The Scream

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893

Second only to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Edvard Munch’s The Scream may be the most iconic human figure in the history of Western art. The matter of fact is that in 2012 a version created with pastel on cardboard sold to a private collector for nearly $120,000,000 making it the second highest price achieved at that time by a painting at auction.

This painting by Edward Munch’s has fascinated me recently. As depicted in the painting (from my perspective), there is a bridge on a scenic place with blue water flowing down.  The place is no doubt beautiful but not crowded. Tourist either enjoying the cool flowing river from the boat or enjoying the cool breeze while taking a stroll on the top of the bridge (there should be mountain cliff on the left hand side of the bridge). So are three friends who probably have come from distant land to visit this place. While two of the friends kept on walking, one of the friends stayed behind momentarily to enjoy the scenery. He puts his shoulder onto the fence of the bridge and starts pondering about his life. Suddenly there was screaming from the guy. This was an internal scream, a scream from heart. The main character in the painting probably represents the buck naked form (soul kind of) human showing raw emotions which gets hidden in the veil of social behavior.

Why there was a scream? This person has come to distant land to enjoy himself. He probably would have enjoyed a great meal with his friend in some cheap yet contemporary hotel around the place. He would have had beer; he would have cracked funny jokes with his friends. After that they would have decided to take a stroll to explore beautiful places in the area. Then why sudden rush of emotions and panic at the bridge? Is it loneliness? Yes, it must be long loneliness. Mother Teresa once said “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved”. He is not alone but he is lonely – in a state of in solitary isolation without his true companion. Phycologists have defined this kind of loneliness as state loneliness. This feeling comes back again and again when he is alone and only has his thoughts to accompany him. Environment does not help. Long rainy day bores him. Vacations are passed by missing the lost one. It’s a curse that hovers around him and there is no escape.

This person would have worn a mask of calmness as a part of his social behavior but exact description of his emotions can only be depicted by $120 million painting by Edward Munch- “The Scream”

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Has Euro failed as currency?

When Euro was created in 1992, it was considered to be one of the most significant moves by the Europe to facilitate free trade area and mobility of the labor. The Eurozone considered this move as a steppingstone towards integrated European market and their participation as a block in the international affairs. However, heterogeneity in the different countries economy has been ignored and Euro crisis is the perfect example of how Euro failed as a currency.

It was believed from day one by the Economist that Euro will fail as the currency. This is because of the fact that it contained one fatal flaw- it brought 17 economies under the single monetary policy without creating single fiscal policy and strong governance to make them behave responsibly.  In order, for a currency, to meet the needs of several economies at the same time; all those economies should have some economic structure. However, there existed substantial disparity between countries in Euro. Consequently results were devastating.

Creation of Euro created a currency which was stronger than local currencies of few of the countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece. This caused increase in the cost of exports of these countries and thereby making them less competitive in the international market.  The export fell down and the Consequence was high fiscal deficit.

Euro currency is issued by ECB which considered whole union as the parameter to decide the interest rate rather than the individual countries performance. Due to Germany and high performing economies, low interest was made available to even economies which were in debt. Thereby countries like Italy and Spain kept on borrowing and spending unless fiscal deficit became too high to control.  This led to Euro Crisis. Real estate bubble was one of the examples of this.

gold-euro-symbol

If local currency would have existed instead of Euro then import and export cost for the low performing country (in Eurozone) would have remained optimum. They would also have devalued their currency, as required, to reduce the cost of production and export to ensure their competitiveness in the international market. However, it cannot be done since value of the currency was managed centrally by ECB. Moreover, before the monetary union was formed, large fiscal deficit generally lead to high interest rate and declining exchange rates. These market signals lead the country to reduce its borrowing. Euro as a common currency eliminated those market signal and result was these currencies borrowed too much.

Considering above factors, we can assume that Euro has failed as a currency.

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Demographic trends across the India

Demographic trends across the India

Why  Demography is important?

Demography is the systematic, often statistical, study of human populations, especially with reference to size density and distribution. Demography directly affects the economy. It is directly related to the size of the market and henceforth to the consumption of the good. Age structure directly contributes to the demand for education, financial services, healthcare, leisure, etc. For example more age group in a country between 60- 70 years will lead to more demand and consumption of goods related to health care.

It also affects the production. High population can lead to lower labor wages as well as redistribution of production across different regions.

 

Projected growth of the India’s population

Two general parameters used for measuring the population growth are as follow:-

  • Total Fertility = Children per woman
  • Life Expectancy

 

Total Fertility in India has undergone sharp decline from 3.0  children per woman in 2001 to the 2.5 in 2011. Following table and graphs represents 3 alternative and projected population of India considering the Fertility rate,

Date courtesy:- http://planningcommission.nic.in/aboutus/committee/strgrp/stgp_fmlywel/sgfw_ch2.pdf

Fertility Rate
Year Assumption 1 Assumption 2  Assumption 3
2001 3 3.1 3.1
2011 2.5 2.4 2.2
2021 2.2 1.7 1.8
2031 2 1.1 1.7
2041 2 1 1.6
2051 1.8 1 1.6

 

projected population

 

Thereby, from the above graph, it can be implied that India could see a population of 1.3 billion to 1.6 billion depending upon the Fertility rate. India has also seen decline in the Fertility rate which is mostly contributed to the education to women, rural sector and government policy. Following graph shows trend in the Fertility rate across the decades in India.

TFR decline

Kerala has been the state with lowest FR while UP being the highest. Same trends can be seen across all the developed countries. Thereby, we can see economic development contributes to lower FR. With India as developing country – same trend can be expected.

 

With economic development India has also seen increase in the life expectancy. Following graph shows increase in life expectancy in India. (Courtesy-http://www.ihsnet.org.in/NHA/newnhpissuesjan024.htm)

life expectancy

Age structure of the population: Age Pyramids:-

 

With economic development, education, decreased Fertility rate, increased Life expectancy – Age structure of the country is also expected to change- which in fact would be good for the country. Following pyramids shows potential change in the age structure.

age pyramid

As we can see that India is following trends of the developed country with higher percentage of population in the “workable” group. Higher number of people in workable group directly affects the economic growth of the country. Refer to following article

 

Boomer Retirement: Headwinds for U.S. Equity Markets-Zheng Liu and Mark M. Spiegel.

“Historical data indicate a strong relationship between the age distribution of the U.S. population and stock market performance. A key demographic trend is the aging of the baby boom generation. As they reach retirement age, they are likely to shift from buying stocks to selling their equity holdings to finance retirement. Statistical models suggest that this shift could be a factor holding down equity valuations over the next two decades”

 

 

 

 

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Meghnad- Evil or just painted Evil?

Ramayana is one of the greatest epic in Hindu culture that signifies “victory of good over evil”. Taken from Wikipedia”The Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages (Vedas) in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and devotional elements. The characters Rama, Sita, Hanumana, Laxmana and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India and Hindus.” Whereas the characters Rama, Sita, Hanumana, Laxmana became God, Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakaran became evil ought to be defeated by Gods. Vijayadashami also known as Dussehra is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated in various forms, across India. Effigies of Ravana,Meghnad and Kumbhakaran are burnt to symbolize victory of good over evil. But was Meghnad really evil whose effigy is burnt year after year to signify death and destruction of evil?
To look into the matter, we require taking a dive into the story of Ramayana and Meghnad. Let us see the story of Ramayana in the context of Meghnad. Indrajit was born to Ravana and his wife Mandodri, He was named “Meghanada” because his birth cry sounded like thunder. At a very young age, Meghnad showed extraordinary talent and became the possessor of several supreme celestial weapons, including Brahmastra, Pashupatastra, and Vaishnavastra, perhaps equal to those of Gods Ram and Laxmana of Ayodhya. In Ramayana, the first mention of Meghnad combat ability is reflected in the battle between the Gods and the Devils. In the battle, devas were dominating and they captured the king of Asuras(Ravana). At this point Meghnad intervened: Not only he freed the king (his father), but he overturned the battle and captured the king of Gods (Indra). At this juncture, Brahma (considered to be creator of universe) intervened and asked him to free Indra. Meghanada, being pious, showed his respect for Brahma, obliged, and he was granted a chance to ask for a boon from Brahma. He was then granted boon: he would never be won over in any battle, until his Yagna (fire-worship) of his native goddess was disturbed and destroyed. On the completion of the Yagna, a supreme celestial chariot would appear, boarding which; Meghnad would become invincible in any battle. But Brahma also cautioned him that whosoever would destroy this yagna would also kill him. Thereafter, he was also known by the name ‘Indrajeet’( the one who had victory over God king’ Indra’).

Victory_of_Meghanada_by_RRV
The second instances of Meghnad is basically shown during Hanuman visit to Lanka (Kingdom of Ravana- Meghnad is crown prince here) in order to search for Goddess Sita. In the attempt to capture Hanuman, one of the Meghnad's brothers died. Thereafter, Meghnad stepped in and captured hanuman, using one of his Godly Weapon. However, as per the Ramayana, Hanumana got captured deliberately because he did not want to insult God by darting the Godly weapon.
The final instances of the Meghnad were mentioned during perhaps what we considered to be the climax of the Ramayana. The army of Ram built a bridge of stones across the ocean between India and Srilanka; and commenced the war against army of Lanka. In the fierce battle between Ram's army and Ravan's army- Ravan's army was on the verge of losing. They lost their key warriors – which also included mighty Kumbhkaran (uncle of Meghnad) – the demon that was considered to be unbeatable. Even Ravan, victor of whole world, was insulted and beaten up by Ram in a kind of prefight. In such a lopsided affair, Meghand- crown prince of Lanka- decided to step in.
During first day of the battle, with his superb warriors skills, strategic thinking and Maya (form of stealth), he overturned the battle again into the Ravan's side. In the process, at the end of the day, he gravely injured both Ram and Laxman (I say captain and vice-captain of the Ram's army). If it not would be the wisdom of Hanuman- both Ram and Laxman would be dead and war would be over. However, Ram and Laxman somehow survived the injury.
The second day of the battle was perhaps the fiercest in the whole Ramayana. Two fiercest warriors- Meghnad and Laxman- put all their skills of archery into the battle for the defense of the country. As mentioned in Ramayana, both the warriors never faced opponents of such caliber. The war was so fierce that even Gods, saints and visionaries started feeling the heat. Nevertheless, In this equipoised battle of Meghnad and Laxman, Meghnad had the final words. He used a celestial weapon to send Laxman into deep coma.
Hanuman came as the saviour and helped to revive Laxman from grave injury. In the third and final day of battle, Laxman killed Meghnad after destroying his fire worship. As per the Brahma's Boon, if Meghnad would have performed the Yagna, he would have become invincible. During the fight on the last day, Meghnad used his supreme celestial weapon on Laxman, but it miraculously did not harm him. Meghnad understood that Laxman is the Avatar of God but still chooses to fight him for the honor of his Father and his country. There is a mention in Ramayana where Meghnad disappears from the war
Now simple deduction that can definitely be made from above paragraphs is the following:-
• Meghnad is consummate in the art of warfare. He can be considered equal to Laxman if not better in this attribute. Remember- Laxman is considered to be God
• He possesses pious and noble character. His respect for God's including Laxman was example for it.
• High dedication for the country as he fought and died for his country.
• His honor for his father.
Isn't this wrong that his effigy is burnt for generations to justify victory of Good over evil? How can a person who possesses such noble attributes and high skills be considered as evil? These questions must be posed to us.

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Does God Exist?

Abhiequal's Blog

The Definition of God that exists with us is – “a superhuman spirit which is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good( omnibenevolent )“. Now, lets look into the words used to define the characteristics of the God more closely.
Omnipotent:- It means almighty or having unlimited power
Omniscient:- Infinitely wise or one who knows everything
Perfectly Good:- It means infinitely good and therefore, someone who is against( and will try to remove ) any bad or evil .
We have seen Bollywood Heroes in movie who are just ‘some unit’ good and powerful and try to remove evil from the society. Here, I say if someone/something is some good and has some power, then less ‘evil’ would exist. Upon increasing goodness, power and knowledge, evil will eventually go down. As God is infinitely good, infinitely knowledgeable and infinitely powerful, he will try to bring evil down. Considering someone infinitely good, infinitely knowledgeable…

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Does God Exist?

The Definition of God that exists with us is – “a superhuman spirit which is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good( omnibenevolent )“. Now, lets look into the words used to define the characteristics of the God more closely.
Omnipotent:- It means almighty or having unlimited power
Omniscient:- Infinitely wise or one who knows everything
Perfectly Good:- It means infinitely good and therefore, someone who is against( and will try to remove ) any bad or evil .
We have seen Bollywood Heroes in movie who are just ‘some unit’ good and powerful and try to remove evil from the society. Here, I say if someone/something is some good and has some power, then less ‘evil’ would exist. Upon increasing goodness, power and knowledge, evil will eventually go down. As God is infinitely good, infinitely knowledgeable and infinitely powerful, he will try to bring evil down. Considering someone infinitely good, infinitely knowledgeable and infinitely powerful is present, then how evil, pain and suffering exist?

This is the famous ‘Problem of evil’ proposed first by famous philosopher Epicurus. He said “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” . Well! If it does not make sense in the form of sentence, then lets analyse this argument logically

  • If an all-powerful and perfectly good God exists, then evil does not.
  • There is evil in the world.
  • Therefore, an all-powerful and perfectly good God does not exist.Image

This argument is of the form modus tollem, and so is logically valid – if its premises are true, the conclusion must be true. Therefore, simple mathematics tells us that Good God does not exist. We always says “Almighty God” but as per mathematics “God cannot be almighty”!
Philosophers have long pondered over the paradox. Their basic argument rather lies in the denying the premise- “If an all-powerful and perfectly good God exists, then evil does not” or denying the conclusion.Let us deny the premise first i.e God is not all-powerful and perfectly good. Well, that completely justifies the existence of evil. In polytheism, the individual deities are usually not omnipotent or omnibenevolent.

Few Philosophers argue that evil exists to justify more good. Now, in the case conclusion is extended and case is solved. Philosophers say God allows evil temporarily in order to achieve something of more good. Thereby, they say that all evil that exists leads eventually to goodness and thus, adding goodness to God. In this case, all Good God can exist and parallely evil can also exist.

There are lots of counter arguments also for the defense  (for almighty God) given above. Still the argument goes on whether God exists!

 

 

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Factors affecting the Purchase of the laptop-A general perspective

I was planning to buy the laptop between the range of 40,000 and 50,000 and thereby just decided to list down few of the points affecting the purchase of the laptop:-

1. Sleek and Slim!

While buying a laptop, this is the first thing that comes to my mind. I would love to buy pacBook Air-as thin as it can float into the air!.Obviously if cost permit.

2.Price

I do not know why I kept this as second factor!This is the perhaps the top factor. However, one can slightly flex their financial muscles when you are getting the things that you want. Nonetheless, for me it is true:-“Apple and me do not go hand in hand”( Alas! because of this factor 😦 )

3. Processor

When it comes to processors, I’ll go with the fastest I can afford,

Further “Intel Inside” always appeals to me.

Following is the few Tech Stuff I got on net for the difference between intel and AMD:-


Intel’s Pentium M CPU line offers speed while enabling great battery life. These chips, combined with Intel’s wireless LAN electronics and either the 915 Express or 855 chipset, make up Intel’s Centrino mobile technology. The biggest downside is price — Pentium Ms are still costly.

AMD’s mobile processors are more affordable than Intel’s, but they generally lag behind Intel’s on our MobileMark tests. AMD’s Turion 64 processors may change that, however. AMD says the chips will offer optimizations for high performance, wireless capability, and long battery life.

4. Screen sizes

Wide-screen notebooks, which have an aspect ratio of 16:9, offer larger, sharper, and all-around better images than their 4:3 standard-screen cousins. They’re great for allowing you to have two documents or Web pages open side-by-side. A spacious 17-inch wide-screen laptop is a nice luxury if you’re not planning on traveling with it.

5. Memory and Configuration

Having enough memory and basic configuration is vital to system performance, and lots of RAM lets you run more applications simultaneously. Sufficient RAM is also necessary for graphics work, image editing, and video editing, and crucial for 3D gaming.

Similarly, adequate hard disk space,wireless connectivity, bluetooth etc is very much required. Most notebooks ship with a choice of 802.11b or 802.11b/g. Capable of data throughput of 11Mbps, 802.11b is fine for ordinary use. Public hotspots typically use 802.11b or 802.11g.

6. Touch Screen is Great!

It is at present “Nice to have” feature for me. With Windows 8 into the market, as I heard from User around, Touch screen is something that you would look for.

7. High battery Backup

This is something which is basic requirement. But in India, getting a laptop with more than 8-9 hrs of battery back up do cost more than Rs 50,000 too!(Probably with the exception of ACER S3).

8. Brand name:-

As a general user, I possess perception(Perhaps Misconceptions!) regarding brands which are like:-

Lenovo for long lasting ones
HP for the
variations
Dell for the
service.. etc

Thereby, I’ll definitely consider brands in my pursuit to buy laptop though as number 8 priority! 😉

9. Vying for video RAM

If you’re not planning on doing much graphics work or playing 3D games, shared memory should be fine. But if you have a choice, aim for a graphics chipset that shares at least 64MB of system memory.

10. A slot for all reasons

Like a PCI slot in a desktop, a PC Card (or PCMCIA) slot in a notebook provides expansion opportunities. Additional USB and FireWire ports, wired and wireless modems, and wireless LAN radios are all available in PC Card form. PC Cards and slots come in three sizes: Type I, II, and III. Type I cards are normally used for memory, Type II for input/output devices, and Type III for mass storage and firewalls.

 

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