India tests ASAT weapon

In a live address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India had successfully tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile against a live satellite in low-Earth orbit. Though he didn’t explicitly mention a date, he implied in his 15-minute announcement that the test was conducted today, March 27. Modi also lauded the Indian Space … Read more

T.V. Ramakrishnan’s pseudoscience

In November 2018, T.V. Ramakrishnan reviewed a book called Modern Atomism, edited by J. Pasupathy and published in 2017, for Current Science. To the uninitiated, TVR is a condensed matter physicist of considerable repute and currently works at the Indian Institute of Science. He won the S.S. Bhatnagar Prize in 1982, the Padma Shri in … Read more

Look right and left before you cross

For as long as there were two political groups at loggerheads with each other, there has been an aspiration to be – or remain – on friendly terms with someone on the other side. “Don’t let politics get in the way of a friendship,” they said, and it was useful advice. However, with this political … Read more

Lord of the Rings Day

A happy Lord of the Rings Day to you! March 25 is celebrated as such around the world (though not by too many people, I imagine) to commemorate what still endures as an excellent work of epic fantasy as well as – by its fans – to commemorate Frodo’s destruction of the One Ring at … Read more

LHCb spots CP violation in charmed mesons

Where did we come from? That’s a really big question for anyone to answer. And if we want to answer such questions, we’re going to have to break it down into smaller questions, and then break the smaller questions further until we have something we know we can pin down. One of the smaller questions … Read more

Rich-poor divide

Deadly air exposes rich-poor divide, Channel News Asia, March 21, 2019: Delhi’s affluent, who are often better informed about the dangers of pollution, increasingly expect the same safety measures they have in place at home, to be available when they are out. High-end eateries, bars and cinemas are tapping into that demand – installing electronic … Read more

Re: science journalism in India

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed – together with the amazing Nandita Jayaraj – by Pavan Srinath on the Pragati Podcast. Our conversation was about science journalism in India, and both Nandita and Pavan were excellent interlocutors. I particularly liked Nandita’s observations on why we need to focus on the … Read more

What went boom in Balakot?

Did the Indian Air Force strike the various structures at the madrasa in Balakot with lethality sufficient to have caused “heavy casualties”, as foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters on February 26? Sections of the Indian media and of course BJP politicians believe it did and have even put a figure on the number of dead terrorists … Read more

What will Ashok Khemka find next?

Ashok Khemka, the senior IAS officer famous for having exposed numerous instances of government corruption, perhaps most prominently the DLF land-grab scam, has been transferred again. This time, he had voiced concerns over the Haryana government’s plans to ‘develop’ the Aravalli hills through what it called ‘consolidation projects’. That is just a sanitised way to say … Read more

6.35 pm

The world was a bowlA container of thingsWith cities at the bottomLike the abyss turned upside downStars blinked back from belowWhen ancient volcanoes eruptedOrange lava assembled on the rimStilled on the cusp, afraid to fallDown the black wall of the world 5.47 pm But from somewhere, a blue curtain had descended over the flat terminator. … Read more