Are bloggers Lonely?

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Blogosphere is the place you are in, if reading you are right now, right here!

A notion has once again found place in my intuitive little head. Though the idea has been there for quite sometime now, the arguments have gotten stale in this still growing Blogosphere. The question of-course remains to this day, “Are bloggers lonely?”

The cursor and clicks, over the years, have found posts. Posts with similar impressions, showing off traces of delusional mentality, stressed in tone and dialect, with a hint of social awkwardness. Though some seemed temporary blips, others not serious at all, many were with their personal annotations, riling my mind with the dilemma that is the question.

Before calling forth our intellectual might to solve the question, let us understand by a three step process, “What is lonely?”

There is a beautiful quote by Paul Tillich, a German Philosopher – “Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”

The thought provoking statement is a subtle remark to the otherwise siblings lonely and solitary. It emphasizes upon the two words, loneliness and solitude, having similar overtone, yet being so very different. The difference is not in the situation per Se, for alone sticks with both, but in the opinion and state i.e., lonesome are times of pain, and not of ‘fruitful engagement with nobody’.
Thus, bulged out a fired debate concerning the mental outlook of a blogger. And with the boom that has been blogging in this internet age, opinions are many. Continue reading

500 Days of Summer

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Ever gotten bored doing the same thing over and over, listening to the same concepts of life always, pile of rhetorics buttered with voices where the only difference among them are the damn voices. Well, whatever your answer, you are bound to adore the Indie flick, “500 Days of Summer.”

Let’s hope the preceding lines didn’t throw you off the track.
What I was going for, was to put it out there, the word ‘newness.’ Insanely common it does sound to the majority of us, since we have always wanted a newer beginning, or a newer end, a change of technology and precisely a change of perspective. The idea of ‘newness’ is so alluring that mind genuinely drifts off to a bunch of imaginative glimpses, possibly a creation of our mental research. Although, you might accept that even though you are quick to think and explore this newer perspective that has presented itself, you fail to imbibe it in reality. You cumbered by your own defense mechanism, generate scenarios where the change that you seek would not work, and to discourage yourself is all you Continue reading

INSIDE JOB , an Incredible JOB

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Inside Job, one of the most educational documentaries I have had a change to see, captures the plight of recession in a way that can be processed by a common man. The bubble that led to recession, also led to this movie and definitely, this movie does justice in enlightening the economic crisis in a way that many around the world do not even know. It does not take enough financial background to understand what the movie tries to infer, for the commendable job of Director Charles Ferguson explains each ingredient in the bubble’s recipe, that swept the global economy and  led to the greatest recession witnessed since the Great Depression.

I have tried to highlight some important facts that I took from the movie, in my words for people who still are unaware of the discourse. I would recommend each and everyone to watch the film, since recession affected every single life on the planet and everyone deserves to know the truth. Remember, that incomplete information does not lead to a clear understanding and often postulates incorrect results. Its important to know the true story. So, lets find ourselves an in-depth analysis for clear perception.

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What change has Recession brought?

  • Global recession caused the world over $20 trillion, rendered 30 million people unemployed,
  • Doubled national debt of US

What caused the Recession

  • Massive private gains at public loss attributed to the monopoly of investment banks in the financial sector. The strategies were for higher profits and revenue generation in short interval, not accounting bankruptcy as the final verdict.
  • The bonus system, which payed highly, to the employees working for the investment banks and security insurance agencies as soon as the contracts were signed based on short term profits.
  • The derivatives market which entitled anyone to bet on future contracts, options derived from other form of assets.
  • The competition among Investment banks which further led to riskier loan schemes, especially on houses for everyone, not bothered about the financial standing of the borrower.
  • Faulty rating attributed to the CDO (Collateralized debt obligation) which were to be payed to the investors at last. Even the CDO which investment bank bet would fail were sold to costumers based on high ratings by rating agencies.

Earlier Trends

  • Bankers were prohibited to speculate depositor savings
  • They were tightly regulated, as businesses were partnerships and  these partners who put up the money watched it closely
  • The lenders were mostly local

Earlier instances in history

  • 1982, deregulation of saving and loan companies allowed them to pursue risky investments with the depositors money, caused tax payers their money and many people their life savings.
  • The next crisis came at the end of the nineties, investment banks fulled the massive bubble in internet stocks which was followed by a crash in 2001 that cost 5 trillion dollar in investment losses. Internet companies were promoted which were likely to fail and stock analysts were paid based on how much business they bring in.

Understanding Concepts and Happenings

Securitization food chain

  • Participants in the chain – home buyers, lenders, investment banks and investors. Later, rating agencies and security insurance companies become very crucial.
  • Collateralize debt obligations (CDOs) are derived from fixed income assets. The customer loans were placed in sub-prime loans which were riskier and further, formed major component of the CDO. These CDO were mere payments to the investors. The investment bank earn commission at the time of its issue and since, they added these mortgage payments into the complex CDO, the problem of riskier sub-prime loans seemed diluted.
  • Home buyers borrowed money from local lenders, but as is the trend that mortgage payments are to be payed to local lenders, saw a shift. The payments were forwarded to the investment banks, and then on to the investors as CDO. Thus, the chain is more like a bridge where the two ends are borrowers and investors, but there is no interaction between the two. Thus, the connecting dots are lenders and investment banks, who are practically non existent in the system. They are simply forwarding the money and making profits based on interest rates and maximizing the same for greater forwarded CDO. Thus, To increase the number of CDO, the number of loan borrowers need to be maximized, thus lenders proposed easier loan schemes.
  • Credit Rating Agencies assign ratings to the debt obligations such as CDO which are used by broker-dealers, investors, investment banks and governments. These agencies have been speculated to receive compensation for giving higher ratings to CDO by the Investment banks to lure in customers and investors.
  • Further, Investment banks payed rating agencies which gave most of the CDO good rating, resulting in increase of the number of investors and clients, and hence greater earning on commission on part of Investment banks.
  • Derivative Market – a financial innovation, an unstable 50$ trillion unregulated market. When a person invests in derivative, the underlying asset is usually a commodity, bond, stock, or currency. He bet that the value derived from the underlying asset which can be future contracts or options, will increase or decrease by a certain amount within a certain fixed period of time.
  • The role of security insurance companies was to take quarterly premium from investors to secure their stand if their CDO ever failed. These insurance companies went a step ahead and accepted premiums from third parties such as Investment Banks as well. This became possible because of unregulated derivative market, so if the payments went bad, the company had to pay the third party as well. The investment banks used the derivative market to bet on CDO especially designed to fail, and earn money on it. They did not disclose the information of faulty CDO to their customers or investors.

What Government did wrong

  • The public law that prevented banks with consumer deposits to involve in riskier investments was later changed by “Gramm Leach Bliley Act ” which cleared the way for future mergers such as the formation of Citigroup and other conglomerates.
  • On April 28, 2004, the SEC met to consider leverage limits on the investment banks.
  • Never considered regulating highly risky derivative market.
  • Investment Banks were allowed to manipulate market economics by not levying bar on them as they involved in corruption, unprecedented betting etc.

Who was responsible

  • The entire system of securitization of food chain, that saw the giants of financial services exploiting borrowers money, practically gambling with it to increase their short time earnings and revenue, comprising the long term standing of the company. Also, luring the public into loan schemes, unprotected by Government, not in public interest, and finally dumping them with the burden of unemployment.
  • To buy a home is an American Dream, and does it not bother one when the dream becomes so much real, that everyone can own it. The current financial turmoil that eventually led to the severe global recession, undoubtedly urges people to remain more vigilant, to think harder before putting money into the hands of such companies.

Some Quotes in the movie I found essentially Great

  • When you start thinking that you can create something out of nothing it is very difficult to resist.
  • Recently neuroscientists have done experiments where they have taken individuals and put them into an MRI machine and they have to play a game where the price is money and they noticed that when the subjects earn money, the part of the brain that gets stimulated is the same part that cocaine stimulates.
  • Why should a financial engineer be paid 4 – 100 times more than a real engineer? A real engineer builds bridges, a financial engineer build dreams and you know when those dreams turn out to be nightmares, other people pay for it.

Feeling sleepy? How about Segmented Sleep

Earlier today, I was surfing the web and came across a term ‘segmented sleep’. Earlier when I talked about awareness, life, activities, my phrases and conjectures were limited to the five letter word ‘sleep’ but the past few minutes, witnessing many adjectives such as polyphasic, segmented, biphasic etc., as prefix to the so common word ‘sleep’ and have left me confused.

The segmented sleep or the bimodal sleep is an interesting approach to sleeping, which can be inculcated in our regular dynamic life, but its grass root knowledge has been derived from the Medieval times, merely from books and literature, and evaluating habitual occurrence. So, what is this complicated segmented sleep? Continue reading

Graffiti – Revolution or Vandalism

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Exit Through the Gift Shop“, a documentary that brought me one step closer to Graffiti art, more incisively “Street Art” as it is in the modern era. The documentary reveals to the audience, passion, love and skill which some people around the world possess, and effortlessly mediate thoughts into art. Exit from the Gift shop, exit being the joke, on who is uncertain, may be Thierry for being hoax or on us, the public or media for unable to identify true art. The movie seemed authentic and it definitely was simple enough to be true.

Some quotes I found hilarious, although might be mean, hysterical, sarcastic but they are funny,

Banksy: Most artists take years to develop their style, Thierry seemed to miss out on all those bits. Continue reading