Time for Speculation in the European Sports Market !

euro-foot-market.png

The transfer season has kicked in. The enormity of this is measurable considering the lavishness in the spending pattern. The clubs have already spent a large chunk of their bank account and the trend is expected to continue. The Premier League clubs have already spent large sums on their star acquisitions. Arsenal have bought Lacazette for an amount close to 50 million pounds, Chelsea have Morata for nearly 60 million pounds and mega clubs are bidding for Alexis Sanchez, who is currently the hot star of EPL.

 

The other clubs like Borussia Dortmund. There are rumors that Madrid and Arsenal are trying to go for Kylian Mbappe. The star shuffling is more than ever thanks to advertising, oil money and revenue cash of clubs in the Champions League. The other players who are often discussed about are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Phillipe Coutinho. Teams like Barcelona are already in buying mode, whereas on the other end of the bridge, teams like Monaco are struggling to hold on to their star players.

Why is there so much speculation from the recent seasons? The total earnings for 2016 for EPL teams was nearly 3.5-4 billion pounds (Source: Guardian.co.uk and Express.co.uk). The dispensable amount for wages, incentives, purchase of players have gone up due to the increased income from TV Ads, sponsorships, inflated ticket prices differentiated based on the type of competition and the stadium. This is, simply, in mathematical terms, LHS=RHS.

Thanks to the increased prices, the expectation has also reached the rooftops. The “Manager Life Cycle” has come down to almost two years. Except the likes of Arsene Wenger not many managers stay in the same club for more than a year or two. This is an underlying reason for teams “Googling” for the right players in the market. The synergy between the style of the manager and the player must match. This is important in both on-field and off-field activities.

The early entrants into the market to complete the transfer process have a greater pool of players to choose from the platter. The exciting, attracting and most luxurious football leagues are in Europe, which is a no brainer as to why the market is also always stimulated. There are rumors that PSG are readying an audacious bid of 197 million pounds for Neymar. Government Organizations like ISRO in our home country can launch satellite with that price and Neymar is no wonder, a gem, worth investing. But speculation makes it harder for players and managers. The fans and journalists are the ones completely excited and hunky dory. But speculation is the driver of views, digital revenues and a medium to gain popularity in the market. Everything is business though!

Let the speculation continue and let the transfer saga roll on. The hot deals will be eye catching and I as a football fan would look forward for the same. The new season will yield more pressure to top clubs in England like Arsenal and Manchester City who haven’t performed to their fullest last season. The fans are eagerly waiting and let’s see where Aubameyang may end up. EPL has a star war with the current strike force. And addition of Aubameyang in EPL wouldn’t be a bad option for the bone of contention, which is the Golden Goal Award in EPL.

Article Written by Adithya N

Bihar Political Dynamics: Morality v/s Opportunism

In a single day, the politics of Bihar turned upside down. Nitish Kumar resigned as Bihar Chief Minister (CM) just to get back to the realm within a day. The reason stated for steeping down as CM is far from believable. As Tejaswi Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, was not explaining the corruption charges against him, he resigned on moral grounds. The relationship between the both is Mahagathbandhan alliance which was ruling the state. Janata Dal(U), led by Nitish Kumar; Rashtriya Janata Dal(RJD), led by Lalu Prasad Yadav and Congress formed alliance in 2015 to contest elections. Now, the relationship was strained due to corruption charges on Tejaswi Yadav and Nitish Kumar had to face the heat.

It was alleged that in 2004, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Tejaswi Yada were involved in land-for-hotels case. Three acres of land was given as a bribe to Yadav’s family to secure a licence to run a hotel. But, Tejaswi Yadav accuses BJP of false charges as he was just 14 year old in 2004. Though the case is not yet closed, the damage is already felt in terms of erosion of ruling party credibility. Nitish Kumar’s move sounds morally correct but forming the government with BJP just doesn’t sound well. Nitish Kumar fielded himself as Narendra Modi’s competitor for Prime Ministership in 2014. Also, he won 2015 Assembly elections by projecting BJP as Hindutva party and his party as secular. Now, forming a government along with BJP looks opportunistic.

Present JU(U)-BJP government has 129 seats out of 243 Assembly seats. Earlier the Mahagathbandhan alliance had a whopping 178/243 seats. So, the opposition still wields greater power. Looking forward, the new alliance would be more beneficial to BJP than JD(U). JD(U)’s base was slowly eroding as they were unable to stand on their election promises. On the other hand, BJP was gaining more foot on the ground given the popularity of the Modi and his landmark reforms. So, now the BJP is in dictating terms both in the government and for the 2019 general elections. BJP could also propagate its ideology into the masses without much hindrance. There are also chances that BJP could completely erode JD(U)s popularity.

Of course, opposition would not sit idle watching all these moves. Congress would also think about continuing with RJD, given its notorious background. However, the options for congress are limited, especially when it is not in power at Centre. JD(U) should now be aware of every single move taken by the BJP or Congress given its vulnerability in the state. With these changing dynamics, people of Bihar should assert themselves for the development they deserve.

 

Unprecedented moves by the Indian Presidents

One of the most complicated relationships in the Indian History is between Indian President and the Prime Minister. Several courts intervened to solve the issues raised and they were successful to some extent. There have been many events which challenged the constitutional norms and questioned the existence of democracy. The President is Nominal Head and the real power lies in the hands of the Prime Minister. But, few Presidents, to protect the Constitution, have asserted their power. From our first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad to the People’s President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, everyone had one or the other issue with the government. Critical events are discussed below.

In June 2006, then President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam shockingly refused to give his assent to the Office-of-Profit Bill. Indian Constitution bars Member of Parliament (M.P) from holding few offices and they are referred to as Office of Profit. Sonia Gandhi has just resigned her position as Chairman of National Advisory Council, which was assumed as Office of Profit. However, the Membership of around 43 MPs and 100 M.L.As were at stake. So, Congress government hurriedly passed Prevention of Disqualification (Amendment), Bill, 2006 to protect the People’s representatives. Abdul Kalam boldly sent his displeasure by not giving his assent to the Bill. But, according to the law, if the same Bill is passed by the Parliament and sent to President, he has no other choice but to approve the Bill. However, the impact was already felt in the form of embarrassment to the government.

Similarly, in 1986, Rajiv Gandhi government tried to pass Indian Post Office Amendment Bill but President Giani Zail Singh refused to give his assent. If passed, the Bill would provide the government with extraordinary powers to intercept any Post Office sent among the Indian Citizens. Also, Indian Constitution is silent on the time frame in which the President should give his assent. So, Mr. Zail Singh sat on the Bill till his term ended notwithstanding the simmering tensions between President’s office and Prime Ministers Office(PMO). This act of ‘not acting’ is also referred to as the use of Pocket Veto. This was the only case when the Indian President has used his Pocket Veto. On the lighter note, it is said that Indian President has the largest Pocket as he could hold the Bill for unlimited period of time.

Another incident was in the early 1950s when Dr. Rajendra Prasad expressed reservations to the Hindu Code Bill. The reason for their contention was their ideologies. Nehru supported a modern society with the focus on development and giving minimal emphasis to the religion. Whereas Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on the other hand, asserted the coexistence of religion along with development. So, they exchanged heated arguments in the form of letters. After many amendments, the Hindu Code Bill was passed including both the views. This Bill was seen as the present day Uniform Civil Code.

Thus, many Presidents tried to protect the Constitution using their powers. Let’s see what’s in store for Mr. Ram Nath Kovind.

The Art of Choosing a Gift for A Girl

gift-girl

In 21st century, two things that you can never predict are the occurrence of World War III and a girl’s mentality. “What is the need for a gift now man!” can either mean that she seriously did not expect it or that you have bought a stupid gift.

Remember any gift which gains the response as “owwwww, it’s so cute, that’s fabulous, so sweet” is definitely a good gift. As no one on this earth can gift anything to enhance internal beauty, we try to concentrate on external beauty enhancing gifts. A recent research shows that the happiness quotient of a girl is dependent on her beauty quotient. People might think that beauty lies in the eyes of a beholder. Remember in the case of a girl, both the beauty and the beholder is the same girl.

What are the things that comes to your mind when you think of a girl? An elegant dress, makeup, footwear, accessories. So, let’s look at them individually.

Clothing: Unless you know her dressing style very well, don’t take a risk to get a dress. If you still want to choose one, three important things to keep in mind are the fit, colour and the brand. Fit will be of paramount priority as you don’t want the dress to be an antique in her ward robe which would remain untouched.

Cosmetics/Perfumes: Again, if you have a sound knowledge on the beauty brands in the market and the brands which the girl generally uses, go for this option. The usage of your gifts depends on the availability of the same with her. In this case I suggest you to go for a perfume. As it is an oddball to give an eyeliner or a kajal, if you choose to gift a cosmetic product, go for a lipstick/gloss.

Footwear: A safe zone for anyone to play in is the footwear. Unless you are not a person who likes colours like radium, any footwear is wearable for some or the other dress. The only thing you should be careful about is to choose ones with heels or without heels. I know that understanding the difference between a bellies, pumps and clogs is a mystery, go with a broader classification.

Accessories: This includes bags, purse, wallets, earrings, chains, rings, bracelets, hair accessories etc. etc. etc. This option is like a mega market of choices. Unless you don’t mess up with the colour and the brand, you will have a beautiful day. Even though you don’t understand the accessories to be worn for a particular dress, a decent one which you feel will go with any dress will make a clear difference.

These are the major categories one can start with. Although there are multiple other categories from which you can choose like chocolates, customized artefacts, antique pieces etc., start with the basic stuff. If you choose to get the girl all of the above as a set to take her to a party or so, best thing is tell the girl to choose things for herself. As we already said, personal satisfaction of a girl on the gifts she gets is paramount.

Article Written by Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy 

Dunkirk: Why you should watch the film

Disclaimer: I’m a Christopher Nolan fan, but I’m not recommending the film because of his direction. It’s just not a visceral piece of film making. The film portrays one of the most important incidents of the Second World War which I believe the current generation should be aware of – it takes you through a sheen of nostalgic sentimentality. It’s about both bravery and suffering, individuals who care less about themselves than about a greater good.

Dunkirk is a war film written, co-produced and directed by Christopher Nolan. Christopher Nolan is known for his films – The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception & Interstellar. The music is composed by German composer & 4 time Grammy Award winner Hans Zimmer. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot the film on IMAX 65 mm and 65 mm large format film stock.

Let’s look at the history

The film depicts Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk – the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France. A large numbers of British, French, Belgian, and Canadian troops were surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France between 26 May and 4 June 1940.

The Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. The British Empire and France declared war on Germany and imposed an economic blockade. The Germans invaded Beligum and Netherlands on 10 May 1940. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent to aid in the defence of France. However, they were surrounded by the German forces. The German army halted their advance to Dunkirk after a German High Command order, with Adolf Hitler’s approval.

It is one of the most debated decisions of the war, since it gave time for gave the Allies to organise the Dunkirk evacuation and build a defensive line. The Siege of Lille also gave time for the BEF to evacuate the forces from Dunkirk. British casualties amounted to 68,000, while French losses totalled around 290,000 with more than that either missing or taken prisoner.

In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the events in France “a colossal military disaster”, saying “the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. In his We shall fight on the beaches speech on 4 June 1940, he hailed their rescue as a “miracle of deliverance”. Most importantly the decimation of the British at Dunkirk may have resulted in the U.K.’s capitulation to Hitler and no American involvement in the European war. It was Hitler’s best chance to win the war.

The film depicts three distinct perspectives, based on fictionalized characters.

  • Land: Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), plays a young soldier who is stranded on the Dunkirk beach and unfolds the tale of the men on the beach.
  • Sea: Dawson (Mark Rylance) is a Brit who decides to rescue survivors using his small boat.
  • Air: Farrier (Tom Hardy), a fighter pilot in a Spitfire who has one hour to take out Nazi planes and protect the men on the ground and in the water.

The film has been made extensive use of practical effects – employing 6,000 extras, assembling boats that had participated in the real Dunkirk evacuation, and using genuine era-appropriate planes for aerial sequences. With Hans Zimmer’s pulsating background score and extra-ordinary effects, the film is a must watch in theatres.

Not going to put forward any more spoilers. To put in one word, the film is a massive Nolanesque scale film. It’s definitely going to go down into the history as one of the greatest war films of all-time.

Chatbots: The Future of Human-Computer Interaction

Hello Siri, “What is the Future of Human-Computer Interaction ?”

Well, you shouldn’t be surprised if your virtual assistant/chatbot suggest you what to message to your friends or intervenes in a conversation. The future of message interaction is all about Chatbots. Aritifical intelligence (AI) and Machine learning is changing the ways in business operates and delivery customer experiences.

What exactly are Chatbots ? A chatbot is a service powered by AI that lets user interact via a chat interface to accomplish a task. A user will have an access to a chat interface where he/she types his need. The chatbot automatically replies to the queries and get things done much faster for you. Some example would be a weather bot that gets the current weather whenever you ask, Grocery bot that helps user shop for items, News bot – reports interesting news or update & scheduling bot that helps you schedule appointments.

Chatbots have become popular especially after the rise of mobile devices. People prefer to chat rather than talk to each other. Some of the most popular bots that are currently in the market include Facebook Messenger, Kik and Slack.

One must understand that the functionality of the bots is limited. You must have faced instances when Siri or Alexa is unable to reply to your queries or gives you the wrong answer. To know why this happens, you must understand how it works. A system works on a set of keywords and a set of rules and algorithm powered by machine learning helps the chatbot reply to the queries. The chatbot learns itself from the experience, gets smarter and will started to recognize key words. It may not recognize the context in which they are being used but the system continuously improves itself.

In terms of business, Chatbots are slowly replacing Call-centre employees. It is a cost-efficient & never-sleeping interface that provides basic support to the customer. Unlikely humans, chatbots don’t make you wait. It helps users to multi-task. You get instant replies to your queries and helps personalize customer experience. However, chatbots lack human emotion but they help increase productivity at work. As the technology improves especially in Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Internet of Things, the acceptance of chatbot is expected to grow. They will have a much bigger role to play in customer service and support.

A classic example of a chatbot is DoNotPay, created by Joshua Browder, a Stanford student. It was described as “the world’s first robot lawyer” that gives free legal aid to users through a simple-to-use chat interface. The chatbot was programmed to deal with a wider range of legal issues. The chatbot has taken on 250,000 cases and won 160,000, giving it a success rate of 64% appealing over $4m of parking tickets. The chatbot current using Facebook Messenger, is now helping refugees fill in an immigration application in the US and Canada.

The innovation in chatbot continues to grow especially in natural language processing and machine Learning. You shouldn’t be surprised if you start dating a chatbot in future.

Getting to know Deep Learning with TensorFlow

Machine learning is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting fields in the 21st Century. It is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed. Deep Learning is a subfield of machine learning that is concerned with algorithms that is inspired by the structure and function of the brain called artificial neural networks.

Today, most companies hire talents in the field and develop Machine learning tools & packages to develop products/services. Google is one of the major companies that uses machine learning extensively. Google uses machine learning to classify images in Google Photos, for image recognition, voice recognition, to improve search results, translation and search suggestions.

For developers, Google has developed an open-source software machine learning library called TensorFlow. It was originally developed by the Google Brain team for their internal use. Google Brain developed DistBelief – a proprietary machine learning system based on deep learning neural networks. The use of Distbelief grew rapidly with the expansion of the company. TensorFlow was Google Brain’s second generation machine learning system and it was released as open source software on November 9, 2015. TensorFlow Lite is a scaled-down version of the software library meant to run on mobile devices.

What is a Tensor ?

The central unit of data in TensorFlow is the tensor. The name TensorFlow derives from the operations in which neural networks that performs on multidimensional data arrays. A tensor consists of a set of primitive values shaped into an array of any number of dimensions. A tensor’s rank is its number of dimensions. So, basically it’s a multi-dimensional array.

So, why don’t they call it a multi-dimensional array ? Here is where you must understand the difference. Tensors and multidimensional arrays are different types of object; the first is a type of function, the second is a data structure suitable for representing a tensor in a coordinate system.

In short, Tensor is “something” which can be represented as multidimensional array. This representation must depend in some very specific way from where you are looking at this “something”.

To get started with TensorFlow, head towards the TensorFlow website that has a bit of documentation and tutorials. Please note that these are made on the assumption that you have some (or a lot) prior machine learning and artificial intelligence knowledge/experience. You also should be very comfortable with Python programming language.

Udacity has partnered with the Google to provide a course on Deep Learning. The course is available for free and TensorFlow will be introduced via projects and assignments. For more details visit: Deep Learning with Google

There are lot of exciting project that have been developed using TensorFlow. Visit the collection of TensorFlow models in the TensorFlow Zoo.

One of the main reasons why Google open-sourced TensorFlow is to attract the best talent from the world. Many top professors from universities have joined companies like Facebook, Google & Baidu. Google has certainly a first mover advantage in terms of open-source TensorFlow. Apple also generate huge amount of data, but their extreme stance on privacy has restricted the development. Google is acquiring a lot of startup/companies based on Machine Learning and AI, the recent Halli Labs from India, data science community Kaggle & DeepMind in 2014. Looks like Google is now becoming an A.I. first company.

TensorFlow is already one of the leading platforms for teaching A.I. and the adoption rate is expect to grow exponential. So, if you are looking for a machine learning job, start working on project with TensorFlow.

Trip to Andaman – 2

It takes 2 hours to travel to Havelock from Port Blair on a cruise. Also be aware that reservations for the cruise will be finished a day prior to the day of travel. The journey was quite peaceful, unlike return journey, as we travelled on a single wave. As soon as we reached Havelock, I scheduled Scuba Diving at one of the Private Scuba Diving Centres. All the bookings would be made through Divers association. The training and diving would consume two more hours. And it is not to be missed in Andaman as the clear waters and exotic corals cannot be easily found. You will be taken 7 m into the sea to enjoy the beauty of marine life. Below picture was taken by the photographer diving with me.


Pic: Left: Scuba Diving Pictures & Right-Havelock Islands

Later, we checked into Forest Guest House at Havelock. It has a lovely view as white sand Beach is attached to its compound. Just like Chandipur beach in Odsha, the water resides around 1km during the ebb tide. And one could go deep into the beach as they were no waves due to surrounding islands. Later, we visited one of the best beaches in World (Times, 2004), Radha Nagar beach. It is a wide beach covered with lush palm trees along the coastline. It is also peaceful and clean due to minimal human presence.

On the next day, we visited Kaala Pathar Beach. Though the name looks exciting, the aesthetics could not beat Radha Nagar Beach. It neither has place to swim or have fun. It’s just an over hyped beach at Havelock. Later we boarded the cruise to Port Blair at 3:00P.M. This is the most exciting journey of the whole trip. As the cruise has to pass through gigantic waves of the sea, it felt as if I am on a Giant wheel. Indeed, watching people worrying for their life on the secured boat was more fun.

Next day, we visited Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex and took a return flight to Vijayawada via Chennai. The trip was memorable not just due to exotic locations, but because of ever green companions- Mom and Dad.

Font Gate: How a Microsoft font can bring down the government

Pakistan’s government is in turmoil after an ongoing corruption scandal on Pakistan PM’s daughter, Maryam Sharif. Her illegal offshore properties and a Microsoft Word font might be one of the keys to discovering the truth. Let’s see how the story evolved.

The case began in 2016 with the Panama Papers expose. The leak suggested many of Sharif’s children had allegedly used shell companies to purchase real estate without disclosing the details to authorities. There was no mention of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directly, but there was an investigation into the source of his family’s finances.

Due to a lack of evidence of corruption, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Sharif could remain Prime Minister. However, recently Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Sharif allegedly submitted forged documents in a judicial investigation into the family’s “unusual wealth”. So how did the investigators conclude that the documents were forged?

It was found out that the document used Microsoft’s Calibri font, which wasn’t publicly available until 2007, while claiming the documents were created in 2006. The font’s inventor Lucas de Groot, told the BBC, “that beta versions were generally only used by ‘tech geeks’ rather than normal companies or government officials”. According to reports, The Calibri was delivered to Microsoft in a finished form in 2004 and the first public betas to include it was released in 2006. The case is still pending and the opposition party in Pakistan is demanding the PM’s resignation.

So, could Maryam Sharif documents be actually forged? There is high possibility that the documents were forged. A simple question could provide insights into the case, “Why did Maryam Sharif use the Calibri font?” The font was in beta version in 2006 and it was not quite famous. There are many number of fonts which were available on Microsoft Word at that time. Or Did Maryam Sharif purchase the font and made the document? Was she a font fanatic and downloaded the font prior to the release?

During the period, Microsoft Word 2003 was the latest version of Word which had Times New Roman as the default font. The Calibri font was commercially available only after January 30, 2007 with the release of Microsoft Office 2007 on the same date. The default font used in this edition is Calibri.

As a result of the sudden dominating headlines in Pakistan about the case and due to the surge in interest from people around the world, Calibri font’s Wikipedia page has been locked for editing. Well, of course, the Twitterati’s came out with their own reactions and has prompted a tweet storm with the hashtag, #Fontgate.

Well, so the next time, you should be extra careful when you’re drafting your next Word template. Your choice of font might get you caught or just lead to an international scandal.

Let’s wait and watch if font’s can bring down government.

Book Review – Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists

book-saving-capitalism.png

John Maynard Keynes once said “If you owe your bank a 100 pounds, you’re in trouble, but, if you owe a million, it has.” A pristine, lucid and clean structural economic organization propels the country towards superior growth and stability. The book by Raghuram Rajan and Luigi Zingales enables the reader to thoroughly understand the astute importance of the relationship between government and policy makers.

The book starts with the introduction to the world of policy making and finance citing ancient examples from the British Empire and French Empire. The writings further illustrates the example of exploitation from the “Zameendars”, citing haciendas as examples. The strategic details of Vertical integrated organizations are described to impart a key information on how a mix of both vertical and horizontal organization can balance the see-saw of economic activity in industry domain.

The book further elicits examples from the famous Grameen Bank by Mohammed Yunus as to how implicit exploitation was controlled due to financial inclusion and co-operative action. Innovation has been a game changer ever since and evolution of Junk bonds, tops the charts in innovative thinking and a sudden shift in the thought process. The importance of free market vis-à-vis crony capitalism/ relationship capitalism is clearly elucidated. The book cities examples of cartelization, the famous Credit Mobilier in France which is one of the integral part of “Financial Revolution” and many such exclusive examples from history. The examples elucidate the role of policies, government and psychology of people in a country’s economic foray is clearly scripted.

The book further goes on to illustrate the incumbent effect on competition, centralization effect and impact of open markets on the GDP of the country. The book has also highlighted the reasons for standardizing Gold and US dollar, as to why pegging is important and what happens if each country appreciates or depreciates according to its own whims and fancies. Protectionist attitude is indirectly addressed in the book, reflected in the lines on social impact of economics on the developed versus developing countries. The authors give their inputs on the role of the government in decision making and as to how, one could perhaps throw a gleam of light on resolving the Catch-22 situation i.e., how to deal with free markets?

The book is a fantastic read. Pandas would rate it 4.5 on 5. The book, rather a tome enables a common man with a betel nut exposure in economics appreciate the scenario and ponder over the juggernaut of capitalism in the world. May it be technological disruption or any other process oriented disruption, the probability of an investor/capitalist being unemployed is virtually zilch!

Originally Written by Adithya N