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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Is the investment supporting violence?

Besides the usual inspection of a stock’s value and growth potential, independent broker N.V. Shah runs through an additional list of questions. Namely: Is the investment supporting violence?
“No matter what the upside, I do not invest in meat-packing companies, fishing companies or companies that manufacture fishing trawlers, nets, or guns,” says Shah, who has been investing on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) since 1991. “Anyone who condones or incites violence is as guilty as the person actually committing the violent act.”
Shah is a strict adherent of ahimsa, the philosophy of non-violence. But unearthing investment-worthy companies that meet his criteria can be a difficult process—not to mention subjective.
Dow Jones and Co., a subsidiary of News Corp. and the publisher of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and the developer of multiple investment indices, hopes to change that with its Dow Jones Dharma Indexes. As Parliament prepares to debate an amendment to the Indian Trusts Act of 1882 that would allow temples and religious trusts to invest in the stock market, Dow Jones has launched the new index to guide investments in so-called dharma-compliant stocks.
WSJ has an exclusive content partnership in India with Mint.
Beyond religious institutions, index creator Dharma Investments is also reaching out to believers to help them become a part of the Indian stock market boom without compromising their religion. While similar to the Dow Jones Islamic Indexes, based on shariah or Islamic law, the new Dow Jones Dharma Indexes will conform to religious ideals of Hinduism and Buddhism, such as ahimsa and lok-samgraha, or leadership and social responsibility.
But with previous efforts to launch such ethical funds stalled and Hinduism and Buddhism not offering specific financial guidelines as the Quran does, experts wonder if it’s even possible to come up with a framework of principles. Investors themselves say they have devised largely individual codes of investment, filled with grey areas and ethical landmines.
For example, Vallabh Bhansali, promoter of Enam Financials, has a large stock research outfit, but doesn’t do research or recommend stocks of hotel, non-vegetarian food processing or cigarette companies.
Shah says he does not invest in Nestlé India because it sells chicken Maggi noodles. Venky’s (India) Ltd is off limits because the company sells meat. UB Group is also forbidden because it sells alcohol.

Posted by Ajay :: 6:07 PM :: 0 comments

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Conspicuousness, not eye mimicry, makes ‘‘eyespots’’ effective antipredator signals

Circular markings on creatures such as butterflies are effective against predators because they are conspicuous features, not because they mimic the eyes of the predators’ own enemies, according to research in the journal, Behavioral Ecology*. Zoologists based at the University of Cambridge challenge the 150-year-old theory about why these markings are effective against predators.

Many animals possess protective markings to avoid predation, including patterns to reduce the risk of detection (camouflage), to indicate that the animal is toxic or inedible (‘warning colours’), or to mimic another animal or object (‘mimicry’ and ‘masquerade’). In addition, many creatures such as butterflies, moths, and fish possess two or more pairs of circular markings, often referred to as ‘eyespots’. Many eyespots are effective in startling or intimidating predators, and can help to prevent or stop an attack. For the past 150 years it has been assumed that this is because they mimic the eyes of the predator’s own enemies.

However, recent work by University of Cambridge zoologists, Martin Stevens, Chloe Hardman, and Claire Stubbins, indicates that this widely-held hypothesis has no experimental support.

Stevens, Hardman, and Stubbins tested the response of wild avian predators to artificial moths, created from waterproof paper. Specific patterns, such as intimidating eyespots of different shapes, sizes and number, and with different levels of eye mimicry, were printed on to the paper using a high quality printer. These ‘moths’ were then pinned to trees of various species at a height of one to three metres in the mixed deciduous Madingley Woods in Cambridgeshire, UK. Attached to each of the artificial moths was an edible mealworm as a temptation for woodland birds such as the blue tits, great tits, blackbirds, and house sparrows.

The zoologists discovered that artificial moths with circular markings survived no better than those with other conspicuous features and that the features of eyespots which most encouraged predators to avoid them are large size, a high number of spots, and conspicuousness in general.

As Dr Stevens explains, ‘the birds were equally likely to avoid artificial moths with markings such as bars and squares as they were to avoid those with two eye-like markings. This leads us to conclude that eyespots work because they are highly conspicuous features, not because they mimic the eyes of the predators’ own enemies. This suggests that circular markings on many real animals need not necessarily, as most accounts claim, mimic the eyes of other animals.’

*Journal reference: Conspicuousness, not eye mimicry, makes ‘‘eyespots’’ effective antipredator signals.

Posted by Ajay :: 5:53 PM :: 0 comments

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