Curious Bends – sugarcane cultivation, Ebola in India, the cost of sanitation and more

Curious Bends is a weekly newsletter science, tech. and data news from around South Asia. Akshat Rathi and I curate it. It costs nothing to sign up. If you’d like a sample, check out the one below. 1. A brief history of sugarcane cultivation in India “Even earlier than Nehru, Professor C.V. Raman saw the spark […]

Curious Bends – Hudhud, fewer cyclone deaths, population control and more

Curious Bends is a weekly newsletter science, tech. and data news from around South Asia. Akshat Rathi and I curate it. It costs nothing to sign up. If you’d like a sample, check out the one below. India went from 15,000 cyclone deaths in 1999 to just 38 last year “The difference in the number of […]

Earth, unlike Venus and Mars, exhaled nitrogen

One element that forms a unique part of the life-friendly chemical environment on Earth is the gas nitrogen. Its cyclic movement through the soil and the atmosphere via plants is a crucial part of how they produce energy. Earth’s atmosphere is 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen; the remainder includes carbon dioxide, methane and noble gases […]

Measuring loudness on Deepavali nights

The Indian festival of Deepavali gets its name from the Sanksrit for “display of lights”, “Deepaanaam aavali“. These days, the festival is anything but about lights, especially in urban centers where the bursting of loud firecrackers has replaced the gentler display of lamps. Sometimes, Bangalore – where I live – sounds like a warzone. People […]

India’s OA policy: Learning from Ioannidis

India’s first Open Access policy was drafted by a committee affiliated with the Departments of Biotechnology and Science & Technology (DBT/DST) in early 2014. It hasn’t been implemented yet. Its first draft accepted comments on its form and function on the DBT website until July 25; the second draft was released last week and is […]

Second draft of India’s OA policy open for comments

The second draft of India’s first Open Access policy is up on the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) website. Until November 17, 2014, DBT Adviser Mr. Madhan Mohan will receive comments on the policy’s form and function, after which a course for implementation will be charted. The Bangalore-based Center for Internet and Society (CIS), a non-profit […]

‘When you change something in a virus, you lose something else’

The contents of this blog post should have come out earlier (in a different form) but better late than never, eh? The Ebola outbreak has been more threatening than ever of going out of control (even as whether we’re really in control now is doubtful). As doctors and healthcare workers grappled with containment in West Africa, Michael […]

Why you should care about the mass of the top quark

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters on July 17, 2014, a team of American researchers reported the most precisely measured value yet of the mass of the top quark, the heaviest fundamental particle. Its mass is so high that can exist only in very high energy environments – such as inside powerful particle colliders […]

A standout technology prize

Once a year, the Nobel Prize in physics triggers a burst of science news coverage in the media, giving some decades-old invention or discovery more than its 15 minutes’ due on a channel, paper or portal that might have otherwise never bothered about it. Despite its abundant quirks, the prize, the consequent celebration and the […]

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