Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bear down! who's next

The fire-sale of Bear Stearns at $236 M was the most talked about topic at HEC yesterday. Everyone was wondering who the next casuality is going to be and if we could pool in some capital to buy a bank ;)

In our Economics class y'day, the professor showed the following video which is a spoof on Bernake's monetary policies. Awesome video I'd say...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Trip to Prague

I went to Prague last weekend and it turned out to be a great trip as expected. I was part of a group of 50 people, all residents of fondation "Deutsche de la Meurthe" who had gone together by a bus! It was a 14 hour overnight trip and even though we had sore back/neck after reaching there, we thoroughly enjoyed the journey and the stay in Prague.

Prague (or Praha as it is locally called) is a lovely, small, developing city. Most of the tourist places in the city are situated in a 3-4 km walking radius and so we spent most of our time walking rather than travelling in trains. The city with its cobbled streets makes for an awesome walking expereince; the streets are beautiful, old and I really liked the colors of the apartments and buildings there.

On the first day, we spent most of our day in Prague Castle, walking around the place and visiting churches, museums inside it. The evening was fabulous - we were treated to a traditional Czech dinner with folk dance. Because I am a vegetarian, I did not enjoy the traditional delicacies but definitely enjoyed the folk dance and songs.

We spent the next day travelling around Old City and visited places like Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, Petrin Tower among other places. We spent the evening in Karlovy Lazne - among the biggest discotheques in Central Europe. The disc has 5 floors and each plays different genre of music. I really enjoyed music there and we left the place around 2 AM and walked for over an hour to reach our place by 3:15 AM!!!

Since Prague is a small place, we had covered almost all the important places in the first couple of days; on the last day, we just walked around the old Jewish Quarters, sipped coffee in Franz Kafka Cafe and then left Prague around 5 PM.

Overall, it was an awesome trip; Now I want to visit more places in Eastern Europe which I think is relatively unexplored. Looking forward to many more trips around Europe...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ethanol as biofuel - a viable alternative to traditional fuels ?

In recent times, we have witnessed a lot of talk about biofuels in general and ethanol in particular. Biofuels are being promoted as alternatives to traditional fuels primarily because they produce fewer poisonous and greenhouse gases that harm the environment and cause global climate change (global warming). Governments everywhere are subsidizing startups in biofuel industry and leading energy companies are also investing huge sums of money to develop biofuels.

Some recent studies have pointed out the ill-effects of using ethanol as a bio-fuel. I recently came across a very good article on Economist debating the use of ethanol as a biofuel. The entire article can be found here:

Another article from CNN talks, among other things, about how ethanol could add to the food woes of emerging countries. This article can be found here:

It will be interesting to see how the biofuel industry responds to these challenges. I will try to get some industry responses on this and post them here.