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Friday, 19 July 2019

Weekend Reading - Some Interesting Stuff


1) Pay attention to your attention
I felt that I had to pay attention to my attention, that I had to focus on my focus. It was new. It wasn’t something I’d had to think about since I was a kid.
The same way we discovered that the sedentary lifestyles of the 20th century required us to physically exert ourselves and work our bodies into healthy shape, I believe we’re on the cusp of discovering a similar necessity for our minds. We need to consciously limit our own comforts. We need to force our minds to strain themselves, to work hard for their information, to deprive our attention of the constant stimulation that it craves.
The same way the consumer economy of the 20th century called upon us to invent the nutritional diet, I believe that the attention economy of the 21st century calls upon us to invent an attention diet. 
The first and most important goal of an attention diet should be to consciously limit the number of distractions we’re exposed to.
Basically, the name of the game is quality over quantity. Because in a world with infinite information and opportunity, you don’t grow by knowing or doing more, you grow by the ability to correctly focus on less.


2) Tax on BigTech by France - will others follow?
France has approved a digital services tax despite threats of retaliation by the US, which argues that it unfairly targets American tech giants. The 3% tax will be levied on sales generated in France by multinational firms like Google and Facebook. The French government has argued that such firms headquartered outside the country pay little or no tax. At present, they are able to pay little or no corporate tax in countries where they do not have a large physical presence. They declare most of their profits where they are headquartered. The European Commission estimates that on average traditional businesses face a 23% tax rate on their profits within the EU, while internet companies typically pay 8% or 9%.France has long argued that taxes should be based on digital, not just physical presence. It announced its own tax on big technology firms last year after EU-wide efforts stalled.

3) Is FaceApp, the new sensation, safe or is it collecting information about you to be able to misuse later?
Wireless Lab, the company behind FaceApp, has very expansive Terms of Service that raise a growing number of privacy concerns. Section 5 of the Terms of Service “grants FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.”
“You just sent them close up, well-lit images of your face,” he continues. “Now, they know your name and vital details and can create an annotated image record of you as a human. The next model would have no problem triangulating and verifying and adding more data from other sources like LinkedIn which would then give them your education, your work history, skies the limit.”

4) Cordless charging of EV batteries - now a reality
If the future of mobility is destined to be electric, CEO Alex Gruzen of WiTricity wants to make sure it’s cordless, too. WiTricity, a Massachusetts-based start-up, designs systems that deliver power wirelessly to car batteries using a technology known as magnetic resonance.
Electric vehicles are now the single largest consumer of battery-watt hours. EVs have surpassed cell phones and all consumer electronics. That’s kind of remarkable, given the billions of phones sold every year.
This summer, they hit a major milestone: for the first time, a global automaker, BMW, launched a plug-in hybrid car featuring their wireless-charging technology.

5) What is wrong with India's PSU banking system in the backdrop of 50 years of bank nationalization
Bank nationalization was a by-product of a power struggle between Gandhi and rivals within the Indian National Congress party that was only superficially about economics. 
Gandhi wanted to isolate her rivals, including her finance minister, and force them out of the government. So, she maneuvered them into declaring that the public sector was inefficient and should be dismantled. Then she herself took the opposite position, nationalizing the banks and leaving her enemies with no option but to go. It was a matter of intra-party politics, not poverty relief.
The Harvard Business School economist Shawn Cole found that “while nationalization initially spurred financial development and caused unprecedented amounts of credit to flow to agriculture, this came at a cost of lower quality intermediation. Moreover, a more than doubling of agricultural credit to villages led to no measurable increase in agricultural investment. Even the increase in credit was not sustained.”
The effect on industry, meanwhile, was clearly negative. Banks, once nationalized, became risk-averse and hidebound, rarely lending to new firms. Under-lending became chronic; manufacturers found themselves severely short of credit. Bank officials did not have to care about finding and evaluating profitable firms. Instead they lent to those companies selected, for whatever reason, by their political bosses.
Such cronyism led to periodic bad loan crises that required bailouts by the banks’ owners, the taxpayers. The same dynamic continues to this day: The last Indian budget set aside 700 billion rupees ($10.2 billion) for recapitalizing public sector banks. This means a total of 2.7 trillion rupees has been infused into the state-controlled banking sector since 2017. Even so, banks are still burdened with bad assets and reluctant to lend.



1 comment:

  1. Attention diet is a very good one , thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete