Equity Advisory

Are you looking for an honest, transparent and independent equity research and advisory? www.intelsense.in is run by Abhishek Basumallick for retail investors. Subscribe for long term wealth creation.

Thursday 9 December 2021

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

1. Robots that can reproduce

Now scientists have discovered an entirely new form of biological reproduction—and applied their discovery to create the first-ever, self-replicating living robots.


The same team that built the first living robots ("Xenobots," assembled from frog cells—reported in 2020) has discovered that these computer-designed and hand-assembled organisms can swim out into their tiny dish, find single cells, gather hundreds of them together, and assemble "baby" Xenobots inside their Pac-Man-shaped "mouth"—that, a few days later, become new Xenobots that look and move just like themselves.


And then these new Xenobots can go out, find cells, and build copies of themselves. Again and again.


"With the right design—they will spontaneously self-replicate," says Joshua Bongard, a computer scientist and robotics expert at the University of Vermont who co-led the new research.



2. Animals are already coping with climate change

The author of a new book has seen first-hand the effects of climate change on plants and animals in the wild: the green macaws of Central America migrating along with their food sources, the brown bears of Alaska fattening up on early-ripening berry crops, the conifers of New England seeking refuge from vanishing habitats.


Biologists monitoring the lizard species, which survived back-to-back Caribbean hurricanes in 2017, noticed that after the hurricanes, the lizard populations had longer front legs, shorter back legs and grippier toe pads on average than they had before. An experiment with a leaf blower showed that these traits help the lizards cling to branches better — survival of the fittest in action.


In the end, the outcomes for species will probably be as varied as their circumstances. Some organisms have already moved, adapted or died as a result of the warming, and many more will face challenges from changes that are yet to come.


The author Thor Hanson points out how plants and animals are responding to climate change: by doing everything they can.




3. Why Meat Delivery Remains a Tough Market To Crack Online

Several meat-delivery start-ups like Licious, FreshToHome are unleashing disruptions to redefine how Indians consume meat. With this fillip, meat delivery startups have chalked up lofty plans. Many are looking to expand to more cities and also go overseas, while others are looking at opening offline stores.


Licious touched the coveted $1 billion valuation mark in October 2021. Naturally, with this sudden turnaround in fortunes—fuelled, in part, by the pandemic—competition in the meat delivery space is intensifying. Experts say that the segment will continue to be dominated by Licious and FreshToHome, making it a two-horse race between them for market leadership, but other players will also make a noticeable mark, considering the massive size that the fish, meat and poultry market represents: $50 billion currently and poised to touch $80 billion by 2024.


Despite all the positives, Online meat delivery currently accounts for less than 1% of the overall meat industry, which is still held together by local stores, wet markets and business-to-business suppliers and exporters. Organized offline players in the space—such as Suguna, Venky’s and Godrej Agrovet—have managed to create a Rs. 280 crore ‘processed frozen’ segment in the poultry space, according to a Hindu Businessline report. Complex supply chain is another challenge that online meat delivery startups have to manage.




4. The Good & Bad of Daylight Saving Time

On the first Sunday of every November, Americans wake up an hour later than usual. At 2 am, while everyone remains asleep, clocks add an extra hour and reset to 1 am. They now have a 25 hour day!


At the start of spring/summer in March every year, countries like America move the clocks ahead. Clocks jump from 2 am to 3 am and in the process, they forego an hour of sleep. They do this because it fundamentally alters the way each day works from that point onwards. For instance, if the sun were to rise at 6 am, right about when spring approaches, you’d be sleeping until 7 or 8 am and “wasting” sunlight. But imagine if it rose an hour later — at 7 am instead? Then you could wake up right around sunrise and feel like you did a lot more. And guess what? This jugglery would also mean the sun would set an hour later — 8 pm instead of 7 pm. So with this one move, you’d have felt like you put all that sunlight to good use.


However, by winter, you’d have to undo this change because by then, you’d see the sun rising at 8 am for instance — which is counterproductive. You’d be waking at 7 am and it would be pitch dark outside. So they add an extra hour at 2 am (in some places).


But it turns out that moving the clock doesn’t just affect the economy, it also affects health and wellbeing. And this happens because moving the clock ahead affects our natural sleep cycle. It takes time for people to reacquaint themselves with this new order of business and it can be catastrophic in some cases.


Studies show that this disruption to sleep increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. Heart attacks increase by 24% in the week after clocks move ahead in March. It even leads to more accidents. In the US, car crashes caused by “sleepy daylight-saving drivers” may have killed at least 30 extra people during 2002–2011. In the mining industry, there’s a 6% rise in injuries which leads to a 67% increase in workdays that are lost. 




5. The Chinese desperation for semiconductor chip tech

The three industry leaders in IC manufacturing – TSMC, Samsung, and Intel – have announced plans to invest over $300 Billion in the next ten years. That’s a big number even for Beijing. (Despite its government support, SMIC has not been able to commit the full amount of the $8.8 billion its 28-nm foundry will require. They’ll still be looking to raise billions from outside investors.)


These are all symptoms of China’s structural inability to compete in this industry, to solve the semiconductor problem organically, through internal development. With such a massive investment deficit, it is virtually certain that the technology gap will widen. China will likely fall further behind. 


The last few years have added new pressure, as the U.S. has slowly choked off the IC pipeline. American policies directed against unfair trade, technology theft, national security risks, and complicated by geopolitical rivalries and diplomatic conflicts, have tightened the noose. For example, Huawei – China’s champion in the telecommunications sector – has been crippled by the denial of access to American semiconductors. 


No comments:

Post a Comment