Hey folks,

Your next-door neighbour could be an alien!

And we’re not kidding when we say that. A new Harvard University study suggests that aliens might be living underground, on the moon or even amongst us. They are also open to the possibility that UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) might be spaceships their alien friends use to visit them on earth.

Their theory is simple. Crypto terrestrials are beings which may have originated from the future of the Earth or descended from the intelligent dinosaurs.

They could have even been survivors of a more technologically advanced civilization destroyed much before we came into existence. And these folks may have continued to live on the moon or earth, either underground or even pretending to be humans. They could also be occult creatures like fairies or elves.

That makes us wonder how other scientists will judge this study when they peer review it. But until then, here’s a question ― Ever thought that a disguised alien could be writing this newsletter for you? 👽

Anyway, here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

Kahani by Taba Chake

You can thank our reader Abhinay Pansari for this lovely rec.

What caught our eye this week 👀

Mobile numbers seem to need a revamp

11-digit mobile numbers could be a possibility in the near future.

But why?

Well, the number of mobile connections in India seems to be rising. And this could mean that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) may soon run out of mobile numbers to allot.

Let’s explain.

A system called the National Numbering Plan (NNP) decides the format of telephone numbers, whether it's your mobile, landline, sim for a portable WiFi device or even a toll free number. This is what decides that numbers for ambulance, police or fire services start from 1; toll free numbers from 1800, landline numbers from 2-5 and mobile numbers from 6-9. Or even how many digits numbers these numbers have. And in 2003, the TRAI revised the NNP to accommodate 750 million telephone connections. That’s because it saw a quick rise in connections and assumed that India would have a tele density (telephone connections per 100 people) of 50% by 2030.

But guess what?

We’ve already surpassed that figure as of March 2024 with 1.2 billion telephone subscribers or a tele density of about 86%. And the telecom companies may have coped with that volume because they were able to re-allot numbers belonging to other companies that shut shop over the years. Or simply because the TRAI was able to approve new numbers, such as Jio’s numbers starting from 6 and 7 a few years ago.

But they’re sort of facing a crunch now. And this means that the NNP needs to create a new nomenclature for telephone numbers. That’s why the TRAI recommended 11-digit mobile numbers in 2020. It felt that switching from 10 to 11 digits would be able to accommodate 10 billion mobile connections. And that’s just for the mobile number series starting with 9.

If you think that’s a great idea, you may have to think again because it could come with a lot of challenges. For starters, changing this configuration itself would involve huge costs. And even if the TRAI was ready to bear it, it would inconvenience customers. Everyone would have to add an extra digit pre-fixing their existing phone number, update their entire phone memory and also dial an extra digit to call someone. There could be a lot of dialling errors initially too, which means that telecom companies would lose out on revenue.

That’s exactly why the TRAI has kept the 11-digit phone number plan on the back burner, until it runs out of all avenues to continue with 10-digit numbers.

So for now the TRAI wants to handle the situation with a few tweaks to the NNP. And we’ll only have to wait and see what solutions it comes up with.

Jargon of the day ✏️

This Day in Financial History 📜

13th of June, 2018 ― Germany fines Volkswagen $1.2 billion over the emissions scandal

In the early 2000s, Volkswagen boasted that it had come up with Clean Diesel Engines. Diesel is a cheaper fuel than petrol, but is quite harmful to the environment and human health because its soot produces polluting particulate matter. So when Volkswagen made this claim, millions of diesel cars sold out. It was also a win for the German car maker who wanted to snatch away the market share of leading automakers in the US by breaking into its underdeveloped diesel car space.

But soon, something unexpected happened.

Researchers at West Virginia University were testing two Volkswagen cars to study the real world emissions of diesel vehicles. And they found out that the nitrogen oxide emissions of both cars they used were up to 40 times more than what was allowed in the US. They obviously reported this to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

And guess what the EPA found out?

Many Volkswagen cars sold in the US apparently had something called a  ‘defeat device’. These devices were basically software that could sense when they were being tested under controlled laboratory conditions. For instance, they’d monitor the car’s speed, its engine’s operation, air pressure and even the position of the steering wheel. That would help the car switch into a sort of safety mode in which the engine would run below normal power and performance, emitting far less than it actually would on the road. But as soon as it hit the road, the car would switch back to the normal mode.

That’s how Volkswagen was able to pull off its “Clean Diesel Engine” farce.

The end result was that this scandal impacted about 11 million vehicles globally, costing the car maker a whopping $35 billion in fines, penalties, financial settlements and buyback costs.

Readers Recommend 🗒️

This week our reader Prakash Saket recommends The Art of Thinking Clearly, a book by Rolf Dobelli.

This book explores the common cognitive biases we all experience like how we often continue bad habits or take credit for successes, while blaming failures on outside factors, and talks about how we can identify and avoid these everyday thinking errors by simply making better choices.

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

Nitin Jain! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch. And for the rest of you, we’ve moved the quiz to our weekly wrapup. So make sure you answer all the questions correctly and tune in here next week to check if you got lucky.

That’s it from us this week. We’ll see you next Sunday.

Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: morning@finshots.in).

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