O Voyager, where art thou?

On September 5, 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 1 space probe to study the Jovian planets Jupiter and Saturn, and their moons, and the interstellar medium, the gigantic chasm between various star-systems in the universe. It’s been 35 years and 9 months, and Voyager has kept on, recently entering the boundary between our System and the Milky … Read more

Self-siphoning beads

This is the coolest thing I’ve seen all day, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be the coolest thing you’d have seen all day, too: The Chain of Self-siphoning Beads, a.k.a. Physics Brainmelt. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6ukMId5fIi0] It’s so simple; just think of the forces acting on the beads. Once a chain link is pulled up and let down, … Read more

Who talks like that?

Four-and-half years of engineering, one year of blogging and one year of J-school later, I’m a sub-editor with an Indian national daily and not doing bad at all, if you asked me. I’m not particularly important to the organization as such, but among my friends, given my background, I’m the one with a newspaper. I’m the one they call if they need an ad printed, if they need a product reviewed, if they need a chance to be published.

So, when a 20-year old from BITS, Dubai (where I studied) mailed me this, I had no f**king idea what to say.

NIce to hear bck frm u……. actually s i said m a growing writer…. i jzzt completed my frst novel n [name removed] is editing it…. i wanted to write articles n get dem published in reputed newspapers like urs….so i wanted help wid dat…. cn u jzzt give me a few guidelines so dat i cud creat sm f my best works n send dem to u…..

  1. I’m given to understand the QWERTY keyboard was designed to make typing easier for words spelled like they were originally spelled using fingers designed by evolution for a human hand. So, doesn’t typing ‘just’ have to be easier than ‘jzzt’, ‘.’ easier than ‘…………’? It’s one thing to make language work for you; it’s another to use symbols like you have no idea how they should be.
  2. Why are you so lazy that you can’t finish a word before going on to the next one? Do you think a journalist – who has lots to lose by spelling words wrong – would appreciate ‘creat’, ‘cn’, ‘sm’, ‘frst’? Don’t you think the vowel is an important part of language? It’s the letter that permits the sounding, genius.
  3. If you’re looking for a chance to get published, don’t assume I will give you the chance to be published if the best I’ve seen from you is “i jzzt completed my frst novel n so-so”, “cn u jzzt-” I cannot even.

And then to think anyone with a smartphone and a Twitter account can be stereotyped to be this way. Ugh.

A Periodic Table of history lessons

This is pretty cool. Twitter user @jamiebgall tweeted this picture he’d made of the Periodic Table, showing each element alongside the nationality of its discoverer. It’s so simple, yet it says a lot about different countries’ scientific programs and, if you googled a bit, their focuses during different years in history. For example, A chunk … Read more

A battery of power

Lithium ion batteries have found increasing usage in recent times, finding use in everything from portable electronics to heavy transportation. While they have their own set of problems, they’re not unsolvable. And when they are solved, they’ll also have to find other reasons to persist in a market whose demands are soaring. The simplest upgrade that … Read more

Hello and welcome to my personal blog. I’m a science reporter and blogger at The Hindu, an Indian national daily. I’m interested in high-energy physics, the history and philosophy of science, and photography. When no one’s looking, I fiddle with code and call myself a programmer. I enjoy working with the infrastructure that props up newsrooms.

(I can’t delete this post because Walter Murch has commented on it.)

A closet of hidden phenomena

Science has been rarely counter-intuitive to our understanding of reality, and its elegant rationalism at every step of the way has been reassuring. This is why Bell’s theorem has been one of the strangest concepts of reality scientists have come across: it is hardly intuitive, hardly rational, and hardly reassuring. To someone interested in the bigger … Read more

Can science and philosophy mix constructively?

Quantum mechanics can sometimes be very hard to understand, so much so that even thinking about it becomes difficult. This could be because its foundations lay in the action-centric depiction of reality that slowly rejected its origins and assumed a thought-centric one garb. In his 1925 paper on the topic, physicist Werner Heisenberg used only observable quantities … Read more