Category Archives: Uncategorized

When I went to watch a Hindi movie

So on Wednesday I watched a Hindi movie in a theatre after a gap of a year and three months. The previous time too, Ashwin was with me, though the rest of the personnel were disjoint. Anuroop also joined us this time, before he embarks on a mission to sell phones in the seven hills. I had seen Baradwaj Rangan’s positive review of Jaane tu ya jaane na and wanted to see it. And given that there was no other half-decent movie around, we decided to go.

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Billing rates

When I got my house painted three months back, the head painter suggested a new method of calculating his fees. Instead of charging by the man hour, which is how usually painters are charged, this guy proposed that we pay him by the square foot. Once all the work was done, he and I together measured up our house, and calculated his fee based on that.

And he had different slabs of rates, depending on whether we were using a single or a double coat, and there was a different rate for windows and grill work (there’s a lot of those in my house). This method of fee calculation was extremely convenient from my perspective as I didn’t have to run after the painters and make sure they were working. In the traditional model of hourly payment, you need to run after the workers and make sure they are working. If they take a tea break, they are wasting your money. If they are doing something slowly, again you are at a loss.

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Munger on urban transportation

The latest podcast on Econtalk has Duke economist Mike Munger talking about public transport, and how things have changed for the worse in Santiago after public transport was nationalized.

One of the points mentioned in the podcast talks about homogeneity in services after nationalization. Munger talks about how usage of the public transport system dropped after nationalization and people started using their cars much more. The reason, he mentions, is that earlier there were different classes of service. But the current left-of-center government decided that everyone has to travel in the same way and so the class system in buses was abolished.

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Just wondering

Can Country A do something to Country B at the WTO because the latter is not passing on full fuel price to the customer, leading to no decline in supply? demand and consequently high prices of oil for Country A?

How do these kind of things work? Is it possible for one country to destroy market in another by controlling prices within the first country?

(new comment policy stands for now; in case you can’t comment, mail me at skthewimp [at] yahoo [dot] com)


?plays bass for this new HindRock band called Arth. They have just released their first demo. You can find both the demo songs as well as the band’s blog here.

They have released three songs so far and they are all excellent, except for the vocals. Lyrics are awful as is the singing. I was telling Hari that they will get a much better response if only they translate the songs to some slightly more obscure language. Anyways, I urge you to listen the songs

Water Privatization revisited

I first wrote about water privatization on this blog back in 2006. I had written that bit as part of a term paper for an infrastructure course at IIMB, and it seemed like we didn’t do too well as far as the term paper went.

I revisited the topic sometime last year when i talked about water privatization in Kundapur. I cross posted that on the Indian Economy Blog also.

My main argument there was that privatization of water would ensure an OPTION for everyone to access clean piped drinking water, and this option value would offset the higher prices faced by those who already have the connection – who are mainly the reasonably well to do.

The latest to comment on this matter is Tyler Cowen. Writing in the Forbes, he calls for unregulated privatization of water supply in developing countries. And he mentions precisely the same reasons as I did in my earlier posts.

I hope Prof. Ranga, who didn’t give us enough credit for our term paper back then, is reading this.

Breaking Promises, Uncertainty and Empty Roads – The Third Bangalore Photowalk

When I thought about starting this Photo Walk thing, I had told myself “no MG Road” business. I had thought that it’s an area of Bangalore that everyone goes to and so there’s not much value added by having a Photo Walk in that area. “It’s too cliched”, I had thought. But then, about a month back, on a cloudy Sunday morning, I was walking from the Mayo Hall area to Richmond road, along Commissariat road. And I noticed a number of things that I thought are eminently photograph-able. And that this place deserves a photo walk.

I will still keep the promise. We won’t touch M G Road during the walk. However, the walk will be in this general area. We begin at the junction of Brigade Road and Residency Road at 8 am. We are moving back to the old starting time since this allows people to have a round of breakfast before the walk begins. I must mention here that this time, I haven’t made any plans for us to go for a collective breakfast after the walk.

Photo walks are much more random than I had initially thought. You get a diverse variety of characters. You have slow-moving people and fast-moving people. Shutterbugs and people who just prefer to walk. People who want to take a single building from seven angles, and those who give one look and walk on. This leads to tremendous uncertainty, uncertainty with respect to the distance covered. Given that most of us are fairly flexible with respect to distance, and not so much with respect to time (we should wind up at 10am), the solution would be to bring in more uncertainty – the route itself is uncertain to an extent.

Half the route is an area that is usually bustling with people, but you won’t find too many of them early on a Sunday morning.Hopefully traffic won’t be as heavy as it was on Nrupatunga Road a fortnight ago. There are a number of photograph-able old buildings. There are also a number of photograph-able new buildings. And enough of quirky signboard-level stuff to interest people like me. Enough of the globing now, and I’ll get to the details.

The Third Bangalore PhotoWalk

Date: 29th June 2008, Sunday
Time: 8 am to 10 am
Starting point: Intersection of Brigade Road and Residency Road.
Ending point: Intersection of Brigade Road and Residency Road.

We start off by moving up along residency road, in the general direction of Mayo Hall. On the way, we take photographs of the nice Opera building, and also the large number of modern buildings that have come up in this stretch. Once we reach Mayo Hall, we do a couple of pradakshinas to the place while taking photographs. We then pay homage to the deceased Victoria Hotel, and take snaps of the ugly Bangalore Central.

Next, we move on to commissariat road, and along with some police quarters, there are a couple of nice buildings before we hit Garuda Mall. We continue walking on, and there are a lot more interesting things to photograph here, until we hit Richmond Road, near Lifestyle. We walk along Richmond Road towards Shoolay Circle, and on the way there is the Sacred Hearts Church and some school. This ends the deterministic portion of the walk.

The next part of the walk (random as of now) will be in the inner lanes of Richmond Town. Just to throw around a few names, the roads we will cover will be Pulliyar Koil street, Markham Road, Castle street, Wood street, etc. Of course, this is all probabilistic. We will be walking extensively here if we have the time. Not at all if we don’t.

We hope to emerge out of the inner lanes of Richmond town somewhere on Museum Road, and we will use that to return to Residency Road. Once back on Residency Road, we will pay homage to the non-existent Imperial cinema hall, and then walk up another hundred meters, and we will end up where we started off. I’ll conclude by telling you all the story again – I’d have told it to you right at the beginning. Maybe if people have the enthu, we could even shoot a small video.

Here is the link to the probabilistic route that we are going to take on the 29th.

We should adjust our travels through the inner lanes in a way that we conclude at 10 am.

I’m just back from an “unofficial non-public photo walk”.

? landed up in Bangalore yesterday and demanded a photowalk. We walked around the MG Road-Brigade Road-Church Street- Rest House Crescent area (which anyways is taboo for official photowalks). I’ll upload the pics soon.

Looking forward to your participation. Let me know regarding your participation either by leaving a comment here (along with your name and maybe some kind of contact details) or by mailing me at skthewimp [at] yahoo [dot] com. Please do the usual PR – link to this from your blog, or put this up on your site, or write about this in your newspaper, or just tell people. And ask them to RSVP. And you also please RSVP.

Letting Bear fail

This is a tubelight post. Was supposed to have written this two months back.

I sometimes wonder if the US Fed did the right thing by encouraging JP Morgan to buy out Bear Stearns rather than to just let the latter fail. I know letting it fail would have had significant negative impact on the already struggling financial sector. But wouldn’t it have sent out a nice message for the longer term? That nobody was too big to fail? Wouldn’t this have significantly improved the quality of derivatives contracts in the long term?

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