Curious Bends – counting tigers, curing PTSD, farming in battlefields and more

1. Tracking tigers by keeping an eye out for their stripes “The software ExtractCompare, the first of its kind for tigers, projects photographs of tigers on to a three-dimensional surface, and tallies their stripe patterns, distinct as a barcode, against images stored in a database. When a “high similarity” score is reached, a successful identification … Read more

Possible first signal of dark matter detected

Dark matter is thought to make up more than 80% of the matter in our universe. However, it is relatively difficult to detect for various reasons. The two most important are because Scientists don’t know what the constituent particles of dark matter are, or how much they could weigh. There are various theories – each of … Read more

Curious Bends – where Indians come from, Irrawady dolphins, human spaceflight and more

1. A genetic history: Where do Indians come from? “In 2005, K. Thangaraj and his colleagues at CCMB published their findings about the origin of Andaman islanders in the journal Science. The Onge turned out to have surprisingly unmixed origins. They had likely lived isolated in the islands since the arrival here of the first … Read more

The GSLV Mk-III is no jugaad

Scroll December 18, 2014 (Note: This piece was written in the future-tense and published before ISRO’s successful test flight this morning.) Come Thursday, the Indian Space Research Organisation will launch its GSLV Mk-III rocket from its launch pad in Sriharikota. In the run-up, most media attention has been on a conical module the rocket will … Read more

A new LHC: 10 things to look out for

Through an extraordinary routine, the most powerful machine built by humankind is slowly but surely gearing up for its relaunch in March 2015. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), straddling the national borders of France and Switzerland, will reawaken after two years of upgrades and fixes to smash protons at nearly twice the energy it did during … Read more