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 7 April 2022

Weekend Reading - 08-Apr-22

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.

You can sign up to https://www.getrevue.co/profile/intelsense to receive all blogs from me directly into your inbox.

Friday 1 April 2022

Weekend Reading: 02-Apr-22

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.


You can sign up to https://www.getrevue.co/profile/intelsense to receive all blogs from me directly into your inbox.

Advisory Performance for FY22

1. Price Anchoring: How Anchor Prices Increase Sales

When Steve Jobs announced the first iPad, he told the crowd that analysts predicted he would sell it for $999. He put $999 on a big screen and let it sit there while he spoke.


When it came time to reveal the actual price, the $999 was flattened by a falling $499. With a simple animation, everyone in the room (who would undoubtedly buy an iPad) felt like they just saved $500.


What’s interesting is that no one in the room had any idea what an iPad was worth. How could they? It was a brand new product. Yet somehow they felt like they had the opportunity to buy it for less than its value. 


Price anchoring refers to the practice of establishing a price point which customers can refer to when making decisions. Every time you see a discount with “$100  $75” , the $100 is the price anchor for the $75 sales price. 


A product is truly never "cheap" or "expensive"; it’s all relative. People love to compare when valuing products and having an anchor price allows them to do that. 


Another potential strategy is to show your competitors’ prices on your pricing page. This gives your customers a frame of reference from which they can evaluate your product, but also risks drawing in competitive options for them to choose from



We are all in this together

The Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) and the West African Monsoon (WAM) are of immense significance for around 1.7 billion people of India, northern and central Africa.


But both systems are undergoing adverse changes due to global warming. So much so that both these systems have been included under global climate tipping points.


Global tipping points are thresholds in large planetary systems that once crossed, would lead to irreversible changes and disruption of one climate tipping point could lead to disruption of other climate tipping points as well, forming a cascade.


The WAM always has had the potential of impacting the Indian monsoon system. The circulation in the tropics is interconnected (walker circulation). Therefore, changes in circulation in one place is likely to affect circulation far afield due to an altered walker circulation.


Future projections show a possible weak intensification of the WAM in the future. Therefore, other factors may play a stronger role in altering the ISM intensity. On the other hand, the realisation of the Great Green Wall in the Sahel region may strengthen the intensity of the WAM significantly and this may have a cascade effect on the ISM.




Status games

Status is relative to the context in which it is being evaluated. In other words, VCs don’t care how much you can bench and weightlifters don’t care about your investment returns. Both groups have their own standards for judging members of their community and they care much less about everything else.


This is why you have to choose your status game wisely. Because whatever status game you choose in life ultimately determines what you optimize for. Choose money and you’ll end up working all the time. Choose beauty and you’ll always want to look better. Choose fame and you’ll constantly be seeking attention.


Each of these choices has consequences too. Your pursuit of wealth could leave your personal relationships in shambles. Your pursuit of beauty could impact your mental and physical health. Your pursuit of fame could end up ruining your reputation.


Whatever status game you decide to play, you have to ask yourself: are the benefits worth the costs?



Root causes can run very deep

Every current event has parents, grandparents, great grandparents, siblings, and cousins. Ignoring that family tree can muddy your understanding of events, giving a false impression of why things happened, how long they might last, and under what circumstances they might happen again. Viewing events in isolation, without an appreciation for their deep roots, helps explain everything from why forecasting is hard to why politics is nasty.


Japan’s economy has been stagnant for 30 years because its demographics are terrible. Its demographics are terrible because it has a cultural preference for small families. That preference began in the late 1940s when, after losing its empire, its people nearly starved and froze to death each winter when the nation couldn’t support its existing population.


It was almost the opposite in America. The end of wartime production in 1945 scared policymakers, who feared a recession. So they did everything they could to make it easier for consumers to spend money, which boosted the economy, which inflated consumers’ social expectations, which led to a household debt boom that culminated with the 2008 crash.



The origin story of April Fool's Day

Some credit the ancient Roman festival of Hilaria as the inspiration of April Fools’ Day. Hilaria took place at the end of March and was a day of joy, merriment, and dressing up in disguises.


One origin story starts in France, where one source states that April Fools’ Day may have begun as far back as 1582 and explains why April 1 is the special date. That’s when France switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. And, no, this isn’t the funny part. Evidently, some folks didn’t hear about the calendar change, which came about because of the Council of Trent in 1563. So they didn’t know that they were supposed to start the new year on January 1 instead of April 1, as had been done in the past. According to Snopes.com, French peasants would go to their neighbours’ houses to pretend they were playing a New Year’s Day call on them. If the people really thought it was the start of the new year, they were considered April fools. This is a fun story, but as noted above, some historic references to April Fools’ Day date before 1582.


Thursday 24 March 2022

Weekend Reading: 25-Mar-22

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.


Shrinkflation is the answer to price inflation

Downsizing a product while keeping its price the same is sometimes called “shrinkflation”—a combination of the words shrink and inflation. Companies face higher prices for their supplies and may try to pass that onto the consumer. Downsizing a product reduces costs for manufacturers.


Shoppers tend to be price-sensitive but they may not notice subtle changes in packaging, or read the fine print on the size or weight of a product. The result is that consumers are less likely to notice getting less if the price is the same.


“Downsizing comes in waves, and it tends to happen during times of increased inflation,” said Edgar Dworsky, a consumer rights lawyer that keeps track of downsized products on consumerworld.org. “Bottom lines are being pinched and there’s three basic options: raise the price directly, take a little bit out of the product, or reformulate the product with cheaper ingredients.”




The five-day office workweek is dying

In the past few months, I’ve noticed that tech, media, and finance companies have basically stopped talking about their full return-to-office plans. And I’m not the only one. “I talk to hundreds of companies about remote work, and 95 percent of them now say they’re going hybrid, while the other 5 percent are going full remote,” Nick Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, told me. The exceptions to the rule, such as Goldman Sachs, are scarce.


“The number of person-days in the office is never going back to pre-pandemic average, ever,” Bloom told me. After two years of working from home, he said, employees don’t just prefer it. They also feel like they’re getting better at it. Despite widespread reports of burnout, self-reported productivity has increased steadily in the past year, according to his research.


According to Bloom’s research, the most popular model of hybrid work has employees in the office Tuesday through Thursday. “This model, with Friday through Monday out of office, is hugely attractive to new hires, and it’s become a key weapon for companies,” he said. “It’s not that everybody gets a four-day weekend, but rather it gives them flexibility to travel on Fridays and Mondays, while continuing to work.”

What the Remote-Work Revolution Means for Cities - The Atlantic


Be careful of vegan cheese

Vegan cheese is now ubiquitous, but few people seem to know what it's actually made of. They may seem synonymous with modern life, but meat and dairy-free alternatives have been around for centuries. Fermented tofu, which originated in China, for example, has been consumed for around 1,500 years.


Cheese has a unique structure that allows it to be solid at room temperature, and melt at a higher temperature. Some vegetable fats can do the same – coconut oil and palm oil, for example, which are both common ingredients in vegan cheeses. But animal cheese can also do something that is difficult to replicate using plant-based ingredients – stretch as it melts. What makes animal cheese go gooey and bubbly when grilled is a protein found in cow's milk called casein. So far, no one has found a vegan alternative.


Thankfully, vegan cheese-makers agree that dairy-free alternatives have become much more appetising over the last decade. This is largely thanks to one ingredient: cashew nuts.


And cashews aren't the only main ingredient used in vegan cheeses. Many companies use oils, like coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature and liquid at higher temperatures. One possible concern is that this is very high in saturated fat – coconut oil contains around 82% saturated fat compared to 63% in butter and only 39% of lard. However, vegan cheesemakers argue that people don't eat cheese, or vegan alternatives, for the health benefits.




‘Tentacle Robot’ Powered By Magnets Can Delve Into Narrow Tubes Of Human Lungs

 A robot that can reach some of the smallest bronchial tubes in the lungs using magnets to take tissue samples or deliver cancer therapy has been developed by University of Leeds researchers.


Doctors are limited in how they can move a bronchoscope, making it difficult to navigate the instrument and the catheter to where they are needed. The magnetic tentacle robot has been developed to be much more manoeuvrable and uses a robotic guidance system that is personalised for each procedure.


To reduce the size of the robot while retaining controllability of motion, the researchers manufactured it from a series of interlinked cylindrical segments, each 2mm in diameter and around 80mm in length. The segments were made of a soft elastomeric or rubber-like material which had been impregnated with tiny magnetic particles.


Because of the presence of the magnetic particles, the interlinked segments can move somewhat independently under the effect of an external magnetic field. The result is a magnetic tentacle robot which is highly flexible, able to shape shift and small enough to avoid snagging on anatomical structures in the lungs.



Fantasy games are getting addictive

Fuelled by smartphone adoption, cheap data, and easy digital payment methods, the online gaming industry in India is expected to nearly triple from $1.1 billion in 2019 to $2.8 billion by the end of 2022, according to Deloitte. In 2019, India saw its first fantasy gaming unicorn, the Tiger Global–backed Dream11; in 2021 Sequoia Capital–backed Mobile Premier League (MPL) became the second company in the sector to join the billion-dollar valuation club. A host of smaller fantasy gaming platforms — My11Circle, MyTeam11, Fan2Play, and 11 Wickets— have gained popularity in India in the last couple of years.


But the rise of these fantasy gaming apps has led to a spike in gaming and gambling addiction over the last few years, according to doctors at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Bengaluru’s Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT). Much as in China and the U.S., the phenomenon is also spurring the rise of gaming addiction facilities to help individuals.


Friday 18 March 2022

Weekend Reading: 18-Mar-22

Wishing all of you a very Happy Holi. 

This week I wrote a piece on why macro is important for CNBC. You can read it here - https://www.cnbctv18.com/market/stocks/view--stock-market-investing-and-navigating-the-macro-context-12846572.htm

Also, I was interviewed separately on two occasions by Business Today, one for their new business channel (currently only available online). You can read/view it here:

Now to the Weekend Reading for the week.

1. Ethanol may not be better than fossil fuels

As a way to replace dwindling reserves of oil, ethanol subsidies had a certain brutal logic, especially if oil prices were going to keep rising with no end in sight. But as a way to address climate change, the program never made any sense. Corn ethanol may well be worse for the climate than fossil fuels, and the program does significant damage to both the economy and the environment. Its sole beneficiaries are large agricultural corporations—and the politicians who serve them.


Cheap gasoline is nice in the short term, but in exchange for that, the RFS gives us more expensive food. In the United States, the cultivation of corn for ethanol now requires a staggering 38 million acres of land—an area larger than the state of Illinois. By comparison, the total area of cropland used to produce grains and vegetables that humans eat is only about twice that acreage. In other words, the U.S. devotes enough land to corn-ethanol production to feed 150 million people.


Many studies have shown that the greenhouse-gas impacts collaterally associated with ethanol production—the full “carbon-cycle” effect—negate that 20 percent reduction and may even make corn ethanol worse for the climate than fossil fuels.


A large amount of fossil fuel is required to produce, grow, harvest, transport, and especially process a gallon of ethanol, eating up much of the difference in carbon emissions between ethanol and regular gasoline.


Moreover, as the report notes, the production and use of ethanol results in higher emissions of ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur oxide than fossil fuels. Studies have demonstrated that corn production with nitrogen-based fertilizers releases high levels of nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere, which not only destroys ozone but has a higher greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide. And when those costs are added to the lost carbon sequestration from deforestation and other land-use changes, the impact on greenhouse-gas emissions from ethanol production is at best only slightly beneficial, and could be even worse for the climate than gasoline.



2. Don't ignore your gut feelings

Despite popular belief, there’s a deep neurological basis for intuition. Scientists call the stomach the “second brain” for a reason. There’s a vast neural network of 100 million neurons lining your entire digestive tract. That’s more neurons than are found in the spinal cord, which points to the gut’s incredible processing abilities.


When you approach a decision intuitively, your brain works in tandem with your gut to quickly assess all your memories, past learnings, personal needs, and preferences and then makes the wisest decision given the context. In this way, intuition is a form of emotional and experiential data that leaders need to value.


Even if you’re not consciously using your intuition, you still probably experience benefits from it every day. Everyone knows what it feels like to have a pit in your stomach as you weigh a decision. That’s the gut talking loud and clear.



3. Waste Heat From Data Centres Used To Warm Local Buildings

Data centres typically consume huge amounts of energy – a significant proportion of which is used to cool the facilities due to the enormous amount of waste heat that is generated during computation.


The waste heat from these local data centres will eventually be used to heat nearby buildings as a way to improve energy efficiency.


An AI system combines sensor data with airflow simulations so that cooling can be specifically targeted. At the same time, the computing loads in the three test data centres spread across different countries are distributed in such a way that all three facilities can be operated as energy-efficiently as possible.


The facilities will be integrated directly into the energy systems of their surrounding neighbourhoods and are to be supplied with renewable energy whenever possible.


The waste heat from the facilities are fed into existing medium- or low-temperature networks. In winter, it can therefore directly feed the building’s heating system and, over the year, simultaneously serves as a source for a heat pump that provides domestic hot water.



4. The untold story of Facebook Marketplace

(You need to read the whole story - Abhishek)

Facebook Marketplace is the world’s second-largest marketplace, in terms of monthly active users, behind only Amazon. It’s ahead of Alibaba, Walmart, eBay, Taobao, and has quietly left the once-unconquerable Craigslist in the dust. For years, I’ve been curious to learn what it took to make Facebook Marketplace work, when so many local marketplaces (including Facebook’s previous attempts) have failed. There is no better human alive to tell this story than Deb Liu, and below, for the first time, Deb shares the story behind Facebook Marketplace.


Deb led the team that pitched, built, launched, and scaled Facebook Marketplace from just an idea to what it is today. During her 11 years at Facebook/Meta, she also led teams that built Facebook Login, Facebook Pay, Facebook Commerce Manager, and dozens of other foundational Facebook products.



5. Water - Africa’s Gold

Women and children in Africa spend 4.5 million years collecting water every year: A pan-continental shortage has made hunting for water a daily exercise and forced Africans to spend more on water than on food.


In five of the past six years, Madagascar has reported severely deficient rainy seasons. In the past two years, rainfall has reduced by 40 per cent — the lowest in three decades. Since November last, the country’s public sector water company Jirama has conducted more than 30 cloud seeding operations. Localities in Malagasy highlands of central Madagascar did get rains but soon the dry weather followed.


With a near collapse of agriculture that employs 80 per cent of the country’s population and with 1.3 million of the country’s 27.7 million population surviving on food aids, the World Food Programme has termed this as the “first famine” caused by global warming.


Wednesday 16 March 2022

Ignore macros at your own peril


We spend essentially no time thinking about macroeconomics factors. In other words, if somebody handed us a prediction by the most revered intellectual on the subject, with figures for unemployment or interest rates or whatever it might be for the next two years, we would not pay any attention to it. ~ Warren Buffett

If you spend 13 minutes a year on economics, you’ve wasted 10 minutes. ~ Peter Lynch

I am a lifelong admirer of Buffett and to a lesser extent of Lynch. But in this particular aspect, I think both of them are completely wrong.

Before you start trolling me and asking who is this guy who dares to contradict two of the greatest investors in the world, hear me out 😊

Major market crashes happen on macro factors

Think back to all the market crashes you have witnessed or read about. Covid crash, US Housing crash of 2008, Dotcom crash, Harshad Mehta crash. All have been results of some macro event. You may have done a lot of detailed fundamental research on a company and invested. But one fine morning the business or the market situation completely changes. Due to external factors completely beyond the control of the business, its earnings can get seriously impacted. Buffett, for example, had positions in the ‘Big 4’ - American, Delta, Southwest, United before Covid. He had near 10% stake in each. His logic was fuel prices were on a secular downtrend and airlines had become like the railroads. So much so, he was even contemplating buying an entire airline (https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/26/buffetts-hunting-for-deals-and-wouldnt-rule-out-owning-an-entire-airline.html). Then Covid crisis came. Macro event. Nothing to do with the airlines’ businesses. No fundamental research about the industry or company could have predicted the unprecedented contraction in earnings. Buffett sold out all his stocks. Possibly he panicked at the wrong time, but that is a story for another day.


Swimming with the tide

Investors make money when they are on the right side of a business and economic trend. Buffett and Lynch and other US based investors in the last fifty years have done so well primarily because they had huge economic tailwinds behind them. Look at the counter factual, you will not hear too many great Japanese investors in the last 30 years. Why? Because Japan has not been growing or has been in a recessionary environment during this period. Same for Europe. Can you name one great European investor who invests in Europe only? You will likely struggle a lot. The most European names that you may think of will be global investors and have majority of their investments in US or global companies.

The fact is it is very difficult to swim against the tide. As a business and consequently as an investor. Good investors intuitively understand this. Arguably, one of the main reasons that there are so many great investors from the US in the last fifty years is because US has been the biggest economic growth engines in the world. Similarly, if you go back two centuries, you will find the world’s richest people originating from UK, Germany and France.

Macro is too difficult to predict

The most common argument against macro is that it is too difficult to predict reliably. I completely agree. But so is bottom-up investing. There are far too many factors that influence a business than can be analysed reliably. And that is the sole reason no investor has a 100% track record. Everyone makes mistakes. And it happens because they base their decisions about the future on their understanding of the past.

Understanding the macro context

Understanding and accepting that macro plays a supremely important role in investing is critically important. Saying that it is meaningless is downplays the understanding that you are but a small part of a much larger cycle of things.

Understanding macro does not mean using it to forecast future events. Understanding means you are aware of the lay of the land. It is like a cricket captain looking at the pitch and ground conditions and then deciding the team that will be optimal for the conditions. Different pitch, weather and ground conditions can necessitate different team selections. That is exactly how macros should be used. To understand the underlying context of what is happening around us. Once you understand the context, you are free to position your investments accordingly and can decide to act on or ignore certain events.

In summary, when you ignore the larger picture and focus only on bottom-up stock picking, you over-emphasise the importance of the business and ignore their operating environment, which more often than not, actually has a larger influence than individual business characteristics.

This article first appeared ion CNBC-TV18.

Friday 11 March 2022

Weekend Reading: 11-Mar-22

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.

You can sign up to https://www.getrevue.co/profile/intelsense to receive all blogs from me directly into your inbox.

Surprise, Shock, and Uncertainty

What Covid-19 and the Ukrainian invasion have in common is that both have happened many times before but westerners considered them relics of history that wouldn’t resurface in their own modern lives. Maybe the common lesson is that there are difficult parts of humanity that can’t be outgrown.


However crazy the world looks, it can get crazier. History is just a long story of the unthinkable happening, precedents being broken, and people reading the news with bewilderment and denial.


“History doesn’t crawl; it leaps,” says Nassim Taleb. The most important events tend to be abrupt, out of the blue, changing the world before people have time to rub their eyes and understand what’s happening.




Bacteria Converting Sunlight Into Electricity Via 3d-Printed ‘skyscrapers’

Researchers have 3D-printed miniature “skyscrapers” that are designed to allow colonies of bacteria to grow and potentially harvest energy from the Sun.


The project also suggests that ‘biohybrid’ sources of solar energy could be an important component in the zero-carbon energy mix while having a lower carbon and environmental footprint than traditional renewables, such as solar power.


Photosynthetic bacteria, or cyanobacteria, are the most abundant lifeform on Earth. For several years, researchers have been attempting to ‘re-wire’ the photosynthesis mechanisms of cyanobacteria in order to extract energy from them. In order to grow, cyanobacteria need lots of sunlight. e.g. as seen on the surface of a lake in summertime. In order to extract the energy they produce through photosynthesis, the bacteria need to be attached to electrodes.


The Cambridge team 3D-printed custom electrodes out of metal oxide nanoparticles that are tailored to work with the cyanobacteria as they perform photosynthesis. The electrodes were printed as highly branched, densely packed pillar structures, like a tiny city.



It is not really an advantage if your father is really rich

Growing up in a family where your father’s pretty wealthy is much more complicated than growing up in a family where your father is not wealthy. When your family is not wealthy, you’ve got to really achieve something or you’re not going to get anywhere. You’re on your own.


Whereas my own children, and the children of families like mine, I think have a bit of a disadvantage. As a general rule of thumb, the people running the world are people from blue-collar families who are lower middle class. It’s rarely the case that somebody whose father was a billionaire turns out to be better than his father, becoming a multibillionaire or running the world.



Sitting vs Walking

Sitting at a desk all day, it’s easy to start feeling like a brainless polyp, whereas walking and talking, as we are this morning, while admiring the Great Sugar Loaf mountain rising beyond the city and a Huguenot cemetery formed in 1693, our minds are fizzing. “Our sensory systems work at their best when they’re moving about the world,” says O’Mara. He cites a 2018 study that tracked participants’ activity levels and personality traits over 20 years, and found that those who moved the least showed malign personality changes, scoring lower in the positive traits: openness, extraversion and agreeableness.


There is substantial data showing that walkers have lower rates of depression, too. And we know, says O’Mara, “from the scientific literature, that getting people to engage in physical activity before they engage in a creative act is very powerful. My notion – and we need to test this – is that the activation that occurs across the whole of the brain during problem-solving becomes much greater almost as an accident of walking demanding lots of neural resources.”



Hell Yeah!

Use this rule if you’re often over-committed or too scattered.


If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say no.


When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” — then say no.


When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”


Every event you get invited to. Every request to start a new project. If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about it, say no.


We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.



Thursday 3 March 2022

Weekend Reading: 4-Mar-22


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.

 You can sign up to https://www.getrevue.co/profile/intelsense to receive all blogs from me directly into your inbox.

Income =/= Wealth

Part of the reason people don’t feel better off is because financial progress is better measured by wealth, not income. And wealth is just the accumulation of income you haven’t spent. So a lot of people are the financial equivalent of the exerciser who burns 500 calories then immediately offsets it with dessert and is frustrated by the lack of progress despite working so hard.


Wealth is what you don’t spend, which makes it invisible and hard to learn about by observing other people’s lives. Spending is contagious; wealth is mysterious.


Money is often a negative art. What you don’t do can be more important than what you actively do.


Everything has a price, and prices aren’t always clear. The price of exercise isn’t just the workout; it’s avoiding the post-workout urge to eat a ton of food. Same in finance. The price of building wealth isn’t just the trouble of earning money or dealing; it’s avoiding the post-income urge to spend what you’ve accumulated.




How Computational Drug Discovery Is Boosting Health Tech Innovation

The process of drug discovery is extremely complex and requires time and resources to isolate the molecules capable of identifying the properties of a disease or virus. Health institutions are becoming increasingly dependent on the ability of computational drug discovery (CDD) to speed up and automate factors such as analytics and large-scale simulations for the trial process. To efficiently do this, drug developers are leveraging emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.


On average, new drugs take 10-15 years to reach the market, and half of that time is spent on clinical trials. AI’s ability to analyse a wealth of data in real time can help accelerate this part of the process by identifying diseases more clearly.


Similar time-saving outcomes can be enjoyed through machine learning (ML), a subfield of artificial intelligence. ML in drug discovery can use algorithms that recognise familiar patterns within sets of data that have been further classified. Deep learning (a subfield of ML) then engages artificial neural networks to mimic the transmission of electrical impulses in the human brain. This helps drug developers discover the effects of a drug molecule before commencing trials.




Why Are Polar Bears Migrating To Russia From Alaska?

The drop-in polar bear population is being credited to polar bears’ migration to Russia from Alaska due to rising temperatures in Alaska. In the last 50 years, Alaska’s annual average temperature rose by 4.8 degrees Celsius. This rise has resulted in the loss of sea ice that directly affects the bears by redistricting their hunting ground.


The migration has resulted in a booming increase in polar bear numbers in Russia’s Wrangel Island.

While the bears can fast for months, their survival depends on how much energy they've managed to reserve through eating ahead of time, the energy they expend during the fast and how long a fasting period lasts.


In at least two regional groups of polar bears, prolonged fasting periods have already been shown to negatively affect their body condition, reproduction rates and size of their populations. This trend is expected to be seen across groups of polar bears in the Arctic as ice loss continues.


Polar bears have long been the poster child of the consequences of climate change. There are an estimated 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund, although precise numbers are hard to determine due to their remote habitat. The species is listed as vulnerable.




Take Breaks While the Sun Shines!

Historically, there is something quite curious about the all-encompassing work ethic of many of today’s masters of the universe. For Andrew Carnegie, at one point the world’s richest man, diligence, perseverance, and industry were virtues to be preached—not practiced. The successful man of business was not a wage slave, paid by the hour or the day or the task, and he should not behave as if he were. Manually laboring drudges might work long hours without sacrificing productivity, but businessman could not. Their work required imagination, thought, calculation.


“Your always-busy man accomplishes little;” Carnegie wrote in 1883, “the great doer is he who has plenty of leisure. Moral: Don’t worry yourself over work, hold yourself in reserve, and sure as fate, ‘it will all come right in the wash.’” The American penchant for delaying gratification, for putting off retirement, for working ceaselessly, for refusing or cancelling or postponing or cutting short vacations was, the Scottish-born Carnegie believed, monstrously self-defeating. It sapped the creativity the man of business required to move forward. Americans, he remarked to his cousin, “were the saddest-looking race … Life is so terribly earnest here. Ambition spurs us all on, from him who handles the spade to him who employs thousands. We know no rest. … I hope Americans will find some day more time for play, like their wiser brethren upon the other side.”



Growing plants in the desert by harvesting water out of thin air

Like all conventional crops, spinach needs water to grow. But, in this case, the spinach sprouted thanks to a solar-powered system that pulled vapor from the air and condensed it into two liters of water. The results of the experiment suggest that small farms in remote, arid regions can grow their own crops without a water supply.


We’re in the Saudi Arabian desert. Where is all that moisture coming from? Deserts may be dry, but that’s not to say there are no moisture particles in the air. The relative humidity in the region revolves around 40%, but Wang says it’s closer to 80% at night. As a result, the hydrogel material typically absorbs water vapor during the evening and at night. “We designed the system this way; nature asked us to,” says Wang.


By the morning, the material is saturated with moisture, so when the sun hits the solar panels, and the heat from the solar panels comes into contact with the material, it turns the moisture into vapor and drives it out of the hydrogel layer. The metal box below then collects the vapor and condenses it into water. The best part? None of these steps consume the electricity generated by the solar panel, meaning that if the system gets scaled up, the electricity produced by the panels could be fed directly into the grid, and the heat produced by the panels could be used to grow crops.