Tales of two peppers

The 7 Pot Barrackpore starts at the same Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) as the regular ones, but its highest level has frequently approached 1.3M SHU, which can easily set your face on fire. How the name Barrackpore came about, though, is quite intriguing. This is the third tweet in a medium-sized thread on Twitter by … Read more

The Merge

Earlier this month, a major event happened in the cryptocurrency space called the ‘Merge’. In this event, the ethereum blockchain changed the way it achieves consensus – from using a proof-of-work mechanism to a proof-of-stake mechanism. A blockchain is a spreadsheet that maintains a record of all the transactions between users using the same blockchain. … Read more

Ramanujan, Nash, Turing, Mirzakhani

From a short review of a new documentary about the life and work of the Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, September 9, 2022: While there are other movies about real-life mathematicians such as Nash, Ramanujan and Turing, the special abilities of these individuals are often depicted as making them eccentric in their private lives. In contrast, Mirzakhani lived … Read more

A physics story of infinities, goats and colours

When I was writing in August about physicist Sheldon Glashow’s objection to Abdus Salam being awarded a share of the 1979 physics Nobel Prize, I learnt that it was because Salam had derived a theory that Glashow had derived as well, taking a different route, but ultimately the final product was non-renormalisable. A year or so later, … Read more

How do you make a mode-locked laser?

Given Mode-locked lasers are lasers that are capable of producing intense ultra-short pulses of light at a very high rate. Concepts Set 1 Take a bunch of atoms, excite them and place them in a box covered with mirrors in all directions. Send in one photon, a particle of light, to intercept one of these … Read more

The strange NYT article on taming minks

I’m probably waking up late to this but the New York Times has published yet another article in which it creates a false balance by first focusing on the problematic side of a story for an inordinately long time, without any of the requisite qualifications and arguments, before jumping, in the last few paragraphs to one or … Read more