tradional form of suppression how could such tools not benefit us? You have a mediccal condition-google and find out what is being done world over to solve this. You need to know something in physics-search wikipedia. Seen in this way there are a thousand things for which simple availability of information can make life a lot easier and actually empower people(for example: what are the land rates, how much govt budget has been allocated?-the babus wont control the information).

But then, if everything is available on the click of a mouse will humans need to remember anything and put in an effort to understand something? Actually that might not be necessary. The information is just there and if its not freely available there are poeple (or services) that you can trust, who can find the information for you. You might as well use your time more productively, doing things that are of interest to you. (I dont really know whether an increase in the amount of leisure time is good or bad for the average human being). Information helps us make better choices, and hence the more the merrier.

The key question is that-how much of the information is credible? That problem is taken care of simply by peer reviews, in most subjective matters vies both for/against any argument can be found. Now information always from the winners curse, i.e. just because there is some information that is available-is the information the best available measure is a problem of information per se and not the search engine that you use to search for the information.

For example, History is always biased towards the victor. It takes years of painstaking research or possible clear chronicles to understand the perspective of the vanquised. All information is like that- the tabulation/record of the information is because-someone intends to present that information in that way.

So where does it all leave me: The tools for information search are not a problem, the problem is with the quality of information. Now that can only be improved by more and more people using the tools for search, because that would set parameters to be analyzed by the entire group. So run more of those searches please.

PS: i do not own google stock :D

Ocean's Thirteen

Cast: Clooney(Ocean,Rusty(Pitt),Linus(Damaon), Banks(Pacino), Andy Garcia(Benedict)-other mentions Don Cheadle (Basher) and Casey Affleck-Virgil
Direction: Steven Soderberg
Pure entertainment!!

From the time Pitt leaves his team of robbers (" I gotta go") in the middle of a heist to the last scene (almost the ending of the first-this time they stay) this is perhaps the best sequel to come along this year (havent seen Shrek as yet). Pure brilliance wise probably, O11 scored over O13 but O13 leaves you asking for more.

Ocean gets his team together (minus the woman-its not their war) because their team member and one of the 11 has been jacked by Banks during the building of a casino. So they do what they do best, look ultra cool and set up all the games on the floor so that the casino loses more money on the opening night than Banks can afford. Simple? yeah, but you gotta bring on the style.

There is a computer that cannot be hacked-Greco, Benedict wants them to steal some diamonds, there is rating needed for the hotel which needs to be fudged an earthquake to be simulated, dice to be manufactured-dice that dance to a lighter and a whole lot of other tricks.

They bribe some, cajole some, keep some out of the scene and when required bring their awesome skills to the plate. Of course virgil decides to run a revolution after too much of Tequila, of course his bro' cant make him change his mind. Benedict wants to play spoil sport too. But that cannot happen right? Our guys are the guys who ensure everything falls into place and they do.

Over the top probably, but the movie has moments of absolute cinematic magic and brings all the characters from the previous movies. You've got Linus and his dad (after his mom last time), the boobs of Ellen Barkin (they occupy more than 50% of screen space in some scenes-good for someone who was born in 1954 according to imdb), Rusty and Ocean rapartee (relationships, oprah and the family one towards the end), the emotional bonding between Basher and Reuben and the host of cinematic references (including Brody's nose-pointed out by Raja Sen in this brilliant review) , and the whole 'revoluation' angle.

The only negative of the movie is Al Pacinos bad bad hair and his lack of flair (not strong enough-even when he says 'I dont lose') . Great movie making!!

Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, June 08, 2007

Liquidity-whatever is that?

The first thing you hear at a job in equities related market is the important concept of 'liquidity'. There as many culprits for the excess of liquidity or for the lack of it. The usual suspects: the arabs-they dont damn know what to do with their oil money, so they pay money managers huge money just to have some fun moving the markets. Ah the man soros, every time an emerging economy does something funny it would be Soros. Oh c'mon, he is an exploiter, he would be behind this syndrome.. The Japs, if they are collectively not screwing Detroit they are busy thinking up of innovative ways to make people jump into carry trades. The Chinese, oh boy oh boy, they are always in the 'be a man, do the right thing' syndrome and if you dont do what think is right they will soon pump in billions of dollars of reserves that they hold. Add to that the stupid companies that are scared shit of the private equity boys and are putting more cash back into investors and you have money money and moore money everywhere. It does not help that gold and land are going nowhere (in terms of other assets).

So what we have is a heady cocktail of money that is moving around which is increasing asset prices in every damn class you could think. Oh its so different from the earlier crashes. Ya right-what is so different is that the asset classes are so badly linked that diversification is impossible. So any trigger will lead to an orgy not a individual screw up. As usual lots of people make money when the market crashes, but this time it could leave a lot more peoople naked. Meanwhile analysts will always simply say: I told you so, its all a matter of the damn liquidity.


Remebered this movie after quite some time. Scarface is the story of Tony Montana, a convict from cuba who goes on to become a crime lord in the US. His motto, as depicted by a united airlines(if iam right) caption "The World is yours". The movie is characterized by Pacino's raw energy and the usage of excess violence as a medium by Brian de Palma (and yeah, oliver stone was involved in the movie too). Of course them movie probably holds the record for the number of F*** that are used by the protagonists.

The transformation of Montana from a cook to a crime lord is rapid and he will go to any lengths to get there. When he finally kills his mentor/boss and takes his girlfriend ( a gorgeous Pfeiffer), the scene runs the trademark music score in the backdrop of a balloon displaying "the world is yours" (which incidentally becomes Montana's own belief). After that Montana soon goes into a self-destructive mode of extreme arrogance and lack of trust of the people around him.

The final battle sequence (shown in the video) is probably one the best ever filmed.
Tony Montana:
In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women

Vidume-How good is this?

Yeah, the choice of the sample does not indicate any vindication of the applicant :D He does appear quite funny though. But the idea of video resume in an age when data can move so fast is in itself compelling. In India Monster is apparently going to launch a video resume. C'mon it could be quite difficult: You need ot look good, sound good and above all the person who has taken the time to view your presentation should feel it was worth the time.

The success of video resume's has come into question (quite quickly I suppose) primarily because it lays emphasis on the resume viewer taking his/her time to view the video. If he is stuck with a bad connection, you are bound to face the consequences. Secondly, the personal experience that is being projected is not so personal after all, because the interaction is minimized (if it becomes interactive or proabably an interview in second life, then you are talking :D ).

I have not used the method (as yet), but would tend to think that the idea of a video resume for all jobs cannot be the question. But for jobs which that need people who are creative, can speak freely to an audience (your video will go around) it can be a good way to showcase those talents. And the good old shock value still holds ( c'mon if you are applying to be a model...a video would help wouldnt it?). If you know there are going to be only a few applicants, why not go that additional step to differentiate yourself? Eventually, the video resume model would probably cater a niche segment, where the viewer and the applicant know what is being sold.

Can you do it?