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The treasure called Water

I t is an age old story. Civilizations came to life on its tracks. And died with it too. For a substance as omnipresent as water, it is quite tragic the way we take it for granted.  Ancient times were understandable. We were just figuring out fire and what to eat to stay alive. However what’s the excuse today?  We know the value of water. Around 80% of the world does not have access to safe water. And every year, the amount of rainfall received all over the world must be many times over the requirement of all the living beings. It is illuminating, when we see hurricanes and floods happening in one season , only for the land to become parched as a desert in the immediate next season. Even now our farmers are chained to monsoons and a good monsoon can make all the difference between having a decent income for the year and sinking further in debt. Rains are so critical to our livelihood that it baffles the mind, when we realize that we have not really developed a sound strategy to manage…

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Bitcoin - Can it be the savior we hope it will be?

If you are like me following the tech world every day, you can be excused for believing that currently huge swaths of world are being invaded by this revolution known as Bitcoin and how it spells doom for current economies. While it might still be possible, there are quite a few challenges that seem to be overlooked. Specifically,How scalable is the block chain architecture?It is very easy to think of the block chain as a ledger where all the transactions are recorded and transparent. This has worked well so far with typically a niche set of users. However for Bitcoin to truly transcend the medium of internet and become accepted widely, it needs a significant percent of worlds 7 Billion population to use it. If so many start using it,do we know if block chain technology scale properly and provide authentication with reasonable speed? Even with current users, Block chain has become formidable and Bitcoin underwent a hard fork recently..The exchange value of Bitcoin - what determines it…

Mersal–The story

O f late, the twitter accounts are buzzing with objections and counter-objections regarding a certain Tam’ movie named “Mersal” which seems to have stirred latent passions among the people. The core issue being a seemingly innocuous comparison made in the movie about life in the host country, vis a vis India and Singapore.  The wisdom of comparing a small city state with a extra-large nation is questionable , though for argument sake, if we did keep aside the wisdom and do indeed, compare them , the findings can be illuminating. The actual comparison that should be done is not how Singapore is doing better than India even while taxing its citizens lesser, but rather, how Singapore became what it is today and how can India ever do a Singapore.  For, Singapore was, is and forever will be, a port city state that depends on trade completely. Due to this all pervasiveness of the trade, its citizens are groomed and trained in trade both by formal and informal means from the day they are bor…

The Difficulty of (Doing) Climate Science

So, if you read the climate history of earth, you will feel as confused as a dog trying to catch its own tail. Apparently we have passed an "Ice age" where most of the northern hemisphere was under glacial ice. And then from 13th century onwards, we started a mini "interim" which is a "mini" Ice age. Further, within the "mini" Ice age, roughly about 100 years ago, in the late 18 th century, there is a warming period where the temperatures globally are going up. There is also a claim, questionable however, that the temperatures have not gone up significantly. I feel there is a context which is missing here.
And the doomsday predictions! God help us, if we actually believe them. One particular headline riled me up like a steak on skewer. It goes like this, " If ice in polor caps start melting, then the sea level across the world will increase by x meters." x could be 5 if you are a relatively "play it safe" kind of researcher …

Investing in people

Its a shame that stock issues are released only for companies. A stock in a company, when you strip all the techno fundas , is an instrument of storing value. When an investor buys a stock he merely buys a promise that it will increase in value with time.  We've seen companies increasing shareholder value by three four times in a matter of years. Now if you think about it, an individual working in any capacity, engages in similar economic activity. His revenue could increase or decrease every year. He has funding needs for improving his earning capacity , just like a company. Today an individual fulfills his funding through costly personal loans or personal lending.  So why can't a primary market be planned for individuals where they can issue stocks which can be traded? This would also help them raise necessary funds and also prove to be a blessing for banks to offer credit to them. Most of our farmers , who are starved of funds could in theory have access to the funds when…

On India, China and Rest of India - Part III

In the last post, we saw how Holland came to represent the resurgent Europe with its abundant surplus which was invested in trading companies. while this was happening,lets take a look at India around the same period. while India was known as the treasure land and the land of the riches, the truth, you will be surprised to learn, is far from it. For India was dirt poor , with a few rich people , mainly the nobles, merchants and the kings who owned a majority of its wealth. The vast majority were mostly on subsistence level work. Most of the people were either small farmers or farm laborers. Indebtedness was rampant. People took money from money lenders at rocket high interest rates. Unfortunately, this suited the kings who for all intents and purposes were financed by the same money lenders. Today, we talk about eighty percent of the world's money is with the top 5 percent of people and how this is unfair. As bad as this sounds, there is a silver line here. For, there was not a s…

On India,China and Rest of World-PART II

India and China were the economic power houses of the medieval period. In fact , if we travel back into the past, we will find that the world of today is surprisingly similar to the ancient world, as explained in this post. So how did the situation reverse in the later centuries?How did the two countries became so poor in the later centuries? To answer this question, we need to travel to 16th century in time and  to a small region in Europe known as Holland.  Holland mind you, was not a country then, but a collection of city states who came under a rather crude constitution. If you peruse the history of world, you will notice that sometimes an idea germinates in one small region but ends up changing the entire face of humanity. Wheel, fire, language and so on.. come to my mind from the ancient time. An equally important idea seeded in Holland. For, in Holland of the medieval times, the seeds of what we now call as the modern economy, were sown. The idea of a highly skilled worker, th…

On India,China and Rest of World-PART I

I follow world history with considerable interest , especially related to India, China and rest of the world. If you ask me, the current state of world affairs, especially related to these countries is almost similar to the natural order that existed for most part of the human history. For comparison purpose, lets pick the late 15th to 18th centuries and compare it to the present day.
China is as inaccessible today as it was during the 16th and 17th centuries to the foreigners. Trade to Chinese empire could be conducted by the foreigners only at one port under the watchful eyes of empire's administrators.More or less like today where trade is controlled very tightly by the Chinese government. In fact Modern Chinese initiatives like the "One Belt One Road", "Belt and Road Initiative", have a number of things in common with the medieval enterprise and voyage undertaken by the chinese admiral "Zheng He". They both were intended to show Chinese Upmanship…

"What is red? Is a planet and is the focus of my current orbit?" - @Marsorbiter