Saturday, November 24, 2012

A tribute to dark knight trilogy

The dark knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan is considered to be one of the best movie series ever made. It changed the way super human movies are made. Instead of concentrating on the power of the super heroes the movies started focusing more on their vulnerabilities, which gave a totally new dimension to these genres of movies. Sam Mendes director of  the latest edition of James Bond movie Skyfall talked about the influence of dark knight series in his movie. Though a failure still it shows the effect Nolan movie had on other directors. Failure in the sense that Sky fall was more of mimicry of dark knight rather than an inspired art work. Remember the villain who plans and gets himself captured and hero’s emotional attachment to characters surrounding him. I seriously could not understand why Roger Ebert gave 4 rating to this mockery stuff while giving only 3 to The dark knight rises, which I felt was a completely original work.
            Now coming back to our topic of Nolan’s dark knight series, I would like share some of the interesting things which come to my mind when I remember those movies.

            Most common element in all the three movies is the treatment of fear. The first movie almost entirely revolves around fear- Bruce Wayne’s fight to overcome fear, villain scarecrow with fear as the weapon and so on. When we reach the last movie it all reverses now Wayne has to find his fear back to help him to find a way out of deep well. Like the blind prisoner in the movie says “How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death.” In the second movie there is no direct reference to fear as such. But the villain Joker always plays with the fear of people throughout the movie to execute his plans.

Games theory
            The dark knight uses the concepts of games theory throughout joker’s plan of action. Game theory is basically a mathematical tool designed to help in strategic decision making. Usually in situations involving complex decision making where outcome depends on the actions of all participants you can make use of this tool to help you. The classical example would involve two prisoners interrogated separately. They have two option either to confess or not. Accordingly four output is possible if both of them does not confess they will be set free. If either one of them confess other one will get 5 years in prison and  other one will be set free. But if both of them confess then both will get 2 years in prison. Above situation can be shown in the 2x2 matrix below:-

If both does not confess both will be set free
If Prisoner 1 confess then prisoner 2 does not confess then prisoner 1 becomes free and prisoner 2 gets 10 years

If Prisoner 2 confess then prisoner 1 does not confess then prisoner 2 becomes free and prisoner 1 gets 10 years

If both  confess the both will get 2 years each

The best solution for them will be to do not confess and then both will be set free. But since there is a fear of confession of other, both will confess and arrive at a suboptimal solution of two years.
            In the movie Joker’s all moves be it the climax when he gives detonators to explode each other’s boat to people in the other boat or any other we can see that he is playing games with others forcing them to take decisions he wants. I believe that Nolan brothers derived the idea from this economic concept and used it in the movie.

The climax:- The way villains are removed from the movies
            In all the three movies villains are suddenly removed from the movie. Scarecrow, joker and Bane three super villains disappear from the movie suddenly after a scene and no information thereafter. May be to show that with comic book villains there is always a chance of come back.

Nolan’s improvement in shooting fight sequence
            Over the movies we can see a great improvement in Nolan’s directorial skills. In batman begins the fight sequence involving the bat-mobile jumping of the roofs and all were not that great. After the bat mobile lifts from one place it suddenly cuts off to the other scene of landing. It was more like using the editing techniques as a cover up. But in latter movies you can see Nolan showing a great improvement in the way he handled complicated fight sequences.

Reference to populist movement in The dark knight rises
            The recession and the many events following it have resulted in a widespread criticism of corporate world and their mishandling of economy. There is a general feeling that 1% of people control the majority wealth of the world leaving little to others. This issue is the central theme of the 3rd installment of Nolan’s trilogy. The most interesting part is that Nolan has done this without taking sides, because he criticizes Bruce Wayne and other wealthy people for not being handling their wealth in a proper way. At the same time he is not supporting the violent and outlaw methods of Bane and his group.

            Overall the series has been a great watch with memorable characters and quotes. Like I said before Nolan’s ability to adapt the real world to a fantasy level has played a major part in the success of the series. But now everyone is trying to imitate Nolan, which I feel is not great news as a viewer. I would like to taste different styles rather than same mode of storytelling.                                                                     

Thursday, November 15, 2012

London Olympics and Keynesian economics

The UK economy, which was in a longest double-dip recession after Second World War, has shown clear signs of recovery in this quarter riding on the success of London Olympics. The economy which witnessed a contraction of 0.4% in the previous quarter showed a growth rate of 1%  in the current quarter.

The ticket sales of the London Olympics, which contributed to 0.2%  of economic growth, helped UK to recover from the depression. ONS(office of national statistics, UK) also pointed out that the London Olympics had boosted creative arts and entertainment, food and drink business and transport industry.Along with Olympics effect, the bounce back effect and the extended holidays that came from 60th anniversary of the Queen succession to throne also contributed to the GDP growth.

The Keynesian economic principles says that in short run if you want to bring an economy out of recession, you have to to shift the Aggregate Demand(AD) curve of (Labour-receipts curve) upwards because Aggregate supply(AS) curve is difficult change in the the short run. AD curve is more related with psychology of entrepreneurs participating in the economic activity.The AS curve which is more related to the technology, cannot be shifted in short run.

So coming to our context, the increased spending due to public holidays by individuals and Government due to Olympics and extended holidays have helped UK entrepreneurs regain their confidence and helped in healing wounded economy. 

Morale of the story:-
 In the time of difficulty everyone tends to become a bit conservative and reduce their spending. It is applicable to both Governments and individuals. In recession struck Europe this debate is going on how to bring out economy from recession. The control in spending may not be sufficient enough measure. You need more practical methods to instil confidence in entrepreneurs to get required push for the economy.

Attitude, personality and behaviour

Defining attitude personality and behavior is a bit tricky because all have slightly overlapping areas. So through this blog I am trying to define the above three terms based on my knowledge and assumptions.....

            It is something that is internal to an individual. How an individual view his surroundings situations etc. It arises from our belief about the way things are. Best example of attitude is job satisfaction. Due to various factors like salary, co-workers and other external factors different individuals may have varying levels of satisfaction in their job. If we have positive feeling about our job we will work more hard and better for the company.

            It is how we respond to our environment including different situations and other individuals. It is the external response of individuals which may or may not follow from our attitude. Sometimes even if we have negative feelings about our superiors we will be forced to behave in a positive way. But if our attitude will result in a positive output then our behavior will follow attitude.

            An individual’s personality evolves from various factors like heredity, environment in which he grows up and interacts with etc. It is unique for individuals like his fingerprint. Some factors like our external appearance are inherited from our parents. But that alone does not make our personality. External factors like our friends, relatives, environment plays a major role in shaping our personality.

            Our ability to influence other people will be directly related to our personality. Many highly influential leaders in the history have got a very good personality. Unlike our attitude and behavior it may be more related to how others view us as an individual.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Social networking sites

Social networking sites have changed the world we live in. ‘Is it a  better world?’ -its a debatable topic.
            Social networking sites have brought many advantages to us. I had a fourth standard friend with whom I dint had any contact for past 7-8 years but one day I suddenly got him from facebook. That’s a great feature of social networking sites. We all will have friends with whom we lost contact or someone we met during a journey with whom we want to meet again. This social networking sites provides a great platform for us to meet and share friendship. And it is cheap mode of communication. We can have a two three hour chat with someone in Europe at almost zero cost. It is like we are being part of a person living miles away from us. I am a 2011 passout. It is almost one year since I have graduated. But when I log into facebook I am getting a feeling of college, like I am still there. Everyone says college life is the best part in one’s life. So if we  are able to extend the college life that is amazing.
            While talking about social networking site we cannot neglect the negative impact it is having on productivity. People are logging into these sites from work locations, which will reduce their concentration in work and can cost a great sum of money for company and nation. That is not a healthy situation. Also there is something like social networking addiction these days. Some of users are unable to spend a day without using social networking sites. I remember a short film about social networking addiction. It was like this A man met with an accident and first thing he did was changing his status in the net. That is a funny incident in movie but it actually is a dangerous addiction as liquor or smoking.
            Possibilities of the freedom of expression given by social networking sites are some times used against the rights of others. Like morphed images, hate messages and all. Freedom of expression of one guy should not hurt others.
            If we can control the negative impacts of social networking sites then we can definitely say that it is a great gift to human kind.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A decision which changed the history

In initial phase of car manufacturing industry same person used to do many works in the process of assembling a car. This was inefficient and time consuming. Henry Ford implemented the concept of specialization in car manufacturing. That is each person will do one specific job. So they will be extremely good at it, resulting in high efficiency. He also introduced time limit for each task, so that every task should be completed in an allotted maximum time.
            He also introduced the concept of assembly belt arrangement. The vehicle parts will move along the belt and have specific assigned time for crossing each assigned points. Along the way each individual workers are allotted specific positions with specific task. Since the belt is moving everyone has to finish the job before each part crossing the point.
            The major advantage was that efficiency of the plant increased considerably resulting in high level of outputs. So accordingly the production cost of the cars came down and Ford was able to sell cars at much lower prices compared to other car manufacturers. Previously cars were only for rich people. But Ford’s experiment helped to introduce budget cars which were affordable even by common people. The sales and profit of Ford company went up considerably after the change in manufacturing system.
            There was a negative side also for this system. The pressure on the workers was high compared to initial system, so many left the company. But with growing sales Ford was able to counter this trend by increasing wages to a level which no other companies could offer. So workers became happy and company continued to grow.
            The visionary leadership by Henry Ford helped the Ford company to become one of the large companies of world at that time. His decision to change the production system entirely helped not only Ford, but entire industry and even common people benefited from it. So this decision can be considered as a path breaking one in the business history.