Sunday, December 17, 2017

16 Psyche, one of the largest and richest asteroids ..

What does this asteroid, 16 Psyche, 200 km diameter, 450 million miles away (3x distance between Earth and Sun) in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, one of the top largest asteroids, moving at speed of 25 kms per second, have in making it so very important and attractive to the world ?

Precious metals worth GBP 8000 quadrillion or $10,500 trillion ..

It would crash the world economy which had a GDP of about $75 trillion in 2016 ..
Psyche is composed of metal made up almost entirely of iron, nickel and (presumably) a number of other rare metals like gold, platinum, copper, cobalt, iridium and rhenium. There’s nothing else like it in our galactic backyard.
Can NASA in it's $450 million project Psyche, manage to bring even a portion of this asteroid to earth ?

Really exciting !!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to avoid Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.
Common Facts : (Source Apollo Hospitals, India)
Contrasting a healthy brain and an Alzheimer Diseased (AD) brain.
  • More than 1 million cases per year (India)
  • Treatment can help, but this condition can't be cured
  • Requires a medical diagnosis
  • Lab tests or imaging not required
  • Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
  • Brain cell connections and the cells themselves degenerate and die, eventually destroying memory and other important mental functions.
  • Memory loss and confusion are the main symptoms.
  • No cure exists, but medication and management strategies may temporarily improve symptoms.
Ages affected
    Very rare
    Very common
Consult a doctor for medical advice

How can one take precautions to prevent onset of AD..


Alzheimer's disease is a great monster, but it is not hard to do the proposed exercises and prevent it.

Alzheimer's can be prevented, by new technique to improve concentration, develop creativity and intelligence, by performing these simple exercises of Neurobics.

"Neuroscience" reveals that the brain has an extraordinary ability to grow and change the pattern of its connections.

The authors of this discovery, Lawrence Katz and Manning Rubin (2000), reveal that Neurobics, or "aerobic neurons" is a new form of brain exercise, designed to keep the brain agile and healthy, creating new and different patterns of behavior, and of the activities of the neurons in your brain.

About 80% of our day to day tasks are done on AUTO MODE (i.e. we do them without exercising our brain.) which despite having the advantage of reducing intellectual effort, hide a perverse effect: they limit and atrophy the brain, not allowing the renewal and growth of their neurons.

To counteract this tendency, it is necessary to practice some "brain exercises", which make the person think only about what they are doing, concentrating on that task. It is doing everything contrary to the routine, forcing the brain to an additional job
Some of the exercises .
  • Use the watch on the pulse opposite to the one that normally uses it.
  • Brush the teeth with the opposite hand.
  • Walk around the house, backward (in China, this routine is practiced in the parks).
  • Dress with your eyes closed.
  • Stimulate the palate with things of different flavors.
  • See the photos, head down (or the photos, or you).
  • Look at the time, in the mirror.
  • Change the routine path to go and return home.
The idea is, to do some different things, so that you exercise the other side of your brain (the right one),
Well worth trying!

What if you start practicing right now, using your cell phone, with your left hand..... 

(From the Internet)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Do you really want to own a car ?

Buying a car v/s Uber: A superb analysis (Common sense, but really brilliant !!)

In these days when car companies like Ola and Uber are competing to offer the quickest, cheapest ride, with great  comfort and satisfaction to the customer, should the customer really need to keep a private car at home ? When the whole scientific world is crying of environmental pollution, carbon footprints, global warming and unsustainable lifestyles, educated patriotic citizens would want to keep their carbon emissions low and help the society, community and environment..

Unless be it for prestige and better status in society, it does not make any sense to get a new car technically in the financial sense, if you do not spend more than a fixed sum every month. Let us see how it is reasoned out...

Any car  in India costs at least
Rs. 600,000/-
Scrap value after six year
Rs. 100,000/-
Net amount which goes in effective life of six year
Rs. 500,000/-
Nos of days of six years
2200 days
a. Depreciation per day in six years
Rs. 230/day
b. Yearly insurance premium of Rs 15,000
Rs. 41/day
c. Daily petrol, minimum
Rs. 100/day
d. After every 3 yr tyre & Battery change charge, Rs 25,000  i.e.
Rs. 23/day
e. Yearly maintenance of car Rs 9000 i.e
Rs. 25/day
f. If driver is employed, because Uber comes with a driver
Rs. 300/day
g. Interest loss on Car buying amount @8% on Rs 6,00,000
Rs. 131/day
Total daily expense after buying new car
Rs. 850 / day

So friends until you pay Rs 850 daily to hire a cab, you are effectively in gain travelling in Uber or Ola.

If u agree, share for the benefits of all. This is called financial planning. 

( Thanks to the anonymous author of this very realistic document )

What NASA and Kepler Space Telescope will tell us on 14 Dec 2017 ??

Kepler Space Telescope, launched in 2009 by NASA to study exoplanets
NASA'a important mission to analyse planets revolving around the solar system, Kepler Space Telescope, was launched in 2009 and after a three year period its mission was extended to study planets revolving other stars outside our solar system, exoplanets.

Till date, 8 years after its launch, Kepler Space Telescope has studied more than 150,000 stars and on Thursday Dec14, 2017 NASA is bound to make a very startling revelation / discovery. Google Machine Learning AI algorithm has played a major role in this discovery as claimed by NASA. We will get to know the finer details later.  

Is it discovery of evidence of life on an exoplanet outside our solar system or presence of a civilization or discovery of life on many exoplanets, we have to patiently wait till Thursday.  

The whole world, especially the spiritual world is eagerly awaiting the discovery as the presence of dead ancestors or humans of another civilization on an exoplanet can greatly damage the roots of spirituality on earth namely through concepts like existence of heaven, hell, rebirth etc. can be put to question.

Till Thursday, the suspense continues ..

Click here for Guardian details on Kepler 438A, the exoplanet 475 light years away in th constellation Lyra, said to be 12% more thaan the size of earth, receiving 40% more energy from the star with an orbital period of 35 days, has a 70% chance of being rocky.. 



Monday, December 11, 2017

What happened at the Taj Hotel Mumbai on 26 Nov 2008 ?

It gave me immense pride and satisfaction while narrating this event that happened in Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai at the last session of Service Operations Management class for second year MBA students at Alliance University in Bangalore. While discussing a TED video by Prof. Rohit Deshpande speaking at a TEDx conference of what happened on the fateful night of 26 November 2008, the whole class felt there was something unique in how Taj Hotel Mumbai employees took care of their guests on those eventful three days.

At 9 PM on 26 November 2008, a group of ten heavily armed terrorists attacked the port city of Mumbai and for the next four days they released a reign of terror in Mumbai. The heroic acts of the Taj employees who resisted four of those terrorists and helped herd guests to safety became a matter of discussion and appreciation the world over. 
The Iconic 105 year old Taj Mahal Hotel in South Mumbai

There were almost 500 guests attending a banquet at the time, another 600 guests having dinner in the 12 restaurants in the hotel and 600 plus staff in the iconic 105 year old Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in South Mumbai that evening. A senior management team from Unilever were also having a send-off dinner to the outgoing CEO and welcoming the new one.

In the mayhem that continued for almost three nights and two days, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel lost totally about thirty four guests and employees. The staff in the hotel calmed the almost one thousand plus guests and helped rescue them to safety. Totally 164 were dead in the city of Mumbai and 308 wounded from the terrorist attacks in Mumbai released by the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba on that fateful night starting at the CST Railway station in South Mumbai.

On the fateful night and ensuing day of November 26, 2008 ..
How did the staff at the Taj Hotel behave calmly and exhibit great presence of mind and confidence even risking their own lives for the safety of the guests when there were no clear instructions or Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on how to handle a terror attack like this ? Nobody goaded them into behaving in a particular fashion. 

Even the then Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata and Board of Directors were at loss of words on what motivated the Taj Hotel employees to behave and act in a specific style which was the epitome of customer-centric style of functioning, even risking one's own life. It is something which has baffled even psychologists and academics from all parts of the world. This is an excellent case study for HR professionals and professionals from the hospitality industry  from all around the world.
The main points as highlighted by Prof. Rohit Deshpande of Harvard Business School who wrote a case on this incident are basically three.
1. Employee orientation and value set - Tata Sons recruits its employees not from top cities but from towns across the country side. CanThey recruit their employees not for their grades but for their attitude.

2. Being brand ambassadors to the outside world and of the customers - Taj Hotel employees have been brand ambassadors of Tata Sons and the Taj Hotel group for the customers / guests who come to the hotel. In fact this is a unique trait one gets to see in almost all of the 3.5 lakh employees of Tata Sons across the world.

3. Immediate recognition of a good deed - Taj hotel has a culture of  rewarding its employees with recognition whenever they get a positive feedback from the customer. Than with monetary rewards this happens within 48 hours of the feat accomplishment. Though monetary compensation for employees is not great, just above industry average, the recognition they get from the Taj Hotel management is something employees value very much..
Tata Sons in the 149 years of it's existence, since 1868, though Jamshedji and his father came to Saurashtra coast in 1838 from North Iran, have been able to reaffirm and help
1. build a customer centric work and organisation culture
2  constantly rethink the relationship contract between the employer and the employee
3. transform a symbol of terror over the years into a symbol of hope for the world.
No wonder Tata Sons, the $103 billion conglomerate from India remains the most respected industrial group globally and will continue to remain so ..
If you are planning for a year plant corn, if you are planning for thirty years plant trees, if you are planning for a hundred years, plant men - Jamshedji Tata

George .. (photograph courtesy Taj Group Hotels, Indian Express Newspapers.)

 Ref : 
        1. TEDx talk by Prof. Rohit Deshpande, HBS 
        2. Rohit Deshpande and Anjali Raina, The Ordinary heroes of the Taj Hotel - HBS, Dec 2011
        2. Wikipedia link 
        3. Blog - Most honest global brand, Tata Sons 
        4. Blog - Will Chandra reverse Tata's fortunes ? 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Coronal Mass Ejection (Solar flares ) - what it means to us ..

Global scientists are speaking of a solar flare which is likely to happen in the very near future. The solar flare could damage electrical networls and electrical distribution lines, telecommunication lines, satellite signals and the GPS system, including stalling the Internet.

By having a copper protection device in space at a distance of about 205,000 miles, costing about 100 billion dollars which will deflect the damaging radiations from the solar flare is an idea being put forward by scientists around the world. The solar flare has the potential to create a massive damage of almost a trillion (a thousand billion) dollars.

The solar flare travelling at great speeds and large enough to consume earth in its path can bring great damage to human life on earth. To the side facing the sun at that particular point, it can also mean a wipe out of all life forms, humans, plants, animals, birds, reptiles, fishes etc. To the side not facing the sun it could be just a safe escape from the flare. 

The massive damage it can cause cannot be ruled out as we have just one recorded solar flare in history in 1859 AD (Carrington Event) and another one discovered by Japanese scientists based on Carbon 14 dating techniques back to 774 AD (Charlemagne Event). 

Some interesting questions humanity would love to get answers to - 

1. Is it possible to delay the onset of the next solar flare by a thousand years ? 
2. How can we do it ? 
3. Can we limit the damage done by a solar flare ?  
4. Can we deflect the solar flare at the surface of the sun itself, preventing it from coming in the direction of earth and avoiding building huge infrastructure in space ?
5, Is there any possibility of tapping the massive amounts of energy these waves would carry without causing any damage to human, plant, animal, birds, reptiles and fishes on planet earth ? 

It is the radiations within the visible spectrum that causes fire and extreme heat while maximum of the radiations may not even be visible to humans but can knock off communication networks and infrastructure across the world.

Hope humanity is able to create enough awareness and take enough precautions so that our generation and the future ones will be well prepared in case something like a solar flare comes hitting us any time soon.


Friday, December 08, 2017

Plant Layout design - links and definitions ..

An interesting document to refer is here ..

In manufacturing engineering, a product layout refers to a production system where the work stations and equipment are located along the line of production, as with assembly lines. Usually, work units are moved along a line (not necessarily a geometric line, but a set of interconnected work stations) by a conveyor.

In manufacturing engineering or in service industry, process layout is a design for the floor plan of a plant which aims to improve efficiency by arranging equipment according to its function. The line should ideally be designed to eliminate waste in material flows, inventory handling and management.


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Cyber security breaches getting more deadly..

Every time we log into an online service be it email service or banks or an ecommerce site planning to purchase something, even checking our Aadhaar card, we are exposing ourselves to the vast challenges of cyber security. We are exposing ourselves to cyber criminals who are waiting to pounce on us and steal our online credentials to hold us cyber prisoners to make a quick buck or damage our reputation.

So what is the best solution to prevent cyber crimes ? Shut down all your online accounts and accesses and start living in a very physical world .. Looks like an Utopia, we cannot spend a day without checking our professional and personal emails, we cannot spend an hour without checking our online social media accounts. At least once in two days we check our online bank accounts, and not frequently our e-commerce and rail booking , bus ticket booking sites etc.

As  per an article in the Harvard Business Review of Dec 2017, on an average a US citizen has 191 online accounts and more frequently he uses the same password across multiple sites. Globally the picture may not be that grim as online activity is restricted by access and reach for the popularity and convenience of an online life.  It is also found that in case of a security breach, on an average, the cyber criminal would be able to hack into 10% of your online accounts, that's a clean 20 online accounts that are compromised. Scary !!

As humanity gets more advanced and sophisticated, our onliner presence is only going to increase and the number of passwords we need to remember keeps on increasing. 

The first and biggest risk of online presence is that most of us are averse to using many passwords and having to remember all of them. Instead we use convenient, short passwords repeated across sites or with minor modifications. Having access to online convenience thus brings us and exposes us to manifold problems and challenges.

So, what is an effective solution to prevent cyber criminals from unauthorisedly accessing our accounts and causing harm, reputation-wise and monetary-wise ?

Having a two tier security access to sites would be the best solution to this predicament.  Google has recently started practicing this across sites. If Google observes multiple access from different sites and server geographies, it asks to use an OTP sent to our mobile phones to gain access.

Even if one accesses Google mail from a different computer or a public terminal, Google would immediately ask for an OTP to be entered which will be sent to your mobile phone. This prevents unauthorised access to Gmail most of the time. Thanks to Google's innovative and smart security system, our online data storage, email, blogs, YouTube account are very safe. Imagine the havoc it would create globally if Google becomes a bit lax with it's security like Yahoo compromised it's user security some years back and is busy presently settling expensive customer litigations.

What other methods can Internet utility and ecommerce websites deploy to increase web security and data privacy ? It is a perennial question that bogs down all products and service offering to customers cutting across regions, languages, geographies, beliefs and values. Out there in the cyber world, it is a constant battle for supremacy between the web crackers and cyber security specialists as no solution is long-lived, barely two years on an average, before a newer cyber crime format  crops up and brings great havoc ..

This is the great price we have to pay for online convenience !!

Click here for a download of this case ..

George ..

Friday, December 01, 2017

How the Indian telecom industry is leading the world ..

The Voice and Data Revolution in India, leading the world

When Mukesh Ambani decided to introduce Reliance Jio telecom in the country, the already flooded telecom Industry was in for a major change for the better. Indian telecom has since evolved and is at its very best now. Indians have leapfrogged over the rest of the world in telecom revolution .. Almost all of the major telecom players in the country are giving voice calls across the country totally free and charging only for data, with monthly free voice and 1 GB/day data packages going for as low as $2.5 a month ...

A typical home in Bangalore would have from 2-5 GB of data transfer capability at speeds of between 5-10 Mbps. And in addition Indians, in a truly independent India, also get to use free versions of Internet telephony apps like whatsapp, FB, Duo, Skype etc for audio and video calls (unlike in the Middle East where usage of such Internet telephony sites are banned for security or other reasons..) !! The telecom industry has been evolving innovatively for the benefit of the common man adding value in more ways than one. 

A farmer using mobile phone  .. courtesy
As  already mentioned while voice communication across the country is freely offered by all major telecom players, data communication costs just Rs 5/- per GB of 4G (approx 8 cents) .. Is it possible to get such a unique combination of voice and data at such dirt cheao rates and best technology anywhere in the world ? These fast and rapid developments over the past one and a half years since the introduction of Reliance Jio telecom brings more apprehensions, raises more doubts and questions than answers .. The earlier telecom players had invested heavily in getting telecom licenses from Govt of India in the public auctions and were in a haste to recover their investments in bandwidth. But the rapid pace at which Internet telephony was developing across the world toppled the applecart for these major global telecom players. and it is feared the global telecom scene will still evolve for many more years and make high speed Internet based telephony cheap and affordable across the world.

A few questions of what these development will bring to India and how it can help transform India ..
  1. What does this mean for the Indian common man ?
  2. What percentage of Indians have access to this telecom / Data revolution ?
  3. How is this paving the way for the revolution in communication happening across the world ?
  4. How is it that Indians have leapfrogged over the rest of the world in offering free telecom services across the country whereas in the rest of the world, terrestrial telecommunication is still charged and costly too ?
  5. What does it hold for the future of India ?
  6. How is this going to affect India's future growth ?
  7. How will this impact telecom growth in other parts of the world ?
  8. Will the overriding influence of the private sector in Indian telecom growth be a lesson for the rest of the world

I wish to come up with answers to these questions and see that the rapid telecom development in India does not actually cripple us while on the other hand, it helps us to surge ahead and ensure uniform technological, social, economic growth and development across the nation and the world.

George Easaw

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Was Reliance Jio introduction a BPR exercise in India ?

Business Process Reengineering is defined as the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical measures of performance such as cost, quality, service and speed.(Hammer and Champy, 1993)
One of the big questions being asked these days is whether the recent introduction and success of Reliance Jio telecom was indeed a great re-engineering exercise.

The introduction of Reliance Jio was no doubt catastrophic, it resulted in loss of almost 75,000 jobs in the telecom industry and loss of business for the industry worth more than $700 billion, almost INR 50 lakh crores. (Malayala Manorama, 16 Nov, 2017) In spite of this huge economic and social shakeup of the telecom industry, it did bring benefits to the customer in terms of better technological infrastructure, advanced technology, lower costs, better service, overall resulting in delivering -higher value for the customers in the country.

Here are a few points being listed to support my argument that Reliance Jio qualifies to be termed as a very successful re-engineering exercise.

1. Fundamental rethinking - for telecom calls all this while we have been paying cash on a minute or second basis depending on whether the calls were local or across states inside a country. Reliance Jio has transformed that thinking, by reaffirming time and again that telecom calls within an area or within geographical boundaries within a country can indeed be FREE ..

2. Radical redesign - by making use of the latest technological developments like fibre optics cables to communicate using optics technology through cables laid on land and under the sea, the quantum of data that could be communicated has increased manifold.

3. Introduction of Advanced Modern Technology / methods : Adopting the latest 4G technology, though the technology was very nascent in the country. 4G mobile phones are offered at cheap rates. The advanced 4G technology has been implemented across the country much earlier than it has been accepted in many of the advanced nations of the world, it speaks enough of the performance aspects of BPR.

4. Effective Customer Service Network : Reliance Jio had already set up the needed sales and customer service networks through Reliance Digital stores and through a wide network of service and marketing personnel across the country, the push to reach the customers physically and through the media was very evident right from day one.

5. Promise of provision of auxilliary, related value added services : It gave great expectations in the customer by promising not only the needed bandwidth, fibre optics infrastructure and software functionality, it kept telling the public through the media about its extra spare capacity in its fibre optics cables and intention to start more high speed services like Broadband Internet and DTH services. This gave the reassurance to the customers that Reliance Jio was seriously intent on serving the customer with heavy investments in the country.

Having invested heavily in infrastructure there was no option to Reliance Jio but to give superior service to the customers and capture the market. The customers knew this and embraced Reliance Jio with open hands.

6. No negativity in actions and words : Reliance Jio never gave any negative news about how competitors were getting impacted by its presence in the market, but kept communicating to the people the benefits and privileges the customers would be entitled if Reliance Jio was accepted  as the primary communications network. This was a very positive move from Reliance Jio which endeared it to the masses.

6. Introduction of Low cost tariff plans : After the almost 9 months free usage period to woo customers, the release of new tariff plans to suit the rural customers pockets, even going down to about Rs 149 for a 30 day talk plan with minimal data, was very reassuring to the telecom subscribers of the country.

7. End to exploitation of customers : The constant thoughts within the customers/ minds on how all the telecom companies in the past were exploiting the customers with high and exhorbitant charges and poor service was at the back of the minds of the customers and they wanted to get released from this setback for ever.

8. Discounting future customer exploitation : Some of the customers did have the feeling and fears that Reliance Jio would give low charge plans initially to garner more subscribers and then increase the charges later on, thus virtually imprisoning customers to its networks were totally belied when Reliance Jio released its final tariff plans a month back, which were very reasonable.

9.  Providing great customer value : Reliance Jio never took up any negative advertising but instead only concentrated on providing great value to its customers. Customers across the country appreciated this Jio tactic very much with more Jio sims on their phones and porting existing numbers from other telecom service providers to Reliance Jio network.

10. Rewriting global telecom market cost parameters : Reliance Jio rewrote the market for voice calling in the world by making it totally free within the country and to be the first country in the world to offer such an offering.

11. Increased customer confidence : Overall customers were assured of the best technology, best customer service, affordable costs, FREE calling and low cost huge data usage of upto 1GB daily (and low speed thenceforth for the next few hours of the day till 2AM when plans rolled back to the initial stage), all added to the customers confidence in the company and its offering to the Indian public.

Having invested almost $33 billion in the most advanced Indian telecom network in India (not challenged yet by any telecom company in the any other part of the world, even in China or US), Reliance Jio has really set a one time total disruption of the telecom industry in India and the world.

Global telecom majors are now scared to invest in the country and the existing global players are looking for alliances and partnerships to stay afloat in India. The Indian customers do not need any more confidence building measures from Reliance Jio to assure them and are more than convinced that Reliance Jio is going to stay in the Indian market and will serve them well in the coming years.

To ensure Reliance Jio does not have a total monopoly in the telecom and data transmission markets, these foreign companies are kept surviving by the Indian public with good revenues and customer base so as not to have them exit the country.

The minimum time and dexterity with which this one-time technological disruption and radical change delivering high value to the customer at the lowest cost has been brought about in the smoothest way and shortest time period, indeed leaves no doubt in the minds of the Indian public that Reliance Jio introduction and disruption of the telecom market in India is a perfect example of Business Process Re-engineering at its best ..

Lets see whether the next BPR exercise in the country would come from within or would be implemented by an MNC .. This technological and commercial disruption of the telecom industry has been the biggest in the history of Independent India and for that matter anywhere in the world, and that adds more importance and weight to this exercise !

George Easaw

Ref : 1. Hammer, Micheal and James Champy, Re-engineering the Corporation - A manifesto for Business Revolution, Collins Business Essentials, 1993.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Lessons from India's demonetisation for other countries of the world ..

I was reading the article by Prof Bhaskar Chakravarthi of Tufts Business School , Harvard Business Review, November 2017 on the lessons of India's demonetisation exercise for the rest of the countries of the world.

The lessons as highlighted by Prof Bhaskar made interesting reading. The underflow of the paper was the intellectual hollowness of the whole process. The fact that a very important economic decision was taken by the Indian Prime Minister, relatively less experienced, who had manipulated the Indian population through his provocative election speeches, had literally misfired, did harm the economy in great measure.

The damages to the economy were great and very disastrous. Loss of almost 2 million jobs and loss of economic output in the country of almost INR 4.5 lakh crores resulting in the drop of Indian GDP growth to 5.9% in the past four quarters (not forgetting additional expenses of almost INR 30,000 crores, $4.5 billion, for the demonetisation exercise) has been catastrophic and devastating  to the economy.

The unintelligent acts of this person ..
At first though the objective of demonetisation exercise as claimed by Mr Narendra Modi was to eradicate black money and corruption, it floundered. Almost 99% of the Rupees 15.44 lakh crores ($239 billion) of demonetised notes in circulation came back into the banks and the whole exercise backfired. To escape from the blame of an unplanned, poorly executed move and to deflect popular discontent on such a floundering economic step, the objective of the demonetisation exercise was immediately changed to help bring a digital cashless economy in India. To add insult to injury, the experience of the past three quarters show GDP growth declined.

People silently endured the sufferings and hardships.

Lesson One : Choose the economic experts of the country carefully. Sidelining the top global economic experts for less educated and less experienced roadside peddlers, did damage the economy to a great extent.

Lesson Two : Get to understand and assess the economic fundamentals and the monetary policy of the country correctly. If in doubt, check with economic experts how global economy works and how national economy in linked with the international economy.

Lesson Three : Understand natural human behaviour, faced with a crisis of losing their hard earned money, legal or illegal, it is human reaction to devise innovative ways to ensure that the money is not wasted and gets deposited in different accounts in the banks.

What a great loss of manpower standing in queues
Lesson Four : Promoting the objective of a Unified Digital Payment Interface in the country at the cost of great pain, suffering and economic hardships of the people by going to the extent of even withdrawing 86% of the currency in circulation in not an objective worth the pain and hardships of the people. More worthier objectives should have been put forward.

Hope the other nations of the world would learn from the Indian economic blunder carried out on November 8, 2017. If not for any benefits to the host country, let this exercise have some global lessons for the other countries of the world on avoiding economic blunders.

Did India really need demonetisation, was demonetisation implemented after thoughtful deliberations, has this step helped black money hoarders convert their black money to white with government support are all questions the nation and the world are waiting for an answer ..


Monday, November 06, 2017

Comparing Amazon Echo and Google Home Personal Assistants

" Alexa, what is the news ? " 
Let me introduce to my friends the two AI assisted (virtual) Personal Assistants in the market, Amazon Echo and Google Home. 

Two days back, I got the AI powered Amazon Echo Dot, having the cloud based service through the Amazon Personal Assistant Alexa.

Amazon Echo dot, INR 3150,
Slowly getting used to having a personal (virtual) assistant. The virtual personal  assistant, besides doing a lot of information related chores, can help simplify our digital lives. Amazon Personal Assistant, as explained is known by a very popular name, Alexa. Echo is the hardware and Alexa is the software ..

Amazon Echo Dot, has been in the market for more than 2 years and accesses the Amazon Web Services (AWS) through a wi-fi connection while the Google Home is the new entrant released just last year and has access to the vast Google knowledge repository and also great services like Youtube .. (which is a big shortcoming for Amazon) ..

Click here to know more about the best Alexa skills and commands..

For information gathering and retrieval tasks, Google Home is more powerful but for tasks like shopping, networking with other devices using IoT Amazon Echo has the upper edge. 

A hot battle is on, whichever is better, will dominate the AI assisted personal chores segment in the coming days. The yet undefined roles of the Personal Assistant, as the field is still in the evolutionary stage, is also a clear indication of the tech future assisted by artificial intelligence, which is to come to our homes and distort, disturb or assist our personal online lives..

Google Home about INR 10,000 on ebay ..
I am still experimenting with Alexa, like playing radio, getting the latest news, asking time, date, greetings, info query from Wikipedia, info on places, people, events, objects etc ..

In the next few days and weeks, I will be able to explore the additional features of Amazon Echo like IoT by working on integrating more home devices like TV, lighting, Audio systems etc to the Amazon Echo. I find AI capabilities in Echo and Google Home limited, but in the growth phase.

Echo is simple to setup and use ...
As of now as regards networking and reach, Amazon Echo is much more capable than Google Home. Google Home, other than information, has a long long, long way to go to catch up with Amazon echo. In the coming days, am sure more AI related apps would be released on Amazon Echo and on Google Home too.

Cost wise, in Bangalore, Amazon Echo dot comes at INR 3150 while Google Home mini costs almost INR 8000.

Google Home mini, INR 8000 on ebay
Click here for a good comparison of Amazon Echo and Google Home..

Here is a Techcrunch comparison of Alexa, Google Siri and Sonos .. 

While Google and Tesla / Toyota / Ford are fighting it out on who will dominate the driverless electric car market, this fight between Amazon and Google is set to get  more personal ..


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Advice from the oncologist, Dr Thomas Varghese

When Dr Thomas Varghese trained at the Tata Memorial Cancer hospital in Mumbai and developer of the Varghese technique in cancer surgery, started his practice from Kochi, Kerala, little did the people of Kerala know about him.

Having proved himself in a short time to be a great trained oncologist surgeon from Kochi, he gives valuable advice to people on how to prevent cancer. 

According to Dr Thomas, urbanisation and food intake are the greatest threat mankind is facing which limits his working life and his restful life out of office hours. 

Dr. Varghese says that of all human food intake, white sugar, salt, milk, maida (American flour) and white polished rice are the greatest reasons for cancer of different kinds, not forgetting redmeat. Salted foods, snacks are great promoters of cancer in human beings. Not taking more food and having more frequent and less food intake, not snacks or packaged food, can also ensure that we lead healthy lives. Avoiding processed and packaged food can also be a positive step to a healthy life.

Urbanisation has resulted in humans leading a very subdued and less active life (with no exercises). This also found to be another great contributor to cancer. Proper walking and other body relaxation and stretching exercises is a good antidote to the early onset of cancer.

Environmental pollution which includes air and water pollution, is the modern day cancer agent. From his vast experience at Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital in Mumbai, Dr Thomas has seen many instances of cancer of the liver and the kidneys among people living on the banks of Ganges and Yamuna river. This talks of how unwarranted pollution of two famous and large rivers in India has been a health risk to the people staying on the banks of these two rivers.

Having listened to many of Dr Thomas' speeches, it is opined that more of vegetables, fruits, fibrous foods and curds with enough of fish (with easily digestible fats) with enough opportunities for lots of exercises for the body and the mind, including yoga, can ensure that we keep cancer at bay.


The Malankara Titans .

Friday, October 27, 2017

The 7 Rs of Process Innovation

Steven Shapiro's 7Rs of Process Innovation ..

Rethink - fundamental rethinking of the process

Future head transplant by Italian surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero ..

At first I thought this was an April Fool's joke being played on the people of the world, but later I realised it is really a surgeon trying to convince the world of the success of such a surgical process from his limited knowledge and exposure ..

A 36 hour mammoth head transplant surgery involving 150 surgeons in Harbin Medical University in North China is what Dr Sergio Canavero is planning by end 2017 or early 2018 (click here for the news from Guardian) to fix the healthy body of a brain dead person to the head of a quadraplegic patient.(the medical term for the procedure is cerebrosomatic anastomosis)

By June 2015, Dr. Canavero was recruiting surgeons to participate in the procedure, which will be conducted on Valery Spiridinov, a 31-year-old Russian man with Werdnig-Hoffman disease, a rare genetic condition that prevents his muscles from growing. .. the Observer website ..

There is a Newsweek report of the first patient of Dr. Sergio being a Chinese patient. Needs confirmation.

Joining just 10 to 20% of the millions of nerves passing through the spine to the different parts of the body is what Dr Sergio says makes his intention of doing a successful head transplantation very easy.. But by doing a part shoddy work on a human patient, is Dr Sergio inviting to give birth to Frankensteins on planet earth ?

Click here for the TED talk by Dr Sergio ..

His idea sounds very plain and lacks the needed academic and professional medical rigour and looks like he believes human physiology, especially the nervous system is a simple as that of rats ..

Can the civilised world get up and sensitise the people of the world as to the threat this experiment would pose to humanity as it would be akin to releasing a genie out of the bottle ?? Can there be a consensus among the medical fraternity of the necessity and ethical position regarding this head transplant ?


Monday, October 23, 2017

Privilege - the bait that weakens oneself ...

What are privileges ? Oxford dictionary defines privilege as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. For example, ‘education is a right, not a privilege’

When we do not make use of privileges intelligently and use it as a favour for a select few in society, privileges can be like a millstone tied around your neck.

Click here for the video explaining this concept pretty well with a common example from society. The video explains clearly the concept of privileges.

The best example to explain the bad effects of privileges is to take examples from well-to-do rich influential families. Why do children from rich privileged, influential families lick the dust when it comes to open competition ?

Rich, influential parents, out of ignorance and pride, shower more and more comforts and privileges on their children thinking it would take them ahead in life, only to find their less than average kids fail in life. They contemplate that riches, influence, power etc can help their kids, when actually it only spoils them !

The same logic applies to rich countries too. US and Europe are fighting hard to keep off competition to it's spoilt children, not knowing that they are just waiting to see their children being wiped out of contention soon .. 

Share your wealth and riches with the less fortunate. Better still, devote your life for the upliftment of society, not for your personal benefit and comfort. 

Why is Tata Son's surviving even after 150 years of existence ? Pure reason is philanthropy .. 70% of Tata Son's profits go for philanthropy, like cancer care, orphanages, education, research and so on. 

How is the Travancore royal family still finding itself respected and manage to be the richest royal family in the world (though its riches are lying in the vaults of the Sri Padmanabha swamy temple in Trivandrum, a trillion dollars to say the least) !! They are roughly 150x the British royals .. the sole reason is philanthropy !!

The Travancore royals were intelligent enough and quick to realise that all the riches showered on them actually belonged to the society .. They felt it their responsibility to give back to society and they have been doing it for more than three centuries.

A true inviolable truth .. Privileges are intentional baits to spoil you. Accept the truth and make peace with the less privileged, share and be equals ..

George ..  

Friday, October 20, 2017

Why and How of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) .. ??

We have very frequently come across the term Standard Operating Procedure. What exactly does this mean ? Should we try to follow the SOP religiously, will it help us, how can it reduce defects, how does it improve the final output, does it finally lead to better quality, these are some of the questions that are constantly in the minds of production managers and top decision makers in organisations.

Let us see whether they can be answered by a discussion on SOPs.

Standard Operating Procedure is a written procedure prescribed for repetitive use as a practice, in accordance with agreed upon specifications aimed at obtaining a desired outcome.
A standard operating procedure, or SOP, is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out complex routine operations. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with industry regulations. -
A neat template to implement SOP in the organisation
An SOP provides consistency, predictability and ensures consistency of outcome, in other words, it reduces the variability of the output. It does not require constant supervision, facilitates training for the employees to be better at the jobs they are good at. It also enables cross-training of the employees at different tasks by having very detailed and definite instructions neatly laid down enabling work to be done with great consistency and less variability.. 

I usually teach about Standard Operating Procedure by playing a game in the class. It is called the paper folding game.

Click here for the presentation on the Paper Folding game.

This game helps the students to understand the importance of having a formally accepted set of instructions to do any task the way it is done, which reduces the variability and thus improves the quality of the task. More clearer and detailed the SOP, better is the compliance and less the variability.
Lesser the variability means better quality and lower costs of non-compliance ..

Whenever there are repetitive operations organisations need to do on a regular basis, the only way to do it consistently and uniformly do it is by insisting on Standard Operating Procedures to be implemented and adopted.  

The other advantage of having an SOP is that the employees can come up with improvements over the existing SOP if it improves the quality.  An SOP can thus challenge the employees to constantly look to improving the quality of their work and the work output, as also to look at reducing the use of inputs and ensure better compliance.


16 Psyche, one of the largest and richest asteroids ..

What does this asteroid, 16 Psyche, 200 km diameter, 450 million miles away (3x distance between Earth and Sun) in the asteroid belt bet...

My popular posts over the last month ..