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Friday 3 July 2020

Weekend Reading

Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week.

I especially try to not post Corona related articles as that is all one gets to read in all traditional media.


If you like the collection this consider forwarding it to someone who you think will appreciate.

The story of Parle-G
This is one article which I found fascinating at many levels. Deals with the history of Parle-G and also touches on the complexity of manufacturing and distribution in a constrained time like the Covid lockdown.

Across the country’s varied culinary landscape—where what one eats can signal class, caste, religion, ethnicity, and income—Parle-G biscuits are neutral. Wealthier Indians dip them in milky tea, poorer ones in water. Beyond the product itself, the people who make it illustrate the complexity and interdependent nature of the Indian economy, reliant at once on full-time workers and day labourers, not simply across the supply chain but often at the same company, even on the same factory floor. The Parle-G biscuit is, in many ways, bound up in multiple Indias—that of the formal and informal economy; that of big retail chains with their advanced supply chains and online stores, and mom-and-pop stores that have neighborhood credit systems; that of the rich, and the poor.



Deepfakes can be useful - if they don't become a menace

Synthetic media technologies—popularly known as deepfakes—have real potential for positive impact. Voice synthesis, for example, will allow us to speak in hundreds of languages in our own voice. Video synthesis may help us simulate self-driving-car accidents to avoid mistakes in the future. And text synthesis can accelerate our ability to write both programs and prose.

But these advances can come at a gargantuan cost if we aren’t careful: the same underlying technologies can also enable deception with global ramifications.



Negative news is bad for your health

Research shows us that even in normal times, constant exposure to negative news can have a heavy impact on our mental health. Among other things, negative news increases the level of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. Continuous exposure to cortisol has been shown to cause severe side effects, including being unable to naturally regulate blood pressure. Furthermore, negative news stories have been shown to significantly change an individual’s mood and mindset — particularly if there is a tendency to emphasize suffering, death, and other emotional components of the story.



Market timing is not possible

Markets are second-order systems. What this means is that in order to successfully implement such market timing strategies you not only have to be able to predict events — interest rate rises, wars, oil price shocks, the impact of the coronavirus, the outcome of elections and referendums — you also need to know what the market was expecting and how it will react and get your timing right. Tricky. When it comes to so-called market timing there are only two sorts of people: those who can’t do it, and those who know they can’t do it. It’s safer and more profitable to be in the latter camp.



Augmented reality used for the first time in spine surgery

Augmedics, a pioneer in augmented reality, surgical image guidance has announced its groundbreaking xvision Spine System has been successfully used for the first time in a spinal fusion surgery in the United States.  The system was used in a spinal surgery procedure by Johns Hopkins University surgeons. xvision, the first Augmented Reality Guidance system for surgery, allows surgeons to visualize the 3D spinal anatomy of a patient during surgery as if they had “x-ray vision,” and to accurately navigate instruments and implants while looking directly at the patient, rather than a remote screen. The xvision Spine System takes the best of surgical navigation systems and improves upon them to meet the needs of surgeons and provide technical confidence in the operating room.


Disclaimer: Abhishek Basumallick is the Head of the equity advisory www.intelsense.in for long term wealth creation and a pure quant focused newsletter at www.quantamental.in. The blog posts should not be construed as investment advice. Please do your own due diligence before investing.

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