January 27

Why is everything (stocks, ETF, crypto, asset prices) going up?

Lately, everything I look at is going up. I look at stocks of tech companies in US and they are going up. I look at various stock market exchange indexes and they are going up, both in India and in US at least. Crypto-currencies are going up for the last year or so. And not just up, some of these assets are going up in a crazy fashion, doubling 10x in a year. It was becoming hard for me to even understand what I was doing and made investing even more risky.

For a long period of time, until recently, I used to believe that net result of every transaction is 0. If you are spending money, someone is earning money. So if you make money in the stock market, someone should be losing money. That is what the conventional wisdom in my head said. Continue reading

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December 11

10 years of blogging

I happened to be looking at my blog’s history and I suddenly realized that I actually first posted on this blog site on 14-Mar-2009. It was of course, a stupid Hello World blog. If you do not know what that means, Hello world is the first thing you do with any software essentially. It’s a technical person’s way of starting a project much like how religious people start something with a prayer. However my journey into writing started much earlier. Before I had this blog I had another one on blogspot.com. I started that in 2007 and even before that I started writing journal entries. My first recorded entry (that I still have for reference) is from Nov-2003.

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November 5

How Safe is my city?

It’s been about 3 months since I moved to Tokyo. There are a lot of things that are very different about this city than say Delhi or Seattle for example. There are a few I don’t like but then there are quite a few that are absolutely wonderful. One of the great things about Tokyo is just how safe I feel in general. It’s a feeling that cannot be described because usually it is about lack of certain elements and environments and so our mind struggles to define the lack of something.

There are quite a few anecdote’s I had heard about Tokyo and all of them ring true somehow. You can leave your cellphone on a table at a coffee shop and that is sufficient to reserve the table (and obviously no one will take it). You can forget your cellphone or camera on a train and you will get it back within the hour. You can actually leave your cellphones on a train seat I heard to hold your seat. Continue reading

September 23

Climate Change needs our attention

It’s one of those topics that has divided the world for years and probably will continue to do so for years to come. It is not easy to accept that change is here and your way of life is in danger. It is equally difficult to accept responsibility for something that you cannot see or touch or feel right in front of you. Even if you can, it is hard to correlate your acts of keep the air conditioning on to the freak hurricane that hits you.

So I can understand why people do not believe in climate change. I can also understand the situation where people believe in it but they feel they are too small and trivial to do anything about it. I think this is the real reason for a lot of climate change deniers. It is easy to deny something than accept it even though you think you can’t take action.
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August 12

First Reactions: Life in Tokyo

I have been here almost 2 weeks and there are things I see / experience here that sometimes delight me and at other times flummoxes me!

  • The very first thing that hits you is the size of apartments. When we entered our company provided accommodation, we were at a loss initially on how small a 2 bedroom apartment can be. A 1 bedroom place is less than 45 m2 (about 485 sq ft) generally and 2 bedroom places are 65 m2 (650 sq ft) perhaps.
  • Ignoring the actual size, the furniture and layout is designed in a way to make the space feel more spacious than it is. You won’t probably feel cramped in an apartment that’s the size of bedrooms in India.

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July 27

Why Tokyo?

Why Tokyo?

This exact line has been the response of me telling people I am leaving Amazon and moving to Tokyo. It has been a very interesting question because no one asked me why Seattle when I left Bangalore. In fact I have been pondering over this quite a bit and I don’t think I have a great answer.

I wonder if part of the question is implicitly asking: Why leave US? And why leave Amazon? If I have to answer the question of why Tokyo, I probably need to answer these questions.
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April 3

Humans: The only storytellers

About a month ago I got a chance to read a very interesting book called Sapiens. It was written by a historian and it was one of the most thought provoking books I have had a chance to read. I rarely read non-fiction but history interests me somewhat. This book was more of a mashup between human history and psychology. It’s goal in a way was to write an unbiased history of the Homo genus, more specifically the Homo sapiens species. That, btw, is modern human beings

What really caught my attention was a very obscure fact. The brain matter of another human species, Neanderthals, was bigger than homo sapiens. Yet that specie died out and never developed civilization and sophisticated tools etc. For all of my life, I had assumed that humans are special because we have more brain matter. However I was clearly wrong.
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March 13

Thoughts about time (ideas while meditating)

As I mentioned in some of my blogs from January, I started meditating this year. I had started to not like myself because I was always ready to snap. I had long thought of myself as a cool and composed person but that had started becoming more of a fictional character. So I turned to meditation to channel some of these energies.

Meditation is a fun activity when you don’t rush it or force it. I started meditating regularly and most days tried to do it in a part of my day where I wasn’t time pressed. Once I started to clear my head of the everyday thoughts about work, traffic, food, money, TV, technology etc I got a little more mental room to follow some of the other thoughts that would pop up. Earlier I would have run out of time or energy to even consider such thoughts but I felt more upbeat after starting to meditate.
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January 21

Chaos & Quantum Entanglement

The last time I took a lesson in physics was probably way back in 2006 or 2007. It’s been almost a decade yet I consider myself an astrophysics enthusiast. There are various facets of physics that I really love. Every time I think about them I feel like I understand people and the world a little better. There are two ideas that I like to wonder about: Making sense of chaos and quantum entanglement.

It’s hard to imagine how physics can help us understand people. Physics usually describes properties of inanimate things and conscious decisions can seem inherently chaotic. Imagine for a moment that the gas inside a balloon is made up of millions of particles, which it is. Imagine now the movement of these particles. Their motion is inherently random and chaotic and it is unlikely to be predicted.
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