Sunday, 24 May 2020

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With the COVID-19 outbreak having an unprecedented impact on education, Springer Nature launched a global program to support learning and teaching at higher education institutions worldwide. With the motivation to avail Remote access to educational resources worldwide, to support lecturers, teachers and students during this challenging period,  Springer Nature made more than 400 E-Books available for researchers, students, academicians for free download. 
Dr. Antoine Soetewey on his blog Stats and R published a script to download all the E-Books. Alternatively, all the books can be downloaded using following simple steps.

1. Click the link below and submit the Google Form.
2. Click the link on the thank you note.
3. Download E-books. 

4. Enjoy reading. 




Wednesday, 29 April 2020

LESSONS FROM MR. MITHAVITHANANDA & INTRODUCTION TO PIE-JOURNAL

“We ignore the opportunities presented before us as we retrospectively regret our past along this ignorant journey”
Mr. Mithavithananda

Those were the words of realization!
Apparently, his load of financial regret was too large that he had to remain Mr. Mithavithananda (Mr. MVA). The only choice left was to be happy with limited money! (Mitha, मित =limited; Vitta, वित्त = money; ānanda,आनन्द  = happiness)
How about you?
Do you dream becoming that Mr. MVA?
If not, it’s important to educate yourself on finance and start planning your finances.

WHAT’S THE GLOBAL TENDENCY ON PLANNING FINANCES?

Active financial planning, when plotted against the age of planners gives a beautiful camel hump! The inference is quite obvious: an early age ignorance, often late realization, helplessness (few helpless people) and very late realization in terms of building long term wealth and enjoying the same.


The early age ignorance:
For most of us money flows in our hands from the age of 18 or even younger. It could be a few thousands per year. The source might be pocket money, scholarships, some side hustle with your studies or even a full-time employment. No matter what the source is, ideally this income keeps on growing. Sadly, this is when most of us are least informed about financial planning or are not mature enough to handle money! If you are one of these it’s better, you come out of your ignorance.
The late realization:
For majority of us, the realization of importance of financial planning comes with a marriage, or a few years after marriage when you plan an offspring or for the unluckiest of us during a crisis. Less does anyone think enlightenment can have both happy and horrendous triggers! The synchronous chord of not planning finances wisely in the early days of one’s career strikes here! Adding to the disturbing melody, the stress of the interest filled EMIs of a few unthoughtful expenses made during the early stage of one’s career pass by one’s eyes. The presentation might look dramatic, but, at such a stressful situation most light-hearted people sadly give up. Most of the times finances are painful, even at the epitome of financial pain, one needs to understand and keep in mind that there are ways to work around and come back to a simple decent life. A small glimpse of Bhagavad Gita Verse 38 of chapter 2 can give a lot of philosophical support to handle such a situation!

सुखदु:खे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ |
ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि ||
sukha-duḥkhe same kṛitvā lābhālābhau jayājayau
tato yuddhāya yujyasva naivaṁ pāpam avāpsyasi
Chapter 2 Verse 38 – Bhagavad Gita
Which means
Fight for accomplishment of your duty, in doing so, treat alike happiness and distress, loss and gain, victory and defeat. Be focussed towards fulfilling your responsibility and that way you will never incur sin.
How relevant are the ancient philosophies in modern day finance!

Helpless few:
The people in this age group are referred as ‘helpless few’ because irrespective of the knowledge of finance this age group has, it’s hard for one to plan financial freedom at this stage with an aim towards building huge wealth. If one lacks huge income! It’s hard and not impossible! It is hard because of the increased number of dependents and the expenses associated with the dependents. Also, a few responsibilities towards family, friends, and the society. ‘Better late than never!’ could be the best approach!
Very late realization:
This usually happens when one approaches official retirement age. Say in your case,  after draining entire energy for dog years at work, you were waiting for this day of your freedom! With Employee Provident Funds (EPF), retirement bonus and a few small unplanned savings around, imagine yourself doing the math with a pencil, a paper and a calculator!

How hard it is to realize that the numbers don’t match the financial requirements. How hard it is to hide that drop of tear of sorrow behind the haze of your thick spectacles? It’s hard!
It’s hard for me to imagine as I write. It saddens me thinking retirement remains a dream for people because of financial ignorance
The GC Fund: Often a small percentage of the last two types play smart! They forget planning finances for themselves at this stage. Instead, they do the same for their grand Child! That’s simply The Grand Child Fund! Don’t confuse this for any mutual fund scheme out there! It’s a piggy fund/investment created by the grand parents for their grandchild! And guess what it does wonders for the grand child financially.


In addition to financial planning, these people often become great financial advisors for those lucky kids! pouring the knowledge, they gather about finance and making the child financially well-schooled! For such a child the early age ignorance curve of the grandparent just becomes an investment curve! Compounding small capital and silently building wealth!  
Excuse me, even if you weren’t from the last two types, you could still do it to your grandchild!


No matter where you belong on the curve, it’s never late to know about finances and start investments. If not you, it will help your loving grandchild!!

DISCRETE MATHEMATICS OF CAMEL HUMP

To kindle your thought with some mathematics of camel hump, you could write this distribution with a simple algebraic equation!
This should almost account to the aforesaid financial planning distribution of more than 3 generations!

Undoubtedly they subscribed to three schools of wealth: (a=-1) ‘archaía scholí ploútou’, (a=0) ‘mesaionikí scholí ploútou’, and (a=1) ‘sýnchroni scholí ploútou’. Which means ancient, medieval and modern school of wealth respectively!

VISUALIZING THE MATHEMATICS

Let’s plot them for 3 different conditions, a= -1, a=0, a=+1, and a = 0.25. Well resetting the scale of abscissa (x- axis) from birth to death, considering the life expectancy of the time, and relating it to the graph discussed above, it is possible to emphatically infer how active financial planning is changing over generations.

THE PIE JOURNAL and Pie:

The Pie Journal  is a blog maintained by a few active investors. The bolg presents wonderful insights into investing. PIE envisions educating and building large community of value investors and has been successfully doing so through it's youtube channel Profit In Equities

WHERE ON CAMEL HUMP ARE THE SUBSCRIBERS OF PIE?

I assume the subscribers of The Pie Journal are in a transition from mesaionikí to ‘sýnchroni with the value of ‘a’ somewhere close to 0.25. (Please note: the function is just a funny approximation, as a PIE subscriber, you would be doing far better, even close to a= 1!)
In general, it’ never late to invest. However, choice of instrument to invest requires great care and due diligence. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

The 2 Rose Deal & A Lesson on Luck!


I had an opportunity to visit the beautiful Crete Island this summer as I was selected for a training program under prestigious Erasmus Mundus grant. Since most recent vacation was far behind us, my loving wife Sharadhi showed an enormous interest in joining me on this travel and we finally landed at Heraklion International Airport at Crete with a connection at Thessaloniki on 28th June 2019. It was therefore a partial vacation for me and a complete one for Sharadhi, even though she had brought some work off shore.  I therefore had a great time both professionally and personally.

Old Port of Chania, Crete
Crete is a beautiful island with long history, beautiful archaeological sites, tasty food, magnificent museums and breathtaking feast for a nature lover with large mountains meeting blue sea- which all together is a different topic to write upon.   

As we walked holding hands on the white sand and paved footpaths of the old city and Mediterranean coast, Sharadhi tossed in a wonderful conversation on what it means to be a refugee! Though, we both had different views on the topic, something we agreed upon was, "If you are not a refugee; and,  if you have meal on your plate, good health, shelter to sleep, and decent education, you are better off than 75% of  humanity." We ended that walk deciding to go to Haris Creperie for an open sky dinner.

I  was busy burying my hunger under Pizza Margarita and sipping a few gulps of Coke, I could see   Sharadhi enjoying her Pancakes with white chocolate, cranberries and strawberry jam (Undoubtedly it was delicious) when I noticed a young girl standing next to our table with a bouquet of about 25 roses, mostly red. She should have been about 10 years old. It took me a while to understand the situation as I was a little unused to such an encounter. With the bouquet in both hands, she asked me if I could buy a rose for 1 EURO. Saying NO was rather difficult, as I knew my wife was fond of flowers. I looked at the roses, they were fresh, I looked at my wife, she had no expressions on face the only reason I would say a NO was, in Indian Rupees that was an "expensive"  rose! I gauged the situation rightly: 'as my wife is pragmatic, she wouldn't nudge me for saying 'NO'.' I immediately said NO. In a while we had our dinner and we're about to move out settling the bill. The whole experience including the food was eventful and I somehow couldn't face myself for saying NO to a 10 year old refugee. 

The 2 Roses

Somehow  the thought of not being in her place as a refugee bothered me a lot. I had 2 options: to offer her a nice dinner or to buy 2 roses instead of 1. I decided to go with the latter as I was not sure if the cafe was okay with me offering her a dinner at their place and you shouldn't offend a businessman at his business place.  

The best of my observations until we stroke the 2 ROSE DEAL was that she at that young age was not begging. Instead she had an investment of 25 roses in hand and she had the business spirit. As we settled the deal, I realized she was a true business woman at her own level. She knew how to interact with her customers! What else can I say about her when She asks us if we are from India in the broken English she knew, When she introduces herself saying she was from Armenia?  I don't recall her name but it's hard to forget the smile she had when I paid her 2 Euros.



That was probably her target for the day as it was about 10:00 PM. She crossed the street after saying BYE. My eyes were glued on her as she crossed the street. I saw her pay a few cents at the juice shop and deposit her bouquet there to be placed in cold storage. It;s now I realized she looked at us in the eye and did a 'Namaste'. I couldn't think of clicking her photo as I was overwhelmed with a cyclone of thoughts.


When I look back, by buying 2 Roses, I don't think I did a lot. But, if I had ignored buying, I would have just missed an opportunity to contribute in uplifting that one child. I did very little and I did at my own capacity. If not for my journey of life, and a huge influence from the writings of  Mr. Guy Spier and Mr. Mohnish Pabrai, I don't know if I would have bought 2 roses. Therefore, I should be modest in thanking both these gentlemen in mentoring my thoughts. As I have a tougher past, probably it was easy for me to step into her shoes and think from her perspective. Thanks to the past. When I deeply think about the whole episode, the empathy was the only thing I gave her. and she was not a taker at all! Instead, she was a giver!!


She gave me a new problem to think about. In my memory, I had never thought what it means to be refugee.  
She gave beautiful roses which my wife was happy to receive! 
She greeted us in our traditional way 'Namaste'!
She gave me an idea of her tougher past by a geographical locator " Armenia": her Motherland.
Moreover, She proved it at her level that there are different meaningful ways for a person to earn his bread. It's only self start that's required to grow. I am more humbled by this experience.



Most of the times we commit a mistake by taking pride in giving away. Honestly, looking at the magnitude joy, the spirit of life and the graceful attitude towards life the lesser privileged exhibit in itself is fulfilling and mind boggling. I wouldn't be wrong when I say "we give small and take bigger lessons for life"

The day ended with the thought "To not to be born a refugee is the the luckiest thing that can happen to anyone."



Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The House Always Wins


Sometimes, declarations, statements and affidavits take away confusions. Many times, they trap us all into an unknown whirlwind and throw us far apart that we forget the purpose of our being. Such is the condition of many democratic countries including India. May what the historical reasons be, Israel is one among a few democratic countries with no written constitution. (other countries are New Zealand, and UK.  Also, up-until 1982 Canada).

I understand that it’s a strong statement against my nation, therefore, I am choosing to dig a little deeper into the subject at my level of understanding and analyzing. As to avoid confusions, let me declare that my knowledge of the subject is infinitesimally small or little, therefore, I welcome views and discussions and even criticism if one feels it is judicious!

In my understanding, a governing body at any level functions more like a casino. There are players and the house! When it comes to a nation the government is the house and the citizens are the players. Democracy is a beautiful art of making one of the players a part of the house. Thinking that the new elected player will play for his/ her fellowmen: 'across the table'. That’s a myth! the truth is that “The house always wins.”  One may refute these views.  However, for Israel, a democracy with unwritten constitution, citizens and nation are inseparable. In simple words,” people are the nation and nation is its people.” That’s the level of patriotism the citizens have toward the nation and the love nation has to it’s people, with no written constitution in between to fight for or fight with!

In Indian context, no matter which government ruled the country, there was always a protest to protect the fundamental rights, the constitution and more recently the democracy itself! There was no single protest to practice or even preach the fundamental duties! Surprisingly, Fundamental duties were added to our constitution as 42nd amendment in 1976! That’s the contrast! In Israel, citizen know their duties to the nation before they ask for their rights! Knowing the duties and implementing them in our daily life makes us more responsible and when anyone among such responsible citizens enter the league and play for the house, the people win!

Period....

In days ahead, I plan to write about success of Israel (nation and its people) in different verticals viz. education, agriculture, technology etc. 

To begin with, 
The secret of which as I see is in 2 levels.
a. On an individual level, the respect for the land and dignity of living the Israeli's carry as their skin. 
b. At national level, functioning and governance.

It’s important to note that, Israel has adopted capitalistic or corporate approach towards functioning (unlike socialist or Indian). I was surprised; people here can’t inherit land for generations, in fact they don't own land! They lease it from the government for a tenure. Every small developmental project including domestic housing is undertaken by the government. Though, I am not fully aware of it’s how about, speaking to my peers here, I learned that, Government builds houses or licenses and sanctions developers to build houses for it’s citizen. Citizen purchase the license to live in that house and has the right only on the constructed property and not the land itself! So there are no 30-40 or 60-40 sites for sale, no illegal encroachments, no agony due to acquisitions when it comes to widening of roads or rails!


For those inquisitive minds wondering how big is Israel in comparison to India... 



Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Israeli Chutzpah and Japanese Kaizen Make an Israeli


Surprisingly, my choice of coming to ISRAEL was moderately received by my peers and family. The word Israel makes everyone think of wars, blasts and unrest. However, living here in Israel for last one year has given me an insider’s perspective which is in contrast to the image the world media gifted to Israel. The disputes at the borders is more of a daily report. I would rather choose to stay away from discussing the unrest as my exposure to unrest is only through media like each one of you!! On a personal note, I have been experiencing a warm and a secure feeling living in Israel. I feel it is one of the secure countries to live in.  

Israel is a small country on the world map. So small that, it’s total population is less than any metropolitan city in India! Yet, people live a happy and contained life just because of the Israeli “chutzpah”. Chutzpah is seemingly shameless audacity and arrogance with good intentions. That’s right, Israelis mean business. They are very professional in their domains setting the right values for almost everything! They know to take ‘No’ for a ‘NO’ and also say ‘NO’ for a ‘No’! There is very less scope for ego clashes, and more opportunities for constructive criticism bringing in positive changes at every level resulting in enhanced happiness index! They stick on to their word, if, they give one. Through my personal interactions, I have seen similar honest attitude and level of professionalism among a few Indian communities too (Parsi, Irani, Sindhi); but not with that chutzpah. In addition to chutzpah, they also have “kaizen”!

A few innovations change the perspective of an era totally! The best-known innovation dates a little more than 100 years. It was the moving assembly line at Ford motor company innovated by Henry Ford. It was applauded then and is customized till today for every industrial need! A detailed discussion of this isn’t today’s topic and therefore, ‘period’!

Kaizen is a Japanese innovative concept. the word kaizen in Japanese means improvement or a change towards the better. Implemented at the Toyota motor company by it’s founder, Mr. Kiichiro Toyoda, today, kaizen can be seen evolved and applied in many of the industrial processes such as manufacturing, production, engineering, management and also support procedures. In 2006, under the leadership of Allen Mullaly, the then CEO; Ford Motor Company, the competitor for Toyota, since it’s inception adopted Kaizen! Hero Motor Corporation is producing 9.2 million units of motorcycles per annum implementing Kaizen at its production plants. Kaizen is so adaptable that it can be applied to almost any type of industry including banking, government, healthcare, retail, and transportation (Nestle, Mayo Clinic, Lockheed Martin are a few more examples) but the benefits of this amazing methodology are not limited to the world of commerce!

At Israel, the essence of Kaizen is used successfully by people. Not with any additional training, but as a part of life. Chutzpah with Kaizen, has helped Israelis in making improvements in their personal lives and also achieve development.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

From Gods Own Country To The Holy Land

Born in Kasaragod and brought up in Tulunadu, I have shifted 5 different schools before finally settling in a residential school in my 8th grade. I made new friends every alternate year and met old ones twice in my academic journey. Putting everything together, I changed schools 10 times before my 8th grade! It was fun. This long journey, made me inquisitive, kinesthetic, pragmatic and mercurous. It has had its own negative impact in my developmental years psychologically. When my teen peers had a closely-knit web of friends, I was always not a part of the pack, rather most of the times a lone wolf. My friends were from my parent’s generation and my role models were my teachers! Thankfully, amidst all my hardships, almighty was kind to gift me with the best. 
Science teachers were magicians some times. They had immense power of generating fire by just using sunlight, water and a transparent watch glass. They could paint rainbows on the dusted walls of our school building using the same water, watch glass and a mirror! For a 6th grade kid, that was sufficient to make a career choice, a “Scientist”. Later, when science split into three, a “Physicist” and when mathematics snooped into the walls of physics, a “Material scientist” (I still do a lot of mathematics but more closely at observable levels). The motivation towards pursuing Science at nanometric scale and engineering materials, devising experiments and techniques to optimize processes and metrology at nanoscale date back to the very idea of a science teacher being a magician.
Soon after my postgraduation in Physics from National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), formerly known as KREC, I had a stint in teaching. Later I was absorbed back at NITK as Facility Technologist (FT) for its Electron Microscopes (EM) in the department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (MME). Working as an FT, I could closely understand the work of scientists, I could communicate to some of the great minds in the field and I soon realized, the magic wand is a PhD. Pursuing my research interests in India looked harder than I thought. Exceptionally high competition, extremely low opportunities and funds, exuberantly low exposure to the Industry and growing concern about professional ethics and exponentially increasing reports of corruption made me look abroad. The meadows were greener on the other side.
Soon, I started shortlisting universities, and laboratories whose research interests were similar to mine. The criteria of shortlisting were simple - full scholarship, working in nanotechnology, well experienced principal investigator, high level of exposure to industry and good work life balance. Trust me, Israel for 2 years, was not in my list!
I was looking for opportunities in Europe, Australia and Canada, unlike my friends, who were already in the United States, Singapore, South Korea etc. By then I was married, I had shifted to Bangalore resigning my job at NITK, foreseeing an opportunity at the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc). However, IISc did not materialize due to reduced research grants following the Union budget of 2014. I joined an R&D wing of a private organization in Bangalore and continued my applications in full swing. On an average I would spend 4 hours a day, consistently, searching for research opportunities abroad, applying to 5 places a day for 10 months. It was immensely frustrating. Many times, I would be in 2nd position after clearing a few rounds of skype interview and the person who came first would accept the position. During December 2016, I came across an online article on India -Israel research scholarship. I was aware of a lot of contributions from Israel and the Jewish community to science and technology, I thus thought I should look for opportunities in Israel, ‘more, out of frustration!’ 
After a series of applications and interviews, I was shortlisted for ‘President’s Research Grant’ a prestigious scholarship issued for the creamy researchers, to start my research (magician’s job to earn a magic wand) at the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA) of Bar-Ilan University in its Molecular Photonics Laboratory, under the guidance of Dr. Yaakov R. Tischler to work on Nanometrology. A perfect combination customized for my interests, worth all my frustration.   
I have been working here for an year now. Dr. Tischler is an extremely intelligent and kind professor I have ever met in my life. He has never made me feel frustrated at my work or at the subject. However, the path to reach him was frustrating, 3 long years after my post-graduation and almost 2 decades after I subscribed to introduce myself new magicians every year teaching a magical subject.
Similar is the story with my wife, Smt. Sharadhi, who is also a research scholar with Presidents Research Grant at the Intelligent Agent Interaction and Modelling Laboratory under the guidance of Prof. Sarit Kraus, a pioneer scientist in Artificial Intelligence.

Springer Free E-Books-Download

With the COVID-19 outbreak having an unpre cedented impact on education, Springer Nature launched a global program to support learning and t...