Shaaz Nasir

Archive for the ‘Globalization’ Category

Breaking News: Japanese Earthquake Disaster

In Globalization, Japan on March 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

BBC CBC CNN Fox News and more all rolled up into 1 MTG article

The most powerful earthquake to hit Japan since records began has struck the country’s north-east and triggered a devastating tsunami.

History: The offshore quake at 2:46 p.m. local time had a magnitude of 8.9, making it the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres, about 125 kilometres off the eastern coast.

Basic Facts : Infrastructure

  • A state of emergency was declared at the Fukushima power plant after the cooling system failed in one of its reactors when it shut down automatically because of the earthquake.
  • The earthquake also triggered a massive blaze at an oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo, engulfing storage tanks.
  • About four million homes in and around Tokyo suffered power outages.

Basic Facts : People

  • There were no reports of any injuries to Canadians living or travelling in Japan, the Department of Foreign Affairs said at about 7 a.m. ET.
  • Some reports quote Japanese police as saying 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the port city of Sendai…with the death toll expected to rise rapidly
  • The Japanese Red Cross has already deployed a team to the affected areas to assess the damage and provide assistance.
  • The Japanese Red Cross is focusing on medical emergencies and is not yet requesting international assistance.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama sent his condolences to the people affected by the quake and the tsunami, saying the U.S. “stands ready to help” the Japanese.
  • Japan’s worst previous quake occurred in 1923 in Kanto, an 8.3 magnitude temblor that killed 143,000 people.

World Wide Impact

Take a look at this picture as they it explains everything words simply cannot.

  • The 1st wave of a tsunami is never the strongest as more countries brace for havoc.

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Boys are just Not Good Enough

In Business, Canada, Economics, Experience, Globalization, Uncategorized on March 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

A unfortunate gap between females and males continues to grow. It’s great that females are improving their skills in general, but the males are falling behind which means half the world is struggling.

I was reading the PISA 2009 assessments and below are some major points to be noted (the entire document is over 20 pages)

Introduction

Throughout much of the 20th century, concern about gender differences in education focused on girls’ underachievement. More recently, however, the scrutiny has shifted to boys’ underachievement in reading. In the PISA 2009 reading assessment, girls outperform boys in every participating country by an average, among OECD countries, of 39 PISA score points – equivalent to more than half a proficiency level or one year of schooling.

  • On average across OECD countries, boys outperform girls in mathematics by 12 score points while gender differences in science performance tend to be small, both in absolute terms and when compared with the large gender gap in reading performance and the more moderate gender gap in mathematics.

The ranks of top-performing students are filled nearly equally with girls and boys. On average across OECD countries, 4.4% of girls and 3.8% of boys are top performers in all three subjects, and 15.6% of girls and 17.0% of boys are top performers in at least one subject area. While the gender gap among top-performing students is small in science (1% of girls and 1.5% of boys), it is significant in reading (2.8% of girls and 0.5% of boys) and in mathematics (3.4% of girls and 6.6% of boys).

Similar prosperity…different educational results

  • Countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results. The balance of proficiency in some of the richer countries in PISA looks very different from that of some of the poorer countries. In reading, for example, the ten countries in which the majority of students are at Level 1 or below, all in poorer parts of the world, contrast starkly in profile with the 34 OECD countries, where on average a majority attains at least Level 3. However, the fact that the best-performing country or economy in the 2009 assessment is Shanghai-China, with a GDP per capita well below the OECD average, underlines that low national income is not incompatible with strong educational performance. Korea, which is the best-performing OECD country, also has a GDP per capita below the OECD average.
  • Indeed, while there is a correlation between GDP per capita and educational performance, this predicts only 6% of the differences in average student performance across countries. The other 94% of differences reflect the fact that two countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results. Results also vary when substituting spending per student, relative poverty or the share of students with an immigrant background for GDP per capita.

Enjoying the Learning: NO

In all countries, boys are not only less likely than girls to say that they read for enjoyment, they also have different readinghabits when they do read for pleasure. Most boys and girls in the countries that took part in PISA 2009 sit side by side in the same classrooms and work with similar teachers. Yet, PISA reveals that in OECD countries, boys are on average 39 points behind girls in reading, the equivalent of one year of schooling.

Why?

PISA suggests that differences in how boys and girls approach learning and how engaged they are in reading account for most of the gap in reading performance between boys and girls, so much so that this gap could be predicted to shrink by 14 points if boys approached learning as positively as girls, and by over 20 points if they were as engaged in reading as girls. This does not mean that if boys’ engagement and awareness of learning strategies rose by this amount the increase would automatically translate into respective performance gains, since PISA does not measure causation.

But since most of the gender gap can be explained by boys being less engaged, and less engaged students show lower performance, then policy makers should look for more effective ways of increasing boys’ interest in reading at school or at home.

PISA reveals that, although girls have higher mean reading performance, enjoy reading more and are more aware of effective strategies to summarise information than boys, the differences within genders are far greater than those between the genders. Moreover, the size of the gender gap varies considerably across countries, suggesting that boys and girls do not have inherently different interests and academic strengths, but that these are mostly acquired and socially induced. The large gender gap in reading is not a mystery: it can be attributed to differences that have been identified in the attitudes and behaviours of boys and girls. Girls are more likely than boys to be frequent readers of fiction, and are also more likely than boys to read magazines.

However, over 65% of boys regularly read newspapers for enjoyment and only 59% of girls do so. Although relatively few students say that they read comic books regularly, on average across OECD countries, 27% of boys read comic books several times a month or several times a week, while only 18% of girls do so.

Many issues will arise as females become more capable in contrast to their male counter parts. Although International Women’s day has just past…let us not forget the other half.

Our Generation

In Business, Canada, Economics, Globalization, World on March 4, 2011 at 9:03 am

Dear Readers,

We have the momentum.

We have the audacity.

We have the skills.

We all have what is needed to reach level of personal and professional development never thought possible before but our generation needs to understand its true potential. From fashion, to economics, to lifestyle, we must mind the gap from being just okay. We must achieve greatness. In the coming weeks everything is going to change for MTG.

Just wait and see.

Shaaz and Will

WAKE UP EVERYONE

In Globalization on February 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

MTG has been silent

behind the scenes

MTG has been loud

The world is changing at astronomical rates

from Canada’s international image being tarnished by the UN

to Egypt’s revolution

MTG was there but not speaking…a silent observer

well

everything you know about MTG is about the change

mind it

mind this

mind what

mind the gap

soon

Ohhhh Those Eyes

In Advice, Canada, Experience, Globalization on January 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Your eyes are one of the most important ways to  communicate. When words fail your eyes will pick up the slack and transmit messages beyond comprehension. Eye contact in any scenario from work to friends, heightens the connection at least  two fold. One can determine lies, nervousness, confidence, and truth through the eyes. There have been many times when people would be saying one thing but their eyes another.  Eyes also have tendency to break down barriers of language and culture as through my travels I have been able to understand people simply by the eyes. Physical distance can be destroyed when engaged in eye contact, while people could literally be standing in front of each other, but without eye contact they feel a cold distance.

So I end this post with a quote

“Those eyes will be your saviour as her voice whispers closer but her eyes scream run.”

David Beckham and Friedman: Free kick the Market

In Advice, Canada, Finance, Globalization on December 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Article of the Week!

Below is an interesting take on economic predictions based the assumption of perfect knowledge.

Enjoy !

Don’t expect markets to bend it like Beckham

By John Kay

Published: December 28 2010 21:51 | Last updated: December 28 2010 21:51

Several years ago, The Daily Telegraph made an unlikely claim about Britain’s most famous footballer. Under the headline “David Beckham a physics genius”, the paper reported a study describing the differential equations that must be solved to compute the trajectory of the ball in a famous Beckham goal.

The relationship between intention and outcome in sport had been highlighted many years earlier in a much cited joint article by the doyen of Chicago economics, Milton Friedman, and the great statistician Leonard Jimmie Savage. Friedman and Savage suggested that the shots of an expert billiard player would be those an accomplished physicist would calculate using knowledge of equations of motion. Like Beckham, the billiard player might not be capable of actually making such calculations, but the assumption that he did would accurately describe his play.

Friedman and Savage were defending the use of unrealistic assumptions in economic reasoning. The only thing that mattered, they claimed, was the accuracy of predictions. Friedman built on these ideas in another article, “The methodology of positive economics”. Fifty years later, economists continue to claim justification for implausible assumptions on the basis of his argument.

The analogy Friedman and Savage used applies only to expert billiard players. If you try to predict my own play using the assumption of perfect calculation, you will not predict well: you might do better to assume that the ball will move randomly. But expert billiard players are those who make excellent shots and they do so even if neither they nor we quite understand how they do it. This is what enables us to recognise them as expert.

The unrealistic assumption of perfect shots works only because of a process of selection in which players like me are eliminated. Thanks to the mathematical work of evolutionary biologists over the past 50 years, we now understand that arguments such as this can be extremely powerful. Darwin’s insight was to show that evolution could produce outcomes beyond the scope of even the most complex calculations. Results might seem to be the outcome of extensive optimisation even though no one had done, or could do, the maths.

Selection processes are found in social life, in sport, in business and finance, as well as in biology. Natural selection is seen in the commercial world: only profitable companies survive, and only successful traders keep trading. But the context of natural selection defines the narrow limits of the argument that Friedman and Savage developed. Their example does not establish a general case for accepting theories based on unrealistic assumptions. In fact, it shows the limits of such an argument.

The assumption that the shot played is the best available is useful in explaining the strokes made by a single expert billiard player. But that assumption is useless for explaining the interaction between two expert billiard players. A high-level game between experts is impressive because their play is nearly perfect, yet exciting and involving only because their play is not perfect. To predict the outcome of a match, you need to focus on the imperfections.

What is important in billiards is the result, not the play: and what matters in business and finance is the outcome, not the process. In business and finance, as in billiards, the imperfections are critical and you can anticipate the result, or understand the outcome, only by appreciating these imperfections.

Most profit-making opportunities in business have already been taken. The people who make money, either as entrepreneurs or as traders, are those who find those profit opportunities that have not already been taken. In securities markets the efficient market hypothesis is largely true but attractive investment opportunities are found only when the efficient market hypothesis is not true. And it is when the hypothesis is not true that we observe market dislocations.

The imperfections of markets explain who makes money, and who loses it; why economic growth sometimes falters, and how it then recovers. Friedman and Savage’s metaphor was designed to explain how we might predict economic events by assuming perfect knowledge even if that assumption of perfect knowledge was unrealistic. But their metaphor illustrates even more clearly why economic predictions based on the assumption of perfect knowledge are so often misleading.

“ECONOMIC ASSSSUMMMPPTTIIIIIOOOOOOONNSSSSSS!!!!”

BTW ….funny how the free kick was against Greece….

FOR THE RECORD ….David did take physics courses to further improve his game

SHOCKER….Freidman was bad at soccer

Mind the Fakes

In Advice, Canada, Culture, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fasting, Globalization, Uncategorized, World on December 24, 2010 at 12:46 am

the fakes stay close , like a shadow , during the sunshine

but those fakes leave us when we must enter the shade

be afraid of being played while you enter the meadow blindly

led ever so kindly

 

 

Doubt Me.

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, China, City Council, Culture, Economics, Economics Association, ESA, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Film, Football, Glasses, Globalization, google, GQ Magazine, Greeting, Life, Metrosexual, Orientation, Packing, Tennis, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 27, 2010 at 12:07 am

Doubt if you must, it’s something I have grown accustom to. If people don’t doubt you it means you’re not pushing the boundaries, not daring to do something that can’t be done. The moment people stop doubting you it’s not because you won them over but rather because you lost yourself.”

– life experiences

From the start people will doubt you and your aspirations. In an attempt to clip your wings all types of methods will be used; no matter what you must resist the barraged of attacks. At the end of high-school after 4 years of planning to become a psychologist I discovered the world of economics. My plan for the next 10 years was scratched in 10 minutes as I frantically scrambled through my research to determine the prerequisites of my new dream.

The Chinese could not have built a greater wall than what stood between me and economics.

The hurdles added up to around 2 years of more schooling. I scurried over to my high school academic advisor to devise a master plan in which my dream would become a reality way sooner. Little did I know, she would doubt me.

“Shaaz, why are you trying? Just give up on this goal of yours. You can’t do this it’s just too much for you. Stop and settle for what you have; you would probably need 3 years of schooling to get the perquisites. There is no way this can be done.”

Some great Academic Advice eh?

So I picked up the pieces of my shattered goal from the floor and made a quick exit. After some consulting with my family and other sources (you can smell my sheer determination at this point, never give up), the solution was found!

Take that Risk

I had a meeting with the department of economics at Carleton which produced a a risky choice. I could take a harder version of  grade 12 calculus at Carleton (some hybrid version which means more in-depth/challenging) and VOILA  I would be majoring in economics at uOttawa. However, the chance to waste money, time, rejecting job offers and failing was high as I had ZERO experience with math at that level.

Of course I took the class.

LONG days LONG nights and NO Summer with LOTS of stress. On average 5-6 hours of studying a day everyday period.

Raw brute force.

Result?

Determination worked as I finished in the top 10% percent of the class with a 79%.  Proved a good amount of people wrong but more importantly proved to myself I could live out my dream, no matter how tall those walls were.

Now I am only 7 months away from my degree in International Economics and Development with a minor in Business Administration. I have 3 years of government work experience. I have the privilege to be the VP Finance of uOttawa’s Tennis League and  the VP Academic uOttawa’s Economic Student Association. Furthermore, I been lucky enough to embark on a 20 day economic delegation to China and Malaysia as a Trade Ambassador.

This message  is not about me or my life but rather about the powers of doubt itself.

Keep pushing the boundaries and doing what’s not possible time and time again.

So for those people please continue to doubt me and MTG.

It only means good things are coming our way…

Mind the Culture: Shaaz Jazz for studying

In Advice, Attire, Blog, BMO, Canada, Globalization, University of Ottawa on October 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I was studying late one night and needed some Cheezy Jazz, you know the kind that you hear in elevators or on the line waiting for Rogers to fix your internet for the 13th time, (but hey take no offence as I love that music once in a while) that’s when I discovered the “Jazz” Artist Dave.

This guy makes the cheesiest jazz out there…

I got his album and was pleasantly surprised to find  his message on change/life …. reminded me of  MTG

Read it

“I think on some level we all feel it…I sure have. A frequency and velocity of change that’s unprecedented in our lifetime—nothing short of a complete realignment of everything we thought we knew. It’s a whole new game and the rules are still being written. Well, like it or not it’s here… seemingly everywhere, making it an uneasy time for many. How we respond and move through this period is what really counts now.

Music has a particular ability to awaken and stir the soul. Through the recording of these songs, I found a way to embrace this crossroads in my own life and ultimately discover a sense of comfort within the discomfort. It was a transformative experience of great learning, inspiration and healing. It is my hope that in listening to this album, you’ll begin to notice a shift in you as well. Consider this a ‘musical survival guide’ for these unfamiliar times. All that’s needed is an open heart and an open mind to awaken, inspire and enlighten you on your path.

We’re fortunate to be alive at this extraordinary moment . . . for out of the darkness comes the brightest light. With a calm and graceful passage through the chaos, we can arrive to a place of pure possibility and promise. Our future is unfolding in all the right ways, for all the

right reasons. Let’s embrace it. Hello, Tomorrow. With love, gratitude and blessings . . .”

-Dave Koz  (95% sure this was his excellent writers working for his PR and in fact he probably never read this lol..the message regardless of who may have written is highly valuable)

Mind the Economy: “Currency War” made simple

In Advice, Beijing, Blog, Business, Canada, China, Economics, Global Vision, Globalization, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, India, Kuala Lampur, Life, Lunch, Malaysia, Ottawa, Packing, Shenzhen, SME, Song, Success, Technology, Television, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm

How do Currencies and Interest rates play off each other?

More recently, many developing countries have had to contend with their own currencies rising and undermining their competitiveness.

The problem is that those low interest rates in the developed world have led investors to seek higher returns elsewhere, in emerging markets.

To invest in those markets, they need to buy the currency and that pushes its value up. That in turn makes those countries’ goods more expensive for foreign buyers and the overseas investment money creates a danger of unsustainable bubbles in their property and financial markets.

China has stopped its currency rising much by buying foreign currency. If it were to refrain from that and allow the yuan to rise, it would probably help other developing countries that compete with China, as well as the US which is protesting the most.

But there is another force behind the rising developing world currencies. Their economies are growing robustly, while the rich countries are not.

The tension over between the US and China over currency policy surfaced once again at the International Monetary Fund Talks

USA renewed the pressure on China to allow its currency to rise. The US has a long-standing grievance over China’s currency policy, which limits the movement of the yuan against the dollar. The American complaint is that it gives Chinese exporters an unfair competitive advantage.

There was a vigorous response from Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank (The People’s Bank of China), who blamed the rich countries for problems in the currency markets. Mr Zhou said extremely low interest rates in rich countries had created “stark challenges for emerging market countries”.

My Thoughts on the Gap.

Tensions are rising among the developing world and developed as priorities on currency (non)manipulation begin to clash. However, should a country stop manipulating its currency in the name of “fairness”?

Destabilizing the economy in the short run, running the risk of damaging the private sector as businesses go bankrupt; jeopardizing an economy’s growth and ability to reduce poverty  does not sound “fair”. The notion of “fair” implies morals which begs the question: who is making these moral rules?

WTO….IMF….WB……USA…..CHINA…..WALDO?????

International Economics is a game where rules are subjective but actual substantive growth is tangibly objective. I am not for currency manipulation but neither am I for irrational and sudden policies  that would jeopardize  an entire economy….especially not the economy that’s the driving force of world growth in terms of consumer consumption ….

-Articles combined from BBC & CBC