Cognitive flexibility and nationalism 2.0

Remember that paper about cognitive flexibility and nationalism? The one that said people who are more nationalistic in their politics tend to have lower cognitive flexibility? I’d blogged about it here. I hadn’t read the study’s paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, because I didn’t think I had to to be able to … Read more

Performing with and without an audience

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. … The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. – Isaac Asimov (source) Be it far from me to fall for a behavioural studies paper that’s not yet been replicated, and much farther to do so based on … Read more

View from the beanstalk

In early 2015, I developed an unlikely hobby: tinkering around with hosting solutions on the web, specifically providers of infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It’s unlikely because it’s not something I consciously inculcated; it just happened. Three years later, this hobby has morphed into a techno-garden of obsessions that I tend to on the side, in … Read more

Who we will always be

I found this evocative image on Twitter today. It’s by a Russian artist named Yuri Shwedoff and the image is part of his ‘Space Series’, available to view and appreciate on Behance. I don’t know the provenance of the overlaid text though. At a glance, it’s clear the image depicts a future where we’ve abandoned all space launches and have regressed … Read more

The March for Science, ed. 2018

K. VijayRaghavan, India’s new principal scientific advisor to the Government of India, has brought a lot of hope with him into the role as a result of his illustrious career as a biologist and former secretaryship with the Department of Biotechnology. Many stakeholders of the scientific establishment are already looking to him for positive changes … Read more

Cognitive flexibility and nationalism

There’s something off about a new study that attempts to map the cognitive flexibility of people to their ideological preferences. To quote from the study’s ‘Significance’ section: We found that individuals with strongly nationalistic attitudes tend to process information in a more categorical manner, even when tested on neutral cognitive tasks that are unrelated to their political … Read more

A peek behind the curtain of the most infamous cosmic blunder of our time

I was once stupid too, and still am in many ways. One of the instances when I was more stupid than usual was when I wrote an article about the now-infamous BICEP2 ‘discovery’ of evidence of cosmic inflation in 2014. The ‘discovery’ eventually turned out to be a non-discovery because the scientists behind it had acted too … Read more

From comfortable summer wear to advanced geometry

A friend of mine got harem pants and was talking about how much more comfortable they were than a lungi in Chennai’s current weather. A lungi is a long cylinder made of cloth (open at both ends of course) commonly worn by men in South India. Five minutes later, our conversation included this statement: 2-manifolds with the same genus … Read more

Remembrance: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

Since news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke last month, many of us have expressed apprehension – often on Facebook itself – that the social networking platform has transformed since its juvenile beginnings into an ugly monster. Such moral panic is flawed and we ought to know that by now. After all, it’s been 50 years since 2001: … Read more

Things to keep in mind before picking a webhost

In descending order of priority 1. Support This isn’t just about receiving help when you need but also about when you don’t. The hosting providers’ support staff should be easily accessible at all times and you should be able to have a conversation with them about any of their services. Your point of contact should … Read more