Gravity doesn’t care

Woke up to this beautiful anecdote, can’t resist posting it here.

Stanford Professor Robert Burgelman once dropped his pen onto the floor in a lecture. He muttered as he stooped to pick it up, “I hate gravity.” 

Then, as he walked to the blackboard to continue his line of thought, he added, “But do you know what? Gravity doesn’t care! It will always pull things down, and I may as well plan on it.”

Biplot  in Python revisited. 

Mark sent a recent email complaining  the previous biplot code not working. Though I was not able to replicate his errors,but from the error message figured the error was due to the PCA numbers supplied.

That reminded me of the simplification task that I intended to do on the previous version to make it work like it works in matlab.

No dependency on PCA data structure, send to variables, scores and coefficient and plot the biplot.

Continue reading

How to choose a book vs how to google?

From the book Curious by Ian Leslie. Like the analogy of browsing a bookstore vs booking a train ticket.

Economist John Maynard Keynes once offered advice on how to conduct oneself in a bookstore: “A bookshop is not like a railway booking-office which one approaches knowing what one wants. One should enter it vaguely, almost in a dream, and allow what is there freely to attract and influence the eye. To walk the rounds of the bookshops, dipping in as curiosity dictates, should be an afternoon’s entertainment.”

This is far different from the advice you’d give someone on how to use Google, which, in Keynes’s terms, is more like a railway booking office—a place to visit when you know your destination.

It’s there to serve you, not to guide you

 stock market 
My colleague is a hard core trader. He intellectually understands the Gardner mentality to investing but doesn’t believes in it.
Most of his investing is based on momentum and he trades on news. 

With the recent crush his trades like many have decreased and he is daily looking at the market movement trying to guess if it will rebound or see a new lower bottom. 

Today as we were discussing markets, got reminded of the following Berkshire letter of 1987 about market. 

From: 1987 letter 
Ben Graham, my friend and teacher, long ago described the mental attitude toward market fluctuations that I believe to be most conducive to investment success. He said that you should imagine market quotations as coming from a remarkably accommodating fellow named Mr. Market who is your partner in a private business. Without fail, Mr. Market appears daily and names a price at which he will either buy your interest or sell you his.

Even though the business that the two of you own may have economic characteristics that are stable, Mr. Market’s quotations will be anything but. For, sad to say, the poor fellow has incurable emotional problems. At times he feels euphoric and can see only the favorable factors affecting the business. When in that mood, he names a very high buy-sell price because he fears that you will snap up his interest and rob him of imminent gains.

At other times he is depressed and can see nothing but trouble ahead for both the business and the world. On these occasions he will name a very low price, since he is terrified that you will unload your interest on him.

Mr. Market has another endearing characteristic: He doesn’t mind being ignored. If his quotation is uninteresting to you today, he will be back with a new one tomorrow. Transactions are strictly at your option. Under these conditions, the more manic-depressive his behavior, the better for you.

But, like Cinderella at the ball, you must heed one warning or everything will turn into pumpkins and mice: Mr. Market is there to serve you, not to guide you. It is his pocketbook, not his wisdom, that you will find useful. If he shows up some day in a particularly foolish mood, you are free to either ignore him or to take advantage of him, but it will be disastrous if you fall under his influence. Indeed, if you aren’t certain that you understand and can value your business far better than Mr. Market, you don’t belong in the game. As they say in poker, “If you’ve been in the game 30 minutes and you don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.”

Ben’s Mr. Market allegory may seem out-of-date in today’s investment world, in which most professionals and academicians talk of efficient markets, dynamic hedging and betas. Their interest in such matters is understandable, since techniques shrouded in mystery clearly have value to the purveyor of investment advice. After all, what witch doctor has ever achieved fame and fortune by simply advising “Take two aspirins”?

The value of market esoterica to the consumer of investment advice is a different story. In my opinion, investment success will not be produced by arcane formulae, computer programs or signals flashed by the price behavior of stocks and markets. Rather an investor will succeed by coupling good business judgment with an ability to insulate his thoughts and behavior from the super-contagious emotions that swirl about the marketplace. In my own efforts to stay insulated, I have found it highly useful to keep Ben’s Mr. Market concept firmly in mind.

Following Ben’s teachings, Charlie and I let our marketable equities tell us by their operating results – not by their daily, or even yearly, price quotations – whether our investments are successful. The market may ignore business success for a while, but eventually will confirm it. As Ben said: “In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run it is a weighing machine.” The speed at which a business’s success is recognized, furthermore, is not that important as long as the company’s intrinsic value is increasing at a satisfactory rate. In fact, delayed recognition can be an advantage: It may give us the chance to buy more of a good thing at a bargain price.

The Discovery Of Gravitational Waves

There is huge news in the science world, Scientists announced that they have detected gravitational waves from the merging of two black holes in deep space – something predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

A landmark day for  our understanding of the universe.

Here’s a video that explains it…

Visualizing 3d Triangles With Pure Matplotlib Function

The problem: STL file is read, you want to do a quick sanity check if it’s correct and don’t have access to VTK or third party STL viewer.

Solution: Use matplotlib to visualize the STL.

Here’s a simple matplotlib script to visualize the STL triangles.


# coding: utf-8
import mpl_toolkits.mplot3d as a3d
import matplotlib.colors as colors
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np

fname=r'coordtopo.npy'

coords,topo=np.load(fname)
ax = a3d.Axes3D(plt.figure())

xm,ym,zm=coords.max(axis=0)
xmi,ymi,zmi =coords.min(axis=0)

for nodes in topo:
tri = a3d.art3d.Poly3DCollection([coords[nodes,:3]])
tri.set_color(colors.rgb2hex([0.9,0.6,0.]))
tri.set_edgecolor('k')
ax.add_collection3d(tri)

ax.set_xlim3d([xmi,xm])
ax.set_ylim3d([ymi,ym])
ax.set_zlim3d([zmi,zm])

plt.show()

Four Thoughts For 2016

Four thoughts from the readings (including books) in 2015 for 2016.

  

Sharing it here. 
Think Long Term

If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue. 

-Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said this in an interview in 2011


Be a Learning Machine

As far as knowledge is concerned, Charlie Munger says – “The more basic knowledge you have, the less new knowledge you have to get.”

It’s not something you do just to advance in life. As a corollary to that proposition which is very important, it means that you are hooked for lifetime learning. And without lifetime learning, you people are not going to do very well. You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you learn after you leave here. [Source: Munger; USC 2007]


Life is long enough

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.

-Seneca wrote


Be thankful for what you got

I am sometimes taken aback by how people can have a miserable day or get angry because they feel cheated by a bad meal, cold coffee, a social rebuff or a rude reception. We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance of occurrence of monstrous proportions. Imagine a speck of dust next to a planet a billion times the size of earth. The speck of dust represents the odds in favor of your being born; the huge planet would be the odds against it. So stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t be like the ingrate who got a castle as a present and worried about the mildew in the bathroom. Stop looking at the gift horse in the mouth – remember you are a Black Swan. 

[Source: Taleb; The Black Swan]

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