Friday, April 29, 2005

"Frustated Economist" Captain Capitalism (love the blog name, btw) thinks he's found the perfect woman for him. Consider the facts:
1. She reads The Economist
2. She was a financial manager at a money management firm
3. She had her undergraduate in finance
4. She was getting her masters in economics

The next hour of conversation was tantilizing and insanely intelligent. We talked about econometric modeling. We talked about efficient frontier theory. We talked about Miller-Modigliani. And then she talked about her specialty, behavioral economics.

I love it when chicks talk dirty to me.
Sadly, though for our superhero friend, it doesn't work out, because as the guy on Marginal Revolution (where I saw the post) says, "Doing it with models ain't as easy as it looks!"

The post is quite insanely funny, and intelligible even if you don't really understand Fisher's Quantity Theory and IS-LM curves. And, as an added bonus, in the comments you get free advice on how to bag hot lady Economists by one of their number.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

In a really bad state

(Ok, this post is about power cuts, so if you think this is incoherent, please excuse.)

Many of the readers of this blog, I am sure, have the extreme misfortune of living in the state of Maharashta (outside of Bombay). In that case, you suffer 24 hours of power cuts a week, with additonal cuts whenever it rains. Perhaps you are lucky and have an inverter/generator at home, and so are not affected by this very severely. But I doubt that stops you from being very, very angry at the Maharashtra Supply of Electricity Board (MSEB). You are, I expect, hopping mad and raring to have a go at that selfsame organisation.

Ok, so here's the thing. I don't doubt that the MSEB is a dinosaur that is just crying to be privatised. And sure, its full of inefficient, incompetent cretins who can't tell a transformer from a Continuum Transfunctioner. But I have realised that the current power situation cannot be blamed on these gents, in all fairness.The real culprits, IMHO, are the $#@^&%s in the Government of Maharashtra.

The current power crisis is the direct result of Maharashtra's complete and utter failure to increase it's power generation capacity in the past fifteen years (Sorry, have exams on, can't do research, so no statistics available). That can't be blamed on the MSEB, it's the monkeys we vote for who take those decisions. It is, of course these same monkeys who bought their seats with irresponsible promise of free power to farmers (farmers now get ten hours of power a week). And who put the state in a serious financial crisis. Oh, and does anyone remember the high power commission set up to investigate the role of windmills in reducing rainfall, thereby putting an important power source in jeopardy? That was the Maharshtra Government too.

So what, you say. Corrupt incompetent politicians are nothing new. But the evidence suggests that we in Maharashtra have been cursed with a crop of losers who would make the residents of 1 Anne Marg shudder. (Sure Bihar is hell, but it was pretty screwed up when the Yadavs inherited it. Maharashtra used to be India's no. 1 state.) Not only do our rulers show a stunning lack of ability to deal with the problems that are threatening the state, but they don't even try. The state is in the grips of a power crisis, and what is the government's number 1 priority? Extraditing James Lane. Parts of the state are in darkness for a whole day each week, and what takes up our dear Home Minister's time? Shutting down dance bars. Power cuts lead to crores of rupees of losses while businesses leave the state, and where is our beloved chief minister? Promoting his nincompoop son's movie career. The state is in serious financial trouble, and and what are our MLAs doing? Doubling their own salaries.

So what can be done about the situation? I don't know, it seems to me that nothing short of a revolution will do the trick. But maybe one thing that can be done is to subject Mumbai to the same power cuts we go through (or even better, six hours a day seven days a week). Not only will this free up loads of power to alleviate our troubles, but it will also significantly reduce the administration's enthusiasm for load shedding. (Having people who take decisions about power cuts sitting in an area with 24 hours of uninterrupted power supply seems like a recipe for disaster to me.) Or even better, the people of Mumbai, never famous for taking shit lying down, may just riot and kill a few ministers. (What an act of public service that'll be!)

But I suggest you don't get your hopes up. Nothing will be done about the situation, and next summer we'll have eight hours of cuts.

We're thinking about moving to Goa.

(PS: While I was writing this post, the lights went out twice.)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blogroll Expansion #X

Ganesh Hegde: VIT Quizzer, blogs about the papacy and cubic equations (so far).

Shriniwas Kulkarni
: MESCOE Quizzer and Salil bhakt.

BV Harish Kumar
: Quizzing senior who somehow missed previous expansions

The Greatest Rock Bands (and songs)

Picked up this meme(?) from Arnold and Kunal T.

Iron Maiden

By far the best rock band in the world (IMHO). Exploding onto the scene in 1980, Maiden have kept the hits coming for 25 years. Their latest album, Dance of Death is just as amazing as some of their best ones, like Number of the Beast and Fear of the Dark were. They've turned out around 14 studio albums and about half a dozen live albums and still stayed true to what they were and what their fans have loved them for. And in spite of this, they're still up there, on the top of the charts (the new release of the Number of the Beast entered the UK charts at No. 2 this year). Maiden have never made a St. Anger. Maiden have never sold out.

But more than that, Maiden to me is what got me onto rock music in the first place. I was still in school when I listened to my first Maiden song, The Wicker Man, and have been hooked since. I've worn out my Best of the Beast tape listening to such anthems as Fear of the Dark and Hallowed be thy Name. It took me a bit longer to appreciate songs like Virus and Afraid to shoot Strangers with their looong intros, but they are quite worth it. The trio of guitarists, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Jannick Gers are among the best in the world (Murray especially) and current vocalist Bruce Dickinson is, well the man (although his predecessors Paul DiAnno and Blaze Bailey were good too). Some of their other amazing songs have been Running Free (a DiAnno anthem), Aces High (one of my favourites), Killers (has some very brilliant leads), Prowler, Trooper, Lord of the Flies (one of their best with Bailey) and 22 Acacia Avenue.

Overall, an altogether amazing band.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Take that, Reds!

Found this amazing quote by Friedrich von Hayek at Cafe Hayek, an Economics blog I read. Hayek explains why so many "intellectuals" are socialists:
One's initial surprise at finding that intelligent people tend to be socialists diminishes when one realises that, of course, intelligent people will tend to overvalue intelligence, and to suppose that we must owe all the advantages and opportunities that our civilisation offers to deliberate design rather than to traditional rules, and likewise to suppose that we can, by exercising our reason, eliminate any remaining undesired features by still more intelligent reflection, and still more appropriate design and 'rational coordination' of our undertakings. This leads one to be favorably disposed to the central economic planning and control that lie at the heart of socialism.
You can read the rest of the article too, its pretty amazing.