I was digging through my computer files yesterday when I found my paper that I had written about the financial crisis. My teacher was not a big fan of the paper, but I think some of you might be interested in it so here is the link.

Its been a while since I have posted anything. Its summer, so I have been lazy and not that enthusiastic about working. Anyway, I was watching America’s got talent yesterday and was quite surprised by some of the acts that made it to the top 48. I am most amazed by the Air instrument band because they portray that even the most weirdest thing can become popular.  I mean really, all they do is play fake instruments. I liked the act just because it was exciting to watch, but I do not think its a headline Las Vegas show. I liked the Future Funk group, because they were young, cute, and had a good routine. The tap dancers were good as well. This is where the “real” America’s got talent starts because in the 1st round, any random guy comes up on stage doing something lame. I mean really, who wants to see you get a string out of your stomach or sneeze with your eyes closed? Some of the acts were hilarious, even though they did not get past the 1st stage. My personal favorite of this season was Sponjetta’s “I be in my studio”. If you have not seen it already, take a look at the video below.

Honestly, I think there should be like a pre – prelimanary round in America’s Got Talent to make sure that the act is actually worth watching for the judges. I mean any random guy of the street gets on that stage. While this would reduce the competition, the talent would be stronger.

This post is somewhat of a continuation of my previous post about the bailout. I found a good video talking about CDS( credit default swaps) and what went wrong that caused the massive financial crisis. 

Part 1:


Part 2:


So its not that Credit Default Swaps are worst thing in the world, It is that these over the counter (OTC) derivatives are not regulated at all so they pose a greater risk to both parties. As seen in the video, Warren Buffet called these CDS's financial weapons of mass destruction. And that is exactly what they did; they created havoc in the financial world through a tangling web of one person insuring another and someone else who had a AAA rating getting BBB rating which made another contract not work etc. 

I was reading FORTUNE the other day and stumbled upon an article about how the life of  Erin Callan, former CFO of Lehman Brothers changed after the financial crisis in 2008. A thought struck me; many investment firms were taking too much risk. Take AIG for example, AIG was writing too many credit default swaps than it could possibly write. As long as everything was fine, AIG made money by just sitting there and collecting the premiums that the buyers paid for the swap. Then it happened; one company failed which caused another company to fail and the chain reaction had started. Now AIG was worried. AIG had insured more money than it actually had. Basically it is like a beggar insuring a BMW. AIG only had like 5 billion dollars but had insured over 20 billion. Where was the money going to come from? The government of course! AIG, just like many other financial instituitons got bailed out. When the US gov bailed the banks out, people got mad. I don't blame them either. Why should average people pay more taxes when they did not do anything wrong? Yet we hear people with high ranks in the banks are getting paid multi million dollar bonuses. It is not right at all. Since major financial instutuitions were going down, the stock market dipped, and people's money went down the drain. Unemployment rose since businesses were not as profitable as they were before. I think the SEC is to blame as well because the policies were not strict enough. Hopefully, many safeguards will be taken in the future to prevent  major collapses in the financial world. If you actually think about it for a while, it actually seems that it was necessary to give money to the financial sector. If the gov. did not give money to the banks, then I think we might be in a grimmer situation, since if banks are going bankrupt, then normal people lose alot of money

Twitter has been gaining attention since it actually began. Some people, however, use the service too generically. Twitter's slogan was "What are you doing" but now the slogan is "What's happening". Some people literally respond to "whats happening". Those people might tweet "I am drinking coffee and watching the news". Nobody on twitter will ever actually follow you because, it is stupid to follow someone just to know what they are literally doing.  What's even scarier is that if you tweet " I am going to Walmart at this address…"  you might become a stalker's target. Only few people, like celebrities, can tweet about what their actually doing because they are famous enough and already have a  high enough reputation.

Twitter is or will become a common medium of communication, because of its millions of users and its big impact on daily life. What I try to tweet is something that is  useful and/or interesting. I usually tweet about something that's happening in the financial world, or about what the new technology is.  Sometimes I tweet about speedcubing. Alot of people whom I have talked to, think that twitter is "annoying and boring". I totally agree with that seeing that many new twitter users just stop using the service after the first few days. What those people do not get is that, twitter is good for personal branding. In fact, I have seen places where you can buy and sell twitter usernames. Having a twitter name is becoming as important as having your own personal yourname.com Many people who find twitter boring don't see its personal branding value. They think that they have to just answer "What's happening?" literally. Go to twitter.com and sign up for a username. Use twitter as a tool to expand your network and learn new things

You can follow me on twitter @adityadargan

Hedge funds have been making the news lately and I am not surprised that they are. Hedge funds, like mutual funds, basically pool money from investors and invest that money. Mutual funds are tightly regulated, while hedge funds are not regulated. So a mutual fund is restricted to some or one type of investment vehicle, while hedge funds are not. So hedge funds can invest in anything, thats right, anything. Hedge funds can invest in stocks, futures, options, bonds, swaps, forex, commodities, derivatives, etc. Hedge funds can also be called absolute return funds because they make money for the investors despite how the current markets are doing. Mutual funds,however, usually go down when the market goes south. Hedge funds are for only accredited investors, meaning that your net worth has to be 1 million dollars. This benchmark limits hedge funds to only the wealthy. Some hedge funds have very high minimum investments ranging from $250,000 to $1M or sometimes even more.
On top of the high up front investments, the investors are usually told that their money has been locked in, meaning they cannot get their money back for some time, which could be months or one to 2 years. Hedge funds have to do this in order to keep the investors money in the portfolio instead of having to sell parts of the portfolio to give the investor back their money with any profits on the money. After the lock in period is over, hedge funds usually have enough of a profit to give back  investors their  money with the profit. One downfall for hedge fund investors is that the fund can lock in their money anytime if the hedge fund's portfolio looks bad. Hedge funds cannot advertise like on tv, so information about the hedge fund usually travels by mouth.

The Hedge fund manager, the person who is in charge of all the securities that are in the hedge fund's portfolio, is the one guy who makes the real money. Hedge Fund managers are usually the people who actually start the hedge fund. Hedge fund managers usually charge the" 2:20" meaning they get 2% of the assets in the hedge fund and 20% of all gains of the fund. This is why hedge fund managers are extremely rich. If a hedge fund makes $600M in one year, the hedge fund manager alone gets 20% or 120 million dollars. I certainly wouldn't mind that paycheck. Hedge funds are only successful if they make make money for the investors, which is different from traditional mutual funds. A mutual fund manager gets paid a certain percentage of the mutual fund even if the fund loses alot of money. So I guess the hedge fund managers salary is not too much for the manager. They spend alot of time speculating and they should get paid a very good salary for their work. The hedge fund only makes money if the investors make money. So price comes with performance. It is not surprising that each year more and more hedge funds are being created( more than 15,000 hedge funds exist today) , because the hedge fund industry is a lucrative one  and is here to stay for many generations.

Lately, I have been looking at the top two cms platforms: joomla and drupal. My speedcubing website, www.cubegeek.net , runs on joomla, but i am thinking about moving it to drupal after looking at some of the great features of drupal. Right now, my website is ok, but i need to redesign it to make it look more clean and professional. Drupal has a wide variety of themes, but less then the number of themes Joomla has. I think joomla is a good cms, but I feel restriced in joomla. The flexibility of the development of the site developer is limited. I wanted to add the ability to have user profiles, but that was a problem. I had tried community builder, which didn't really work. I test tried drupal and found out that you can have really clean url's like site.com/yourusername. It is very easy to do. Both Joomla and Drupal are great, but I actually prefer Drupal over joomla. Right now, useability in Drupal is a problem, so I will decide if I will switch to Drupal or not after Drupal 7 and Joomla 1.6 comes out. Things might change and I might change my mind as well.

Lets face it, future contracts are extremely risky. One bad trade could wipe your account clean. Like options, futures have great leverage. In the futures market, there are two participants, hedgers and speculators. Hedgers are actually interested in the commodity being traded and want to lock in a price so that they can profit from the changes. A hedger might be a farmer or a coffee company. Speculators just want to profit from the price changes in the commodity. A speculator could be an investor. So what exactly is a futures contract? A futures contract is an agreement between two parties to sell and buy a certain amount of a commodity for a certain price. Both parties are obliged to fulfill their part. Most futures are not held to the expiration date. Wouldn't you be surprised to see 5000 bushels of corn on your yard?

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I was looking through the files on my desktop today and found some of the files that I had worked on for 3d animation. I was in 3d animation last year, but it did not work out well. I did not take it this year. I still have some of the work I had done, so you can still look at it. All the animations were created by a program called 3d max, and they were actually created by me. Keep in mind that this was my first year in animation so my animations are not as good as those of professional animators. I have two video clips of my animations. When you animate in 3ds max, you have to render your animation into a .avi file. So here are my animations. The first animation is about a ball bouncing down a staircase , and the second one is about a leaf falling from a tree. I know that there are some mistakes ,but I tried my best to make the animation as realistic as possible.

Ball bouncing down the stairs


Falling leaf: 

There are many things that somebody could invest in. You could invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds,etc.  Some of the best investment vehicles, such as futures and options are the ones that many traders fear and don't really understand. Options are derivatives that derive their value from an underlying asset. This means that the price of an options contract is based on something. This something can be a stock, commodity, etc.  Options  are probably one of the most complicated things to understand for novice investors

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