Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This $900 Million Bet Has Global Traders Talking

this is a monster trade because it controls 12,000,000 SPY shares. In fact, at a blended price of $7,500 per option, this works out to a $900 million bet that will play out by Sept. 21, when these options expire.

since the trade first came to light about a week ago, the professional trading community I’m a part of has been abuzz with conjecture. That alone makes this a highly unusual trade because – like any small, professional community – we can usually figure out who’s doing what to whom and why – without even having to rely on more than one or two educated guesses. We just know.

But this time around, nobody’s talking.

Why haven’t you heard about this on your favorite cable TV money show, or read about it in the business section of your favorite newspaper?
That was my question too? Why hasn't any news on this large scale and unusual trading seen in the news media? "... with nobody talking, there are simply no warm bodies to interview", why isn't anybody talking? What is it really about?

Link:
This $900 Million Bet Has Global Traders Talking…

Chants

I don't know whether it was sang by Michael Jackson or not, but there is buzz that it was him, and some say it was sung by Zain Bhikha. In any case, as Margaret Atwood discussed in her interview with Bill Moyer regarding Yann Martel's Life of Pi, a story with a "tiger" is more interesting than a story without a "tiger" in it.

I find solace in every kind of chants, may that be from Islamic tradition, Tibbetan Buddhist Monk chanting in a glorious morning beside a flowing waterfall, Hindu pilgrims devoting themselves immersing in devotional hymns, melodious chorus from Church choir in a diminishing summer weekend, or even an agnostic or atheist reciting poetry under a moon lit fireside gathering. If God is really there, would he care what "chanting" or hymns I listen to? Would "He" give preference one over other? What kind of superficial God that would be? And even if God is not there as atheist boldly proclaims and agnostics lingers on to continuous "explore", would listening to this type of chanting makes one unfit for a materialistic and "logical" world?

My mind says a resounding NO.



Give Thanks To Allah

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chant -- Om Mani Padme Hum

Relaxing chant. Oriental in its origin. First time I've listened and loved it.



Chant -- Om Mani Padme Hum

Margaret Atwood on Religion

She is one of my favorite authors. Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, Blind Assassin and Alias Grace are remarkable books that in my humble opinion everyone should read. Here is an interview she had last year with Bill Moyer. Three parts videos are listed below.

Margaret Atwood on Religion Part1/3


Margaret Atwood on Religion Part2/3


Margaret Atwood on Religion Part 3/3

Faith and Science

Dr. Francis Collins is a prominent scientist, whose faith in "religion" and "God" is starkly in contrast to Dr. Richard Dawkin's "belief" system. Check this video along with Dr. Dawkin's interview below this blog.



Faith and Science

Richard Dawkins - BBC HARDtalk

Whether one believes in a "God", "Religion", or "nothing", the question remains still to be explored more, even if one wishes to keep his or her belief system intact, or one wants to go to a new learned direction, the debate is not between "good" and "evil", but between remaining "in the dark" or "seeing the light" for the first time. In some parts of our world these types of questionings are considered "blasphemy" punishable by life long incarceration or if worse come worse, languishing in a death chamber. One doesn't need to agree with everything Dr. Richard Dawkins writes or say, but he does indeed needs a careful audience, at least. I haven't seen the entire video series below. When I do, I hope to comment on their contents.

Links to a series of videos from BBC's Hard Talk show this year are given below.

Richard Dawkins - BBC HARDtalk Part1


Richard Dawkins - BBC HARDtalk Part2


Richard Dawkins - BBC HARDtalk Part 3

Home Exercise Program Level 1 - Video

This video shows simple but very effective exercises that can be done at home without getting into expensive gym membership. The key is to make exercise part of one's lifestyle along with healthy food choices.



Link:
Home Exercise Program Level 1 - Video

The Art of Selling by Alec Baldwin

Don't watch it if you are easily offended. It is funny but direct, hitting the mark in "obscene" words.



The Art of selling by Alec Baldwin - Video

Colbert's educational video on DNA



Link:
Colbert's educational video on DNA

Indian tech outfit outsources to US

Apparently Wipro is being hit by the rising cost of engineers in Bangalore and no longer benefits from a cheap rupee.

Instead it is cheaper to buy US firms and establish manufacturing and research centres across the country.
Once a writer in Globalization wrote that time will equalize the playing field in global economic arena. Has this already been started? Or is this only an isolated incident to ignore?

Link:
Indian tech outfit outsources to US

Dirty Little Secret - Universal Healthcare? Social Security?

A must see video from 60 Minutes describes what is the real "catastrophic" problem looming just outskirt of our deluded selves:




Dirty Little Secret - Universal Healthcare? Social Security?

Why - a Poem by Philip Schultz

Why this poem touches me? Because of its not-so-fashionable truth? Read the following extract:

............elegance of

a civilization free of delusion,

because of the boyish faces

of the five dead soldiers on TV,

the stoic curiosity in their eyes,

their belief in the righteousness

of sacrifice, because innocence

is the darkest place in the universe,

because of the Iraqis on their hands

and knees looking for a bloody button,

a bitten fingernail, evidence of

their stolen significance...................

Link to the full poem:
Why

End of Summer

Where is the time to read a poem? Where is that magical moment of resonating rhyme? No more. Only verbose words from glimmering news print, or perhaps occasional prose or a shifty novel roam around the roaming mind. But Poetry is a must for a breathing soul. Poetry is, what it is. Reason to live. Reason to die.

Read the following poem by James Richardson in this week's The New Yorker.
Link:
End of Summer

Friday, August 24, 2007

Smoking's Morbid "Charm"

A few years ago I wrote an article on Smoking, "Douse that Killer Puff", that can be read from the following link: http://sohelkarim.blogspot.com/2003/06/douse-that-killer-puff-by-mahbubul_03.html

So much have been said about the deadly consequences of smoking that any more repeating of same topic may be seen as tedious cliche, losing all its initial power changing a smoker's heart. However, seeing loved ones, dear friends and family members puffing away logic and sensibilities in the face of rock solid scientific evidences on smoking's sure killer eventuality, makes me compel to utter same "cliche" a thousand times more in louder voice I can summon.

I am very much aware of life's other vicious unhealthy habits, like binging on sweets, alcohol, red meats, trans fats, etc., and they do have similar if not more harmful effects on someone's precious life, but these "truths" do not provide any consolation to anyone visiting a relative or a dying friend who is perishing from cancer or heart disease. Time and time again, studies after respectable studies have shown, indisputably, what smoking can do, bringing destruction on cellular level. Dr. Michael F. Rozien and Mehmet C. Oz, has a very succinct description on how smoking can contribute to cancer: "More than 95 percent of people with lung cancer have smoked or been exposed to heavy doses of second hand smoke, radon or asbestos. What happens is, normal cells are repetitively damaged by a toxin (in this case, hydrocarbons from the tobacco leaf that are formed with or without burning), so your lungs make new cells to repair and replace the damaged ones. The faster they need to work to replace and repair, the higher the likelihood that one of those typographical errors of duplication will take place -- turning a normal cell into a bad one." (You: The Owner's Manual, Page 332)

Smoking is directly related to heart disease, including coronary and peripheral heart disease (click here for reference), since, "When it acts with other factors, it greatly increases risk. Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Smoking also increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery."

I have a very personal connection with smoking's deathly sphere. I had seen my own father developing severe heart disease in his very early age that had led to his eventual death from double swords: incurable cancer and heart failure. While visiting him in his dimly lit hospital room, my father was given heavy doses of Morphine to keep the spreading cancer pain at a bay, I knew that he wasn't given any chance of survival due to his advanced heart disease that made the doctor pronounced him a terminal patient, providing him no chemotherapy or any forms of treatment. Only painkiller like Morphine and other similar categories drugs were given to provide him "comfortable death". He was a poet whose dreams were woven into melancholic lyrics that turned into musical tunes by musicians. In his last days, I had seen his watery eyes inside heavy eye-lids, still wanted to cling to life, but his fate was already sealed by smoking's deathly grip a long time ago.

If you are one of the readers who still couldn't get away from smoking's morbid "charm", I sincerely recommend you to do your own research, starting from the following link:
Questions About Smoking, Tobacco, and Health

Regards,
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First genome transplant changes one species into another

For the first time, scientists have completely transformed a species of bacteria into another species by transplanting its complete set of DNA. The achievement marks a significant step toward the construction of synthetic life, with applications including the production of clean fuel in as little as a decade.
Close attention to this "exciting" or "ominous" development is needed, including proper safeguards and required laws established so that seemingly "benign" development of this success does not turn into monstrous Frankenstein of the future.

Link:
First genome transplant changes one species into another

Six Killers - A Series From The New York Times - Health - News

Go to the following link in New York Times where you can find some very thoughtful and practical information on deadly diseases that are the major killers around the globe.

Link:
Six Killers - A Series From The New York Times

Obesity and the Influence of Others

The goal of studying obesity is, ultimately, to try to reverse its dramatic rise and to close these gaps in its incidence among groups. To do that, policymakers need to understand the processes that led to the increase and the disparities in the first place -- not just what factors matter, but how and why they matter. Much public attention has gone to the role of cheap "junk" food, for example. Much less has gone to explaining why some cohorts consume so much of it and become obese, while others do not and maintain completely different weight norms.
Not much clear from this preliminary studies on finding an effective solution on this growing problem where it has been empirically shown that rise in obesities directly relates how low someone is in economic ladder. Genetics indeed play a role on this growing epidemic, but more than that, social "norms" play much bigger role, where established obstacles in freeing the less privileged ones from downtrodden economic shackles contribute to lowering the expectation from a struggled life.

Link:
Obesity and the Influence of Others

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

At stake in Sudan

Though there are increasingly welcome signs visible, the ground reality is still miserable for countless many being caught in brutal political struggles between the government of Sudan and Darfur oppositions. Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic implores deep in this gruesome conflict, his eyes are set in the wider implications and root causes of this conflict that has been burning for quiet some time.
because Darfur is emblematic of wider difficulties, the international community must look beyond the immediate circumstances and increase efforts to deal with the threats that have played a role in the disaster, such as climate change and environmental degradation. Indeed, the accelerating expansion of deserts will likely lead to a decrease of agricultural yields, less water, and possibly further conflicts.

Similar conditions exist in several locations worldwide. So the global nature of this problem must be addressed in places where environmental degradation is already bringing about a dangerous deterioration in peoples' lives. Early prevention is required.

Would our global trotting "leaders" pay sensible attentions to this urgent need while abandoning the mythical ones?

Link:
At stake in Sudan

David Beckham & LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bull

It seems I missed an exciting soccer game! See the video highlights below showing La Galaxy and New York Red Bull game.

Video Link:
David Beckham & LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bull

Monday, August 20, 2007

Shop Once, Eat For A Week

Granted that not everyone will like a non-vegetarian diet plan. Some avoids certain types of meat, fish, and some sticks to stringent vegetarian rules. Still, Men's Health's current edition has a few good advices on healthy food choices and some nifty recipes. Modify it according to your wish and need. Link is shown below:

Link:
Shop Once, Eat For A Week

Scale of Universe

For many lay persons without having rigorous background in science, contemplating the vastness of universe using the traditional measurement units like "light years" and other more obscure terminologies may prove to be a hindrance understanding immensity of our universe. The following article explains it using known analogies, like a ping pong ball as sun, tip of a ball-point pen as our earth, and there is a 15 feet difference between them. The next star closest to sun is Proxima Centauri, which is by analogy is about 230 km away from the "ball" of sun. How about Milky Way, Andromeda and billions of other galaxies, how far are they from each other? Go to the link below to get a glimpse.

Link
Scale of Universe

Diet Coke is 99% Water (And That Is Now a Good Thing)

Time has changed. Bottled water is catching up fast the soda business, $50 billion sales in each year, comparing to $68 billion dollar revenues from sodas. Here is a nice analysis on Diet Coke's recent advertisement claiming that 99% of diet coke is now water by Freakonomists:

The implication is that if Diet Coke and water are almost the same thing, but Diet Coke tastes better, you might as well drink Diet Coke. Which is a pretty sensible point of view, as long as the 1% that is not water isn’t hurting you.

Still, imagine if an ad agency in the 1980s proposed such a slogan for Diet Coke. They would have been laughed out of the building, and for good reason. What consumers are willing to pay for a good depends on at least two things (although this is not the way economists usually talk about how demand is determined). The first is how much utility or enjoyment they get from the good. The second is how much it costs to make the good — consumers don’t like big markups, even if they enjoy consuming the good.

So, in a world where free water is the benchmark, if you make Diet Coke, you want to hide the fact that it is mostly water with a few cheap extras mixed in. On the other hand, when water is priced the same as soda, that part of the equation falls away. The emphasis can instead move to the fact that a lot of people strongly prefer the flavor of Diet Coke to that of water.

I don’t know whether this ad campaign will work, but it definitely shows cultural — not to mention economic — insight.

Link:
Diet Coke is 99% Water (And That Is Now a Good Thing)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hollywood action star: FBI accusations destroyed my career

I still remember his movies. Steven Seagal was a major actor in action films, like Under Siege, Executive Decision, Exit Wounds, etc., but "his film career now consists of straight-to-DVD releases such as Flight of Fury and Attack Force." Seagal doesn't think that his downfall from Hollywood's graceful ladder of success is not due to his "one dimensional" performances. He claims, "an FBI investigation into accusations that he intimidated a reporter and had ties to organised crime, Seagal told the Los Angeles Times: "False FBI accusations fuelled thousands of articles saying that I terrorise journalists and associate with the Mafia. These kinds of inflammatory allegations scare studio heads and independent producers and kill careers." He is now demanding an apology from the bureau."

Article Link:
Hollywood action star: FBI accusations destroyed my career

"Continuous Motor" Underlies Long-Term Memory Storage

This new discovery of an enzyme that acts like a "continuous motor" in the brain and maybe "behind long-term memory storage", may one day provide treatment to incurable diseases like it could be "harnessed to help counteract the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and to dampen the pain sensation. "Chronic pain is believed to be a strengthening of synapses in the pain pathways, so this could be a treatment for that".

Read the full article:
"Continuous Motor" Underlies Long-Term Memory Storage

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Canadian Food Inspection Agency issues Carrot Warning

Read the Baby Carrot warning made public by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Clear them out of your fridge if you have them.

http://www.630ched.com/news/news_local.cfm?cat=7428109912&rem=72629&red=80110923aPBIny&wids=410&gi=1&gm=news_local.cfm

Canadian Food Inspection Agency issues Carrot Warning
Aug, 18 2007 - 9:10 AM

The agency is warning the public not to consume Los Angeles Salad Company Genuine Sweet Baby Carrots because the product may be contaminated with Shigella.

The item is labelled as product of Mexico and is sold in 672 gram plastic bags and sell by dates up to and including August 13th, this year.

The agency says the product was sold in Costco stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland.

There have been four reported illnesses associated with this product. Food contaminated with Shigella may not look or smell spoiled. Shigella infection can cause diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

In some persons, especially very young, and very old people and people with compromised immune systems, the diarrhea can be more severe.

Infection can occur after eating and drinking food and water that is contaminated with Shigella and can be passed from person to person.

Costco says it's voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nine Green Teas to Explore

After a day's of mind numbing work and witnessing seemingly senseless and violent world rumbling by through the pages of digitized newspapers, one or two cups of green tea can surely soothe a restless mind. Dr. Andrew Weil's is very well known around the world for his honest talks regarding public health. The article below presents nine common Japanese Green Tea out of thousands of varieties available, that a tea connoisseur would find amusing.

Article Link:
Nine Green Teas to Explore

Staying Motivated

Most of these points the following article discusses can be construed as common knowledge, however, for many earthly fragile human being like myself, occasional reminder is a basic necessity.

Read the article from the following link. Get and stay motivated to achieve whatever you dream to achieve. Nothing is impossible.

Link:
Staying Motivated

Dragons' Den reject celebrates soaring sales of 'worthless' invention

"Experts" called it "worthless invention" less than a year ago, and now the inventor sold his Trunkis enough for more than 1 million British Pounds, making the cleverly made "a wheelie suitcase which doubles up as a child's ride-on toy" one of the best seller items in entire Britain. Here are a few memorable excerpts from this determined inventor:
"When I went on to the programme I was full of confidence that I was going to get the investment I needed.

"But they ripped me to shreds - I was absolutely gutted. They were rude and obnoxious and just focused on the strap, which was actually something that was quite easily fixed.

"I was terrified that by appearing on the programme I may have ruined my company before it had even started. But afterwards we had loads of hits on the website from people who said they thought it was a brilliant idea.

"Now I am absolutely delighted to have proved the Dragons wrong. It just goes to show you should never give up."

Article Link:
Dragons' Den reject celebrates soaring sales of 'worthless' invention

Monday, August 06, 2007

Reinvent Your Life

The following article published in The Washington Post is balanced in its pro and cons on "starting up", "reinventing" one's life of dullness and mundane repetitions. It takes courage to take the leap. It takes inner strength breaking away from rusted but stifling chains one is anchored with. There is no certainty that the "new life" will bring "success" or "happiness". There is every bit of possibility of being more miserable in that uncertain process. Here is an excerpt from this must read article:

"When you go through deep change, it doesn't matter if you're wrong," Quinn says. "It matters that you're moving."

There are times in one's life where we either make a frightening change or continue to die a slow death.

"People will go to great lengths to deny that the external world is changing and needs something else from us," Quinn says. "We will just stay in the pattern we've traditionally succeeded at. If we do that when the world is calling for something else, there's usually a breaking point where we can't function anymore, and then we're forced into some form of that deep change. . . .

"There's great exhilaration in the new identity that starts to form, a greater alignment with the environment you're in. You expand your consciousness, your awareness and your capacity. That's always very exhilarating."

Full article link:
Reinvent Your Life

Regards,
Sohel

10 Unsolved Mysteries Of The Brain

Read the following excerpt from the Discover Magazine:
Of all the objects in the universe, the human brain is the most complex: There are as many neurons in the brain as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy. So it is no surprise that, ­despite the glow from recent advances in the science of the brain and mind, we still find ourselves squinting in the dark somewhat. But we are at least beginning to grasp the crucial mysteries of neuroscience and starting to make headway in addressing them. Even partial answers to these 10 questions could restructure our understanding of the roughly three-pound mass of gray and white matter that defines who we are.
Read the full article from the following link:
10 Unsolved Mysteries Of The Brain