The Black Swan

Sat 30 November 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

A "Black Swan" event is one that brings about a major upset to existing facts. Until the late 18th century, people always assumed "white" swans but were shell shocked to discover "black" swans in Australia. Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined this term to explain such high impact events.

Through past events in the financial markets and the narrative around them, he exposes loopholes in our prediction abilities and how "one" black swan caused irreperable damage. He also quotes examples out of the finance to show how badly we are equipped at making predictions.

It's an interesting book with a little bit of subtle humour in the examples but towards the end it spirals into a name calling exercise. Don't expect style or finesse in the book, read it if you want to see how "experts" can get things wrong and how you can hedge yourself against life's "black swans".


Resize Qemu Image

Wed 30 October 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

The default cloud image on Ubuntu has a root partition size of 2GB. I wanted a way to resize the root without going through the hassle of setting up LVM.

To be able to resize the qemu images, we need the Guestfish package.

qemu-img create -f qcow2 -b base_disk.img ...
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The Small Bachelor

Mon 28 October 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

So far, I have not enjoyed any non Jeeves story. But "The Small Bachelor" broke that jinx for me. The book opens with George Finch, a small time artist getting swept off his feet by Miss Waddington. But Mrs Waddington has got other plans for her daughter. George finds a ...

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Think again

Mon 14 October 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

There are a lot of books stereotyping Indians in the US but "Think again" is slightly different. For one, it isn't as much an exaggeration and it offers a native twang. The Hyderabadi lingo is what makes this novel lively but kills part of the fun because it is ...

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The Heart of India

Sun 29 September 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

Mark Tully is a fantastic story teller and "The Heart of India" is a collection of humourous short stories from eastern Uttar Pradesh. I couldn't resist drawing parallels between RK Narayan and Jeffrey Archer in the stories. The stories exhibit a deep understanding of the rural Indian society and ...

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Man and Boy

Wed 25 September 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

When was the last time 'a' book moistened your eyes and brought a smile that stretched from ear to ear? "Man and Boy" by Tony Parsons is definitely one such book.

A man grows up to become a father and take charge of his son. In the process, he draws ...

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If God was a Banker

Sun 15 September 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

Two fresh graduates join a foreign bank planning to disrupt banking in India. One is ambitious, willing to play the bad ball and trample everyone in his path while the other's hallmark is integrity and won't stand corruption.

No prizes for guessing the rest of the story. This ...

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The God of Small Things

Fri 13 September 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

The God of Small Things is the debut and Booker prize winner novel by Arundhati Roy. The book is set in Ayemenem, a village in Kerala in a Syrian Catholic family. Rahel, the narrator, recounts the story of her family starting from her grandfather until the day she "returns".

While ...

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Freakonomics

Tue 03 September 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

Freakonomics is an economist's take on some non-traditional "economic" topics. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner use economic theory to explain why crime rates decreased after an abortion ban, what teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common, how information de-control led to the downfall of Ku Klux Klan etc.

The ...

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The Old Man and his God

Sun 01 September 2013 by Thejaswi Puthraya

"The old man and his God" is a collection of short stories by Sudha Murthy, a well known philantrophist and wife of Infosys Chairman, N R Murthy. The book is a collection of about 20 short stories. She claims that all the stories in this book are based on true ...

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