Every time I read Orhan Pamuk’s Nobel Prize citation lecture, ‘My Father’s Suitcase’, I am transported to a day I can’t now fully recall. Every growing child has that day, when, shielded from the vicissitudes of reality, it wants to become a painter, a musician, a writer, something it knows bridges the gap between what … Read more

The Indecipherable Familiarity

I like writing in italics. Once every two or three months, she makes me feel weak in the knees. Catches me off guard, when I’m not ready, when I’m not looking, when I can’t see her walking toward me. Then she hugs me, long enough for me to know she’ll always be there, but never … Read more

A leap forward in ‘flow’ batteries

Polymer-based separators in conventional batteries bring their share of structural and operational defects to the table, and reduce the efficiency and lifetime of the battery. To circumvent this issue, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a membrane-less battery, a.k.a. a ‘flow’ battery. It stores and releases energy using electrochemical reactions between … Read more

Where the Indian infiniteness?

I didn’t know Kenneth Wilson had died on June 15 until an obituary appeared in Nature on August 1. He was a Nobel Prize winning physicist and mathematician whose contribution to science was and is great. He gave scientists the tools to imagine the laws of physics at different scales — large and small — and to … Read more

The death of data

efskehfsfrhlrfkdrslfhrgrgwfwfsfrehfIDROPPEDMYHARDDRIVE! From a height of six feet. Now it makes a high-pitched noise every time I plug it in, and refuses to be read. I know this isn’t a big issue, one that’s easily fixed, but temporary lack of data access is unsettling for me. More so that such a situation has been precipitated by … Read more

Life, distilled.

Book review: A Ball of Fire, John Montague (Bloomsbury, Rs. 299) When Gwendolyn Brooks remarked that poetry was “life distilled”, she may have overlooked John Montague and his collection of short stories, A Ball of Fire, which, true to its name, comes alive in “a smothered explosion of color”. Using tight poetic prose that is still … Read more

For intimacy, move apart.

A paper published last week in the Journal of Communication indicates that couples in long-distance relationships could be more intimate than those in geographically close ones. The researchers, Crystal Jiang and Jeffrey Hancock, think this is because partners could be adapting more optimistically to each other behaviours to compensate for the mediating communication technology’s shortcomings. While the … Read more

Temper worsening? Could be the climate.

A study of studies by economists from Princeton and UCal, Berkeley, has found that as the climate worsens due to global warming, human violence is likely to get more frequent and intensified. The economists don’t know the precise terms of this intriguing relationship, but think a broad range of factors including neurophysiology and economic duress … Read more