across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen.
Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week.
I especially try to not post Corona related articles as that is all
one gets to read in all traditional media.
If you like this collection, consider forwarding it to someone
who you think will appreciate.
The new virtual chemistry
IBM has built a new
chemistry lab called RoboRXN in the cloud. It combines AI models, a cloud
computing platform, and robots to help scientists design and synthesize new
molecules while working from home.
New drugs and
materials traditionally require an average of 10 years and $10 million to
discover and bring to market. Much of that time is taken up by the laborious
repetition of experiments to synthesize new compounds and learn from trial and
error. IBM hopes that a platform like RoboRXN could dramatically speed up that
process by predicting the recipes for compounds and automating experiments.
The history of taxes in
In India, the system
of direct taxation as it is known today, has been in force in one form or
another even from ancient times. There are references both in Manu Smriti and
Arthasastra to a variety of tax measures. Manu, the ancient sage and law-giver
stated that the king could levy taxes, according to Sastras. The wise sage
advised that taxes should be related to the income and expenditure of the
subject. He, however, cautioned the king against excessive taxation and stated
that both extremes should be avoided namely either complete absence of taxes or
exorbitant taxation. According to him, the king should arrange the collection
of taxes in such a manner that the subjects did not feel the pinch of paying
A major portion of
Arthasastra is devoted by Kautilya to financial matters including financial
administration. According to famous statesman, the Mauryan system, so far as it
applied to agriculture, was a sort of state landlordism and the collection of land
revenue formed an important source of revenue to the State. The State not only
collected a part of the agricultural produce which was normally one sixth but
also levied water rates, octroi duties, tolls and customs duties. Taxes were
also collected on forest produce as well as from mining of metals etc. Salt tax
was an important source of revenue and it was collected at the place of its
China outplays US in TikTok
(for now – story still to play out)
Ministry added new items to its list of export controls late Friday. Now,
artificial intelligence interface technologies such as speech and text
recognition, as well as methods to analyze data and make personalized content
recommendations, are matters of national security. But with AI and its content
recommendation engine among the key ingredients of the company’s success,
Beijing becomes the arbiter of TikTok’s fate. Not the U.S. administration. As
much as critics — including U.S. senators and the secretary of state — express concern about the data TikTok
collects, it’s really the algorithms that matter most to the company, and
anyone who buys it. These are the magic formulae that tell the app which data
points will predict future behavior, and keep you staring at the phone longer.
TikTok’s algos are
gold. At least, that’s what bidders seem to think. And it looks like Beijing
agrees. Effectively, the Chinese government is saying, “You wanna buy TikTok?
Go ahead, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get your hands on the secret sauce.”
Use of dark patterns are
rampant in online retail
Back in April,
Amazon made an extraordinary decision. As the company struggled to fulfil a
surge in orders related to the pandemic, it subtly tweaked its website to
encourage consumers to buy less, not more. In addition to modifying shipping
timelines and inventory, Amazon disabled a recommendation feature that displays
items frequently bought together, like batteries to go with the toy already in
Dark patterns are
digital design elements that manipulate users into making decisions they
otherwise wouldn’t, often to a corporation’s benefit.
The rise of the
At the turn of the
20th century, chicken was almost always eaten in the spring. The priority for
chicken raisers at the time was egg production, so after the eggs hatched, all
the male birds would be fed up and then quickly harvested as “spring chickens”
– young, tender birds that were sold whole for roasting or broiling (hence the
term “broilers”). Outside the spring rush, you might be buying a bigger, fatter
fryer or an old hen for stewing.
During the second
world war, however, red meat was rationed, and a national campaign encouraged
the consumption of poultry and fish to save “meat” (beef, pork and lamb) for
“the army and our allies”. Eating chicken became more common, but the
preference for young broilers, and white breast meat, persisted.
The modern chicken
is fully industrialised. With more than 500 chicken breeds existing on Earth,
it might surprise you to learn that every nugget, breast, and cup of chicken
noodle soup you’ve ever eaten likely came from one breed, a specialised cross
between a Cornish and a white rock.