60 years of ‘Tsar Bomba’, history’s most powerful nuke

This post was originally published on October 31, 2018. I republished it once in 2020 after Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy corporation, released 40 minutes of previously classified footage of RDS-220’s explosion on August 28, 2020 (embedded below). Watch this minute-long excerpt by Reuters of the explosion. I’m republishing it again, today, following the publication … Read more

Is Covaxin’s WHO approval guaranteed?

I suspect after reading this PTI report that the WHO is practically helping Bharat Biotech put together a better application to have its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, get the body’s approval for international use, instead of simply considering what Bharat Biotech chooses to submit. The overall tone of the report is mollificatory – as if the … Read more

It’s great that the WHO isn’t just ‘not cutting corners’

Call me anti-national (and I’m sure many will) but I’m glad that the WHO isn’t just “not cutting corners” in the process of considering Bharat Biotech’s application for the UN body’s stamp of approval Covaxin but is also openly calling for more and more information from the company at periodic intervals. This isn’t just a … Read more

Dream11: How hard should we work to play cricket for India?

The TV ads for the fantasy cricket app Dream11 seem objectionable, to my mind. Thus far, I’ve seen three high-profile players of the Indian men’s cricket team in these ads: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Jasprit Bumrah (there may be others). Each player stars in a version of the ad in which the ad summarily … Read more

Where the atmanirbharta in spine?

Truth be told, I didn’t expect CSIR chief Shekhar Mande could be so disingenuous. “India didn’t have to depend on western countries,” he says. What is this abject refusal to thank other countries for help – and preferring instead to take their help and rewriting the past to pretend we didn’t need any? Of all … Read more

The ‘one billion doses’ hype

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed India’s people 10 times during the country’s COVID-19 epidemic. This is fairly regular but also not frequent – that is, Modi’s addresses are something of special occasions, especially since it’s one of the few ways he interacts with the people at large (he doesn’t like speaking to the independent … Read more

He is never wrong

Akshay Deshmane reported for The Morning Context on October 20 that the Union environment ministry has reversed two important decisions it made earlier this year: (a) to invite private law firms to help amend the Indian Forest Act 1927 and (b) to oppose the Delhi high court’s directive to translate the new draft EIA notification … Read more

A new way to harass editors?

There’s a new way to harass editors – or perhaps it’s an old way that we’re just finding out about, first-hand. We know that repressive governments have started using the US’s infamous Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as a new means to censor content they do not like. But it now seems private parties have also … Read more

Will this blog be online a hundred years from today?

For almost two weeks now, we at The Wire have been dealing with a complaint that someone from Maharashtra lodged against us with Amazon Web Services (AWS), our sites’ host, for allegedly copying one paragraph in one article sans consent from a source that the complainant allegedly owns, and thus violating AWS’s terms of use … Read more