Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Should buses stop at bus stops?

A daily sight (and source of frustration) on my commute is seeing bus after bus lined up in the center of the road, traffic piling up behind it; trying to edge in to the right lane and traffic piling up in that lane - all the while, the driver nonchalantly awaits for passengers to get on and get off - and a swarm of commuters spreading in multiple directions - everywhere but inside the bus stand.

Why is it that we are not able to wait inside the bus stand and feel the need to reach out into the middle of the road to examine every bus that comes by?

Why is it that buses are not willing to come to a halt at a bus stop and feel the need to halt in the center of the road / or further away / or much before the bus stand?

Do buses stop like this because people are crowding around all over in front of the bus stop and leave no space for the bus? Or do people come out on to the road because buses never stop at the right place?

I don't know.

What I do know is that either which way, we shouldn't have this situation. Other cities in India itself are far better able to manage this simple issue - forget large ones like Bombay, even cities like Mangalore have it down pat - even down to queuing up (can we even think about such a possibility in Bangalore??).

If at all a start has to be made, it has to be made at BMTC - they need to strictly instruct their drivers to stop the buses at bus stops - not in the center, not before, not after - AT the bus stop.

Will Mr. Syed Zameer Pasha, MD of BMTC please hear my plea and do something about it?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Disruptive technologies

Dwelling further on yesterday's ideas, another way to look at it is that man might solve these problems through some disruptive technologies.

For example, water-hydrogen/solar powered cars, heating, etc. will make energy from an infinite source. If we believe that most sci-fi is really not fiction but reality ahead of its time - then Asimov's ideas of mineral recoonstruction - from iron ore to gold, etc will make commodities infinitely more available... and existing technologies like reverse osmosis might become cheaper to make water more available...

Hmm... wonder which way things will go forward...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fund managers should become farmers??

A very interesting interview with Jim Rogers in the Economic Times. It was like he was saying whatever I have been saying/feeling. There are two excerpts below. The full article is here:

He touches upon two of my other thoughts - the coming commodities boom due to its finite availability and the collapse of the US dollar.

Global population is close to its peak and genetically-modified crops will increase productivity. What makes you so bullish on agriculture?

It doesn't matter. The world has been consuming more than it produced. Food inventories are at a multi-decade low. And we haven't had any bad weather. We had isolated cases of droughts and things. That may never happen again. But if it does, the prices of food would go through the roof.

If there is climate change taking place, the best way to participate is through agriculture or through agriculture products. There are many positive things happening. Right now, there is a shortage of everything in agriculture — seeds, fertilisers, tractors, tractor tyres. We have a shortage of farmers because farming has been a horrible business for the past 30 years.

What will you tell a confused fund manager who seeks your advice?

Become a farmer. The world has tens of thousands of hotshot fund managers right now. If I am correct, the financial community is not going to be a great place to be in for the next 30 years. We have many periods in history when financial people were in charge, we had many periods when people who produced real goods were in charge — miners, farmers, etc.

The world, in my view, is changing and is shifting away from the financial types to producers of real goods, and this is going to last for several decades as it always has. This may sound strange but it always happens this way. Ten years from now, it may be farmers who will drive the Lamborghinis and the stock brokers will drive tractors or taxis at best.

P.S. Two posts in a row... the reason is that I am thinking these days I need to write my thoughts down more - to organize and to not forget :-) - memory is failing!

Food, Inc

Saw a news report yesterday about a new documentary about the american food system called Food, Inc.

On my way home - bumped into my building's association president - we were discussing our current big problem - our water charges take up 2/3rds of our already high building maintenance fees - and yet the water is not enough. I was very much against his suggestion that we dig another borewell... besides the environmental issue - most borewells are drying up in any case.

On a more promising note - the MoEF seems to have atleast caused some delay in approving the Gundya hydro power plant - complicated issue - because of the usual "dam" related concerns and also because it is relatively "micro" compared to other such projects - and I do believe run-of-the-river micro power plants may be a better alternative...

Food, Energy, Water - our next big three worries? conflicts? opportunities? all of them?

I am convinced it's all of them. And we all need to do something about it.