SpaceX rocket blows up but let’s remember that #SpaceIsHard

A Falcon 9 rolls out. Credit: SpaceX

The Wire June 30, 2015 “... it's not all or nothing. We must get to orbit eventually, and we will. It might take us one, two or three more tries, but we will. We will make it work.” Elon Musk said this in a now-famous interview to Wired in 2008 when questioned about what the… Continue reading SpaceX rocket blows up but let’s remember that #SpaceIsHard

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SpaceX rocket blows up but let's remember that #SpaceIsHard

A Falcon 9 rolls out. Credit: SpaceX

The Wire June 30, 2015 “... it's not all or nothing. We must get to orbit eventually, and we will. It might take us one, two or three more tries, but we will. We will make it work.” Elon Musk said this in a now-famous interview to Wired in 2008 when questioned about what the… Continue reading SpaceX rocket blows up but let's remember that #SpaceIsHard

Want anonymity on the Internet? ICANN thinks you can’t

No more masks? Source: Fanpop

The Wire June 29, 2015 Your face. When you commit murder and someone sees your face, you’re given away. Even if it was your evil identical twin who did it, the police now know where to start looking. A person’s face is one of the fundamental modes of physical identity, and its ability to correspond… Continue reading Want anonymity on the Internet? ICANN thinks you can’t

How small universities can game rankings

Gandhi Bhawan at Panjab University. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Wire June 28, 2015 A recent survey by the influential Nature science journal ranked Panjab University as the first in India, with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research a close second, based on the number of citations of papers stemming from them. Panjab University is a public university, and its place of pride in… Continue reading How small universities can game rankings

Beijing’s buildings make for bad breathing but the news from India is worse

The Wire June 27, 2015 Breathing in Beijing could be like passive smoking without the short-lived pleasure of a tobacco-high. Writing in The Guardian in December 2014, Oliver Wainwright described an atmosphere akin to one in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion - instead of radioactive particles and clouds of ash, China's capital city was enveloped in a dense suspension of… Continue reading Beijing’s buildings make for bad breathing but the news from India is worse

On the need for the India-based Neutrino Observatory

A prototype of the ICAL detector at TIFR. Credit: TIFR

"I bet @1amnerd disagrees with this" was how Kapil Subramanian's piece in The Hindu today was pointed out to me on Twitter. Titled 'India must look beyond neutrinos', the piece examines if India should be a "global leader in science" and if investing in a neutrino detector is the way to do it. A few… Continue reading On the need for the India-based Neutrino Observatory

Pluto-bound probe takes first colour images of the dwarf planet and its moon

The Wire June 22, 2015 It may not look like much, but this heavily pixelated GIF image is cause for celebration. It effectively cost a robotic space probe more than nine years of travel and $600 million in manufacturing and operational charges. But then again, that's not why the image is (and must be) celebrated. That… Continue reading Pluto-bound probe takes first colour images of the dwarf planet and its moon

The Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra Basins are drying up faster than we’d like

The Indus Basin at Skardu. Photo: Adeel Shaikh (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Wire June 22, 2015 To the north, India is flanked by two giant groundwater aquifers - the Indus Basin to the west and the Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin to the east. Between them, they underlie a surface area of over 2.2 million sq. km and water from them supports the livelihoods of about 800 million people. That’s an area… Continue reading The Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra Basins are drying up faster than we’d like

The Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra Basins are drying up faster than we'd like

The Indus Basin at Skardu. Photo: Adeel Shaikh (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Wire June 22, 2015 To the north, India is flanked by two giant groundwater aquifers - the Indus Basin to the west and the Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin to the east. Between them, they underlie a surface area of over 2.2 million sq. km and water from them supports the livelihoods of about 800 million people. That’s an area… Continue reading The Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra Basins are drying up faster than we'd like

Is Reliance Jio sending unsecured Indian data into China?

A screengrab of the AnonOps video that announced Operation Reliance. Credit: YouTube

The Wire June 19, 2015 A group of hackers calling itself AnonOps India on Thursday tweeted what it called evidence of the Reliance Jio Chat app transmitting geolocation data to Chinese servers – a potentially illegal act that compromises user privacy because the data is being transmitted through an unsecured connection. The purported exposé was… Continue reading Is Reliance Jio sending unsecured Indian data into China?