Is mathematics real?

I didn’t think to think about the realism of mathematics until I got to high school, and encountered quantum mechanics. Mathematics was at first just another subject, before becoming a tool with which to think intelligently about money and, later, with advanced statistical concepts in the picture, to understand the properties of groups of objects … Read more

Panicking about omicron

The new omicron variant of the novel coronavirus has got everyone alarmed – which is darkly ironic. This variant has reportedly racked up more mutations than previous variants of concern, including the delta, with virologists and epidemiologists from South Africa and the UK paying particular attention to real-world data that suggests it could be more … Read more

Don’t donate bad food and call it ‘dharma’

There’s a troubling pattern among some people who give food away to homeless people and beggars. I have seen this happen first-hand with my folks, my extended family and their wider group of neighbours and acquaintances. All of them are Brahmins, so I don’t know if this is a Brahmin thing because they’re who my … Read more

The toxic affair between Covaxin and The Lancet

That Covaxin has been leading a ceaselessly beleaguered life is no mystery – but The Lancet journal may not know that it has been pressed into the questionable service of saving the vaccine’s reputation on at least three occasions. In the latest one, for example, Bharat Biotech, some clueless media outlets and their hordes of … Read more

The names of our dragons

The first piece of very-popular epic fantasy fiction I read was J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth saga, which, among many things, reminded me how much the American and British writers of ‘high fantasy’ owed the ancient mythologies of the people of Northern Europe and, to a lesser extent, east and central Asia. I read many other … Read more

Dirty power

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the COP26 summit in Glasgow that India will install 500 GW of non-fossil-fuel energy generation capacity by 2030. In his analysis of Modi’s speech for The Wire Science, Kabir Agarwal wrote that the phrasing evokes a contrast with Modi’s announcement at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit on New … Read more