Two books

When thoughts turn stale, read a book. I'm reading two at the moment, which is telling. Patriots and Partisans by historian Ram Guha, an accessible narration of the historical roots of modern Indian national politics. Flights by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, a work of fiction that I noticed because of its beautiful cover and then for… Continue reading Two books

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Satire: Ducks in water could increase oxygen content

According to Biplab Deb, the chief minister of Tripura, the oxygen content of water will increase if ducks swim in it. [Satire begins here] This is a sensational new discovery that has drastic implications for Earth's future. The lawmaker's thinking suggests it might have something to do with duck-farts. There are thousands of water bodies… Continue reading Satire: Ducks in water could increase oxygen content

The editor, the writer and the exclusivity

Do all editors share that excoriating sensation that carves through one’s gut when one sees one’s writer writing for another publication? Of course, “one’s writer” is unjust phrasing because writers don’t belong to editors and are free to write for whoever they please. However, this isotropic sea of writer-editor relationships is more suitable for the… Continue reading The editor, the writer and the exclusivity

War and peace

I asked a friend earlier today if he would be interested in explaining the observation of Lyman-alpha lines in anti-hydrogen to an audience of high-schoolers.But will high-schoolers ever be able to understand what Lyman-alpha lines in anti-hydrogen are? In other words, when will 17-year-olds ever be expected to know this? They won't. Not knowing what… Continue reading War and peace

The spades

Donald Trump When you criticise a person, you naturally take into account their office and assess whether you know all that you need to to come to your conclusions. For a long time, this 'stop and assess' step prevented mediapersons, who generally like to be careful, from calling Donald Trump an outright liar or an… Continue reading The spades

High-temp. superconductivity, hype cycles and peer review

Hype. Credit: Verena Yunita Yapi/Unsplash

TL;DR – Journalists are already more accountable than the publishers of scientific journals are. If scientists find journalistic review of the scientific literature to be lacking, help them improve instead of completely disabling them from doing it. *** The recent conversation about preprints, motivated by Tom Sheldon's article in Nature News, focused on whether access… Continue reading High-temp. superconductivity, hype cycles and peer review