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FAQ

What is the meaning of life?
I suffered from a cardiac arrest on an airplane about two months ago.After the incident I suffered from chest pains and arrhythmias for weeks. Several evenings I was afraid that I’ll never wake up again. It was clearly a stressful time in my life.Today I finally made a long hike in the woods.What’s the meaning of life?Now, I’m very much into science and study biology myself. So far, the best answer I’ve come up with is that there is no meaning. DNA happened to evolve and the only thing our genes want is to be reproduced, that is, for us to survive until reproductive age and produce offspring. That’s it.“Meaning” is just something unnecessary that humans think about because we feel the need to find things out.If there is no meaning then the best you can do is enjoy life.So how do you enjoy it?By being happy obviously.How do you become happy?By producing happy hormones.How do you produce happy hormones?By doing things you like doing. In other words, by spending more time doing things you like than what you spend doing things that you don’t like.So, thus far the meaning of life is simply to do things you like.What could that be?Here’s the problem. My thoughts go straight to addiction. Alcohol, drugs, porn, food, social media. Instant gratification.So the problem is that doing things giving you instant gratification often lead to unhappiness.Why is that?This wasn’t always the case. Hundreds of thousands years ago it made sense.Hormones are our bodies• way of keeping us in line with what our DNA wants: to keep us alive and to reproduce. Finding food, having sex and beating other males for status meant happy hormones. Happiness meant survival.Today, life is way too easy. Accessing food, sex and status requires nothing but a swipe of a credit card or a mouse click. This has evidently lead to widespread addiction.Addiction is simply our hormones doing their job in the wrong world.So, this means that in order to be happy in today’s world, we need to do our very best to delay gratification.How do you do that?Be aware of your own body and recognize when being rewarded with happy hormones. Be ready to fight your own DNA when it wants instant gratification.Be prepared not to enjoy every moment of your life. The goal should be to enjoy it as a whole. There will be bad moments, days, weeks and even years but that’s ok. You want some contrast in your life as it makes the better times seem even better.Don’t compare yourself to others. Being of high social status used to mean better chances at finding a good partner, that’s it. This competition between people is alive and well also today, mainly in the form of money. The problem is that the bar for this kind of “happiness” is always rising. There’s always a better workplace, car, partner or phone out there.The deepest form of happiness can still be found in the same place as before, that is, staying healthy, getting children and taking care of your family. These are easily neglected nowadays.
How does the stock market work? Who decides the price of stocks? What is the logic behind the valuation of stocks?
TL,DR: "In the short term, the market is a voting machine. But, in the long term, the market is a weighing machine". -- Ben Graham[1]Part 1: How the stock market worksPart 2: How does one evaluate StocksPart 1: Basics of a Stock MarketHistory: A long time ago, humans ran businesses with just their money. The businesses they ran were small and they grew the businesses only with their own profits. However, not all businesses can be built with your own money. What if you wanted to build a new factory that costs more than a million dollars? Banks won't lend money for young companies and your friends won't have that much.In the 15th-16th century as the Europeans started exploring Asia and Americas, the big explorers felt they needed a lot of money and their kings were not providing them anymore. The wealthy guys demanded a lot of interest. Thus, they felt they need to raise money from a bunch of common people. Thus, in 1602, the Dutch East Indian company became the first company to issue shares of its company in the Amsterdam Stock Exchange and get traded on a continuous basis.What is a Stock? Stocks in a company pryou a share of the company's future profits in return for the capital invested. For instance, if you buy 1 stock of Apple now, you will be assured one-billionth of Apple's profits in the future (as there are almost a billion such stocks that Apple has issued now).Listing: In a stock market, 1000s of companies are listed and these companies (called public companies - as they have given out their shares to common public) pay a fee to the exchanges, along with a promise to prall important info to the markets. In return they get an opportunity to put their company in the stock market's board & have the ability to get money from people visiting the market. The first time a company's stock appears on the stock market's board is called an IPO (Initial Public Offer).Brokers: Conceptually, a stock exchange is similar to eBay. These guys allow companies to be listed and connect the buyers & sellers. Since millions of people trade in the market and it is practically impossible for these exchanges to deal with all the individuals, they have assigned brokers who act between the exchanges and the individuals.Part 2: How does one value a stockBasic Terminology:We will use a term EPS (Earnings per share) that is exactly as it sounds. It is the profits of the company divided by number of shares. For instance, Apple has $41 billion in profits and about 950 million shares, giving an EPS of about 41000/950 = $44/share. Thus, if you own a share of Apple, you are entitled to 44 bucks of Apple's profits this year.Calculating Share price:To evaluate how much you need to pay for that 1 Apple stock you need to do a simple addition of all the earnings you will getStock Price = EPS in Year 1 + EPS in Year 2 +...Now, you know that a dollar earned 10 years from now is not the same as a dollar earned now. Because, there is an interest rate i involved and money you get in 10 years is less worthy than the money you have now. Thus, you need to adjust that formulae.Stock Price = ((EPS in Year 1)/(1+i))+ (EPS in Year 2/(1+i)^2) +...Now, there is a whole bunch of math involved (starting from the compound interest formula) and for the sake of simplicity, I will get you to the final results and reduce the stock price to two cases:1. In case of a mature company that doesn't grow:  Stock price = EPS/Interest rateThe expected Interest rate is relatively easy to calculate and depends on how risky the company is, how risky the market is and the current long term interest rate of government bonds. For many mature utility companies this interest rate comes to about 10%. Thus, utility companies that doesn't grow much is generally traded at about 10-15 times the EPS. (insert in the formula above).The stock prices of these companies are very smooth and change only when there is a change in long term interest rates, the risk profile of the company (can change when hurricanes such as Sandy hits) or when market risk changes (for instance 2022 financial crisis). But on a regular day, not much action here. Let us move to the second category of shares:2. For a growing company: Stock price = EPS of next year / (interest rate - expected growth rate of the company)Let us use a simple example. If you assume Apple's next year EPS will be $48, the expected interest rate for such a risky company at 15% and an expected annual growth rate at 5%, you will get:$48/(15%-5%) or $48/10% or $480 as the ideal stock price for the company. Where did I get this magical 5% number?Getting the growth inputs:Now, we need to find the growth rate of the company and figure out what the company will earn in the next year, the following year and so on. This is not an exact science and no one has a perfect answer to this question. This is why we need stock markets. Collectively, we all pool our intelligence to figure out the future growth of the company and thereby its current price.To do this collective prediction, we constantly get new inputs and project that to future. For instance, if the company management gets hotshot new engineers, then we predict the future will be bright. What are the other news that investors typically use:Periodic financial results of the company that gives us a view into the company,s workings and its financial positionPeriodic results of similar companies that helps us guess this company,s results. Thus, when Apple sneezes everyone else catches a cold.Changes in the sector. If a new report comes that people are more inclined to using mobile phones, we predict growth of these companies will be high.Changes in the broader market.Changes in the international economyMarket Estimation:In short, we try to use every possible information to guess the future growth of the company, plug that into our formula and find out the stock price. For instance, if Apple comes out a report saying people are buying less of iPads, we might ding Samsung too as we believe their Galaxy Tabs will sell less too.Estimating growth rate is an art rather than a science, and is collectively done by millions of humans in a place called the stock market. Since, we need to constantly adjust the growth rate based on new information, stock prices constantly fluctuate.Main advantages of a stock market:1. Starting/building a business: The market lets companies get money from a large number of people. That means there are more options to get money to build a business.2. Spreading risk: It lets you spread the risk of a business into a large number of people. Since, each person is investing only a small portion of their income in the stock of a particular company, the risk of a single company collapsing doesn't significantly affect investors.3. Collective estimation of value. Summary: Modern corporations require a lot of capital, which is beyond the reaches of a few individuals. Markets help companies raise money from a large number of people and together these investors value their company. The theory is that when a large number of people do their independent valuation, the company's price comes more closer to its ideal worth."In the short term, the market is a voting machine. But, in the long term, the market is a weighing machine". -- Buffett(Disclaimer: This is an answer targeted at basic-intermediate level investor & not high frequency traders or experts. I deliberately approximated a few things to improve clarity).[1] Buffett's metric says it's time to buyBalaji Viswanathan (பாலாஜி விஸ்வநாதன்)'s answer to What should everyone know about investing?Balaji Viswanathan (பாலாஜி விஸ்வநாதன்)'s answer to What should everyone know about economics? Which websites or books do you suggest for someone dipping their toe into the subject?
What is switch bill of lading and how does it work in International trade?
There are lot of documents over google on “Switch BL” you can find out technical aspects of it over there. I am sharing you the logic to use it in international trade.For third country exports or trading cargoes over the borders, it is economical to avoid cargo importing in your country and then make a export it. Also you have to protect the supplier and end user identity to ensure your interest in business.by “Switching” BL, you can document the goods moving from supplier to End user including your name as exporter and eliminating any supplier’s details.Eg.A supplier is in ChinaB is trader at GermanyC is actual user / consumer buy product from B at Russia.In this case, B can ask A to ship cargo to Russia (keeping logistics in B’s scope) and then Switch this BL thru logistics service provider and release final BL to C reading as supply by B and from China to Russia.Trust it clarify the logic.
What is the purpose of life?
This is a question I believe a lot of people, who think to live or who avoid living by thinking, have wasted a lot of time on. The reason I believe this question is so popular is because it leads to a perpetual chain of reasons and hence is a perfect instrument to kill time. It works like an addiction when you have a lot of time to kill and lot of things to run away from. I think I have both. So I am highly tempted to write an answer with full knowledge of the fact that it is going to be an exercise in vain.Evolutionary perspectiveIf you think from an evolutionary point of view, the answer is simple. The purpose of life is to create more life. All living beings live to reproduce so that the evolution can continue churning its wheel creating diversity and complexity. Even though this answer may be the simplest and most convincing of all, it is too mundane for human intellect. While this purpose fits really well for most of the life forms, It doesn't really explain the existence of beings who can ask this question and kill time. Because even if they find the answer, they don't stand a chance to reproduce more, in fact they might even be punished by females of their species for being useless for all practical purposes.Philosophical perspectivePluto put forth the meaning of life in achieving highest form of knowledge. And the highest form of knowledge according to him is the idea of “Good”. According to Aristotle (one of the students of Pluto)What is the highest good in all matters of action? To the name, there is almost complete agreement, for uneducated and educated alike call it happiness, and make happiness identical with the good life and successful living. They disagree, however, about the meaning of happiness.Now that is confusing. It says that the purpose of life is happiness but the meaning of happiness is not clear. That is like answering a question with another question. but then what else can we expect from philosophers.Religious perspectiveWhen we talk about religious perspective of purpose of life, more or less we talk about purpose of human life (I don't know if animals have their own religions.. so can't comment)Hinduism: I being a Hindu can comment on Hindu perspective of purpose of life better than other religion. Although Hinduism itself has a multitude of schools of thoughts, so nothing qualifies as the final word. According to one of the well accepted schools, the purpose of life is four fold: Dharma, Artha, Kaam, Moksha. None of these four words have an exact parallel in english. Loosely speaking, Dharma means duty. Duty with respect to God (if you believe in one), Parents, Fellow human beings and all life forms. Artha means pursuit of wealth, because being poor suck for sure. Kaam signifies pleasure. Last but the toughest, Moksha, means the enlightenment. The attainment of ultimate knowledge (Brahm Gyaan) to be liberated from the cycle of life and death and become one with the parmatma (the primary soul of the universe). While each of these four facets is complete by itself, together they form the ultimate purpose of life.Buddhism: I think Buddhists have the best word for the purpose of life• to attain Nirvana (It is pronounced with the ‘a• at the end). Nirvana is a concept very hard to explain in any language. Although I believe it is close to the word “Moksha”. Nirvana is achieved by conquering one's own desires and achieving ultimate understanding of samsara (the universe, the cycle of birth and death and the materialistic reality and the suffering).I do not have a good understanding of the Abrahamic religions. Ill appreciate comments to add other religions perspective as well. But I believe all the religions point to the purpose of life as purification of heart and soul in some manner. Ridding oneself from wrong deeds and accumulating good deeds as one goes along living life.Personal perspectiveAll that the sages and the philosophers have to say, more often than not, is not easy to understand by ordinary people like me. So I have my own ideas of the purpose of life (specifically my life)An idea: Everyone is born unique and given how complicated a life form is, it is practically impossible that the exact you will ever exist again in this universe. Being so unique, everyone has at least one unique idea that will die forever if it is not put out into the universe. The purpose of life, probably is to put this one idea out and implement it. May be it is a delicious chicken curry, may be it is a song, a poem, it may be a piece of code, a design of furniture• it can be anything at all.Evolution: Nature, by the virtue of its mechanisms, points us to a purpose. The propensity of nature is the evolve. So our duty as a part of nature is to evolve. To achieve scientific advancements and to break out of our home planet in order to explore the universe. Any small step taken by an individual in that direction is a fulfilling purpose in itself. Anyone can improve upon one’s area of interest and redefine the state of art and every such redefinition is a baby step in our evolution.Love: We are all born with a set of people granted to us. And we gather more as we go along living life. If we are lucky, we find that one person for whom we feel a very special kind of love. All These people care for us. They feel happy with us and they feel sad in our sadness. They prus with another purpose of life. The purpose of being there for them. Live with them, enjoy with them, take care of them, and be around them when they die.Happiness: If you think about it, the perpetual chain of metaphysical reasons to find the purpose of life does not lead anyone anywhere. So why not understand its futility and rather concentrate on something practical. Why not concentrate on one’s own happiness. While it is hard to define happiness as a general idea, it is easy to define what it is not. Pleasure should not be misunderstood as happiness because pleasure is sensory and ephemeral. Anything, the effect of which does not last for a time of the order of one’s life (Life is generally measured in years) can be opted out. Happiness comes out of deep contentment with oneself. Being comfortable in one’s own skin. One needs to make sure to do the “Right thing” rather than the easy thing, in order to be content with oneself.When we are in our full mental health we rarely ask this question. We asks this when life seems nebulous and defence mechanisms do not work any more, we ask this when our belief system shakes or breaks down and we need a purpose upon which we can built a new one. In these times, the purpose of life can be the most elusive idea. I have always been in the need of a simple answer that I can use in such times.I believe we as humans are slave to our perceptions. And any purpose that we convince ourselves as a worthy one is as good as any other. Metaphysics and Philosophy may be good topics to wonder about, Though there is a good possibility that there actually is no higher purpose of life than just to live happily.
What is the process of the bill of lading And how does it work as negotiable documents?
I was running a chemical company , send containers to east countriers.It is like this. You can be a merchant exporter - (means you buy from some one & export it ) or you can be a manufacturing exporter.In both the cases - first you should get the order from th over seas party. Next question is how you are going to be paid for the goods? It can be by way of Letter of redit - ( LC) WHICH MEANS the moment the goods leave the port you will gt the money / your buyer would have paid / parked the money for your goods in a bank you have told . The other way is payment at sight .Assuming you are sending the material to Germany. Your customer would have specified the port , also an agent in germany who will receive the containe , clear & give the material to them. Now you have to first look out a clearing agent - who will co ordinate with the customs & clear the goods. This involves hefty bribes, for which the clearing agent will give bill as service charges. In consonence with them you should move the goods to a place called -container freight station - where the goods are stuffed in the container & sent to port. ( similarly import also ) there are 32 private continer stations in areound chennai.. Here the customs authorities will check the goods , clearance. Mean time either your clearing agent or ( on your own ) will contact a shipper - means who will actually ship your container to Germany . Note that the shippers need now own the container , ships, -they are agents - it is like OLA. now once the customs give you clearance - they will give an order called - stuffing ordr - means they will put your goods in the container.after which the customs man will come / seal the container with a special tamper proof seal. now your goods/ container will go to port ready to be looaded in a ship., as the agent would be co oordinating with the port / shipper of the time . shipping vessel etc. In the case of chennai lot of containers go to srilanka -unloaded , & reloaded to the connecting ship. From chennai we have direct shipping to indonesia, china etc , it will directly reach the port there.If you opt for insurance , they will charge addtional.The freight , could be pre paid also. on average for a container to Europe / neigh bouring countries ~60000 Rs/clearing charges `30000. in addition the container station will chages you for the services they made , you have to pay for moving the container to port.Now coms your QUETION. ONCE YOUR CONTAINER is loaded in the ship - the respective agent -called shipping agent - Will give you 3 copies called BILL OF LADING- THIS will shortly describe the goods, quty, wether insured or not, in which ship it is loaded, time , who should be contacted in the German port. this is a serious document. If you have exported under LETTER OF CREDIT - just give this to your bank - they will pay you the money written in the L.C. or if it is under other arrangement - safely you have to give it to your bank,- they will send with a covering letter to Germany - to your customers bankers- . They will just keep with them . The agent mentionedin the bill of lading , will follow th emovement of the said ship,will follow with the port -same set of operations will be repeated. The container will go to a similer palce like in chennai - they will open - check for the contents. Now according to the law of the importing land duty / taxes etc may have to be paid by them.Once this process is over -they will also CLEAR THE GOODS. tHEY WILL INFORM your agent , WHO WILL INFORM THE BANK WHICH IS HOLD THE BILL OF MATERIAL as an Escrow- who will release the money - by swift -it will reach Reserver bank in chennai , or Mumabi etc, will come to your banks specified branch , who will intimate you. Now they will ask for a customs copy of export. This will be given / certified by the customs only after 20 to 30 days after sailng of the ship. If you show them they will pay you.Export or import is very very complicated are so many people , govt , policies are involved, also it is prone for fraud also. Evey day 20 to 30 thousand containers leave chennai , so much comes also. Customs job is also very tuff, if they are too hoonest they could be killed also or they coluld be implicated in a scandel - some ONE WILL SEND A PARCEL WITH money in side , wait till you open , when you do anticorruption will catch you.I hve been in this for 18 years, even exprted to Pakistan. Life is tuff& in the world arena -competition is very tuff, vijayakumar`
What is the meaning of "surrender" in a bill of lading, and does a "surrender" limit to a straight bill of lading?
Bill of Lading is a formal document. It is a proof the Shipping company is handling your cargo and it caries weight and responsability.To receive the goods at the other end recepient has to present the original document. This presentation to the Shipping line is regarded as “Surrender “ because it’s so important and it proves who receives the goods. Making sure no Joeblog can come and take a cargo he has nothing to do with.
What is bill of lading?
A Bill of Lading (B/L or BoL) document is an extremely important document involved in the shipping and logistics industry. A Bill of Lading is a document that is issued by the Carrier of goods to the “Shipper” of the goods. It’s a document to previdence or proof of shipment. This is extremely important in International Trade as it provides ‘title• as to who legally owns the cargo. The Bill of Lading acts as evidence of Contract of Carriage, receipt of goods and document of Title to the goods. The owner of the cargo (the holder of the Bill of Lading) has the legal rights to claim the goods or arrange transfer ownership of the cargo to another party in the supply chain.Useful information on how the Bill of Lading is actually used…The Bill of Lading is important in International Trade when it comes to the IncoTerms that the goods are sold on and the payment terms agreed between buyer and seller. In alot of cases, buyers and sellers will agree to pay a deposit to the supplier then arrange the balance payment ‘upon receipt of Bill of Lading’. This means that when the goods have been shipped and the shipper receives the Bill of Lading from the carrier (shipping line), the shipper will use this document as security and will only email a ‘copy• of the Bill of Lading to the buyer to prove that the goods have been shipped and to request the balance payment. The shipper will hold title to the original Bill of Lading (originals) and therefore legally retain ownership of the cargo. The shipper will use this as security to ensure that they receive the balance payment for the goods. Bill of Ladings are also used when shippers and consignees arrange Letter’s of Credit (L/Cs) with both party's banks. Letters of Credit are contracts written between the shipper’s bank and the consignee’s bank that will guarantee payment of goods ‘upon Bill of Lading’.Once the buyer has made the balance payment the shipper will ‘surrender• the Bill of Lading and tell the shipping company to issue an ‘Express Release• or 'Telex Release' Bill of Lading. This Express Release Bill of Lading will allow the title of goods to be transferred to the buyer without the buyer having to actually receive the original Bill of Lading documents in the mail. The buyer will use this Express Release Bill of Lading to arrange customs clearance and release of their cargo at the port of destination.Read this article to understand:The difference between Freight Collect and Freight Pre-PaidInformation that is included on a Bill of LadingAn example Bill of Lading
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