Sunday, December 29, 2019

Faulty BISP Beneficiaries Analysis. Use of Proxies in Data Analytics

Faulty assumptions of BISP research led to faulty conclusions:
We must need to question the faulty research assumptions of BISP Benazir Support Program Research Study that is being promoted on social media without requisite critical analysis. Over 8lac people have been identified that are being classified as "rich"  without the necessary and rigorous research methodology and analysis. The research has used some raw data plucked from random sources without rigorous analysis, validation and triangulation of the data. 

The use of data analytics,  however,  is a good beginning and like all tools need to be used with care and proper training. This is a good case study of faulty research assumptions for MPhil/PhD researchers that often lead to faulty conclusions:. 
بے نظیر پروگرام ریسرچ مفروضہ-1:
کیا NADRA کے ایگزیکٹو سنٹرز سے cnic بنوانے والے سارے امیر لوگ ہوتے ہیں؟ کیا آپ نے وہاں مزدور نہیں دیکھے؟ کیا غرہب، بیمار اور بوڑھے لوگ لمبی خواری سے بچنے کیلئے ایگزیکٹو سنٹرز نہیں جاتے؟ 

بے نظیر پروگرام ریسرچ مفروضہ-2:
کیابیرون ملک سفر کرنے والے غریب مزدور نہیں ہوتے؟ کیا واپس آنے والے سارے مزدور امیر ہو جاتے ہیں؟ کیا آپ نے ان کے استحصال کی دلخراش کہانیاں نہیں سنیں! جن سے وہاں بیگار میں سالوں کام کروایا گیا؟  میں کئی لوگوں سے ملا ہوں جو کئ سال بعد واپس آئے ہیں یا واپس بھیج دئیے گئے ہیں، اور اب اپنی ذندگی دوبارہ شروع کر رہے ہیں- کچھ ساز و سامان انہوں نے اچھے وقتوں میں خرید لیا مگر بدلے ہوئے حالات میں کرائے کی ٹیکسی چلا رہے ہیں-

بے نظیر پروگرام ریسرچ مفروضہ-3:
کیا ہر موٹر سائیکل خریدنے والا امیر ہوتا ہے؟ کیا موٹر سائیکل خریدنے والے مزدور یا فوڈ ڈلیوری والے نہیں ہوتے؟ کیا موٹر سائیکل 2ہزار روپے مہینہ قسط پر نہیں ملتی تھی؟ کئ لوگوں سے ملا ہوں جنہوں نے کسی طرح موٹر سائیکل خرید لی ہے اور اب اس کے زریعے معاش تلاش کر رہے ہیں- آج کل موٹر سائیکل ٹھیلے کی جگہ بن گئ ہے-
Do you think that all Food panda/Bykea riders are rich? Do you think all taxi-drivers/rickshaw drivers are rich? Do you know what is the daily rent that a yellow cab driver pays to the owner of the yellow cab/rickshaw? Do you think the Uber driver who drives professionally is rich? Many of them may have brought the car/bike on installments. 

There can be similar critique of other parameters selected in this study:

The collected data is known as proxy data. Please ask any econometric and social science researcher how this data needs to be qualified with other demographic data before it could be gainfully used to pluck out those unworthy of government support. 

This measure indicates also that it is deriving Sadistic Pleasure from stopping the paltry amount of 1500-2000 rupees being disbursed to over 8lac people. Just see the ridiculousness and shameful irony:
بے نظیر انکم پروگرام سے ملنے والی دو ہزار روپے ماہانہ کی "خطیر" رقم پر "عیاشی" کرنے والے لاکھوں  لوگوں کا ناطقہ بند کر کے حکومت اب بیرونی قرضوں پر لات مارے گی، موج اڑائے گی

What a shameful sadism. 

Dr Irfan Hyder

Sunday, December 15, 2019

What Economic and Political Circumstances Led to Secession of East Pakistan

Pakistani Decision Makers should have their Skin in the Game




Decision makers and opinion makers need to have skin in the game to face the adverse implications of their decisions. It is easy to design frameworks and solutions when consultants and fly-by-night solution providers do not have their skin in the game and they have no concern because they are not going to feel the pain of costs and failures of their decisions. Pakistan history is replete with people who enter, make monumental decisions and vanish without feeling the adverse pain and implications of their decisions.

Shaukat Aziz simply vanished after plunging the country with huge spiraling energy costs due to imported consumer electrical appliances and vehicles. These energy shortages would plunge the country in severe blackouts for the next 5 years. General Kayani is now safely immune to the fall out of his 6 years as chief. Gen Musharraf is safely secluded in Emirates.

Where is the skin in the game of Hafeez Shaikh who vanished with Gen Mush. What is the skin in the game of Zulfi Bokhari, Raza Baqar?

In contrast. we have most politicians whose skin in the game with their properties, families, businesses and a great stake in the future of the country. The Bhutto family paying with their lives of ZAB, BB, Murtaza Bhutto, Shahnawaz Bhutto. Bilawal et al are here with personal stake. We have Zardari spending years in prison under Mush's rule and fighting for his property and businesses in the courts today. We have NS with his business and properties at stake in the court cases. Their skin is in the game.

A Book Review on Skin in the Game by Nassim N. Taleb (New York, NY: Random House), 2018

Skin in the Game is a book about asymmetries in life, in society, in history, in beliefs. Written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a former options trader turned probability thinker via his own skin in the game, the book is also about the consequences of such asymmetries. It explores four main topics “according to how deep the author wants to go into a topic, not to make life easy for the critics to write reviews” (p. 44). The main topic is that of symmetry in human affairs, expanded into a second—related—topic of symmetry in information sharing in market-type transactions. A third topic is the exposition of a survival-bound definition of rationality. The fourth—and most overarching—topic is uncertainty and knowledge reliability, especially in regards to risk management in the marketplace, war, business, etc.

Hawkish politicians and reckless bankers never face the consequences of their actions – but they should, according to this arresting book

Skin in the Game is Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s fifth book. He presents it sometimes as part of a triptych with his earlier works The Black Swan and Antifragile, and at other times as a continuation, each book “just as Eve came out of Adam’s ribs”, seeding the central idea of the next. The Black Swan, a soaraway success praised for its prophetic power and intense relevance, looked – just before the financial crash of 2007 – at “high-impact, unexpected” events; at those disasters that result when you underestimate the complexity of systems and, at its simplest, when you assume that because you’ve never seen one, black swans don’t exist.

Antifragile, which had more of a pop-philosophy feel, advised how to take advantage of modern randomness and volatility. Skin in the Game has more in common, in the way its ideas are structured and their application, with Black Swan. Yet a style runs strong and consistent through each of the three books, trenchant beyond all imagining, and is its own kind of wit. Every economist, journalist, book reviewer, professor, anyone who is not part of an “active and transactional life” is an inveterate idiot, unless he or she is one of a handful Taleb respects, who also seem to be his very close friends. “I am never bothered by normal people,” he says, though given the emphasis he puts on his “fuck-off” wealth, the reader might be permitted to wonder how many normal people he engages with.

“It is the bull***tter in the ‘intellectual’ profession who bothers me. Seeing the psychologist Steven Pinker making pronouncements about things intellectual has a similar effect to encountering a drive-in Burger King while hiking in the middle of a national park ” Taleb is riotously discourteous and extremely thin skinned, still taking issue in his footnotes with the negative review he received in this paper for Antifragile. The effect is arresting: it can be extremely good fun. The combination of fearlessness, self-belief and immodesty adds up to charisma on the page; Taleb is the festival messiah you’d follow into a river until the drugs wore off.

The argument of the new book is also immediately attractive: if you have no skin in the game, you shouldn’t be in the game. “If you give an opinion, and someone follows it, you are morally obligated to be, yourself, exposed to its consequences.” Hawks in the White House should not be taking decisions about bombs in Iraq when they will remain in their air-conditioned houses with their 2.2 children whatever the result. Bankers are in the “Bob Rubin trade”, named after the former secretary of the US Treasury, who “collected more than $120 million in compensation from Citibank in the decade preceding the banking crash of 2008. When the bank, literally insolvent, was rescued by the taxpayer, he didn’t write any cheque – he invoked uncertainty as an excuse. Heads he wins, tails he shouts ‘Black Swan’.”

There are fools of randomness and crooks of randomness, but Taleb’s corrective is the same: they must have skin in the game. This is needed to ensure they think well, so that they learn from their mistakes, and because systems learn and species evolve by weeding out failure. Those who don’t succeed must face ruin, or death (this dances around a bit, as correctives will when you’re ranging freely in your references between a lecture agent who once pissed you off and the ancient text of Hammurabi); whatever, something bad. So far, so appealing: most sensible people have agreed for some time that bankers need personal liability if they’re going to make responsible choices.

Perhaps already it sounds too broad; yes, doctors have skin in the game, having professional pride and reputation, severe legal consequences for error, a deep understanding of complex systems, and centuries of accrued ethical standards. But the proposition that bureaucrats, being separated from the consequences of their decisions (no skin in the game), are the ultimate social ill is hard to sustain; if you accept that systems are complex, then subsidiarity – devolving decisions down to the lowest civic level at which they can be made, where everyone’s skin is involved – can only be a partial solution. The statement that “the most egregious contributor to inequality is the condition of a high-ranking civil servant or tenured academic, not that of an entrepreneur” is very easily falsifiable by referring to the real motor of inequality, the distribution of profits between capital and labour, driven by chief executives and shareholders who want values maximised – people whose skin is very much in the game of driving down wages. There’s a case to be made for balance. You wouldn’t want homicide law to be written by the mother of a murdered child.

It’s in this book’s details that the flaws reveal themselves. “Prince Andrew,” we learn, “took more risks than ‘commoners’ during the Falkland [sic] war of 1982, his helicopter being in the front line. Why? Because noblesse oblige; the very status of a lord has been traditionally derived from protecting others.” If this gels with nothing you’ve ever thought or heard about Prince Andrew, it’s because it’s not true. He did fly a helicopter, so it was certainly more dangerous than not going to war at all; but the Argentinians had scant anti-aircraft capability. The ground was far more fraught with risk.

A section on how a whole population can submit to the preferences of a tiny, stubborn minority is fascinating only from a great distance. Taleb hypothesises a family of four in which one member will only eat non-genetically modified food. It is easier for the whole family to go that way; soon, because of barbecues and whatnot, the neighbourhood starts to buy non-GMO to accommodate them, the shop starts to sell only that food, and so on. The least flexible dominate the most, because the former will only eat some things while the latter will eat anything. Then we learn that in the UK, “where the (practising) Muslim population is only 3% to 4%, a very high proportion of the meat we find is halal. Close to 70% of lamb imports from New Zealand are halal. Close to 10% of Subway stores carry halal-only meat (meaning no pork), in spite of the high costs of losing the business of ham eaters (like myself).”

In fact, New Zealand produces halal lamb almost exclusively (98%), because of trade deals with the Middle East, and Subway’s halal stores are part of a policy since 2007 to take account of the local demographic when opening, resulting in 200-odd stores in north-east London, Birmingham and other places where the average Subway shopper is far more likely to be Muslim than 3%. Taleb’s conclusion – via some other observations on tolerance, religion and politics – that the “West is currently in the process of committing suicide” is just silly. More saliently, it goes against his own precepts: every idea that sounds as if it might work in the abstract fails in the particular, and more to the point, he has no skin in this game. He’s not the one who has to get on a bus wearing a hijab and be yelled at by some partially educated thug who didn’t want his rogan josh to be halal.

In one section, Taleb reveals the best advice he ever received, which was not to have an assistant: it is slightly incongruous, neither reinforcing, exemplifying nor adding complexity to his argument. But it is enlightening in one sense: it might help if he got one.

 Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life is published by Allen Lane. To order a copy for £17 (RRP £20) go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.


© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

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A Jog Down the Memory Lane

A Jog down the memory lane

Yesterday I took a stroll down the fields on the farm in Tumair. Moving from the small cozy cottage on the east side of the farm land towards the north-west corner where the work was in progress to build a water reservoir. This is barani land, where people have been growing crops such as corn and wheat for ages. These crops only require the seasonal rain pattern. As the farm lodgings begin to take shape we are still groping for a water solution. Without water, landscaping and growing of the plants we want is difficult. Although, rain in Islamabad is plentiful, the water needs to be stored in reservoirs. [2007-04-28]

As I reached the north-west field of the farm, I passed across a whole bunch of keekar trees. Keekar is a tree that is full of thorns with tiny leaves mingling with the thorns. This is spring time. Keekars are in their full bloom, laden with flowers with an intoxicating fragrance. The bushes all around are strewn with wild flowers. These flowers are also small with very tiny petals of yellow, orange and red colors giving a beautiful kaleidoscope. The sweet fragrance brought to my mind memories from the fragrance from the line of Keekars some thirty years ago on the road that curves around what used to be Ayub Khan's house in G-6/2. I was jogging from the edge of F-6/4 on Embassy Road and going towards Margalla hills. I was in intermediate and studying hard for my board exams. My day typically started early in the morning with jog to the foot of the hill and back to our place in 27/1 F-6/4.  That Spring the lines of the keekars were yet young trees and the fragrance from their small yellowish green flowers was enchantingly refreshing. How I soaked myself in that beautiful morning with the invigorating morning breeze. Ah, I can't forget.....

The sound of dozer brings me back to Tumair Farm. Grass is now growing wildly in the fields at this time of the year where it should have been wheat fields ready for cutting and thrashing. We have not grown wheat in the fields as it is no longer economical to do it while sitting in Karachi and controlling the operations from afar. Few of the fields around have fully grown wheat that is being cut and thrashed. People say it is difficult to get a laborer because they are all occupied in this business of cutting and thrashing the wheat. In the distance I can see the land that was once fields growing wheat during rabi and corn during khareef. However, bull dozer has now been plowing on these fields, flattening them, removing the beautiful natural contours and meandering and winding water ways into straight land with crisscross of small roads. These beautiful fields are now destined to become 5 and 10 marla plots sold to new city comers and there soon would be shanty housing with little civic amenities.

As I thought about it, my heart filled with fear. I could see that the land adjoining our farm may itself convert into these shanty dwelling not so far in future may be just a couple of years. All through the night I could hear the dozers working in the far. In the morning I found out that the noise of the dozers was coming from the other side of this beautiful hillock on the south side of our farms. They must have put the dozer on to level the beautify terrain that I saw when I climbed up the hillock with my kids three years ago. The beauty is going, going and gone.

The tractror was moving from one end of the field scraping the earth and dozing it to make the wall. The wall is now beginning to take shape. Around this field, stand a number of ...


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

How I learned the Craft of Book Binding

I learned book binding جلد بندی from my relative Ehtisham Haider Chacha (منّو چچا) . I went with him to Raja Bazar, Rawalpindi  in 1975-76 when I was in 8th class and living in Islamabad. He helped me buy the needle, thick thread, and glossy paper sheet, scissors etc. He then taught me how to prepare home made glue (میدہ کی لئی ), make holes in the book, thread the book with needle, attach thick card from used  hard binding of copies,  tie it to the thread, cut it, put the spine cloth, glue it and paste the glossy paper. I used this skill to bind hundreds of books in my home collection. I still have a few of those bound books with me. Unfortunately I could not get the opportunity to graduate to the finer art of جزو بندی which is a more involved craft requiring sewing with fine thread different parts (جزو)  of the book.
See the sewing of one of the binding that is exposed of this book

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Where to Download Books for Free and Legally


45 places you can download tens of thousands books, plays and other literary texts completely legally for free

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In an increasingly digital world, literature is evolving. Sales of e-readers continue to rise, yet the cost of digital books and texts has not necessarily decreased to the extent to which many initially predicted. With authors’ incomes collapsing to near “abject” levels, and with public libraries under threat from swingeing public spending cuts, we felt honour bound to provide our fine readers with some valuable resources that could help save valuable money.

While we of course advocate supporting your local independent book store – and independent publishing houses – and would urge you to purchase copies of your books where you can afford to, below you can find a collection of 45 websites where you can download tens of thousands of books, plays and texts for free. Oh, and these sites are also all completely legal, of course!

Browse works by Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Joseph Conrad, William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Edgar Allen Poe and other famous writers here.

  1. Classic Bookshelf: This site has put classic novels online, from Charles Dickens to Charlotte Bronte.
  2. The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania hosts this book search and database.
  3. Project Gutenberg: This famous site has over 27,000 free books online (in fact, a lot of the books listed in subsequent sites here can be found at PG – yet we list the others as users may prefer different site’s interfaces, while the others below also help tailor searches for specific types of books or plays).
  4. Page by Page Books: Find books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, as well as speeches from George W. Bush on this site.
  5. Classic Book Library: Genres here include historical fiction, history, science fiction, mystery, romance and children’s literature, but they’re all classics.
  6. Classic Reader: Here you can read Shakespeare, young adult fiction and more.
  7. Read Print: From George Orwell to Alexandre Dumas to George Eliot to Charles Darwin, this online library is stocked with the best classics.
  8. Planet eBook: Download free classic literature titles here, from Dostoevsky to D.H. Lawrence to Joseph Conrad.
  9. The Spectator Project: Montclair State University’s project features full-text, online versions ofThe Spectator and The Tatler.
  10. Bibliomania: This site has more than 2,000 classic texts, plus study guides and reference books.
  11. Online Library of Literature: Find full and unabridged texts of classic literature, including the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain and more.
  12. Bartleby: Bartleby has much more than just the classics, but its collection of anthologies and other important novels made it famous.
  13. us:Fiction.us has a huge selection of novels, including works by Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Flaubert, George Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.
  14. Free Classic Literature: Find British authors like Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, plus other authors like Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and more.
  1. net: Here you can read plays by Chekhov, Thomas Hardy, Ben Jonson, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and others.
  2. Plays: ReadPygmalionUncle Vanya or The Playboy of the Western World
  3. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: MIT has made available all of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and histories
  4. Plays Online: This site catalogs “all the plays [they] know about that are available in full text versions online for free.”
  5. ProPlay: This site has children’s plays, comedies, dramas and musicals.
  6. Public Bookshelf: Find romance novels, mysteries and more.
  7. The Internet Book Database of Fiction: This forum features fantasy and graphic novels, anime, J.K. Rowling and more.
  8. Free Online Novels: Here you can find Christian novels, fantasy and graphic novels, adventure books, horror books and more.
  9. Foxglove: This British site has free novels, satire and short stories.
  10. Baen Free Library: Find books by Scott Gier, Keith Laumer and others.
  11. The Road to Romance: This website has books by Patricia Cornwell and other romance novelists.
  12. Get Free Ebooks: This site’s largest collection includes fiction books.
  13. John T. Cullen: Read short stories from John T. Cullen here.
  14. SF and Fantasy Books Online: Books here includeArabian Nights,Aesop’s Fables and more.
  15. Free Novels Online and Free Online Cyber-Books: This list contains mostly fantasy books.
  1. The Literature Network: This site features forums, a copy of The King James Bible, and over 3,000 short stories and poems.
  2. Poetry: This list includes “The Raven,” “O Captain! My Captain!” and “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.”
  3. Poem Hunter: Find free poems, lyrics and quotations on this site.
  4. Famous Poetry Online: Read limericks, love poetry, and poems by Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Lord Byron and others.
  5. Google Poetry: Google Books has a large selection of poetry, from The Canterbury Talesto Beowulf to Walt Whitman.
  6. com: Read poems by Maya Angelou, William Blake, Sylvia Plath and more.
  7. com: Rudyard Kipling, Allen Ginsberg and Alfred Lord Tennyson are all featured here.
  8. com: On this site, you can download free poetry ebooks.
  9. Banned Books: Here you can follow links of banned books to their full text online.
  10. World eBook Library: This monstrous collection includes classics, encyclopaedias, children’s books and a lot more.
  11. DailyLit: DailyLit has everything fromMoby Dick to the more recent phenomenon, Skinny Bitch.
  12. A Celebration of Women Writers: The University of Pennsylvania’s page for women writers includes Newbery winners.
  13. Free Online Novels: These novels are fully online and range from romance to religious fiction to historical fiction.
  14. net: Download mysteries and other books for your iPhone or eBook reader here.
  15. Authorama: Books here are pulled from Google Books and more. You’ll find history books, novels and more.
  16. Prize-winning books online: Use this directory to connect to full-text copies of Newbery winners, Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer winners.