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Posts Tagged ‘economy

I no longer want to visit Tibet in China

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In 2006, I was greatly inspired by the photos of Tibet taken by LD (2004) in travel and documentary style.
Then, I seriously put time and efforts to learn photography on my own and from good photographers around me.
The blue sky, the white clouds that seem touchable, the colorful flags, and the gold-covered Potala Palace make Tibet sounds like a heaven on earth.
You can be so close to the sky (and heaven) in Tibet.

For the new year of 2007, I told one of my best friends KS that as a traveler in my life, I want to visit 1 of 3 main destinations.
We dream and set goals, then we realize our dreams.

Do not entirely believe photographers.
They are a combination of artists, engineers, scientists and magicians.
Those who are madly in love can make mundane places look so dramatically beautiful.
A friend of mine told me that the photos of magic hours that I took look more beautiful than real scene.
The simple secret is long exposure.
To me, this is “seeing beyond seeing”.
How I wish I know the secret of “living beyond living”.
We are all on journey.

In 2011, HM – a charming girl from Sichuan whom I like, visited Tibet.
Her SLR-produced photos of Tibet appear normal to me.

In summer 2012, I firmly decide to substitute my dream to visit Tibet with a better dream – a better destination, according to my perspective.
I review the photographs by LD that inspired me. They were fresh to me because of his style of using wide-angle lens, again allowing me the possibilities of “seeing beyond seeing”.
But now I am uninspired.
So what?
What has happened to me?

I wonder if my global wandering for the past several years to multiple countries, my diligent research and reviewing on how to produce beautiful photographs that the professionals achieve, have driven myself to be so perfectionist.
Being perfectionist is tough to live, I do not mind to raise my standards of work, but I feel that we need the act of balancing.

Tibet is situated on high altitude, beyond 3000 meters (risk of altitude sickness).
Honestly, I am concerned of altitude sickness.
Health and lives are the most important.
Though I am a risk-taker, I am a calculated risk taker.
The longer one lives, the more fearful one can be.
I have always attempted to overcome my fear.

While we visited Zhongdian, we had our first encounter with a Tibetan. He is our tour guide. He could be funny and cruel at the same time.
He force people to pay $ to join a dinner of RMB 260 per head.
It is an expensive dinner by the standard in China.
The Shanghainese middle-aged lady sitting in front of me was not aware of the “compulsory” dinner as her tour agent did not tell her about this.
Lesson: when we travel, we have to do research, at least check the travel forum for safety precaution or “compulsory” things.
At a foreign land, we are at the mercy of the locals.
I witnessed how our Tibetan tour guide purposely elbowed her head after she refused, he forced her to call her tour agent, and he moved on to collect $ from us.
The Tibetan tour guide declared that anyone who did not pay for the dinner had to get down of the bus immediately.
He said every Tibetan tour guide will do the same thing.
OK, perhaps tour guides worldwide are in tough economic situation (due to increasing competition, economic recessions that make people less keen to travel).
For that dinner alone, the Tibetans collected
4 buses x 50 people x RMB 260 = RMB 52,000 ~= USD,8,200.
Now, I understand why our tour guide can afford to wear foreign branded sport shoes. Branded things (in particular foreign brands) are luxuries in China.

According to our Tibetan guide:
1. The Tibetans can carry knives around, including at schools.
2. The Tibetans can freely and are given money to attend schools. He once studied in Kunming and no matter he scored 100 or 0, he would graduate.
3. The Tibetans marry at the average age of 13. Our guide said he was late for marrying at the age of 14.
4. The Tibetans do not have to pay taxes.
But based on my limited observations, the Tibetans sell same products more expensive than the shops in Yunnan.

I am curious on the Tibetan medicine and spiritual teachings.
Most likely, I will learn them outside Tibet, through the perspectives of overseas Tibetans, Westerners, and Chinese.
I succeeded to learn on using chopstick in Canada, so I believe that I do not have to be physically present in Tibet in order to learn all these.

Tibetans living at high altitudes have no more oxygen in their blood than other people, they have 10 times more nitric oxide and double the forearm blood flow of low-altitude dwellers.
NO = blood vessel dilator.

Bye Tibet!

Written by blueroselady

May 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Learning from magazines

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I love magazines, pictures, news, tips.
Most time I recycle my magazines, except National Geography. Your pictures are so fantabulous (fantastic + fabulous).

Useful resources:
Libraries, cabins, friends.

TIME September 6, 2010
Because their city is so safe and even-tempered, HK’s residents do not possess the sense of physical danger that many people elsewhere do.
Lawlessness is so woven into the fabric of Philippine society.

What’s so great about ORGANIC FOOD?
The importance of going organic is less relevant in developing world – where food security trumps other concerns.
Grass-feed beef is lower in fat, and milk without chemicals is clearly a good idea.
But organic fruits and vegetables? American J of Clincial Nutrition: no difference between organic and conventional produce with regard to all but 3 of vitamins.
You have people on both sides of the argument cherry-picking their data.

Processed food is dense with salt and swimming with high-fructose corn syrup. Blueroselady: Please eat grass have higher ratios of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 -> reduce cancer risk.
Alternative: eat more fish.

Drift from nearby nonorganic farms can contaminate other crops in vicinity.
Organic farmers use pesticides of their owns.

Milk: buy organic if you can. (cows that produce organic milk are not treated with antibiotics and hormones).
Beef: buy organic if you can.
Fruits / vegetables: buy conventional. Price matters.

TIME January 17, 2011

@~@ The speedy live longer.
In a study of adults over 65, those who WALKED FASTER were 90% likelier to live at least 10 more years than those who walked at a pokier pace.

A regular colonoscopic screening, which involves inserting a scope through the rectum and into the intestines to detect and sometimes remove growth, can lower the risk of colon cancer by 77%.
Right side of the intestines is harder to reach with the scope.
It may be worth seeking out skilled physicians.

Hope against baldness:
balding areas have the same number of hair stem cells as more hirsute ones.

A particular gene may increase the risk of depression, but only in combination wtih an added, nongenetic factor – a stressful life event. Blueroselady: NATURE and NURTURE both play roles!
Ppl with 1 form of a protein that ferries serotonin (a mood-related neurotransmitter), are esp prone to depression when faced with traumatic events. Why? this protein prevents nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin.

There is no such thing as a free market, he declares, “a market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them.” Book “23 things they don’t tell you about capitalism”, by Ha-Joon Chang.

Mario Valenzuela, who plays the villain, shrughs off accusations by the Mexican gov and press that these films glorify the drug cartels. Violence is as much a part of our daily life as bread. Tijuana.

Written by blueroselady

November 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Miscellaneous 2011

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avoid rain water, can spread rat urine infected with leptospirosis, especially in crowded and developing cities.

Most back and shoulder aches stem from poor posture as most people spend most of their lives in front of a desk.
We need to get up and stretch ONCE EVERY HOUR to loosen the muscles and decompress our lower back.
Walk, not jog, at least 2x a week.
To keep stress, anger, and unforgiveness is worse than having a physical teacher.
Ref: a pilate teacher Alvin Giam

What to do when your hand is scalded?
Instead of putting ice or toothpaste (which will contract the skin and worsen the blister), dip into a cup of room temperature water.

How to treat acid reflux ?
make lifestyle changes
over-the-counter medication

Common symptoms of acid reflux:
burping, belching
sour / bitter taste in mouth
feel a burning sensation in throat / chest (heartburn)
cough at night
dry / sore throat
hoarseness in morning
worsening of asthma

Consequences of Long-Term acid reflux : oesophagitis, sricture, barrett’s oesophagus.

Certain food may worsen reflux, please avoid:
chocolates, sweet deserts, high fat / spicy foods, curry, citrus fruits, garlic, onion, tomatoes, tomato-based products.
beverages e.g. citrus juices (orange, lemon), alcohol, coffee, tea.

eat regular meals, small portions each time.
avoid eating 2-3 hours before sleep
lose weight if you are overweight
stop smoking
elevate head of your bed by 6-8 inches.
avoid stres
Ref: Andrea Rajnakova

Finance trends

Michael Hasenstab
fund manager. Templeton Global Bond Fund.
PhD in economics at Australian National University, Canberra.
honeymoon climbing Mt Kilimanjaro with wife Mary Ann
focus on sovereigns and forex, many other global funds buy gov, corporate, and supranational debt.

To Hasenstab, most developed markets are overly indebted and overleveraged, and they offer far more risk than return potential from their paltry interest rates.

In 2007, before the credit crisis, 70% of his portfolio was in mature markets. But then he realised the US financial crisis would spread globally. Solution? he shorted the euro, while buying currencies with current-account surpluses, including CHF and JPY. He boosted holdings in countries where he expected sizable rate cuts, among them Australia, NZ, Chile, South Korea, Mexico. Anticipating the flight to USD, he hedged most of his emerging-market currency exposure.

In finance, short selling (also known as shorting or going short) is the practice of selling assets, usually securities, that have been borrowed from a third party (usually a broker) with the intention of buying identical assets back at a later date to return to the lender. It is a form of reverse trading. The short seller hopes to profit from a decline in the price of the assets between the sale and the repurchase, as the seller will pay less to buy the assets than the seller received on selling them. Conversely, the short seller will incur a loss if the price of the assets rises.
Those who short, expect price to decrease.

Hasenstab believes that over the next few years, US rates will rise and JPY will fall.

Women beware!
If a couple takes taxi in Arab countries, guys go up 1st. Ladies come out 1st. Why? My mentor told me got cases where the ladies were kidnapped.

I love to read and learn from others.

From: 5 Life Lessons I Learned From Prawning (Prawning Tips Included)
1) Fat opportunities don’t come to you. You have to go to them.
2) People help those they like; therefore, be likeable.
3) Be willing to make changes, however unpleasant.
4) Observe what others are doing and MODEL them as best you can.

the risk of being run over by garbage trcuks / buried under the trash
health risks like tetanus
Let us remember the parable of the Good Samaritan

Summer 2011: I have never heard of U Mannheim (the Harvard of Germany), until I learned about CF, probably as young as my sister. See you soon.

Summer 2011: to be competititive, one needs to prepare visume (video resume).

Summer 2011: I had a writing course in a very cold room. Tips: you can use the heat of laptop to warm your hands.

Employer: Our company place cleanliness as the highest value. Do you clean your shoes against the mat when you came in?
Job applicant: Yes, Sir.
Employer: Actually, there is no mat.
Moral of the story: honesty is the best policy

Written by blueroselady

August 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Insights in early 2011

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Indonesia and Philippines are gifted with amazing destinations perhaps more than Thailand, Malaysia, or Vietnam but they have messed up badly in marketing and suffer from (in)security issues.

It is an open secret that no Asian countries are capable of developing intimate ties with China and India simultaneously. Kavi Chongkittavorn. The Nation (Thailand)

The US Federal Reserve’s decided to print US$600 billion stoked fears of formation of bubbles that could lead to sudden crashes. The prices of vegetables and houses went up in many Asian countries.

Dai Haifei (24, a junior architect hailed from Yiyang in southeast Hunan) built a 6sqm mobile egg-house as an answer to Beijing expensive housing where the average home is selling for about RMB 19,500 / sq m (USD 3,000).

Shares that have performed well in the recent past continue to do so for some time. This kind of momentum effect is also present in commodity prices and currencies, they rise or fall for long periods. The Economist Jan 8th, 2011.

There will soon be 7 billion people on the planet. National Geographic. January 2011.
1 in 7 people on Earth lives in slums today.
By 2045 global population is projected to reach 9 billion.

Facebook has secured $500m in financing from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, a Russian investment firm, to fuel its expansion plans.
The business model of Facebook is unproven.
Much of Facebook’s revenue comes from low-end display advertising.

CD sales collapsed.
YouTube runs few ads, for not much money.

Airlines keep finding new things to charge for, from pillows to checked-in luggage. Additional note in  September 2012, my mentor AK advised against buying stocks of airlines companies, because they belong to price competition, instead of sustainable competition.

Investors who buy the best-performing shares over the previous year earn much higher returns (10% points a year) than those who buy the laggards of the preceding 12 months.
Fund managers create the MOMENTUM EFFECT by WINDOW-DRESSING their portfolios with the market’s recent favourites (it looks much better to close a quarter owning the market leaders).
Clearly the momentum effect cannot last for ever or share prices would head for infinity.
An irrational market sends misleading signals, causing capital to be allocated in the wrong places, e.g. encouraging the building of houses in America, Spain, and Ireland for which there was scant underlying (as opposed to speculative) demand.
Momentum effects help to explain why bubbles develop.
Too often, central banks have tended to give speculative buyers a one-way-bet – cutting interest rates when markets falter (weaken), but leaving them unchanged when asset prices boom.
The Economist Jan 8th, 2011. The Big Mo.

Letters on the Disposable academic. Dec 18th.
Society needs highly trained critical thinkers to tackle complex problems with rigor and research skills.
Non-research jobs where they must analyze large amounts of evidence for complex decision-making.
Amanda Murphy (Chicago): I have the opportunity to teach and lecture. My adviser is supportive. I can spend all day thinking and reading books, and that is OK as it is my job.
Paul Greenberg (Managing principal, Analysis group, Boston): I am reminded of my very wise prof’s words of wisdom: the PhD students is someone who forgoes current income in order to forgo future income.

Go south, young scientist.
Brazil is a world leader in research on tropical medicine, bioenergy and plant biology.
Sao Paulo = Brazil’s richest state.
Research funding is being squeezed in Europe and North America.

The most important and difficult problem of academia in Italy was its non-transparent recruitment system. The Economist Jan 8th, 2011.

The best companies e.g. GE, Procter Gamble, are obsessed by the VITAL FEW.
Universities welcome the masses: more people now teach at British universities than attended them in the 1950s.
Novartis, a drug firm, asks high-flyers to produce LEADER PLANS and share them with their mentors and contemporaries.
The best companies single out high-flyers for special training.
Agilent and Novartis like to turn specialists into general managers.
Elitism has its drawbacks. In their rush to classify people, companies can miss potential stars.
People who are average in one job can become stars in another.

Well-paid fund managers have spent decades trying to find ways to beat the market.
Why the bother devoting so much $ and effort to researching the fortunes of individual companies when the momentum approach appears to be easy to exploit and has been aroud for a long time.
SMALL COMPANIES tend to do better than bigger ones in the LONG TERM, but they tend to be LESS DIVERSIFIED and thus MORE RISKY.

MOMENTUM may = the lag btw BELIEFS and the NEW REALITY.
TRENDS occur because there is disequilibrium between SUPPLY and DEMAND.
How to exploit momentum ? trade faster and faster with a time horizon of ms rather than months. But not all market movements are part of a trend. As you trade faster, it is easier to get misled by the noise.

MOMENTUM EFFECT tends to work for the best performers over the past 12 months, but not for those that have shone for longer periods, say 3 or 5 years.

Momentum works over the short term.
Value is successful over longer periods.

1975, 2000, 2003, 2009 are bad years for investors who used a short-term momentum strategy.

After the development of benchmarks like the S&P 500, clients began to demand that fund managers proved their skill by outperforming an index. Many failed, but even some who succeeded may have done so by holding concentrated portfolios of only few stocks (which more risky thank overall market).

These days investors can not only match a benchmark through simple index-tracking funds, they can also own portfolios that exploit the VALUE and MOMENTUM effects without paying hefty fund-management fees.

Momentum effect suggest that an irrationality might be at work; investors could be buying shares (and commodities) just because they have risen in price.

China: price rises in China = inflated fears.
If the prices of vegetables, fruit, other crops are more flexible than other prices, FOOD INFLATION may be an EARLY WARNING of an overheating economy.

20% of UK graduates out of work. Guardian. Jan 26th, 2011.

Written by blueroselady

January 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm