Nicking the notch

I got myself a new phone today – the iPhone 6S. Before the purchase, I had spent hours on Amazon looking for the right phone within my budget, and quite possibly went through at least two score models. During this exercise, I noticed many phones on the market that had unabashedly copied the fullscreen design … Read more

Are celebs responsible for their troll-followers?

I’ve got two things to say about my Elon Musk piece from yesterday. The piece was well-received, insofar as I was expecting it to be: there were a few bouquets, many brickbats. One troll called me “a Marxist in the garb of a science educator”. I thought that was a fine thing to be, though … Read more

The institution called Elon Musk

Jean-Paul Sartre famously refused a Nobel Prize for literature (in 1964) because, he said, he didn’t want to be “institutionalised”. His eagerness to prevent this transformation wasn’t misguided. Perhaps more famously, at least among science journalists, many Nobel laureates in the sciences have turned into institutions after winning the coveted prize. Their presence in a room … Read more

The stupidest six

After the IPL 2018 concluded last night, Star Sports TV has been doing reruns of the tournament, showing highlights from all the 60 matches as well as compilations of the performances by category. One of these categories is “longest sixes”. Hitting a six is a combination of strength and skill: you need to get the … Read more

The deceptive ignominy of being the first to win an award

Kamaljit Bawa is the first Indian to receive the Linnaean Medal in the 140-year old history of the Society awarding the medal. This line is from a press release I received this morning from a PR person at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, where Bawa works. I’ve never heard of … Read more

Reconciling multiple personalities

I watched a Tamil film today, Romba Nallavan Da Nee (You’re a Very Good Man; 2015). The story’s antagonist appears to have dissociative identity disorder. This disorder used to be called ‘multiple personality’ disorder (MPD). However, in the film all the “doctors” keep calling it “disolative” identity disorder, and constantly refer to it as a … Read more

There is neither truth nor news in Elon Musk’s ‘Pravda’

Elon Musk tweeted this week that he plans to setup an online platform called ‘Pravda’, where people can “rate the core truth of any article and track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor and publication.” This isn’t a joke. Bloomberg reported on May 24, “The California secretary of state’s website shows a Pravda … Read more

Starting over again

I read a blog post on Coding Horror this morning, where Jeff Atwood, its author, writes about how he inculcated his blogging habit to the extent that it has come to change his life, net him book deals and speaking opportunities, and makes him some money. While the last bit is not something I usually … Read more

‘Work from home’ is about culture, not economics

Working from home (WFH) is not for everyone or for every company. It works mostly when individual employees of an organisation don’t need to work together often, or are embedded in workflows where tasks move quickly from one stage to the next. On a personal level, WFH isn’t feasible if you lack self-discipline and/or need … Read more

‘Weak charge’ measurement holds up SM prediction

Various dark matter detectors around the world, massive particle accelerators and colliders, powerful telescopes on the ground and in space all have their distinct agendas but ultimately what unites them is humankind’s quest to understand what the hell this universe is on about. There are unanswered questions in every branch of scientific endeavour that will … Read more