Reading List – 2nd Ferbruary, 2014

1.) Framework for non-profits to have clear fundraising conversations.

Article: 10 Non-profit Funding Models

2.) Interesting article on how Amazon.com manages to be a favourite in spite of not churning profits!

Article: Amazon & nil profits

3.)Why Nokia is one of the greatest companies of the world.

Article: Nokia Bridge Programme

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Reading List 21st Nov, 2013

(Was out on a vacation and hence no edition of reading list came out during the last couple of weeks.)

1.) Why drinking hits women harder and why older you get alcohol hits you harder?

Some interesting facts:

  • Body composition starts to change as early as the 30s. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass, while fat content increases. Alcohol isn’t distributed in fat. People also have less total body water as they get older. So if several people have the same amount to drink, those with more fat and less muscle and body water will have more alcohol circulating in their bloodstream.
  • The liver gets bigger as people get older, but the organ becomes less efficient.
  • Enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase breaks down alcohol. Women of all ages tend to have lower levels of this enzyme in the stomach.
  • Moderate/safe amount of drinking is defined as up to two drinks per day for men and up to one drink per day for women, according to the latest federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (A standard drink is about 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor, according to the CDC.)

Article: Alcohol

(All said and done, alcohol is best avoided.)

2.) Naps clear our “Cache’” and so sleep helps us remember more!

Article: Sleep

3.) Why do we value gold?

What is the reason behind gold being accepted as currency and other details on gold.

Article: Gold 

4.) Money transfer systems: simple explanation of the story behind the curtains on how money is transferred.

Article: Money Transfer

Reading List- 23rd Nov, 2013

1.)What if your memory is fake?

Article: Fake memory

Those people who seem to have a photographic memory might just be having a fake memory!

2.) A brilliant innovation gets you fit for the Olympics!

Video: Subway tickets

3.) The story of Mike Tyson. Told again.

Article: Mike Tyson

4.) How Amazon became an everything store

Article: Amazon

5.) Why does airline food suck?

Article: Airline food

Boredom and Low humidity are two key reasons along with constraints in preparing food in the air. We lose sense of taste/flavour due to a blocked sinus and low humidity. This makes us less perceptive of the taste. Interestingly, Indian food is less affected by these conditions due to the fact that naturally permits humid sauces in its preparation.

Reading List – 16th Nov, 2013

1.) What happened during the US Government shutdown?

Article: US Shutdown

2.) How did “Volvo” become synonymous with luxury AC road travel in India.

Case Study: Volvo- India

3.) The secret world of cargo ships. A brilliant story of how cargo gets moved across the world, in most cases the people moving them having no clue as to what they are carrying.

Article: Secret Cargo

4.) The perfect home? How would you design a “connected” intelligent home?

Article: Perfect home

5.) An interesting list of countries ranked in order of the incarceration rates.

Wiki: List

Reading List – 9th November, 2013

1.) How does the pirates business model work? An interesting article on financing Somali Pirates.

Article: Somali Pirates

2.) Would you work harder if you were given a raise? A new Harvard study says yes, but only if it came as a surprise and you thought that you were already being paid the “going rate”.

Article: Pay and performance

3.) What happens if you don’t have telephone, internet? An interesting story about what happened when a US island went completely off grid and only a few locations had connectivity

Article: Disconnected

4.) Fabulous work on micro-franchising from Jibu. A drinking water company set up in Africa.

Article: Microfranchising- Jibu

Interesting perspectives on how concepts like risk sharing, skin in the game and ownership structures can have a major role in deciding the success of delivery channels in any market, especially so for the developing world.

Reading List – 2nd November, 2013

1.) The article emphasises the fact that life is random and can not always be explained by numbers. It also makes a point that we are prone to exaggerate the consistency and coherence we see. As also pointed out by Daniel Kanheman in his book.

Article: Here

2.) The letter of Benjamin Franklin that made the first reference to Daylight Saving Time. It was meant to be a satire mocking the laziness of the French.

Article: Here

3.) Have you ever faced a situation where people in a room couldn’t agree with how cold the air conditioner should be? Looks like here is a solution! A wristband to replace the air-conditioner and give you a “personal” cooling solution.

Article: Here

Some interesting points:

  • In 2007, 87 percent of households in the U.S. used air conditioning, compared to just 11 percent of households in Brazil and a mere 2 percent in India.

4.) A scary article on how consistent use of antibiotics has led to a stage where bacteria is now resistant to almost all forms of antibiotics! (A long read)

Article: Here

5.) Compulsory voting. People in Australia who do not vote have to pay a fine or go to jail.

Article: Here

Some interesting facts:

  • 23 countries across the world have mandatory voting laws. Only 10 of those enforce them.

6.) A fascinating article on medical imaging technologies of the future.

Article: Here

Reading List – 26th October

1.) The article talks about the concept (and practice) of owning shares of an individual! The investors invest in an individual and hope to make returns which form a percentage of the individual’s future income. Uncomfortable situations may be that your investors will vote to decide if you want to have a moustache or if you should commit suicide!

Article: Human Marketplace

2.) Interesting perspective on Amazon’s business model and the story behind the profit-less growth.

Article: Amazon

3.) Why Twitter? A few good points on what twitter has been able to achieve through the medium it provides. It cuts distance and democratizes information/interaction.

Article: Twitter

4.) A short but interesting article on the Psychology of Online Comments. How annonymous comments impact discussions. Annonymous comments may not always be bad. How voting up comments impact behaviour of those making comments.

Article: Online Comments

Some interesting facts from the article:

  • 25% of the online remarks/comments made are annonymous.
  • As the age of a user decreases, chances of making an annonymous online remark increases. 40% of people in the eighteen-to-twenty-nine-year-old demographic have posted anonymously.
  • Reason behind bad behaviour with the crowd – “diffusion of responsibility” i.e. feeling less accountable for your own actions, and becoming more likely to engage in amoral behaviour.

5.) Two interesting articles on Artificial Intelligence. While one (New York Times) argues that we have come a long way with self driving cars, Siri (Apple), etc. The other argues that things like Siri is NOT artificial intelligence because artificial intelligence is about replicating the process of human thinking which these do not!

Article 1: The real meaning of AI

Article 2: The rapid advance of AI

Also found the expanded version of CAPTCHA: “Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart”

6.) Story behind CAPTCHA. How a brilliant idea converts printed books into digitised books by using people on the internet at no cost! As an aside, Luis von Ahn, the inventor, has also created Duolingo which I love! Do check if you want to learn new languages!

Article: Crowd-sourcing digitisation

Reading List – 19th Oct

1.) Talking about the book “Permanent Present Tense” (Basic), by Suzanne Corkin, the article tells us the story of a man who inspired the story of “Memento“, the English movie.

Article: Memory

Some interesting definitions/lessons from the article:

  • Retrograde amnesia-  victims are unable to retrieve some or all of their past knowledge.
  • Anterograde amnesia – victims can’t lay down new memories but memory of the past is more or less intact.
  • Transient global amnesia – a situation when one person has both retrograde and anterograde amnesia.
  • Episodic memories- memory of discrete events in his life
  • Semantic memories- general knowledge of the world, including the meanings of newly encountered words
  •  New memories live in the hippo-campus of the brain

2.) A short piece on psychological pricing argues that pricing at INR 19.99 and not INR 20 has science behind it.

Article: Psychological Pricing

Some interesting definitions/lessons from the article:

  • Prices ending in .99 have higher sales conversion rates than prices ending in one cent/paisa higher!
  • As we’re reading prices, we either round down after the whole numbers in our minds or essentially forget what comes after the beginnings of prices.
  •  When we see a price ending in 9 or .99, we believe the seller has priced the item at the lowest point possible and that we’re getting a great deal.
  • While pricing ending in 9 is perceived as bargain, those (products/services) who position themselves as elegant and special avoid pricing that ends in 9 and often price their products/services with even numbers!

3.) The article talks about the possibility of increasing the speed of internet access by atleast 10 times by using the ubiquitous light bulb!

Article: Li-Fi

Some interesting definitions/lessons from the article:

  • The amount of data that can be transmitted depends upon the frequency of the electromagnetic wave. The lower the frequency of the wave, the less it can transmit.
  •  Energy-saving compact fluorescent bulb flickers between 10,000 and 40,000 times per second. The human eye can not perceive the flicker.
  • Light could be a key source of internet connectivity underwater where wi-fi does not work.

4.) How does honey kept sealed in a jar last for so long?

Article: Honey

Some interesting definitions/lessons from the article:

  • Honey has very little water. Water is necessary for survival of microbes which lead to spoilage.
  • When the bees regurgitate the nectar from their mouths into the combs to make honey, an enzyme mixes with the nectar, breaking it down and releasing hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is an agent that does not let microbes survive.
  • Honey will not spoil till it is not allowed to absorb water from the atmosphere.
  • Honey sucks water out of things it comes in touch with and hence used for healing wounds in ancient days.