Thursday, June 30, 2011

Convention Nerdiness and Patents

Hey there,

Thursday 30-6-2011 is the last day of most end of financial year sales in Australia but more importantly it is the first day of the Australian Medical Student Association Global Health Conference! So a whole day of conference nerdiness made me a very happy man, and theres a whole week of convention to go! It is times like these that I’m very glad to be a medical student studying in Australia and I urge any other medical students who has not attended ASMA convention and/or GHC to highly consider attending it next year or at least before you graduate from medical school.

The speakers were amazing today. I heard a talk from a doctor who used to be an opthalmology registrar, then became a consultant in a business management firm and is now working in public health, allocating healthcare funds to NGOs and international organizations. She is currently working with the Gates Foundation to figure out a way to best allocate funds for healthcare in developing nations. There was a talk by a professor about macroeconomics and its impacts on determinants of health. Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW gave a short speech and opened the convention. Professor Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year 2010, Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health gave a talk and there was a forum discussion comprising of representatives from international NGOs like World Vision, MSF, Red Cross, etc. they even had the CEO of Grameen Bank Australia to be a panel in the forum. For those of you who don’t know, Grameen Bank is a bank based in Bangladesh that is one of the pioneers of microfinance, meaning they give out tiny loans, e.g. 20 dollars to poor people and help them make a living. They believe that if too much aid is given, a country tend to become dependent on it but if you give them small loans, people tend to own up to it and make a living for themselves:

Give a man a fish, he has a meal
Teach a man how to fish and he has a profession.
____________________
Basically it was a great first day at GHC and people I met are really people who you should aspire to become but what I want to write about today are patents.

Lieutenant Colonel Dr Michael Campion was one of the speakers today. He serves in the Australian Army, is an O&G, helped in developing the HPV vaccine which is saving the lives of countless women and help set up the first Rape Crisis centre in Sydney, just to name some of his achievements. He talked about many topics including trauma and casualty of servicemen in war.

When an improvised explosive device (IED) detonates, ground forces usually receive trauma to their limbs because their body armour helps absorb a lot of the force on impact. So what they have is a tactical tourniquet on each limb. If one of their limbs get blown off, the will tighten the tourniquet and stop themselves from dying from uncontrolled haemorrhage.

A guy, invented, did the research and wrote the paper on this tourniquet, I forgot his name, unfortunately I didn’t write it down but he did not apply for a patent on it. This reminded me of Jonas Salk, the doctor who made the polio vaccine. He didn’t get a patent on the vaccine and the result is that polio is almost eradicated because the vaccine is so cheap to produce. However in this case, an American company took the design of the combat tourniquet, patented it and claimed it as one of their own.

This made me upset for a while. Here you have a guy who thought of a solution to a problem and decided not to profit from it. Then comes a corporation took the idea and is making all the profit on it. By the way, every single American coalition ground troop has one on each limb. Imagine how much that company is making. I guess that is the dark side of business. If corporations are humans, some will see it as a soulless person who only thinks about its bottom line. Don’t get me wrong, I love business and corporations and capitalism but it is easy to see how some people perceive it as being the devil.

In an ideal economic world, everything you do has a price to it. Too bad we don’t live in an ideal world.

Well I hope this company is doing good with this patent. I hope they are doing more research in the area and I hope they are looking for different ways of application like everyday first aid or how they can use it in ambulances. I hope they are not just holding the patent, making a massive profit from it and not doing anything else about it.

So tell me what do you think about this? If you were to invent something, should you patent it? Why not? Or why so?

If I were to invent something, I’ll most definitely patent it so that my invention is protected and I have control over what I wanna do with it. That is what a patent is for in the first place.

Thanks for reading! Like the page on facebook is you like what you read or follow me on twitter. More convention nerdiness coming up!

Next post Sunday 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Country with no Money?

Hey there,

It’s the 1st week of holidays! I don’t get much more than a week but I’ll make the most of it. Went to play some golf with a friend today, learnt that a bad day of golf beats any day in work lol.

So Greece huh. Whats going on there? How does a country go bankrupt? I guess some countries are run sorta like a company. The president being the CEO, treasurer being the auditor/accountant, elections being the company's AGM and people get to vote for their leaders.

Like companies, countries can borrow money, lend money, have a line of credit, invest in different assets, make a profit and loss. So I guess if countries can do all that, they should be able to go bankrupt as well. What happened after Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers went bankrupt? Chaos. What is gonna happen when a country goes bankrupt? I’m afraid to imagine.

What happens when a company is at the risk of going bankrupt? They sell their shares at a low price to raise money, they get a new line of credit, the sell some of their assets, they look for a buyer, etc. What can a country do if they are at the risk of bankruptcy? Sell one of it's islands to a rich individual? Get a line of credit from another country? Sell some bonds? I don’t know what do you think?

I think it most certainly wont be good when and if Greece goes bankrupt, its such a small country but it will most certainly have a ripple effect that will and can be felt around the world

Tell me what do you think? What are some of the solutions that you can come up with? Should the EU help out their poor brother? Whats gonna happen if Greece runs out of cash?

Thanks for reading, do drop me comments or emails in response to this post or older posts or to let me know if u hate or like the new look of the blog. J

Next post Thursday! Xoxo

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Unintelligent Investor's Definition of the Week: Bar Charts

Bar Chart

Definition from investopedia
A style of chart used by some technical analysis, on which, the top of the vertical line indicated the highest price of a security traded at during the day, and the bottom represents the lowers price. The closing price is displayed on the right side of the bar, and the opening price is shown on the left side of the bar. A single bar like the one below represents one day of trading.

The Unintelligent Investor’s explanation.
If you look at my post about candlestick charts about a month ago, bar charts and candlesticks are fairly similar.

http://www.theunintelligentinvestor.com/2011/04/unintelligent-investors-definition-of_24.html#comments

But anyway, let me attempt to draw a bar chart with “Paint” and see how we go.

Bar Chart


Candlestick Chart


So much like a candlestick chart, bar charts tells us the highest, lowest, closing and opening price in one line. Unlike line charts where it is plotted using only closing prices and valuable information is lost.

I do not know what advantages a bar chart or a candlestick chart has over one another but I personally prefer looking at a candlestick chart. Maybe because of the colours lol. I don’t know but I’m more used to it.

The one thing that I didn’t like about the investopedia’s definition is that they said the line represents one day. I think that is untrue. It depends on what scale or timeline you set your chart to. A better way to put it is that a line represents a period. It could be one year, one month, one week, one day, or even one hour.

So which one do you prefer? Bar charts, candlestick charts or line charts? Which one is better and what advantages does one have over another? Let me know! Do drop me comments or send me emails. I read them and reply to them.

Thanks for reading!

Next post on Tuesday.

Yay holidays!

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Zillion Dollar Question

Hey there

First of all, sorry for missing Tuesday’s post. I was too stressed out with exams. Well its all over now, so back to normal!

A friend asked if she should invest in properties because there is a high chance of the prices going up and when should she wait for prices to fall a little or just get into it before prices go ridiculously high. Well thats the zillion dollar question in investing and trading I guess. My answer was if I knew that, I would not be studying anymore and I probably would be a lot richer than I am now. Does anybody know the answer to that question? When to invest in a certain investing vehicle? I don’t think so.

To me, this uncertainty that the markets provide is what makes trading and investing so enjoyable. Getting it right is like getting a pat on your back and getting it wrong can be very disappointing. Prices of houses can go up by 20% in one year but at the same time it can go down by 20% as well. The prices of a share in a company can go up by 30% in 2 days but drop 40% in 3. A lot of indicators or analysis can be done but at the end of the day it is still chaotic, it is still unpredictable, if not companies like Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns will not ever go bankrupt. Just imagine, a company that massive with an army of analyst going bankrupt, what about solo investors like us?

Property prices has been booming in Australia however, it has slowed down significantly of late. There are a lot of negative news and sentiment going around about the property market. On top of that high interest rates makes money more expensive and hence harder to buy properties. So is this the time to get into properties or is it time to stay out? Once again, the zillion dollar question

I think what she can do is to invest in an area that is familiar to her, an area that she is aware of the surroundings and developments going on. Things like a new shopping centre, a new university, a new hospital are all easily identified factors that can affect property prices. How the neighbourhood is like. How many banks are in the area. Roughly how many houses are for sale in the area, what are their prices and how long they’ve been in the market for. What is the median house price instead of looking at the mean.

Because she is from Malaysia, another very important thing to think about is the exchange rate. Lets say if they price of the house goes up by 20%, and if MYR weakens by 20%, the profit is still 0.

I don’t know, I’m still an amateur afterall. Any of you have any advice for this young lady? What to look out for when investing in properties? Do you have an answer to the zillion dollar question? If you do please share it with me, I promise I’ll share 50% of all profit with you. Lol do drop me a comment or send me an email. Its always a pleasure to read them.

Click on the little like button on the right hand side of the screen to like the page on facebook or follow me on twitter if you like the site and would like to know about updates.

Thanks for reading! Next post Sunday

You guys are awesome.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Unintelligent Investor's Definition of the Week: Stress

Stress
Definitions from Dictionary.com
1. Special emphasis or significance attached to something
2. Mental, emotional, or physical strain or tension
3. Emphasis places upon a syllable by pronouncing in more loudly than those that surround it

The Unintelligent Investor’s explanation

Best way to put this is in a sentence.
I cannot stress enough how stressed I’m feeling at the moment.

Examples of when you might feel stressed;
The day before your Paediatric, Obstetrics and Gynaecology multiple choice paper.
You might feel pretty stressed 3 days before your OSCE.
Or you might also feel stressed when the S&P 200 goes below 4500 points and the American indices closed flat before the weekend.

So I’ll leave you all with a very very bad joke I read somewhere.

Why is money called dough?
....
....
....
..
Because we all knead it

Ah I’m so funny. -_-''

Take care guys.

Next post Tuesday if I haven’t died from caffeine overdose.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

4500 points

Hey there,

The S&P 200 closed below 4500 today. That brings the index to September 2010 levels. Ouch. What is going on? Is the market consolidating? Is it going into another bear market? Is it a result of unexpected natural disasters in Japan, Australia and other parts of the world?


What do you think? Whatever it is, trust me I’m worried. The market has not dropped below 4500 points in a long time. Some people think that there is a support line at 4500 and a resistance at 5000. If thats the case, well it just dropped below the support line and thats never good. Oh well, stick to our trading criteria and do our due diligence. We’ll probably learn more trading in a bear market anyway.

So how is your portfolio doing? Hopefully not as bad as mine lol. Next post on Sunday, probably... my first paper is on Monday, so we’ll see. Until the next post, take care!


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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Four Occupations

Hey there,

As all of you know, it is exam season so the next few post will most likely be very short ones. For those of you who are already done with exams, congratulations! Go out, party, get smashed, or stay at home and finish watching an entire season of something with a tub of ice cream you all deserve it. Dont forget to detoxify your body from all that caffeine as well lol.

I saw a few videos of interviews of Lee Kuan Yew, former prime minister of Singapore, current minister mentor, on YouTube and I have to saw wow. He has such a commanding knowledge in everything, from economics to politics to humanity. Obviously a very well versed man with years of experience and decision making under his belt.

So the interviewer asked him, if you were 20 years old now, what would you do to best equip yourself to face the world. He answered by saying, I would grow up in Singapore because it still provides you with a traditional way of life i.e. traditional Chinese values and with this traditional mind set go out and get a very good education from a well known institution like Harvard, Cambridge or Oxford. I will educate myself well in English and have a good enough knowledge of the Chinese language and culture because English is still worldwide and Chinese will be the economic miracle of the 21st century. (These are not exactly his words but paraphrased)

He then went on to say in traditional Chinese culture, there are four categories of people or four different social classes. In order they are:
Shi (scholars)
Nong (farmers)
Gong (artisans and craftsmen)
Shang (merchants and traders)

The scholars are very highly respected and would often work with the government because to have a good stable country, you need a good stable government.

The merchants and traders had a lower social class because they did not contribute much to society; rather they leach off the work of others by being the middleman.

There you go, one of the wisest men, a man who brought Singapore to what they are today telling us to get a good education as a foundation, think about how you can contribute to society then think about making money by trading.

Thanks for reading! Good luck with exams!!!

If I’m still alive, next post will be on Thursday.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Unintelligent Investor's Definition of the Week: IPO

Initial Public Offering

Oxford Dictionary’s definition: The act of offering the stock of a company on a public stock exchange for the first time.

The Unintelligent Investor’s explanation

Oxford dictionary’s definition explains it all. An IPO is when a private company sells shares to the open public and list their company on a public exchange for the first time or if a company re-list after become private.

It is usually done by companies that are smaller or younger to raise capital by selling shares to the public. A recent example will be Kathmandu I guess. They were facing bad retail conditions worldwide, had high debt levels and saw a drop in profit. When they wanted to float, their asking prices were around 1.65 to 1.90, hence raising between 277 and 374 million dollars. They eventually floated at 1.70 dollars. So the money they raised from this IPO allowed them to acquire Milford Group Holdings which owns the Kathmandu business and reduce their debt levels.

Big companies like Facebook, do not need to float because they have more than enough capital to go around. I guess an advantage of remaining private is you do not need to be as transparent as public companies and as my dad said, there is a lot less paperwork lol.

That being said, big companies do offer IPOs as well. Recent examples would be QR National at 7 billion and Myer at 3 billion. QR National used some of the capital they raised to expand their rail network and I don’t know why Myer floated. I guess there is no such thing as too much capital.

As investors IPOs can be very good opportunities because some might argue that we’ll never get to buy the company at such a low price ever again. However, due diligence is a lot harder because the only information we have from the company is their prospectus which is usually filled with crap and things to remind you who good their company is. Unlike investing in an already listed company, we cannot just go to ASX.com.au and find information on the company. Remember that prospectuses are design to entice and brokers are paid for selling IPOs. So there could be a possible conflict of interest there.

So are IPO’s sure win investments? My answer will be probably not.
Below are 3 charts of the 3 companies mentioned in this post.

Myer
Kathmandu
QR National
These charts are taken from ASX.com.au

You wont be too happy if you invested in Myer, feel allright if you picked Kathmandu and quite happy if you picked QR National lol.

So what do you think about IPOs? Have you invested in one? I personally haven’t because I don’t like investing in a company is hard to research.

Do drop me comments or send me an email. Thanks for reading! Next post Tuesday.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rain Check

Hey there,

If you guys dont mind, I'm taking a rain check today.

I've just finished my rotation in obstetrics and gynecology and this wraps up my semester. I've been in delivery suite for the past week and have been doing 12 to 13 hour shifts back to back. Today was the first day I saw the sun in a few days lol and it was only for about 10 minutes. It was long hours and very tiring no doubt but I thoroughly enjoyed it. O&G was a great rotation.

We all have to put together a portfolio for the semester and it is due tomorrow. So I'm going to spend tonight and tomorrow finishing it and adding stuff from this week plus exam is in less than 2 weeks!

Sorry and thanks for your patience!

I'll leave you all with a joke I read somewhere:

A woman proudly told her friend, "I'm responsible for making my husband a millionaire."
"Well what was he before he married you?" the friend asked.
"A billionaire"

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Little Cut won't Hurt

Hey there,

I had just came back from an amazing 12 hour shift at the hospital today. As usual, nothing much happens when you get there at first. I was there from about 6am to 2pm and was ready to leave. All of a sudden I heard get Dr. X, mother in room Y is delivering twins. SCORE! I thought to myself, I'm not leaving now. Luckily I stayed for that extra 10 minute. That twin delivery was followed by a mother that had a prolonged 2nd stage labour and needed some instrumental delivery. Ventouse delivery they call it, amazingly dramatic stuff, labour, crazy. So I ended up staying till about 6 before I got to leave the hospital.

For the first time in my 4 years in medical school, I felt sick. When that mother had the ventouse delivery, the baby was a big too big to come out safely so the doctors did something called an episiotomy, Wikipedia link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episiotomy
it was a medio-lateral one. So the baby’s head was almost crowning and suddenly the consultant took out a pair of scissors and made the incision. I watched it, felt my legs go soft and head spin for about 2 seconds before I pulled myself together again. First time I was ever fazed by a medical procedure and I've seen a lot more gruesome stuff.

After the consultant left, I talked to the registrar closing up the wound and told him I felt a bit faint for a while because of the episiotomy. He laughed, obviously, and said look at it now, as good as new and we potentially avoided a lot more trauma that this lady could have gotten. She might have a bit of pain from the sutures for a few days but it will be as good as new.

He then told me the first time he was every fazed by a medical procedure was when he watched a bone marrow aspiration, wiki link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_marrow_examination
you basically stick a massive needle into somebody’s bones, punch through it to get to the bone marrow to collect some samples. Sounds painful but it is necessary sometimes and it can save lives. In the grand scheme of things, it is for the best.

I guess that I’m trying to say, sometimes it is okay to take a bit of pain, a bit of a cut or punch or scratch here or there and be fazed by it but if at that time, it seemed like it was necessary and if you followed your protocols, it might be for the best.

Ever took a little cut to avoid a massive loss? I’m sure you did. Do leave me comments or drop me an email. Even though my exams are so close by, I will still read and reply to them. For all of you going tru sememster exams now, good luck and study hard! Do press on the little like button on the right hand side of the screen to like the page on facebook or follow the page on twitter! Thanks for reading!

Next post on Thursday.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Unintelligent Investor's Definition of the Week: Liquidity

Liquidity

Oxford Dictionary definition: the availability of liquid assets to a market or company.
Definition of liquid assets: held in cash or easily converted into cash.

From Wikipedia, market liquidity is an asset’s ability to be sold without causing a significant movement in the price and with minimum loss of value. Money, or cash in hand is the most liquid asset.

The Unintelligent Investor’s explanation

From what I understand, when you say someone is liquid, you mean they have more cash in hand. Or when you say an asset is liquid, it probably means you can sell it or change it to cash easily and quickly.

From the definitions giving by Oxford dictionary and Wikipedia, they say liquid assets are assets like cash, which implies that they are illiquid assets as well i.e. property. So if you think about it as a scale, going from more liquid to less liquid, the order of assets will be something like:
Cash, different currencies, commodities, shares, properties

A lot of the time we think of assets as just assets and forget to remember that some are more liquid than others. Why is this important sometimes? I guess it comes into play when opportunity arises, good or bad. For example, the economy is doing badly, you can easily liquidate your shares and minimize your losses but can the same be said to your property portfolio? If you cannot find a buyer, and desperately need the cash, you will have to settle for a lower price or in the worst case scenario, be foreclosed. On the other hand, if a good business opportunity arises, do you have enough liquidity to invest in that business?

Moreover, different shares have different liquidity as well. Blue chips tend to be more liquid than small caps and that is something we have to think about as well. What if we make a big paper profit on some small caps and cant find a buyer when we want to liquidate? Remember that when we look at our portfolio on our online broker, the profit is counted by looking at the last price but what is the market depth, volume traded and what is the next asking price? We might not be able to sell at the last price. So we should probably remember to look at the other parameters as well.

Another thing that I think about when we talk about liquidity is in relation to companies and their assets. A company needs cash flow to fund their day to day operations. If they don’t have enough cash flow they either have to hunt down their debtors, get more credit, raise capital or liquidate some of their assets. So if the company has highly illiquid assets, they might get into trouble when for whatever reason, they need to raise cash. So when looking at a company’s accounts, remember to note their long and short term assets as well as their cash flow. If they have millions in receivables but almost zero cash flow, it might not be a good thing.

Probably somebody who is doing accounting or is an accountant can comment further or correct whatever I said wrongly. Accountants out there please don’t laugh at my amateurish post lol. Thanks for reading! Do drop me comments or send me emails, I really appreciate them.

Now back to studying about gastroenteritis in children, yummy.

Next post Tuesday!

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

AUD/USD: Cheap Imported Goods!

Hey there,

First of all, OUCH..... Markets took a very painful hit today. A lot of negative sentiment going around at the moment, bad ju ju, bad vibes, bad everything. Just look at what happened this last 5 days.

Not too bad, not too bad, not bad, hmm not bad I guess, then BOOM!

Gosh I spent the last few days typing thousands of words for my assignments, my fingers are probably as strong as my biceps now.

Anyways, I was on Facebook and one of my friends asked me about my drum pedals. I have Iron Cobra double kicks by Tama and I got them more than a year ago now. When I got them they were I think about 600 dollars. They were one of my best investments as far as drum sets go. Brilliant pedals, makes double kicking so much easier. Assuming my friend got the same model, apparently he got it for 300 dollars yesterday. That is half the price! To be honest I felt cheated but then something came to my mind:

AUD/USD.

A year ago, 1 AUD was buying a bit over 0.80 USD. Today it is buying 1.06, good for people holding their AUD and sorry to people with USD.

This strong AUD has massive impacts on the Australian economy. Just like what my friend has experienced, it is suddenly very cheap to import things to Australia. So importers and retailers can have a massive boost to their margins if they maintain their prices. Alternatively, they can choose to offer massive discounts without affecting their margins too much. So to use the drum pedals as an example, if the cost of the pedals are 400 USD in America, when I bought them at the exchange rate of 0.8 it would have costed 500 AUD to import. When my friend bought it yesterday, 400 USD would only be 377 AUD. That is a 123 dollar difference just for one pedal. Imagine how much cost retailers save because they import in bulk.

However, it is important for us to remember that this is not necessarily a good thing for Australian retailers in our day and age. I didnt ask my friend but I bet he bought it from some American online store. So how much of it goes to the Australian economy or Australian retailers? 0 dollars. But online shopping is probably a topic saved for another day.

On the flip side, exporters are feeling the pain. Take Billabong for example, BBG makes 50% of its revenue from sales in the USA. So a year ago, to make it easy, lets say their sales in America was 10 million USD, that will mean their revenue in AUD is 12.5 million. Today if they made that same 10 million in USA, it would only be worth 9.4 million AUD. That is 3.1 million AUD less just because of the strong AUD. Please note that these numbers are made up to illustrate an example. I have no idea what BBG’s revenue from USA was yesterday or a year ago.

For those of you who are going away for holidays, I’m sure you’re very pleased that the AUD is doing so well. All of a sudden it is cheaper to travel. But also think about the poor tourism industry in Australia. It is suddenly so expensive to travel here. Same goes for education, I didn’t think about going to the UK to study medicine because it was too expensive to do so back then but today, it is probably just as expensive to study here in Australia. I even remember hearing in the news that movie production companies in Australia is not doing too well because of the strong dollar. Producers and directors use to like coming to Australia because it was cheaper and Australia offers magnificent sceneries for their movies but it is too expensive for them to come here now. The use of green screens and animations are probably easier and cheaper.

So think about that, strong AUD = good for importers, bad for exporters.
Good for getting out of Australia, bad for coming to Australia.

What do you think about the strong AUD? Is it sustainable? Or is it going to drop back down. Are you enjoying the strong AUD? Or are you hating it? Do leave me comments or send me emails. I really do appreciate them.

If you like the site, click on the little like button on the right hand side of the screen to like the page on facebook. Or follow me on twitter! Thanks for reading!

Next post Sunday. Cheers

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