29 July 2012

Mahabharat - Journey through the alphabet

In Hindu culture, the Mahabharata holds a great significance; it can be read as a scripture, an epic, a moral fable (though a long one!), or just as a family saga. However, for most Hindus, the various facets of human nature in the Mahabharata serve as guidelines on the nuances of Dharma too.

I have read several different versions of the Mahabharata, including those by C. Rajagopalachari (my favourite) and Devdutt Pattanaik. 

Check the The Economic Times graphic, featured below, on the Mahabharata. 

Click on the graphic for a larger view.

26 July 2012

Mid-Week Reads - The Best of Politics, Economics, & Ideas

You must have heard of the Jewish Diaspora. The Economist has an insightful graphic on the geographic spread of Jews. 
The map and chart above show where the biggest Jewish populations live and how this has changed over the past century. In 1939, Jews numbered 16.5m people, up from 10.6m in 1900. By the end of the second world war, the Nazis had wiped out one-third of them, sweeping away a thousand years of Jewish civilisation in central and eastern Europe. The death toll might have been even higher, but a flurry of pogroms that started 60 years earlier across the then-tsarist empire had sent waves of Jewish emigrants westward. By the time Hitler struck, some 6m Jews were safe in North and South America and in Britain, with 3m more living in the Soviet Union. From 1948, most of the Jews of north Africa and the Levant emigrated. The break-up of the Soviet Union brought the latest big wave of Jewish migration to Israel in the early 1990s. (Source for text & graphic: The Economist)

  • A big question for Marissa Mayer: What is Yahoo? (NYT)
  • Obama: The Underachiever. (Outlook) I think the guys at Outlook wanted to pay back to TIME magazine guys for carrying a cover feature on the Indian Prime Minister titled, 'The Underachiever'.
  • Terrorists like Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru have been sentenced to the gallows. But vote bank politics override national interest. Here's an edit that says that India's new president should dispose clemency pleas without fear or favour. (The New Indian Express)

22 July 2012

Sunday Reads - The Best of Politics, Economics, & Ideas

Five, not the usual four, reads for your Sunday!

  • Alexander the not so Great: History through Persian eyes. (BBC)
  • Indian scientists try to predict the Monsoon, the country's real finance minister. (AlJazeera)
  • Engineering students form massive chunk of IIM Ahmedabad Class of 2014. (ET)

The global economic turmoil is taking its toll on the emerging economies. The Economist has an interesting graph on the GDP growth rates of the BRIC economies.

After a dream decade, something is amiss. China is struggling to grow as fast as 8% (its GDP expanded by 7.6% in the year to the second quarter). India, a country that once aspired to double-digit growth, can now only dream of ridding itself of double-digit inflation. None of the biggest emerging economies stand on the edge of a dramatic precipice, but their economic prospects have nonetheless started to head downhill. [...] But it is not simply a demand-side phenomenon; the underlying rate of sustainable growth may also be less impressive than previously thought. As the IMF pointed out this week, the last decade or so may have “generated overly optimistic expectations about potential growth”.

19 July 2012

Note on Mid-Week Reads

The regular Mid-Week Reads will not be published today.

I suggest you check out Infographic Label on this blog.

Keep learning.

15 July 2012

Sunday Reads - China Special Edition

Presenting the Sunday Reads China Special Edition!
Source: UN Data

  • Playing with fire: Obama's threat to China. (AlJazeera) This is a Dec 2011 article but  very topical today.
China’s current economic slowdown has no shortage of causes: Europe’s financial turmoil, sputtering recovery in the United States, and weak domestic investment growth, to name the most commonly cited factors. Since exports and investment account, respectively, for 30% and 40% of China’s GDP growth, its economy is particularly vulnerable to... 
  • China's Hong Kong: A city apart. (Economist)
Audio-video slideshow: Check this awesome BBC photo feature, with commentary, capturing China's past. 

12 July 2012

Mid-Week Reads & Two Archive Posts

Today's Mid-Week Reads will not be published.

However, since you are here I suggest you read the following two previous posts, especially because they remain relevant today.

(a) The Explainer: Cash Reserve Ratio -
This article will help you understand important issues like supply of money, interest rates and how they impact us in so many daily ways. 

(b) India's Tibet Travails

08 July 2012

Sunday Reads - Microsoft’s Odd Couple & India's superpower dreams

In the regular Sunday Reads column, I publish a collection of four reads and a slideshow. However, today's collection is rather different, with just two incisive reads. But I am sure this two-article collection of reads will keep your mind occupied for the next few days.

  • Microsoft’s Odd Couple. Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, writes on his stormy relationship with Bill Gates and how MS was built.

Paul Allen
One day he showed me the magazine’s special annual issue and asked me, “What do you think it’s like to run a Fortune 500 company?” I said I had no idea. And Bill said, “Maybe we’ll have our own company someday.” He was 13 years old and already a budding entrepreneur.
I’d occasionally catch Bill grabbing naps at his terminal during our late-nighters. He’d be in the middle of a line of code when he’d gradually tilt forward until his nose touched the keyboard. After dozing for an hour or two, he’d open his eyes, squint at the screen, blink twice, and resume precisely where he’d left off—a prodigious feat of concentration. (End of excerpt)

I strongly recommend this illuminating six-page excerpt from the memoir of Paul Allen at Vanity Fair.

    • In his remarkable piece, Think Again: India, Sumit Ganguly, raises a pertinent question: India can help the U.S. contain China. To this, he says:
    Hardly. Because of its longstanding disputes with Beijing, U.S. policymakers have hoped that New Delhi would join Washington in balancing against China. But though India has had significant quarrels with China, it remains extremely skeptical of the U.S. "pivot" to Asia and of playing any part in an American strategy of containment. Many Indian elites fear that joining the U.S. effort would simply provoke China's wrath, and their obsessive concern with policy independence, deeply rooted in India's political culture of nonalignment, reinforces the unwillingness to make common cause with the United States.
    Read the complete piece on the Foreign Policy website

    05 July 2012

    Mid-Week Reads - The Best of Politics, Economics, & Ideas

    This week has seen the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs-Boson, the elusive 'God' particle. Here's a Guardian short video talk on what the Higgs-Boson is all about.

    • Afghan schoolgirls are falling sick, but is it sabotage or hysteria? (BBC)
    • India and China: Friend, enemy, rival, investor. (The Economist

    03 July 2012

    Job Interview Cautions

    We all know non-verbal communication plays an important role in almost all types of interviews, including job interviews. In this context, let me share this sort of interesting infographic, which I found at Visual.ly

    Click on the infographic for a larger view.