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Are Protests Effective Anymore?

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“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Protests have been an integral part of democracies across the world. Protests are one of the most effective means of displaying dissent towards authority. Today’s blog will discuss the essential aspects of protest, how a protest gets initiated, its driving factors, what makes it successful and what leads to its failure, and famous examples of successful and failed protests in India and worldwide.

How does a protest start?

Protests find their fertile ground in the geographies where political dissidence plagues the society, dissonance between rulers and ruled increases, and people do not trust the country’s institutions. In the first kind, mild dissent will get sensed in the environment where people would look normal and happy with the government, but their disagreement will be seen on social media platforms. The rights promised to them are either not given to them properly or are violated at the top level. In the second type, people come out in the open and gather at a particular place with banners, posters, and pamphlets in their hands and raise slogans against the subject that they are opposing. These gatherings may be small to mid-size, generally get ignored on prominent media platforms although covered at the local level, do not generally affect people’s daily lives in and around the country, and most importantly, have a meager success ratio. When the topic of dissent is severe, the situation can turn grave in a short period. These third types of protests attract large gatherings that occur at different places across the country and sometimes worldwide. They get featured in almost every media outlet, have a high chance of getting violent, and have a more excellent success ratio due to their sheer size. The last and fourth types of protests are enormous, have extreme aims, are often violent, and attract foreign influence. These are mainly directed at those in power and often lead the country into severe change. These changes can be good, but they can also be fatal to the country. Regimes get changed, protests turn into a civil war which overwhelms the country, generations get fatigued, and most importantly, the cost of the protest gets so high that achievement gets blurred in the process.

What are the driving factors behind protests?

According to Dr. Nicole (Fisher) Roberts, Executive Director of Feed A Billion, the following are driving factors behind protests:

  • Lack of Trust in Government or Authority: When political parties come into power making vast promises of improving the condition of people but fail to deliver, people start questioning. These dissents turn into protests, and eventually, many people gather who do not have faith in the government.
  • Shared Grievances: People suffering from the same systematic problems come together to unify their voices. These united voices give a strong message to the world about their sufferings and the solution they want. E.g., the participation of every community in India’s independence movement.
  • Shared Intensity: When emotions run high, people make decisions that they will not under normal circumstances; they can be good or bad. Unfortunately, in many situations that involve groups of people, anger and frustration can build upon each other until the collective rage spills over—E.g.reactions of fans during the India – Pakistan match.
  • Geographic Proximity: The place where one lives reflects one’s response to the protests. When an individual is witnessing the protests taking place in his/her area, compared to those watching it on television or listening about it on the radio, he/she will have a different standpoint towards that protest. It molds him into a completely different personality. It is also a matter of volume. e.g., it is much more common to see protests in urban areas than rural ones.
  • Anonymity: Group behavior and its dynamics are driven in various ways by the ability to be known. In some instances, people want their names and faces associated with what they believe. However, in many situations, due to fear of persecution, prosecution, or retaliation, people will not act individually. Hence they want to voice their opinion along with a recognized group to avoid risk.
  • Efficiency: When doing something alone, it can feel like a waste of time and resources. Nevertheless, when a group of people come together and voice their opinions in the same direction, it has a more significant impact. The more people are protesting, the greater the efficiency. Furthermore, this efficiency leads to activation – sometimes called a “contagion effect.”
  • Survival Triggers: Adrenaline hormones lead to the fight or flight response. Also, our human tendency tells us that we must do something; otherwise, we are over. We tend to find ways to come out of it. We, as humans, go into survival mode and do all the necessary things that are needed.

According to Shom Mazumder, a social scientist, and fellow at Data for progress, there are mainly four ways to evaluate a protest:

  1. Did it raise awareness?
  2. Did public opinion change?
  3. Were these institutional changes a result?
  4. Were there electoral consequences, either intended or unintended?

What makes protests successful?

A protest to become successful requires certain ingredients that make a perfect recipe to succeed when mixed perfectly. According to experts, the best way of protesting is nonviolent protests where nobody is harmed, and still many people are attracted to it. In their article “Why Civil Resistance Works,” Chenoweth and Stephan argue that successful nonviolent resistance ushers in more stable and internally peaceful democracies, which are less likely to regress into civil war. Presenting a rich, evidentiary argument, they originally and systematically compare violent and nonviolent outcomes in different historical periods and geographical contexts, demystifying the myth that violence occurs because of structural and environmental factors and is necessary to achieve specific political goals. Instead, the authors discover, violent insurgency is rarely justifiable on strategic grounds. Erica Chenoweth also noted that every campaign that got active participation from at least 3.5 percent of the population succeeded, and many succeeded with even less.

When a group of focused leaders leads a protest, is undivided into different factions, does not get hijacked by opposing powers, and is primarily nonviolent, it has a very high chance of success.

What leads to the failure of protests?

Inactive participation of people, the selfishness of leaders who keep self-interests above people’s interests, lack of leadership, propaganda of opposition overpowering the protest, and many other reasons can lead to failure. Let us take an example of a movement that gained substantial public support initially but vanished into thin air, “Occupy Wall Street.” This movement was started by a group of people who believed that the difference between the quality of life of poor and rich people is vast, and one percent exploits the rest of ninety-nine percent for their luxury. However, after months of protests, it failed to sustain itself. Experts point out a few reasons why this protest, which created a considerable sensation, was unsuccessful. The number one reason that it failed was because of a lack of leadership. This protest was a kind of mob protest organized by unorganized people who were frustrated in their life and blamed their misery on other people thus were not clear what they were doing in the protest. The second reason experts point out is that this protest could not give a clear message, or we can say the message they conveyed was wrongly interpreted in the media and public opinion. This protest was meant to maintain class equality in society but got conveyed as they wanted to remove certain people from society, which many did not see on good terms. The third reason was the name itself, “Occupy” was historically used to signify the unjust occupation of people by another group of people. Furthermore, this made people skeptical that this protest is not going in the right direction, and hence it lost its public support.

Now we will see some movements across the world throughout history and will try to analyze them.

The “Quit India movement,” was organized by Indians from all spheres of life from 1942 until 1947, when India got independence. It was an entirely nonviolent movement that got massive support from every Indian. It made Britishers step down and provide a way for independence to India. It is an example of how a completely nonviolent, publicly supported movement based on truth can overthrow even the most powerful and achieve its aim.

Are Protests Effective Anymore?

The “Civil rights movement,” carried out in the 1950s and 1960s, is also a famous example of a nonviolent movement against racial inequality prevailing in the United States. It resulted in the passage of several federal laws that helped in improving racial issues in the USA.

Are Protests Effective Anymore?

The Arab spring started in the 2010s from Tunisia and spread to almost all the Arab nations. This protest was against dictatorships that ruled nations with an iron fist, and gross human rights violations occurred. Once the Arab spring started, many dictatorships got toppled. Initially, it was successful, but soon it led to wrong leadership, and greed took over. Violence spread and countries went into chaos. Various civil wars, religious extremism, and political vacuum led to the creation of groups fighting for their interests, and people’s interests were long forgotten. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives, and millions got displaced. Many countries are still recovering from the devastating effects of movement, which many experts have described as a failure.

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The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

Reading Time: 7 minutes

It is not just the health of the masses that the coronavirus pandemic has hit, but almost all the aspects of normal life. Businesses, markets etc., are no different and have received a big blow. Profits plummeted, and most companies were pushed to run in losses making some companies bankrupt too. However, there were some businesses, startups that not only managed to stay afloat but thrived in these times of crisis. Innovation being a key to beat the covid blues. There was a myriad of opportunities for new-age startups and investors to tap into, given the rise in demand for a variety of services . A bull market is a term for the stock market when the securities rise, and a bear market is when securities fall for a sustained period. This blog focuses on those Indian based or originated startups, businesses, newly turned unicorns etc., who developed and flourished in this pandemic, when most of the economy was about to hit rock bottom, thus becoming bulls of the bear Indian market.

Healthcare 

Healthcare was an industry that constantly had hopes hooked to it in the pandemic. Doctors, nurses, medical professionals were the need of the hour. From the business point of view, pharmaceutical companies, telemedicine, online medical consultations etc., had profits jumping many folds. The startups that prospered in the healthcare sector were:-

    • Serum Institute of India:- With net sales of INR 5,446 crores amidst the COVID-18, Serum earned a net profit of INR 2,251 crore. Or a net margin of 41.3%. Serum Institute of India the vaccine manufacturer that has become pivotal to India’s recovery from this pandemic.
    • Practo:- Practo reported a 500% spike in online medical consultation under lockdown.
    • PharmEasy:- E-pharmacy is the most important e-commerce sector in this ongoing pandemic. Due to home confinement, people are finding it very inconvenient to get their prescriptions and over the counter (OTC) medicines, so instead, they switched to telemedicine like PharmEasy, Netmeds etc.
    •  Bioline:- Based in Indore, Bioline India was founded by Neeta Goel and her late husband Rajeev Goel in 2001 to manufacture and supply affordable medical equipment to the masses. During COVID-19, the demand skyrocketed for this once slow-moving product.
    • Zyro care:- Kamayani Naresh, a retired Indian Navy officer, claims to have developed a long and sustainable solution to boost immunity — zyropathy. A Delhi-based company that provides food and herbal supplements.The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

       

Education

With schools shut down all across the globe, the education sector underwent quite a revolutionary state. The education system required expeditious reforms to avoid the education of thousands of students coming to a standstill. EdTech startups saw a boom in their market. Online classrooms and courses came to students’ rescue. The businesses that burgeoned in the education sector were.The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

    • Unacademy:- Unacademy beat the pandemic to enter the prestigious list of unicorns in India. The EdTech firm raised around Rs 1,125 crore in a funding round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 and participation from existing investors, including Facebook.
    • Byju’s:- Byju’s is one of the top e-learning startups of India, which is surpassing all its competitors and has become one of the few decacorns in Indian startup history after crossing $10.5 Billion valuations in the midst of this pandemic.
    • Gradeazy in Surat:- After their first startup had a false start in 2018, Surat-based Dishant Gandhi and Alok Kumar found a new opportunity to satiate their hunger for entrepreneurship with EdTech when the lockdown started, and all the schools and education moved online. The duo launched Gradeazy in June 2020 to enable educational institutes to conduct online examinations for just Re 1 per exam.

Media and Entertainment

With the freedom to go out and carry our daily routines being curbed, it was evident that people were going to turn to TVs and other platforms to while away the extra time in hand. The media and entertainment industry in India put up a great show in 2020.The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

    • Dailyhunt:- News and content aggregator Dailyhunt has become India’s first tech unicorn focused on vernacular content after raising $100 Mn funding from Google, Microsoft and Falcon Edge’s Alpha Wave Incubation at a unicorn valuation.  
    • Khabri:- In one of the newest startups, which was launched in October 2017, Khabri is India’s first and the fastest growing digital audio platform. Khabri provides audio content in regional languages where anyone can create, listen or discover in the app. As a great initiative, Khabri has introduced the COVID-19 helpline for the visually impaired population of India as a massive outreach program.
    • According to Inc42 Plus, the media and entertainment sector received a total funding of $877.8 Mn across 85 funding deals last year, compared to $561.27 Mn in 2019, led by online video startups like SimSim, Trell and other TikTok alternatives.
    • NeeStream:- A popular OTT platform in South India. With several new films being released on the platform, NeeStream has been witnessing a rise in subscriber numbers.

Finance and Technology(FinTech)

The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

    • Razorpay:- Bengaluru-based payments gateway Razorpay entered the unicorn club in October 2020 when it raised $100 Mn in its Series D round, led by GIC and Sequoia Capital India. The funding round also saw participation from the company’s existing investors, such as Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, Y Combinator and Matrix Partners. 
    • Pine Labs:- Noida-headquartered Pine Labs became the first unicorn for the year 2020, after its corporate round in January, led by New York-based financial services major Mastercard. Founded in 1998 by Lokvir Kapoor, Pine Labs provided its services to over 100K merchants in 3700 cities and towns across India.
    • Zerodha:- Bengaluru-based Zerodha was founded in 2010 by Nithin and Nikhil Kamath and offers stockbroking services. The company has claimed to have over a million active clients who trade and invest and is now valued at around 7000 crores or 1 billion approx.

E-commerce

A study showed that Indian e-commerce grew 84% in 4 years owing to the Covid-19 impact. When it was not possible to go out shopping, products were brought to individual doorsteps. A giant boom in local, national and international e-commerce startups is a testimonial to it. The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

    • Flipkart:-Flipkart witnessed new user growth of close to 50 per cent soon after the lockdown.
    • Bigbasket:-Bigbasket has had a huge inflow of orders as more and more consumers are preferring to order essentials and groceries online amid COVID-19. Bigbasket has added around 10,000 new workers to meet the massive influx of orders, which shows the shift to digital platforms in need of the millennium.
    • Custkartin Bokaro:-Custkart has its own factory near Bokaro that produces merchandise, and all the workers come from the nearby villages.

Miscellaneous

    •  Nykaa:- Mumbai-based omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa entered the unicorn club after raising around $13.6 Mn from its existing backer Steadview Capital. The funds were raised as part of Nykaa’s Series F funding round. 
    • Cars24:-  Gurugram-based online used car marketplace Cars24 entered the unicorn club by raising $200 Mn in a Series E funding round led by DST Global.
    • Rooter:- One of India’s biggest Sports community platforms, Rooter has raised $1.7 million (~ Rs 12.4 crore) in a pre-series A funding round at a time when almost all sporting activities have been seized across the globe. The Esports platform plans to capitalise on its upcoming Esports and gaming content and communities. Rooter engages its fans with user-generated live audio and video content. 

Gaming

    • Paytm First Games registered a 200% increase in user base.
    • After the ban on the popular Chinese short-video app TikTok under 69A of the IT Act, its alternatives, including Trell, ShareChat, Chingari, Bolo Indya, Mitron, Roposo, Moj and Josh, among others, started gaining massive popularity and traction in the market. 
    • Games like FAU-G, Mask Gun and others emerged as alternatives for many users in India after PUBG Mobile’s ban

Podcasting

    • India is witnessing an unprecedented boom in podcasts, and it is a country with 22 modern Indian languages and around 720 recognized dialects. The linguistic diversity in India is increasing the demand for the information available on various platforms in vernacular languages. With a growth rate of 33 per cent, the vernacular internet ecosystem in the country is thriving.

The pandemic has an impact on economies and businesses throughout the world and will keep doing so for even some time in the future. It is no doubt now that opportunities can be squeezed even from the most diabolical of times. The pandemic has proved to be both an edge or stumbling block for establishments and enterprises across the globe. 2020 was a year of crisis, and crisis is where innovation thrives. 

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Be the bear!!

Synchrophasor Measurements

Reading Time: 15 minutes

  In electrical engineering, we almost always overthink “Blackouts”!!!

BLACKOUTS: Facing The Outrageous

Bear with us for the little Background story.

In the summers of 2019, CEV Aantarak began studying Blackouts, namely the Indian Blackout of 2012 and the Ukrainian Blackout of 2015. That time we didn’t get too much of technical details, rather just getting the things on periphery of the event, by studying the reports of CEA, POSOCO and other concerned authority, until one of team member Anshuman Singh secured a research intern at IITKGP to study the exact phenomenon which triggered that largest blackout of the history, the 2012’s. Sir carried out his preliminary works and finally got to put up his great work in the blog Fault Analysis in Power Systems. The approach which he and his colleagues used to solve the problem was indeed a decent one, however, due to the inherent glitches in that particular protection philosophy itself, it didn’t fix the problem completely. And finally, now in 2021, we moved one more step ahead by studying the technology which addresses that old doomed problem, “zone 3 maloperation of distance relay due to load encroachment”, and more importantly “the drawbacks of conventional SCADA system”.

Recap: What was Zone 3 Maloperation of Distance Relay?

When any kind of fault occurs in any component of power system, what basically happens is that a high potential point gets connected to a low potential point (typically ground) via a very small resistance path, leading to flow of dangerously high current by virtue of Ohm’s Law, and thereby dissipating great thermal energy as indicated by joules law, or i^2r.

All components, especially high voltage systems must be protected against this possibility. Transmission lines obviously subjected to the external environment are most prone to faults.

Relaying is what technically called arrangement to protect against the destructive effects of faults. Based on economy and other factors like accuracy and fastness various types of relaying schemes are employed.

Recall the consequences of fault:

  1. Large current
  2. Small impedance (resistance)

Based on these two criteria we have an overcurrent relaying scheme and distance relay scheme respectively. So, when the current goes beyond a certain threshold or when the impedance goes below a certain threshold, the scheme correspondingly generates (or issues) a trip command to Circuit breakers to open up and isolate the faulted point from the healthy system.

For strategically significant lines distance relay is technically superior to overcurrent relay.

A distance relays works by categorizing its area of operation into three zones. This is done in order to provide backup protection by introducing increasing time delays for successive zones.

However, distance relay also has its own limitation.

The most prominent of them is its maloperation under heavy load conditions.

The relay misidentifies the fault when the line is heavily loaded and as Anshuman explained losing a line when it is heavily loaded is seriously fatal. (Hint: leads to cascaded tripping). In simple language distance relay works on the principle of sensing the impedance and operating when impedance falls below a threshold. Increasing loading is also manifested as decreasing impedance of system (Analogy: smaller is the value of resistance more is power dissipation for a given voltage level), thus causing the relay to trip the CBs.

This is a zone 3 maloperation of distance relay due to load encroachment.

Anshuman’s Solution in Short and problem with solution

The distance relay, unfortunately, is not blessed by his masters, i.e., the EEs, with the intelligence to distinguish the fall of impedance due to increased loading or due to a genuine fault. The relay is more like a Pharmacist who gives paracetamol to anyone having a fever.

Anshuman and his team demonstrated a procedure, which though is certainly a viable economical method to avert an impending blackout however is not so all-in-one fix and consumer-friendly.

Fault Analysis and related Technical problems in Power System

It is basically directly addressing the cause which is causing a drop in impedance, i.e., the increasing active power consumption. So, the idea is to drop some quantum of the load off the grid to stop the impedance from further dropping.

This leads to an implementation question.

There are hundreds if not thousands of buses connected to a transmission line end. So, the load shedding at which bus shall be performed, in order to achieve a certain increment in impedance for a minimum amount of load shedding and also the considering the fact that we don’t push the buses into voltage instability.

However, the issue that remains unresolved by this approach is quite obvious.

The mathematical answers that we get from the algorithms may not be practically feasible. That is this approach does offer the method to distinguish between the VQ sensitivity of buses but doesn’t take into account the criticality of buses i.e., a hospital is connected or a night irrigation facility.  

Apart from this Zone 3 Maloperation problem, we have another setback that significantly threatens the security of the power system in general, called the conventional SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems), which quite contritely is deployed to provide control over the large grid operations.

The Inherent Problems of conventional SCADA systems

  1. No measurement of voltages and current phase angles: This problem can be understood better in terms of another question.

What is the phase of this signal?

Synchrophasor Measurements

A trash question, phase is a relative quantity and thus, we need to define a reference first.

Undoubtedly the measurement of angles of voltage and current phasor in power system which rotates at a rate close to 50 Hz or 314.6 rad/sec, requires a reference. Considering, the vastness of the landscape over which PS is spread it becomes a technically challenging task to provide the same reference to all the locations. This makes the unavailability of the angular separation between bus voltages and limits the ability of operator to get the true nerves of the system (i.e., the transient stability).

  1. Time skew between measurements: RMS Voltage measurements made using SCADA even have no common time reference, hence one has no means to differentiate whether data coming are made at same instant or not.
  2. Low update time i.e., large scan cycle time: with the methodology it takes around few seconds to few minutes to get new values of variables, so the operator lags the systems by about a few seconds or few minutes, hence no real-time system awareness. It is exactly like a MARS mission, where you get to know about the touch-down 12 minutes later, as light travel at finite speed and delay generated by the communication equipment, only difference is power system engineers have much more wide options to trigger some preventive measures to avert a catastrophe if they get system parameters on time.
  3. Stringent requirement on Control Center computational capabilities: since the data streaming has so many uncertainties, to extract the useful data and figure out the true condition of the power system puts a challenging task to computers. All these problems are more severe and serious than they sound. The North American blackout of 2001 and the European blackout of 2003 were results of the foggy image that the SCADA presented to the control center. The investigative task force committees independently recommended the use of Synchrophasor technology in real-time monitoring of the system, which back then was only used in small numbers to store data and conduct post-event analysis.

The Synchrophasor Technology

The inability to do phase angle measurement as well as time skew and slower update rate of Voltage measurements were prime setbacks of the SCADA system.

Synchrophasor technology comes to address those problems. This method of measurement is significantly advance than the conventional SCADA system. The Synchrophasor measurements provide following services:

  1. Measurement of RMS bus voltages and current along with phase angle wrt to a common reference signal shared by the whole power system.
  2. No time skew: all measurements voltage magnitude, phase angles, frequency are also time-synchronized and are even time stamped
  3. High-speed update rate: from 25 samples to 50 samples per second depending on PMU devices: all these lead to give operators the wide-area situational awareness in real-time, and enables them to take much better decision to shred load or generation, trip a CB, direct the line flow, add C-banks, etc.
  4. Accurate measurements thus significantly lower computational requirements for state estimators.

The Idea of Phase Angle Measurement: Using the GPS signals

We saw the need for a common reference signal as inevitable for phase angle measurement.

Synchrophasor Measurements

This system however depends quite heavily on two things:

  1. Accuracy of common reference i.e., the GPS clock
  2. Communication systems reliability

The GPS provides one pulse per second at all the locations spread over the entire peninsula. The pulse received simultaneously by all the measurement units triggers them to begin their measurement, wrt to an imaginary zero phase sine wave reference.

So, a GPS receiver is required.

These measurements to be made successfully require stringent requirements on the waveform to be measured itself. A waveform having harmonics will lead to significant errors.

So filtering is required.

Also, the kind of mathematical operations required to be made on signal requires it to be in represented in digital equivalent.

So, analog to digital converter is required.

Fourier transform can now be carried out on digital samples, using a commonly available economical microprocessor, to yield the magnitude and what we can say absolute phase angle.

So, a microprocessor is required.

The data contained in a GPS has incredible amount of other useful data, including the time and date, location coordinates, etc., which can now also be stamped with the power systems measurement to be sent to the control center.

So, a secure, reliable, and fast communication terminal is required.

The PMUs: Device that executes the idea of phasor measurements

The Basic Schematics:

Synchrophasor Measurements

Components blocks:

We have extensively described and executed 1st stage conversion on how to obtain 5 V peak sine wave from 230 V mains supply in many previous accounts.

A Power Module

In power systems where voltage levels are of the order of hundreds of kV and current in kA, the potential and current transformers are used to step down these values.

Synchrophasor Measurements

  1. Filtering:

It is said that in analog engineering 90% of the stuff is just filtering, 9% amplification and the rest 1% is other nuts and bolts. That gives quite a clear-cut indication of fact that how much essential filtering is. Filtering is our first defense against errors.

Errors in various kinds of signal are generally indented by their characteristic frequency finger-prints. For general power systems the signals of interest i.e., the voltage and the current signal meander in a narrow range band of 49.5 to 50 Hz. So, a low pass filter is appropriate to stop most of the measurement noise, in the signal. Practically a filter is implemented by active and passive components.

  1. A/D Converter and the GPS:

Here at ADC the core PMU function is operated. The key difference between the SCADA and the PMU system is the availability of common time reference at all the terminals. So, all the ADC, every time, begin their measurement at the same instant and thus the information required to find the relative phase displacement between that signal is captured.

Synchrophasor Measurements

  1. DFT:

Once we have got a faithful digitized replica signal of analog version of voltages and currents, we enter a comfort zone, by the virtue of powers offered by a modern computing platform like a microcontroller. Instead of building physical circuits using passive components, we simply write down our mathematical tricks in a precise language (Programming Language as they call it) and print it on uC and we are done.

Here in MATLAB, we are rescued by already available setups to perform DFT. We have both Simulink block as well as in-built function.

FFT function description:

The “fft” MATLAB’s inbuilt function that generates an output vector [1*n] consisting of complex data points for an input of discrete time-domain signal having n samples.

Equivalently it generates n number of what is defined as bins, each having a corresponding magnitude and the phase angle value. This is essentially frequency domain representation of the input signal, as each bin corresponds to some corresponding frequency, depending on sample frequency and length of signal.

Now the magnitude and phase angle of a particular bin related to actual magnitude and phase angle of corresponding frequency in a defined way as follows:

Synchrophasor Measurementswhere x[n] is magnitude of bin number n.Synchrophasor MeasurementsThe point to be noted here is we were working in Simulink till now but to apply FFT we typically wrote a script in m-file.  This one of the greatest advantages of the MATLAB platform. All of the stuff we do in the simulation is to be implemented practically, so each component has a corresponding hardware counterpart. For CT, PT electrical systems made of copper and iron (loosely speaking), ADC, and GPS receiver are implemented by dedicated integrated circuits, and for signal processing and data visualization, we use microcontrollers, which are operated by the brunt codes. The former is executed in Simulink and later is exactly mimicked by m-file very conveniently.

The block used to import data is “To workspace”.Synchrophasor Measurements

Windowing and Zero padding: When we take samples of voltage and current waveforms using ADC and if the no of waves captured is not integral in number, then we get what is called as spread of frequency spectrum, which can be seen in terms of side lobes around the central lobe. This leads to the decreased measured magnitude of the fundamental, i.e., error in measurement. We can manage to get integral no. of cycles of measurement by essentially fixing the time for which ADC collects sample of a 50 Hz sinusoidal waveform, however, in the practical world, the frequency never settles at 50 Hz and tend to meander around 50 Hz (in range of 49.5- 50.5 Hz) as a result of disbalance in instantaneous real power generation and consumption. This in turn causes a non-integral no of waves to be captured. To deal with this, a typical hannowing window is applied to the ADC digital output signal to compensate for the trailing edges of the signal.

Synchrophasor Measurements

%% PERFORMING FFT on Bus 1
% Sample frequency
fs= 20000;
%Storing phase V of bus 1
b1vR= out.b1vR;
% Pre-signal Conditioning
%to improve the fft accuracy for non-integral waves
v1r= b1vR';
v1r = v1r.*hanning(length(v1r))';
V1R = [v1r zeros (1, 10000)];
% Performing FFT
V1R = fft(V1R);
% Obtaining the magnitude and phase values for Bus 1
V1R_mag = abs(V1R);
V1R_phase = angle(V1R);

Synchrophasor Measurements

Notice the absence of any side lobes in the pre-conditioned signal.

  1. Sequence Analyzer:

What we have after FFT is magnitude and phase information of each phase at each bus. When unsymmetrical faults occur in system, we get unsymmetrical phase voltage magnitude readings as unsymmetrical faults lead to unsymmetrical currents and hence unsymmetrical voltage drops in generator and transformer windings and thus unbalanced voltage at the buses. This data cannot be used to effectively to interpret the system, leave aside the detection of fault and tripping correct circuit breakers. CL Fortescue is his ground-breaking mathematical work showed us an effective way to deal with unsymmetrical systems. The unsymmetrical components can be resolved into three sets of balanced components. Based on those components the faults can be identified by their characteristic resolutions.

%% Sequence Analyzer for BUS 1
%Define alpha and alpha squared
a = -0.5 + 0.866*i;
b= a*a;
%Define sample frequency and max bin number
N = length(V1R);
fs = 100000;
z= 2/N;
bin_max = 10;
%Phase Voltage vector representation
vrb_1 = 0.37792*z*V1R_mag(bin_max) *(cos (V1R_phase(bin_max)) + i*sin (V1R_phase(bin_max)));
vyb_1 = 0.37792*z*V1R_mag(bin_max) *(cos (V1Y_phase(bin_max)) + i*sin (V1Y_phase(bin_max)));
vbb_1 = 0.37792*z*V1R_mag(bin_max) *(cos (V1B_phase(bin_max)) + i*sin (V1B_phase(bin_max)));
%Sequence analyzer
v1_pos = 0.3333*(vrb_1 + b*vyb_1 + a*vbb_1);
v1_neg = 0.3333*(vrb_1 + a*vyb_1 + b*vbb_1);
v1_zero = 0.3333*(vrb_1 + vyb_1 + vbb_1);
  1. Data visualization:
%Bus 1 Voltage plotting
bin_vals = [0: N-1];
fax_Hz = bin_vals*fs/N;
N_2 = ceil(N/100);
subplot (4, 2, 1)
A = 0.37792*z*V1R_mag;
plot (fax_Hz (1: N_2), A (1: N_2))
xlabel ('Frequency (Hz)')
ylabel ('RMS in kV');
title ('Bus 1 Phase Voltage - R Phase');

Apart from visualization of waveforms in time and frequency domain, we built a GUI to help see and comprehend the RMS magnitude, phase angle information, frequency and Circuit breakers status is more easy and convenient way. The app designer application of MatLab is used to build the GUI in graphical mode and then automatically generate its m-file to be embedded within the main code.

How it solves Zone 3 Maloperation?

Distance Relay works on the principle of impedance measurement. For a measured value of impedance less than the set value the relay issues a trip command. For zone 3 the relay maloperate as the measured impedance reduces below a threshold value either due to fault or even in cases for overloading (fanatically called load encroachment). Ideally, the distance relay shall operate for the first case but not for the second case. However, there is no true way to differentiate between the two, unfortunately, we had to go for load shedding, which just tends to avoid the locus of the impedance seen by relay to entering from zone 3.

Notice that the zone 3 protection is backup protection, thus operates with a time delay of 1 second. Now, this backup protection responsibility can be given to PMUs. Since there will always be a communication delay which is of the order of few milliseconds, so it cannot replace the instantaneous primary protection provided by distance relay. However, by measurement of voltage and phase angle, we can very well distinguish between the fault and overloading, this distinction is strictly not required for primary protection.

The Backup Protection by PMU: A two bus testbed

Synchrophasor Measurements

A simulation of three-phase bolted faulted at the bus 2.

Synchrophasor Measurements

Synchrophasor Measurements

Unbalanced current depending on the instant of fault a particular follows the highest peak. As expected, an increase in the current due to the fault, since the fault is symmetric hence the fault current settles to a balanced set steady state.

Synchrophasor Measurements

Synchrophasor Measurements

The frequency-domain information of current and voltages by PMU shows the presence of frequency other than fundamental, 50Hz. Time-domain representation accurately captures the R-phase fault current and voltage.

Also notice the presence of significant magnitude of negative and zero sequence voltages and currents, giving a reliable indication of the faulted state of the system.

Synchrophasor Measurements     Synchrophasor Measurements

GUI Output:

Synchrophasor Measurements

Conclusion

This blog ventured to prove that the PMU data can be very effectively used to differentiate the faulted condition from a healthy or heavily loaded system. Unlike distance relay protection it provides reliable backup protection which is resilient towards load encroachment. And since PMU data takes few milliseconds due to communication delay it thus cannot be utilized for the primary protection.

Quite evidently all the usual SCADA problems are effectively handled by PMUs. Based on the availability of phase angle data, the angular separation data between the voltages of different buses gives much better visibility of the true state of system.

The applications of synchronized measurements are numerous in number and tremendous in their scope. The conventional ways of doing things like fault analysis, tripping events analysis, state estimation, grid monitoring, black start, etc. which were barely and insufficiently carried out by the SCADA system can be now done easily and accurately using synchronous measurement data. It has to be further noted that, after 30 years since inception, now being in the advanced stage of development PMUs are now being deployed for modern applications like renewable integration, voltage instability problems, highly complex grid monitoring and control.

References

  1. Fault Analysis and related Technical Problems in Power Systems: Anshuman Singh Jhala
  2. Power System Backup Protection in Smart Grid: Ms. SU Karpe and Prof. MN Kalgunde
  3. Synchronized Phasor Measurement and their Application, AG Phadke and JS Thorpe.
  4. Synchrophasor Initiative in India, June 2012, POSOCO-India
  5. Novel Usage of Synchrophasor for system improvement: POSOCO, New Delhi, India

Thank you!

Keep reading, keep learning.

TEAM CEV.

End of Miseries

Reading Time: 6 minutesStraight to the agenda, this aims to record the tragedies of the COVID-19 experience. However, I don’t consider myself to have the honor to do that, because I am still not exactly among those who are affected with such intensities, so this privilege of extreme degree is deeply acknowledged, to say and be listened when even final calls of help of so many others are not being answered or even heard.

To put on the record an account of the phenomenon of which the recorder themselves were part of requires a much mature ability to detach from one’s own perceptions and produce a distortion less clear picture of what happened, rather than what recorder thinks has happened. So, I beg to ask for my severely inadequate literary skills to be compensated by the reader’s ability to understand and separate some of my own emotions, that would have unknowingly oozed, from the facts and thus, in turn, give true meaning to the text which I wish truly to reflect.

Personally, there is an urge to record some of the miseries that have essentially knocked out normalcy from lives in the early 20s of this 21st century, and in the process a desire to develop a thought framework that basically aims to dilute the sufferings.

Many among us felt the feeling of the end of our world, when we lost a close one whom we talked to just a few days back, when we heard the news of entire family torn apart in handful of days, parents losing both of their children and the child losing both of the parents and many such sorts of devastating permutations. Some deaths were swift, even they couldn’t get hold of fact that they were caught by the virus, the fact that they were infected was only revealed when all their closets got tested positive sooner. Some deaths were slow, they waited for their final moments by standing in lines outside hospitals, some souls left hours after hospitals ran out of oxygen. On top of that, death even couldn’t buy rest to the struggle of the body to achieve the unity, because the lifeless bodies now have to wait lying down in lines at crematory before being vaporized into air or buried to ground into the non-existence. Such are the ruthlessness of COVID-19.

Let apart the physical traumas caused by breathlessness to the COVID infected, it is also hard to put in mere English words the mental traumas of those who luckily remained uninfected. All sets of identities starting from doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, crematory workers, NGOs, public helpers, “true” journalists, and lastly, we the commoners are watching all of this, and the sensations of helplessness and incapacity to change or revert the things that pandemic threw at us, makes the days restless and nights sleepless.

The Alien View

We can go on using the words trying to capture in them sorrow that has been wrecked by the fate or whatever. That may relieve some of us from the agony of it but still don’t allow us to feel any kind of peace with happenings.
Now we aren’t here to entertain ourselves with juggle of words, we are here to address our mental health which is at stake if we expose ourselves to such sensitive ongoings. There aren’t too many things to be so sure of in the world, and one of them is our moral obligation to preserve ourselves “individually” and don’t spin to madness by the pain of knowing of such overwhelming sad ends, no matter how insane it gets.

So, let us just explore if there exists some other angle to go about things. One of them, maybe to have an outsider view of the world, and see if that gives some vantage point. This approach is quite popular in academics, to stop seeing every time the concepts from the same point but sometimes breaking the norm, and wonder if there is something else.

If we look at the things from standpoint of an alien watching the human race right from its early beginnings, we will find that we are in no special event but just another event of a type of which has literally littered all over the timeline. It is an inevitable truth that the pandemics, droughts & famines, natural disasters, cosmic disasters, and even wars have erased entire civilizations overnight with maddening ruthlessness.

How can we forget the miseries of the Black Death Era of the 14th century, which erased nearly 200 Million humans over a span of three years? To put into perspective the world death count for COVID-19 is 3.2 Million at the end of two years of outbreak.

How can we forget the flooding of Central China perishing away around 4 million people in 1931?

How can we forget the hauntings of World War 2 when war prisoners were forced to dig their own graves before being shot dead into them and infants were tossed into air for practicing shooting skills? Total deaths estimated at 75 Million.

Not just ruthlessness faced by an entire community but there has been incidence of extreme savageness unleashed on individuals which have shivered our spines to the core.

How can we forget the miseries of Capt. Saurabh Kalia, whose almost every body part from eyes to nails was snatched from him before he martyred?

How can we forget moments of terror for The Racheal Corrie, when she was pressed into 2 dimensions by a heavy bulldozer, in her fight for peace?

Now, these stories were just lucky enough to find a place in our common shared history, and wouldn’t it be exceedingly over-optimistic to think these were that these are the most severe brutality faced by any prisoner of war or activist across the globe.

We began by looking at our own miseries and lastly ended up looking at others, and realized that in contrast to the title of the essay, the human miseries are endless in their magnitude and existence.

All of this, ours or theirs, is however not so meaningless, hopeless, and rude as it seems to be. In a larger timeframe, every human experience of the tragedy of this scale and such intensity ultimately lay the ground for the widening of our collective understanding of human pain and suffering. Our collective conscience and maturity grow as the stories of our common shared history accumulate over time. Only events of this magnitude bring for us those fundamental shifts in our thinking and behaviors not only as individuals but rather as a species. In the light of that wisdom, we understand the preciousness of human lives and the fragility of life in general, not just in terms of humans but as full home Earth.

We then tend to take life, not as too much of a common phenomenon, and see it always at the brink of extinction but only to flourish at the mercy of nature. These instill in us a deep sense of gratitude and invokes the conservationist within us.

This framework allows, at least me, to remained concerned but still not maddened.

But equally considerable is the fact that even in light of the truth that this is what nature has been or ever will be, we as a society need to empathize ourselves and particularly those who are immediate survivors of the deceased. We bear a duty as a society to compensate the sufferers who lost their loved ones just not due to COVID but due to the incompetence of the system to provide medical support (especially beds and oxygen). Maybe setting up new COVID memorial hospitals and honoring them with lifetime free access to healthcare services there (or at discounted rates), and I can feel it this is too much optimistic. Ground truth is that our public machinery (the Ministry of Health) isn’t generating even the death polls, it seems as if they are feared by some “unknown powers“. Indeed, the political leadership at all levels has to be bought under scrutiny, and reconstruction of our public political philosophy is the need of the hour.

In the end, CEV also feels proud to share that recently our current executives have built an online platform “HELPING-HAND”, where users can get leads about any medical requirements (such as oxygen cylinders, beds, ICU & Ventilators, remdesevir, and plasma).

https://helping-hand-covid-19.herokuapp.com

Team CEV

Energy Efficiency in Everyday Life

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It is rightly said that “A  Unit saved is a Unit Produced.”In an era where energy consumption has increased at a tremendous rate, Energy Efficiency has indeed become a serious issue.

The main question is: What is the necessity for this step?  How can we do it?

The essential requirement is to reduce energy consumption and promote the use of sustainable sources of energy. Therefore, the basic step is to choose an appliance with a better energy rating and cheaper energy tariffs.

Proper designing and orientation of houses enable proper ventilation, ensuring temperature moderation and fresh air. Geothermal energy saving is costly but quite efficient in the long run. Traditional ways of designing would be of great benefit.

Usage of double glazed windows and thicker curtains prevents energy transfer, thus maintaining temperature and avoiding sufficient sunlight from entering the house. The application of IoT in everyday appliances and home automation promotes energy saving. Thermal insulation panes retain heat and keep the house cool during summers. Usage of Energy recovery ventilators should be promoted taking air from outside, compressing it, and delivering clean air to the room, thus reducing pollution.

Energy Efficiency in Everyday Life

Rainwater Harvesting should be highly encouraged. Roof water storage is quite beneficial. Proper showerhead designs are necessary to conserve water. Waste recycling methods like vermicomposting should be adopted to increase organic manure production and separate the organic wastes from inorganic wastes, like plastics, which can be segregated into valuable produce.

Energy Efficiency in Everyday Life

Net – Zero Energy Building is a building having zero energy consumed from the electric grid. We can achieve The Net-Zero Energy building in two ways. First, make buildings more efficient in terms of energy, i.e., reducing the building’s energy requirement by 20-30 percent. And Second, by attaining remaining power using renewable sources, prominently solar energy.

Energy Efficiency in Everyday Life

            Weather varies throughout the year, and it is not possible to produce energy daily, specifically in monsoon. In this situation, the building’s total energy consumed in a year should be equal to the total energy produced. When we achieve this state, it is called a Net-Zero Energy building. And when the total energy production by the building exceeds the total energy consumed, this state is called a Net-Positive Energy building.

            Bricks are the most used building materials since their invention. It consists of Silica (SiO₂), Alumina (Al₂O₃), and hematite (𝛂-Fe₂O₃).  Efficient energy storage devices are produced using hematite by electrochemical transformation to FeOOH supercapacitor anodes. Fired brick contains 8% wt of 𝛂-Fe₂O₃, and its 3D porous structure enables for making mechanically robust electrodes using PEDOT.

Energy Efficiency in Everyday Life

 A supercapacitor is stable in ambient conditions undergoing 10,000 charge-discharge cycles with ~100% coulombic efficiency and ~90% capacitance retention. A supercapacitor brick module is produced, reaching a 3.6 V voltage window by connecting three devices in series and lights a white light-emitting diode for up to 11minutes.

Energy storing Bricks can provide emergency lightings to buildings for up to five hours. Its prototype has been prepared and has much more capabilities for future expansion.

Energy Efficiency in Everyday Life

Using natural and renewable sources of energy at your home and workplace is good for the environment. Applying quick energy-saving techniques such as using efficient Energy Star rated appliances, using thicker curtains, insulating roofs and walls, switching from incandescent bulbs to low energy light bulbs like LEDs can significantly impact the overall energy savings and also reduce carbon emissions. Every small change boosts the home value, paving the way for a cleaner and greener world for all of us.

Energy Efficiency in Everyday Life

When it comes to saving energy, installing solar panels to make use of the sun’s energy is quite a good option. Solar PhotoVoltaic (PV) modules can be installed on rooftops that generate clean and renewable energy when exposed to sunlight. It allows you to generate your power for more than 40% of your daily household work, and consequently, you do not have to pay the enormous electricity bills. Although these solar cells’ initial installment costs are high, it results in significant savings in the long run. We can combine reflectors or solar mirrors and PV panels to harvest more sunlight and enhance the effect to cut down solar cells’ costs. The mirrors reflect more of the incident sun radiance and direct sunlight to the PV modules, increasing the amount of electricity produced from the same area’s PV panels giving higher output power during the day than the standard solar cells. Moreover, in India, both the central and the state governments provide subsidy schemes of more than 30% of the total cost to assist people in setting up solar panels on their rooftops to promote renewable sources and increase our dependence on them.

Softwares like Green-Building Studio by Autodesk should be made familiar to students and engineers to relate to such issues. Smart grid manufacturing systems should be installed and promoted. Elaborate research needs to be done for efficient house designs and structures to regulate airflow. Biogas adaptation and the usage of renewable sources of energy are vital factors for cleaner and efficient energy sources.

To prevent and overcome the energy crisis shortly, It is necessary for us to adapt to changing needs and conserve the most critical resource of our survival.

Thank You!!

Happy Learning

Team CEV

The Social Dilemma

Reading Time: 7 minutes

“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

In 2020, Netflix released a documentary drama movie named “The Social Dilemma” directed by Jeff Orlowski which explores the rise of social media and the damage it has caused to society, focusing on its exploitation and manipulation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining. According to recent estimates, approximately 3.8 billion people are active on social media worldwide which means that today more people are connected than ever through various social media platforms. Look around yourselves, which are the most visited Apps on your smartphones, you get to know how deep social media has penetrated our life. When asked about the impact of social media, creators said that they had never imagined to which extent their product would go on impacting the lives of common people across the globe. Social media did a fantastic job in helping people in their difficult times, it helped in searching the donor for organ donation, helped the needy to get donations, helped students to get free study materials online very easily, helped beginners to start cooking and there are endless examples of how social media has helped humans. But something has changed over the years. The world is changing at an unprecedented rate like never imagined before and that not in a good direction. 

 

Earlier the social media platforms were used for sharing photos and videos and connecting to people. The Internet was simple at that time. Now social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Tiktok, Google, Pinterest, Reddit, Linkedin, etc. compete for our attention. 

Today’s big tech giant companies are making their product keeping three main goals in their mind:- 

 

1.) Engagement goal- They want to drive up usage and keep you scrolling on their platforms. They want you to scroll through their platforms as much as you can do. But the question is how do they do that, right? They do it by using the machine as persuasive social media actors. It is called persuasive technology. Let me explain by giving a reference to two studies that were conducted at Stanford University in the mid-1990s that showed how the similarity between computers and the people who use them makes a difference when it comes to persuasions. One study examined the similarities in personalities while another study examined similarities in affiliation. Research highlights of the study are below.

 

Research Highlights: The Personality Study:

  • Created dominant and submissive computer personalities 
  • Chose as participants people who were at extremes of dominant or submissive 
  • Mixed and matched computer personalities with user personalities 
  • Result: Participants preferred computers whose “personalities” matched their own. 

Research Highlights: The Affiliation Study:

  • Participants were given a problem to solve and assigned to work on the problem either with a computer they were told was a “teammate” or a computer that was given no label. 
  • For all participants, the interaction with the computer was identical; the only difference was whether or not the participant believed the computer was a teammate. 
  • The results compared to responses of other participants: people who worked with a computer labeled as their teammate reported that the computer was more similar to them, that it was smarter, and that it offered better information. These participants also were more likely to choose the problem solutions recommended by the computers.

2.) Growth goal- They want you to connect with your relatives, your friends, even strangers and make them your friends, explore various attractive locations, crave tasty food, invite more people on the platform for engagement, etc. for one and only one reason, You visit their platforms more and more. Let me give you some examples from your daily social media experience. There are two forms of interactions that take place on Facebook: active interaction (liking, sharing, commenting, reacting) and passive interaction (clicking, watching, viewing/hovering).

 

  • Active interaction: Whenever someone likes your post or vice-a-versa, it gives a sense of joy that they like us or we like them. It creates a loop for you and them to visit each other’s profile more often and chat which means you will chat with them on social media platforms and you visit more. You share memes with them, react to their stories, you react to their reactions and ultimately you end up spending more time on their platform. It also creates a rat race for more no. of likes which can affect mental health. The more you crave for likes, the more you are expected to spend time on social media figuring out how you can increase your likes and get recognition amongst your peers. Below is the excerpt from a study on “The social significance of the Facebook Like button” by Veikko Eranti and Markku Lonkila.
The Social Dilemma

The figure suggests, first, that the relationship with the original poster of an object may have an impact on likes: We are more prone to like a post by a close Facebook friend than one by an acquaintance whom we have accepted as our friend somewhat reluctantly. Second, the quality, number, and network structure of previous likers are likely to affect one’s likes. This is probably even truer in the case of a sensitive or contradictory topic (e.g., a post on a political issue). Thus, if F1, F2, and F3 are close friends, F3 is more prone to like a post of controversial nature if F1 and F2 have both already liked it. Third, the imagined audience constructed subjectively by the user of the pool of all Facebook friends (some subset of F1–F4) is likely to influence liking behavior. 

  • Passive interaction: Now remember when you were not talking with anybody, not reacting to any stories, not commenting on any post but still active on social media, what were you doing? You were seeing videos and simply scrolling through various posts, memes, videos, reels hoping for the one post that you may find interesting and can like or comment on it, isn’t it? How long it took you to find the post you wanted to see. Probably not too much, your social media platform did not take a long time to guess what you want to see, but the question is how? Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram might answer your question, “Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on, or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed. With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about and show these posts higher in the feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussions.”
The Social Dilemma

3.) Advertising goal- When two people are connecting on the social media platform for free, it’s obvious someone is paying for it. A third party is paying for manipulation for those two, the other two, and every other person who is communicating through social media. We are in the era of surveillance capitalism where big tech giants are collecting a massive amount of data and collecting them at one place to show personalized ads to their customers and earn maximum money from advertising. It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your behavior and perception that is the product.

 

“If you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product.”

 

In one of the experiments conducted by Facebook on “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” they found, “people who had positive content reduced in their News Feed, a larger percentage of words in people’s status updates were negative and a smaller percentage were positive. When negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results suggest that the emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our moods.” that suggests that Facebook can now affect or say change one’s real-life behavior, political viewpoint, and many more things. Effects of it have been felt across the globe in the form of fake news, disinformation, rumors, etc. Terrorist organizations used the very same formula and brainwashed hundreds of thousands to fight for them and kill innocent people. Now very same techniques are used by right-wing hate groups across the globe like white supremacists groups. We have seen examples of mob lynching in India due to rumors spread in the area. It is not just about fake news but it has more dangerous fake news of consequences. According to a recent study, fake news is five times more likely to speak than real news. We are transforming from the information age to the disinformation age. Democracy is under assault, tools are starting to erode the fabric of how society works. If something is a tool, it genuinely is just sitting there, waiting patiently. If something is not a tool, it’s demanding things from you. It’s seducing you. It’s manipulating you. It wants things from you. And today’s big tech giants have moved away from having a tools-based technology environment to an addiction and manipulation based technology environment. 

 

“Only two industries call their customers ‘users’, illegal drugs and software”

 

Big Tech giants namely Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Netflix, and Microsoft have grown tremendously over the past years. They have established monopolies in their respective industries where other smaller companies are either wiped out or struggling very hard to survive. The reason behind this is the cutting-edge technology developed by these companies which other companies can’t even compete on with them along with the unbelievable amount of data that they possess which makes their innovation more effective.

The Social Dilemma

Steps can be taken to make people aware of social media and its dangers. Chapters or subjects can be introduced at school levels to make children aware of the difference between social media and social life. Monopolies of the companies can be destroyed by the governments using anti-trust laws which would allow more competitors to enter the industries and create a safe and user-friendly environment on social media platforms. And lastly, strict laws should be made on data privacy and data protection.

 

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”



The MOSFETs

Reading Time: 18 minutes

We thrive by taking nothing for granted! 

CEV had its first practical hands-on with MOSFETS when we tried to implement a primitive inverter circuit. Device used was IRF540. Back then we didn’t find it so fascinating, considering it just one chisel in our tool-box like resistors, capacitors and inductors, battery, diodes, etc. Only did we moved forward in our lives we realized how one single device characteristic if carefully manipulated can help us to build so many useful stuffs.

If we look at statistics, MOSFETs is most widely manufactured electronic device or component in the entire 200 years of human technical endeavour. The number in fact overshadows all of the other devices lined up altogether. Wikipedia says the total number of MOSFETs manufactured since its invention is order of 10^22. This is just a number we don’t have anything much familiar to correlate and help understand how really big it is.

10000000000000000000000!

Systems like an ordinary radio contain in order of thousands of MOSFETS to provide enough gain to EM waves to finally yield audible audio signals, the smartphone on an average contains in order of 10 Million, an i5 intel core processor contains in order of 1.5 Billion of them, the power supplies for electronic gadgets we use though utilize another variety of MOSFETS called power MOSFETS. The circuitry (power and control) used in handheld devices like trimmer, hair-dryers, toasters, washing machines (automatic), efficient motor assemblies, cars, airplanes, satellites, space shuttles, particle accelerators and what not………., all of them essentially have insane amount of no. of MOSFETs operating in one of its particular desired regions of operating characteristics depending on analog, digital or power device category, very silently and calmly doing its job it is supposed to.

MOSFETS single-handedly forms the backbone of entire analog and digital electronics. Yes, you heard it right, both analog and digital. It lies at the heart of almost all the basic components which are used to build higher-order circuits or devices.

Wait, wait, we promised ourselves to not take anything for granted so when we say analog and digital electronics what do we mean exactly?

Essentially analog and digital are two ways of playing with signals (of voltage or current). Playing here might literally mean fun like playing a song over a speaker, displaying a video on LCD, LED or CRT, talking with loved ones over cellular network, enjoying a live broadcast of a soccer match and capital FM or even as simple as using TV IR remote to frustratingly switch over news channels which spread crap at 9 PM oooooooorrrrrrr playing could also mean stakes as high as using an ECG and other biomedical sensors and instruments to save lives, sending and receiving radio signals of a pilot messages to ATCs, or implementing something as necessary as what we call www.

It is hard to think all of these sharing anything common, right, but in all of the cases we are simply manipulating signals all the time in order to just somehow do what we want using the analog ways or digital ways or most of times both.

Well, it may be hard to think what signal manipulating exactly means here, nor we intend to talk about the grudging details but what we want to first appreciate is the profound immensity and necessity of the things which we are going to talk about.

Again, taking nothing for granted, the first question to address is what exactly signal manipulation would be using analog way or the digital way?

  1. The core requirement of real life the Amplification of signals:

Consider all the different kinds of sensors deployed on field to measure any physical parameter of interest like a temperature sensor in Air conditioners, a metal detector at airports, a stain gauge sensor, an antenna for radio waves detection, a heart-beat or pulse sensor, etc. In all the cases we exploit natural phenomenon to get variation of temperature, strain, EM waves, vibration converted to electrical signals (maybe voltage or current variations). The strength of converted electrical signal is by nature too weak for any purposeful use, like displaying the values of temperature or beats per second on some kind of screen, playing the song received on antenna, etc. The circuits that produce these magical outcomes can’t be driven using signals of such feeble power. We need a man-made device which can significantly boost the signal power.

Graphically. Amplification be like:

The MOSFETs

2. Filtering is another core requirement of real life:

In the electrical signal at the output of any practical sensors, we have by nature something called a noise. These noises are result of different reasons for different systems. To separate the noise from the useful signal based on the characteristics of systems we use signal manipulation technique called filtering, using something called as filters.

3. Along with these basic kinds of manipulation we have another range of signal manipulation, which essentially helps us to do computation. Like mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, integration, etc. can be achieved using voltage dividers, RC circuits, etc.

In these cases, we by default assumed that signal voltage or current can take infinite number of possible levels in between any two finite levels, between 3 V and 4V, our signal can be 3.11V, 3.111V, 3.1111V, etc.

Why go digital, if we can do it all in analog?

Most of time in digital world first we learn how to do it, then do it and only then we understand why we did it. Digital way of doing things is especially advantageous in doing things described in (3).

Digital way is moving from representing infinite levels signals to no levels between signal levels, only two levels called high and low. This doesn’t make direct intuitive sense unless we study them first.

However, some obvious motivating reasons for moving for digital way is inherent noise immunity, and simplicity.

The digital world has its own kind of signal manipulation requirements like inverter (NOT), adding (AND), orring (OR), etc, in general elements which execute these are called gates.

The layer upon layers upon layers…………

All of this begins by looking at nature. Because we are simply restricted to things, she can provide us, no other choice. Our role is to observe, modify and manipulate whatever she can offer us to make some good use for ourselves.

Resistors, capacitor, inductors, battery, semiconductor switches (Diodes and Transistors) all of this forms the most primitive components which are most basic building blocks. Also, in this category we have devices which exploit natural phenomenon like Photoelectric Effect, Piezoelectric effect, etc. to make sensors like photodiode, strain gauge, etc.

Using these components, we build a little higher order systems, say for example a voltage divider (using battery and resistances), a primitive filter circuits (using resistors, caps and inductors), or maybe most importantly the center of this discussion, an amplifier circuit (resistor, transistor, and battery).

The next order of systems now comprises of these little systems as basic blocks. Like an operational amplifier which uses many amplifier circuits and voltage divider bridges. Something called as gates (NOT, NAND and NOR) are also build using the twisting the same basic amplifier configuration and adding more switches, etc. This layer also set forward two categories we lovingly call analog and digital electronics.

The next layer uses op-amps and gates as their building blocks. For examples in analog world, we can have a comparator, a voltage follower, an integrator, a differentiator, an oscillator, etc. And in digital world we can have what we call combinational logic circuits like flip-flops of varieties D, F, JK, etc.

Things getting interesting right, however still not that useful.

The next layers use these elements as building blocks. Using comparators, integrators etc., we can now start making something like trivial voltage, current and frequency measurement units, we can have active filters, a small power supply, and so on. In digital world the notion of time is introduced by using time signal (clock signals), which is a giant leap.

Now we can have these systems deployed for forming part of even bigger layers. In analog domain we can implement control system feedbacks and jillions other circuits called integrated chips (ICs). Digital world however these days go on building more layers of complexities. The layer of assembly languages, and then higher-level languages like C++ all of them takes off right from here. It becomes so far-reaching that entire branch starts up from here, the CS.

Using these same blocks microprocessors are built, computers also somewhere follow up as we go on and on. EEs have limits on how far they can go, so we stop here, to give the lead for Comps folks.

Personal computers and smartphones are most popular example of highly complex layer upon layers of analog and digital circuits which tends to response to the applied input signal in quite a predictable way. However, the layers of complexity are so magnificent that it is hard to believe that at the core they are made up of fundamental components no different than that of a small TV remote or a decent bread-baking automatic toaster, it is analogous to seeing humans and amoeba under one umbrella, both made of strikingly similar fundamental biological concepts.

One can literally draw the single line connecting these basic elements layer by layer to all sorts of final-end technologies.

Where does MOSFETs fits in all of this?

To have a more insightful view consider these examples:

MOSFETS are fundamental element used in amplifiers.

MOSFETS are fundamental element used in gates.

Amplifiers are themselves basic building blocks of all analog systems. Gates themselves are building block of digital systems.  

In this piece, we will see how MOSFETS unanimously able to take fundamentals roles in all the above-mentioned systems.

It all began with Mahammad Attala in Bell laboratories trying to overcome the bottlenecks of BJTs. Namely the higher power dissipation due to base current and hence low packing density, making it impossible to build advanced circuit smaller in size.

MOSFET Physical Construction

Now as engineers we have to be careful in understanding device details as a complete understanding would require backing-up with quantum physics explanations and at least 10 years of dedicated focused study. The key is to carefully listen to physicist and simply ask only for the details which are of our interest.

As far as device is considered, as engineers we need to know is answers to hows and whats only, but strictly no whys.

WHAT is a MOSFET?

The MOSFETs
Image Courtesy Wikipedia

 

MOSFET is a four-terminal semiconductor device, in which the resistance between two of the terminals is determined by the magnitude of the voltage applied at the remaining two terminals. The range of variation in resistance between two interchangeable terminals called source and drain is very large, extending from few milliohms to 100s of megaohms on relatively small voltage changes at the two terminals called gate and the base (or substrate). For simplicity manufactures internally short the source and the base, it thus becomes a three-terminal device and thus a voltage across gate and source changes the resistance between the source and the drain. This is not all to it, the variation of resistance is not simply linear, it is somewhat weirder, involving several twist and drama of semiconductor physics.

The gate terminal is metal plate separated from the body by an intermediate dielectric layer, SiO2.

The source and drain are two oppositely doped regions as compared to the parent base body of MOSFET.

HOW does it work?

At zero source (or base) to gate voltage, the source and drain terminals are essentially open-circuited, as two p-n junctions appears between them in reverse.

For an n-channel type MOSFET:

As we begin increasing the gate voltage (positive wrt source/base), positive charges begin to accumulate on the metal gate. The corresponding electric field is allowed to penetrate through the intermediate dielectric into the p-type base region between the source and the drain terminal. The exact distribution of field is however currently is beyond our strengths to explain. But the effect is quite intuitive that the minority carrier in p-type will start getting accumulating just below the gate. Not knowing the exact physics but at certain magnitude of voltage level, the devices develop a region so full of electrons that it acts as n-type doped region, and so is called n-channel. This particular voltage is called threshold voltage. The appearance of n-channel effectively results as if the source and drain were connected by a resistance. This 3- D channel’s length and width are inherently fixed by device construction however the depth is determined by the voltage magnitude. The depth is proportional to the excess of the gate voltage above the threshold voltage. This channel indeed truly acts as a resistor, if separation is more the resistance is more (r proportional to length), if the width is more resistance is less (r inversely proportional to the area), and similarly the depth dependence.

Current still won’t flow between the source and drain. If we now also begin increasing the drain voltage wrt source, the ammeter needle comes alive. So common sense says if we go on increasing the DS voltage the current will go increasing linearly, as the channel is an epitome of resistance😂😂😂, but not. The channel depth is proportional to the excess voltage Vgs – Vt. As we go on increasing the drain voltage this excess of voltage mainly responsible for the depth of the channel, constant at the gate end but begins to drop at the drain end. At a certain point, the channel shuts off at the drain end. It is obvious to suspect that current should drop to zero, but instead the current saturates to some constant value, and the phenomenon is catalogued in literature as pinching-off, and device is said to gone in saturation mode.

What are the operating characteristics and relevant equations?

We study the MOSFET characteristics for different values of gate voltage. Until the Vgs is less than Vt the drain current remains zero for all Vds, as if open-circuited. For some Vgs greater than the threshold voltage, we plot Ids vs Vds. At much smaller values of Vds the current increases almost linearly, then due to narrowing of channel at drain end due to increasing Vds, the current saturates to a value at the pinch-off point.

 

 

The MOSFETs
Image Courtesy MATLAB

For all:The MOSFETs

The drain-source is open-circuit:The MOSFETsFor all:

The MOSFETsThe source-drain current is given by:The MOSFETsFor small Vds, the square term can be neglected and response is approximately linear:

The MOSFETsFor all Vds ≥ Vgs – Vt, the current saturates at a fixed value, given by substituting Vds = Vgs – Vt:

The MOSFETs

“What is the distribution of electric field, why at pitching-off it still conducts current, derive the expressions”. All these are extremely interesting questions to take up, but as far as engineering is concerned it won’t help design the circuit any better, so we don’t mind answering them in free time.

The most repeating circuit pattern of our Electrical lives, we can’t trace anything down to something more fundamental than this. Right here we saw for the first time the gate and the amplifier. Let this pattern dissolve in our blood, imprinted in our DNA, memorized in our brains and printed on walls of our heart. Well, that’s how fundamental it is. 😂😂😂

The MOSFETs

Before directly jumping to equations, let us first build intuition of how this circuit will respond to different applied input, which will allow us to flow through equations smoothly and swiftly.

So, what we need to imagine is the response of the circuit for different applied inputs.

  1. For some applied value of drain voltage Vdd, we begin increasing the gate voltage slowly. As expected, until it reaches the threshold point, drain and source remains open circuited. Current through drain resistor is zero and hence output voltage equals Vdd.
  2. As the threshold potential is reached, the device just develops the so-called n-channel. Notice the current will just begin to flow and DS voltage will thus start dropping. Since the excess voltage is still smaller, and the DS voltage is sufficiently large to drive the MOSFET into the saturation region.
  3. If we still increase the gate voltage then excess gate voltage would be too much for the DS voltage to keep the MOSFET in saturation region. With increasing excess voltage, the channels widen, dropping the resistance, increasing the drain to source current and thus dropping the drain to source voltage, and at one point DS voltage is lower than Vgs – Vt and the MOSFET enters the linear region. (often called triode region)

The MOSFETsNotice we understood the operating characteristics is reverse order. To visualize in terms of how the MOSFET operating point moves on the operating characteristics will give more better idea.

The MOSFETs

At 2, the device just turns on and large value of Vdd immediately drives the MOSFET into saturation up to 3 where the MOS starts entering the triode region. Large dropping the DS, thus the output voltage to a very small value.

Mathematically:

Applying KVL, we have:

The MOSFETs

  1. For region 1 to 2:

The MOSFETs

So,

The MOSFETs

Hence,

The MOSFETs

2. For region 2 to 3:

The MOSFETs

Current saturates at:The MOSFETs

Thus, we have:The MOSFETs

Parabolic drop confirmed.

3. For region 3 to 4:

The MOSFETsCurrent should be given by equation:

The MOSFETsThus, we have:The MOSFETsA rather useless relation. 😀😀😀

 

MOSFETs as GATES:

We know that any kind of combinational logic can be implemented using three fundamental gates namely NOR, NAND and NOR. How to use this circuit for a NOT operation is quite evident from the transfer curve itself.

For small input voltage range, the output lies in range of some high voltage level, representing digital high logic.

The MOSFETs       The MOSFETs

For a range of high input voltage range, the output drops down to a range of small voltage levels, representing a digital low. So, all we need to do is to set Vdd and strictly define the input and voltage range for low and high logic., and we are done, we have got an inverter (NOT).

The MOSFETs       The MOSFETs

MOSFETS as Amplifiers

We have seen the requirement of a man-made device called amplifier to obtain a crucial signal manipulation, called signal amplification.

Amplifier in most general way could be called a source of energy which can be controlled by some input. Anyways there may be many more ways to look at amplifier, for example the earlier description of a transfer function block. More specifically this fits better into what we can call a dependent source. Before we understand what is amplifier let us understand what is not an amplifier. So, the element to be first excluded is a potential transformer. Though we can have a voltage amplification (step-up) we also have the currents transformation in inverse proportion so that power remains constant, similarly current transformer, a resistor divider, a boost configuration, etc. in which we have no power gain couldn’t be called amplifier. On the other hand, a MOSFET or a BJT appropriately biased, an op-amps, differential amps, instrumentation amps all are collectively called amplifier. Because we have a power gain at the output port wrt to an input port.

With one port as output and one input and third of course power port, theoretically speaking we can have at max 4 combination. Namely, we can have a current or voltage source at output, and we could have voltage or current control at input.

The MOSFETs

Any device for purpose of amplification invented in past or been invented or to be invented in future will fall in any one category.

The two-port theory becomes of immense utility, to easily describe different amplifiers in different matrix form, like Z-parameter, Y-parameter, h-parameter and g-parameter. We are constrained to not describe the theory in full detail; however, we will be building insight and motivation to study them.

We will use the same trademark configuration to do the amplification too. Isn’t this ground breaking? We had already built fundamental block for digital systems, and now we will again be using the same circuit for amplification which is of course an analog block.

So here it is:

The MOSFETs

Remember, we didn’t talk about the region between 2 -3 when we studied this circuit acting as an inverter. We strictly worked in 1-2 or 3-4 region only.

The MOSFETsThe transfer functions in 2-3 region as previously computed is:

The MOSFETsThough output voltage is proportional to input voltage, but nowhere close to linear. Remember what we have and compare it with what we wanted:

The MOSFETs

And here is the greatest revelation as the legends in this field had described for decades.

“The input signal is constrained such that the circuit approximately gives a linear response.”

And the revolutionary constraints are:

  1. Giving a DC level shift, to drive the MOSFET in the saturation region, popularly called biasing voltage, and
  2. if the input signal is small enough the transfer curve is much close to a negative sloped straight line, which is in fact linear amplification.

The MOSFETsIf we zoom enough, here is how the amplification would look like. Notice inversion is there but a good linear amplification is also achieved.

The MOSFETs

We can also show that using the equation below that for small changes in input voltage indeed cause a linear change in the output voltage.

The MOSFETs

For,The MOSFETs

We have,

The MOSFETs

So, we now comprehend the design problem of the amplifier as selection and operation at biasing point to get the best possible linear amplification for a given gain requirement.

And that’s a wrap. From here on we go on learning cascading amplifiers as one unit is not always enough to give desirable gain, which leads us to study the effects of stray and coupling capacitance which becomes especially troublesome when dealing with high-frequency signals, which then leads us to something called differential amplifiers, operational amplifiers, and as already describe we eventually take off from here.

All of this would be no so much use unless we also consider the energy consumption. Why it becomes so important can be understood by walking through some numbers.

Consider an inverter gate is build using the exactly as we have described.

For SMD MOSFETs of today’s technology, typically

K is 1 mA/V^2, Vt =1 V, Vdd we take 5 V (TTL Logic), and let low logic at the output is defined between 0-0.2 V

When gate is OFF, high level at input and low level at output:

The MOSFETs

The MOSFETs

Power consumed by circuit is:

The MOSFETs

For order of 10 million of them:

The MOSFETs

This very rough approximation of power consumption is not at all pleasant to see for 10 million inverters in days when processors are reaching the range of 4-5 Billion of them.

We would require a dedicated diesel-generator set for one 200-gm machine. Of course, we do something about it, that’s why our laptops could be powered by a 60 W Lithium battery. The solution is quite a creative one. They call it CMOS (Complementary MOS).

In order to have incredibly high resistance, when the gate is off and very small resistance when the gate is on, a PMOS is used to replace the resistor. PMOS transistor has exactly the same operation as NMOS, except it is open-circuited for the high level at input and short-circuited at a low level at the input. Also, Vdd has managed to reduce to 3.3 V to reduce power consumption.

The MOSFETs

We didn’t learn all of the stuffs by sitting down and just glaring at MOSFETs. The entire credit for vivid imagination and connecting the dots goes to numerous books, all the lecture series, few research papers, beloved Wikipedia and all the awesome discussions we had with our friends.

We are thankful to a Lecture Series on Fundamentals of Digital and Analog Electronics, 6.002 MIT OCW by Prof Anant Aggarwal, two 40 lectures series by NPTEL on Analog Electronics by Prof Radhakrishnan, an introductory lecture series on Semiconductor Physics and Devices by Prof D Das IISc B, Basic Electronics Course by Prof Behzad Razavi of Princeton University. This article is result of rigorous brainstorming of ideas, concepts and insights gained from all the above-mentioned sources and then making our own speculations.

Important revisions are yet to be made.

Keep reading, keep learning

Team CEV! 

The Economic Crisis of 2008

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Introduction

We are in the middle of a crisis. Not just the Covid-19, but the psychological turmoil of making money from every single dime available, even if it costs the whole economy’s meltdown. Does the short term or long term recession teach a lesson and put an end to this? It doesn’t seem so.

Something similar happened in mid-2008, whose foundations were laid in America’s housing market and the whole world had to face the consequences.

We’ll go step by step, starting from understanding the housing system and how it all collapsed. Don’t get muddled by the terms used ahead, as the concepts behind those are simple. The wall street people use these terms to keep the common people out of their way.

The Housing System

You must be familiar with the term mortgage. In case you are not, visualize it like this- you want to buy a $100,000 house, but you have only $30,000 with you. You approach a bank and ask for a loan. You pay $30,000 as a down payment, the bank lends you the rest of the money and based on your net worth, income statement, etc. bank decides a term of repayment and a reasonable rate of interest. Let’s assume this rate to be 10%. The bank allows you to pay it off in 30 years as monthly installments. 

The house here represents a mortgage. Every month as you pay off the mortgage, you own the house a bit more and the bank owns a bit less. That’s how you own the house entirely after 30 years, and it’s no more a mortgage. And as the housing and real estate market is always soaring, real estate prices will always rise, as assumed before the crisis. 

So your wealth will still be increasing even though you have to pay interest on the mortgage to the bank. It’s a win-win situation for all.

Building The Castles Of Money

Banks don’t always keep these mortgage bonds to themselves. They sell it to big investment banks and earn a nice commission. So the interests that you were paying on your loan went to their pockets now. But these small transactions didn’t keep the adrenaline of the big banks and investors running. So they came up with the idea of Securitization Food Chain. The idea was to bundle thousands of these mortgages on home loans along with mortgages on several other loans and sell it all together. This way, the yields will go up, and they assumed the risk to be still low as the housing market was always considered vital. They called it Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS). The deal sounded like music to the ears of investors. So the investors all over the world leveraged lumps of money and invested heavily in these MBS, packed in a small magical box: a CDO.

A Collateralized Debt Obligation or a CDO classified the above- mentioned mortgage bonds as per their risk of returns, the risk of trusting people that they will pay their mortgage on time. The ones who have a nice flow of income have a low risk and are rated AAA. Below them are AA, BBB, and the worst are BB-rated. BB refers to the houses owned by highly irresponsible people who hardly deserve to get a loan. These BB-rated mortgages are referred to as Sub-prime Mortgages. All these ratings are given by separate rating agencies that played a significant part in setting the crisis’s blueprint. All these bonds are then further sold to investors at a nice profit. The whole system was great because almost everyone earned a good profit and kept their cashflow running until things took an ugly turn.

The Economic Crisis of 2008

The Inflation Of Real Estate Bubble

As the investors were earning good returns and demanded more MBS to invest in, but they couldn’t find any because most of the ‘eligible’ families already had a mortgage. So the banks started giving out homes to less responsible families, with zero down payment, no income certificate, nothing but just a formality of paperwork, and a promise of payback. They didn’t think of it as an issue because even if the families don’t pay, investors will own the house, which is also a great asset until there are so many houses for sale in the market.

In that situation, the ratings of those risky mortgage bonds would have gone down, right? But that didn’t happen. There was no one to ask the rating agencies how they were giving out the ratings. They were an authority in themselves whose ultimate aim was to impress their clients and earn money. The investment banks paid these rating agencies to rate their bonds and these agencies had no liability if their ratings proved wrong. They claimed the CDOs made by them had 90%+ AAA-rated bonds, but under the hood, it consisted of highly irresponsible homeowners who didn’t even deserve to get a $100 loan. So all these pieces of worthless junk bonds were bundled and sold as if they were gold, and no one bothered to look what’s inside. Investment banks were making profits by selling CDOs and agencies were getting paid for giving AAA ratings. Real estate prices skyrocketed as it was so easy to own one. A boom like this is called a Market Bubble– where everyone is so flattered with something in the market that they believe its demand will never go down and its value keeps on rising, even much more than its actual self-worth. But these prices are not more than an illusion created by fraudulent systems. These bubbles eventually burst and make a hard impact on everyone’s life. This time it was the Real Estate bubble in America that burst aloud in 2008.

Getting Insurance To The Crisis

The highly unregulated derivatives market of the USA allowed the bankers to gamble on anything. They could bet on the rise and fall of oil prices, bankruptcy of a company, or even the weather. Some of the psychopaths saw that the fall of the real estate was coming. So they introduced the Credit Default Swaps which were like insurance to the mortgage bonds. The buyer of these swaps will pay monthly premiums to the seller and the latter will pay colossal money to the former if the underlying mortgage bond defaults or fails. The demand for these swaps kept growing as more and more people realized that the housing market would crash. These swaps were packed in Synthetic CDOs.

So who was buying these swaps? The ones who were selling the underlying bonds. The investment banks were selling AAA-rated bonds in the markets and on the other hand, purchasing swaps on BB and BBB-rated bonds, as they knew the bonds would eventually fail.

Some highly corrupt officials even represented banks in the morning and the rating agencies in the evening. They packed the extremely risky bonds in the morning for the availability of bonds in the market and rated them 90% AAA in the evening for the investors’ sake. They also introduced a new complex derivative- a CDO of a CDO, called CDO Squared. The sole purpose behind their existence was to introduce more financial instruments in the markets, so there is always something to bet on. Let us see how they turned the whole world into a giant casino-

Suppose A and B are playing a game

C and D take a $100 bet on whom among A and B will win

E and F take a $1000 bet on whom among C and D will win

G and H bet on E and F

…. …. …. ….

 

There existed CDOs and synthetic CDOs as a bet against CDOs. Eventually, a $50 million investment had more than a billion dollars betting against it. The market for insuring bonds grew 20 times larger than the actual mortgage. The major players in this whole circus were investment banks like Goldmann Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, financial conglomerates like JP Morgan and Citigroup, securities insurance companies AIG, rating agencies like Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and many more. But from where was all this money coming? And how did they get the gigantic guts to borrow and invest? It was all possible because of the highly unregulated markets and the availability of cheap credit. Probably they all knew about the dangers they were playing with, but they also knew one more thing- they had grown so large that the government would have to save them if they go bankrupt, otherwise the economy would collapse. And that’s exactly what happened. The American taxpayer had to pay for all of their gamblings in the form of emergency guarantees and bailouts by the Federal Reserve. Several papers were published, a lot of people doubted about the crash, but nobody did anything tangible, not even the Federal Reserve.

You can now see how a system of billions and billions of dollars depended on a lie. Everyone was playing with a time bomb. This real estate bubble was about to burst and the whole world was about to hear it loud.

The Burst of The Bubble

The Economic Crisis of 2008

When markets hit a little low in late 2007, people started to default on their mortgage and started leaving the houses. The number of these faulty people skyrocketed. The supply of houses in the market became much higher than demand, resulting in the breakdown of the prices. Now there was no sense in paying a $100,000 mortgage for the house worth only $90,000, even for those who were able to pay it.

Even well-off families started leaving their homes after taking their share, leaving the banking investors, small investors and lenders with a bunch of worthless properties. There was no more selling and buying of real estate in the market now as everyone knew it was useless. As every sector of the economy is deeply interconnected, the whole economy froze. 

Companies like Lehman Brothers started filing for bankruptcy. Bear Stearns went out of cash. The stock market was on a bear run. The people had not seen the stock market steep so low in decades. People were thrown out of their offices in the peak hours of the day as their companies were no longer able to pay them. The so-called stock market experts were roaming on streets with their box of office essentials, which was now worthless. 

The vast floors of Morgan Stanley and Goldmann Sachs, which used to trade billions of dollars a day, were now empty. The United States was no longer able to trade with other countries and the whole globe went into a recession that was never seen or expected in decades.

 

The Economic Crisis of 2008

Five trillion dollars from the economy disappeared.

Eight million lost their jobs.

Six million lost homes.

And that was just in The USA.

Conclusion

In the post-crisis world, the government and the Fed should have taken responsibility for all the chaos and sent the gold plated corrupt bankers to jail. But nothing like this remotely happened. Instead, the so-called intellectuals blamed the small business people, laborers and employees as they always do. 

The Fed and treasury department of The USA are still governed by the ones who were the crisis architects. The system never improved and the same things went on, only a bit modified to show everyone that they have changed. 

Many major businesses in the globalized world are still void and it’s a bitter truth because that’s how the modern economies work. We may never know how many bubbles the global economy is having and how many of them have burst by the Covid-19 Crisis. We need to be aware of the lies in the market to keep our mind and soul together in times of these crises.

Is an MBA necessary to be successful in business?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

India has the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world; with a steady year-over-year (YoY) growth of 8-10%. Home to 55,000 startups, 34 unicorns, and 52 promising startups with a potential to become unicorns by 2022. India is a bustling land for startups and entrepreneurs with cut-throat competition at every stage. According to a Nasscom and Zinnov report, over 1,600 tech start-ups were registered in 2020, making it the highest ever added in a single calendar year.

With such hovering contention, you need to have an extra edge over your counterparts to succeed and to make it big in the current business scenario. So, with this notion, we CEVians, had a debate session on the topic  “Is an MBA necessary to be successful in business?”

Is an MBA necessary to be successful in business?

MINUTES

In favour of the idea:

  • An MBA program covers a range of concentrations or specialisations that allow students to acquire the fundamentals as well as expertise in a specific aspect of a business, such as finance, marketing.
  • You get to meet and interact with like-minded people; which is an opportunity to build a powerful network and connections.
  • This degree is not just theory, the curriculum involves various case-studies of real-life business scenarios.
  • It’s easier to gain relevant working experience for a person with an MBA because it is considered a valid credential among recruiters. While for a person without an MBA, it is a tougher task. 
  • Investors are more likely to invest in a firm if it has a person with credentials and experience. In case of lack of proven experience, having an MBA degree can bring better reliability for the firm.
  • After setting up the business, people with an MBA can plan the future strategic plans for stabilization and further expansion of the company.

 

Against the idea:

  • An academic degree doesn’t guarantee knowledge; practical experience is more valuable.    
  • MBAs are expensive; better to invest that capital in your business idea.
  • In today’s world, you can easily learn about the necessary concepts through readily available learning resources on the internet and MOOCs.
  • For professional networking and work-related opportunities, there are various business-focused social platforms like LinkedIn, AngelList, where you can easily connect with an investor or a recruiter.
  • An MBA will only help you manage risks or avoid unnecessary risks, but setting up a business from the ground is a completely different story which they cannot ‘teach’ in business schools.
  • MBAs were originally designed to meet the demands of ‘administering’ the business in the early 20th century. Since then, the specifics of customers and the business environment have completely changed.

CONCLUSION

A professional degree like an MBA can certainly help you in understanding businesses better; it is not mandatory. Nothing can guarantee success in your business. According to a report, out of every 5 business leaders, 2 do not have an MBA or a postgraduate qualification. This further ascertains the fact that pursuing an MBA or not, is explicitly a matter of choice.

An Impossible Distribution

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Majority of wealth in the world is with the minority of people leading to unequal distribution of money and issues such as poverty in society. As a solution to this problem, what if all the wealth in the world is divided equally among the people so that no one is poor and no one is rich. Sounds like an awesome and innovative idea, right??

First of all, the idea of equal wealth among the people will end competition. Competition is the force which thrives innovation,  the development of new ideas, new products, services, and thereby development of economy and society. Competition improves the intellect of an individual and a whole society . The hunger for betterment and wealth creation; to be the best in class is what improves systems and makes any society futuristic. For an analogy, let’s assume a class of students. For this particular class, it is decided that whatever marks the students will get, it will be averaged and equal marks will be given to each student. In this scheme, the capable students will not put extra efforts, study and learn as they know this will not come to them in a whole whereas the incapable will become idle & lazy thinking that the others are doing their job for him & that he need not do anything . This will lead to deterioration of one’s intellect, lack of knowledge and skills.

An Impossible Distribution

In such a system, ingredients essential for development of an individual and a society such as ambition, hard work, dedication, excellence, ethics, etc. will not exist. An industrialist and a beggar have a huge difference in the mindset. An industrialist will invest the excess money in various industrial sectors and workforce giving employment to people whereas a beggar will simply spend the excess money relentlessly. If all the people have the same purchasing power, this will lead to inflation for a few ranges of products and others will lose their value and importance in the market. This will have a very bad effect on the cash flow in the markets. For maintaining global peace one of the essential factors is monetary power so that people can be led in some direction. The concept of equal wealth among all destroys this power.

The above ideology of equal wealth among all will require an enforcing organisation for its implementation in the long run. This is because it is impossible to make every person walk on the same principle; the monk principle (give free service to the society and to be satisfied with what one has).

Implementing the above ideology will decrease the value of money, deteriorate lifestyle and will lead from social equilibrium to a worldwide chaos. Hence, this ideology of a chaotic state is not applicable to the real world.

 

Thanks,

Team CEV. 

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