Saturday, February 10, 2007

How to lend to the poor without a collateral

Vikram Akula of SKS Microfinance says how: "We use a system based on trust. That is, we built our group lending system based on the trust that exists among the poor. Specifically, we adopted the joint-liability model first developed by the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. Within each of our centres, you’ll typically find 40-60 members, divided into groups of five. These five-member groups serve as guarantors for one another, so if one member can’t pay, the others will make up the difference. If that five-person group cannot pay, the entire center comes forward to pay the remaining amount. In this way, members are held accountable for each other. This system based on trust—we take no collateral whatsoever—boasts a 98 per cent repayment rate, a rate unheard of in the commercial banking world." For more of his thoughts, go here.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Colorful Tale of Pantone

I scoured the net and finally found a nice piece on Pantone. Picked from Wired.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Can women invent?

Dennis Crouch probes this in "Women as patentees". He offers two interesting data points: Between 1790 - 1895, just about 1% of women were patent holders. This figure climbed to 9.2% in 1996. Picked from Patently-O.

Shakespeare used the word 'fart'.

Interesting, ain't it? For more such pearls read up "Is the word 'bum' really offensive?" Picked from The Guardian.

Friday, December 22, 2006

How to do what you love

A simple yet staggering piece by Paul Graham. There is plenty of wisdom here. If I were you I'd mull over this article at ease. An extract to tease you into reading it -> Donald Hall said young would-be poets were mistaken to be so obsessed with being published. But you can imagine what it would do for a 24 year old to get a poem published in The New Yorker. Now to people he meets at parties he's a real poet. Actually he's no better or worse than he was before, but to a clueless audience like that, the approval of an official authority makes all the difference. So it's a harder problem than Hall realizes. The reason the young care so much about prestige is that the people they want to impress are not very discerning. Picked from CreativeGeneralist.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Harrison Ford on his first screen test.

The studio guy told me, "Kid, you have no future in this business." I said, "Why?" He said, "When Tony Curtis first walked onscreen carrying a bag of groceries -- a bag of groceries! -- you took one look at him and said, 'THAT'S a movie star!'" I said, "Weren't you supposed to say, 'That's a grocery delivery boy?'" Picked from IMDB.

Snow Leopards - the silent killer.

Did you know that Snow Leopards don't roar? Fact picked from


Means hodgepodge, jumble, medley or mix. Picked from

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This artificial blood is for real

Oxycyte is the name. It's claim to fame is it can carry oxygen 50 times as effectively as our own blood. Picked from Popsci.


An archaic word that means 'to advertise or promote with outlandish claims'. The word is obviously a tribute to PT Barnum, the showman best known for his pompous claims. Word picked from Brownielocks dot com.

Hitchcock on the white rectangle

"I don't understand why we have to experiment with film. I think everything should be done on paper. A musician has to do it, a composer. He puts a lot of dots down and beautiful music comes out. And I think that students should be taught to visualize. That's the one thing missing in all this. The one thing that the student has got to do is to learn that there is a rectangle up there - a white rectangle in a theater - and it has to be filled." Picked from IMDB.

Why an octupus can take a heartbreak.

An octopus (or for that matter any squid or cuttlefish) has 3 hearts. So one heartbreak won't affect its life :-) Picked from Smithsonian National Zoological Park's website.

Every hue has a tale

I never knew Orange & Crimson have Sanskrit roots. I didn't know that Turqoise means 'Turkish Stone'. I picked all these facts from an interesting piece in worldwidewords.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Plato said this. Not about Google.

"For this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it; they will not exercise their memories." He was talking about writing :-) Picked from USA Today.


Zenzizenzizenzic is the eighth power or exponent of a number. For example the zenzizenzizenzic of 2 is 256. This tongue twister was derived from the German word 'Zenzic' which means squared. Zenzizenzic means fourth power. So Zenzizenzizenzic refers to the eigth power. This term was coined & suggested by Robert Recorde, who seems to be the flavour of the day at The Hold All. Picked from wikipedia.

This man introduced the equal symbol

The name's Robert Recorde. A Welsh mathematician, he unleashed the 'is equal to' sign (=) in 1557. He settled for a 'pair of parallels' as 'no two things can be more equal'. The 'is equal to' sign beat two other symbols that were in vogue then: "//" and "[;". Picked from wikipedia and pbs.

Sharon Stone on life at 47

"At 47, you have thoughtfulness and dignity and spiritual elegance...You have something to say. It's not just, Hi! I look terrific in a bathing suit.'" Picked from IMDB.

Butterflies taste with their feet

Did you know that the taste sensors for butterflies are located in their feet? So to play taster, all they have to do is to stand on their food! Fact picked from Milkweedcafe.