Thinking out loud

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Moving to Wordpress

Dear Reader, thanks for visiting :)

I have now moved to a wordpress blog at http://www.parijatgarg.org/blog. If you are subscribed to my blog, please do continue to read by subscribing at http://parijatgarg.org/blog/feed/.

Thanks again!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ban Varun Gandhi?

A heated discussion is ongoing on CNN-IBN, on whether Varun Gandhi should be banned from contesting the elections because of communal statements during his campaign. All but one participant agree that he should. The one who doesn't agrees only on one condition - that all parties that contest on this very principle, The Hurriyat for instance, should be banned from contesting. I'd add that Mayawati, who contests on the upliftment of "lower castes" because they have been repressed should be banned.

It is almost amazing how these people can go on and on moralizing about how it is against our constitution to be communal, etc and yet there is widespread acceptance for caste-based reservations and caste-based vote-bank politics. Bloody hypocrites!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bullshit Elections

A few months ago I met two distinguished BJP veterans on a train in Rajasthan. Their lament - people who ask penetrating questions don't even go and cast a vote.

My question to them is this: Where are your election promises? Why are you not on TV bombarding me with what you will do for the country? Why are you not thrashing your competitors? Why are you not talking about the policy mistakes of the current Government.

My question to the media is: Why do I only see reports of party tie-ups? Why aren't you grilling the participating parties about what they are going to do and how they're going to fix the country's problems?

For the presidential elections in the US last year, the campaigns and discussions started almost a year ahead of the actual vote. There were debates. There were interviews. There was so much buzz. The media was all over it. You could watch stuff on CSpan or on youtube. You could hear stuff on radio (in the US).

Yet, we're told the general election is the single most important event in a country and this is the coverage we have. With less than a month before the first votes are cast, there are no manifestos available.

On what basis are we to vote then?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Risk and Return

In a recent paper by Nassim Taleb, and indeed many many more articles now, the claim is made that if the quants/risk-managers knew the pitfalls of their risk modeling methods, the catastrophic losses made today could have been avoided. Sure.

Here's the thing. Itis precisely because they disregarded the risks that they made all the money they made over the decade leading upto the catastrophe. So if they had actually factored in the risks, they'd have taken much more conservative bets and thus they'd have made much less money and therefore a smaller bad move could have wiped out what they have made. This argument could probably continue to be made until the average annual return generated by financial firms would be in direct proportion to their actual equity and real GDP growth in the economy. No?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Goodwill gestures and reciprocation

News items on two successive days:

March 7, 2009: Pak releases 12 Taliban prisoners in Swat valley as a goodwill gesture.
March 8, 2009: Taliban kill 14 kidnapped Pakistani soldiers

So much for goodwill gestures.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"and what would you do," the master said unto the multitude, "if God
spoke directly to your face and said, 'I COMMAND THAT YOU BE HAPPY IN
THE WORLD, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.' What would you do then?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Going American

I'm watching President Obama's inauguration online, instead of on TV. Broadband! I'm going American :P