Friday, September 21, 2007

Early Morning Swim

Early Morning Swim

Originally uploaded by nicodemus_chan.

It's nice to take a swim in the morning before you go to work. The only thing is the cold water. I try to offset that by doing some sit-ups and push-ups before jumping in.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle is a useful principle, often called the 80/20 principle. It can be used in quality control, 80% of faults are caused by 20% of the types of causes, sales (80% of your sales comes from 20% of your customers.)

It's roots lie in economics. Vilfredo Pareto studied the wealth of nations from the ancient Egyptians to modern day (at that time) Italy. He found that 80% of the wealth of a country is controlled by 20% of the population.

Looking at the Forbes list of 40 richest in Singapore, the breakdown of wealth even among the top 40 follows the Pareto Principle too. List of richest here.

The top 20% control 68% of the wealth, with the bottom 80% control 32%. (The principle is not exact, but it shows that asymmetry occurs.)

What are the other applications? I think equal wealth may not be a practical goal. Equilibrium is reached in asymmetric proportions. The New Economic Policy of Malaysia may be flawed to some degree. (The goal is for the Malays to control at least 30% of the wealth of the country.)

However, in the end, what happens is that there are very rich Malays and very poor Malays. There will be a top 20% of Malays who own 80% of the Malay wealth.

That being the case, the result will be that the top 20% of Malays will control 24% of the wealth of country. While the remaining 80% of Malays will control 6% of the wealth of the country.

It's an intuitive leap of logic, but I think that is why one of the observations as to why there are not more Malays being even more prosperous. The NEP benefits an asymmetric slice of the population.

Even worse, the average Malay voter on the street believes that the policy will actually benefit them. It only benefits the rich. Instead if the NEP is truly in the spirit of alleviating poverty, its benefits should be doled out based on economic boundaries rather than racial boundaries.

The key then, is not to hope for general external factors to push you into the top 20% but for you yourself to vault yourself there.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The On-Time, On-Target Manager

For those of you who have a hard time getting things done or have too many things to juggle with, the on-time on-target manager is for you.

The one thing that I took away from this book was the word propriety. That there is a right thing to do at the right time, the proper thing to do. It's something we must all learn.

PDF of my summary in this link.


Ratatouille is a delightful film about a rat wanting to be a chef. I give it a 4 star rating. Excellent.

Instead of writing a movie review this time, I decided to dissect the movie into standard template motifs.

Joseph Campbell's Hero of a thousand faces. The hero role is supported by two characters, with Remy being the main hero.

Mystical Birth: Remy is born with a special sensitive nose that can even sniff out poison.
Call To Adventure: Remy is called to adventure when he is swept off into the sewer system.
Refusal of the Call: Remy wants to remain in the sewer.
Crossing the first Threshold: Remy takes the first step to go out of the sewers.
Supernatural Aid: Remy has the spirit of "Gusteau" advising him.
Rebirth/Transformation: The meeting of Remy and Linguini transforms each of them. Remy from just a rat and Linguini from a garbage boy.
Training Sequence/Road of Trials: Remy and Linguini train to work with one another to cook.
Woman As Temptress: Linguini is sidetracked with Collette that he forgets about Remy.
Atonement with Father: Remy sets things straight with his father, Django, later in Act III, Linguini learns of his heritage as Gusteau's son.
The Ultimate Boon: Linguini inherits the restaurant.
Refusal of the Return: Linguini basks in the limelight of fame and forsakes Remy.
The Magic Flight: Earlier in Act II when Remy steals the will and letter from Skinner's office.
Rescue from Without: The whole horde of rats come and help Remy cook.

EPL Predictions (Week of 15/9/07)

This weeks EPL predictions:

Everton 0 - Man Utd 3 (0-1, Lose $21.75)
Portsmouth 0 - Liverpool 3 (0-0, Lose $30.00)
Tottenham 0 - Arsenal 1 (1-3, Lose $19.00)
Sunderland 0 - Reading 0 (2-1, Lose $24.25)
West Ham 1 - Middlesborough 1 (3-0, Lose $30.00)
Wigan 1 - Fulham 0 (1-1, Lose $23.90)
Birmingham 2 - Bolton 1 (1-0, Lose $12.75)
Chelsea 0 - Blackburn 0 (0-0, Win $131.75)
Manchester City 1 - Aston Villa 0 (1-0, Win $38.55)
Derby 0 - Newcastle 3 (1-0, Lose $30)

Virtual Lose: $21.35
Running Total (Loss): $226