Who’s to blame for the American right’s distrust of science?

reflection of gray mosque on water

This study unambiguously suggests that scientific journals do the institution of science no favor when they insert themselves so directly in the political debate, especially at a time when trust in the scientific community continues to decline on the right wing. This is the surprisingly misguided interpretation, in an article published by Politico, of a … Read more

Lord of the Rings Day

Campagna Fantasy, Frederic Edwin Church

Happy Lord of the Rings Day. 🙂 About a week ago, I began rereading book 7 of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. This followed my realisation earlier this year that I had somehow lost the ability to read fiction. I had neither the interest in the genre nor – unlike in the pre-pandemic … Read more

AI v. our ability to build AI

A lot of this article, by Sean Ekins, Filippa Lentzos, Max Brackmann, and Cédric Invernizzi, published by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on March 24, makes good sense – except the following two sentences: Nature took millions of years to design proteins. AI can generate meaningful protein sequences in seconds. The bigger question to ask … Read more

BLR road-widening is a sham

While I’m told that discussions on a plan to widen Bengaluru’s Sankey Road, between Bhashyam Circle and Malleshwaram 18th cross – a stretch that’s one of the contributors to the city’s reputation for horrific traffic – have progressed in the last two months to become less unilateral and more consultative, the idea that road-widening can … Read more

India’s devious reason to not spend more on culture

‘Difficult to allocate public fund to art and culture: Centre’, The Hindu, March 19, 2023: Given the high disparity it experiences in elementary rural infrastructure like health, education and transportation, it might not be “tenable” for a developing nation like India to allocate a considerable proportion of its public fund to the promotion of art … Read more

Nature paper says bad news is good news

‘Negativity drives online news consumption’, Claire E. Robertson et al., Nature Human Behaviour, March 16, 2023: Here we analyse the effect of negative words on news consumption using a massive online dataset of viral news stories from Upworthy.com—a website that was one of the most successful pioneers of click-bait in the history of the Internet23. … Read more

What’s the anomaly in a Nobel for Modi?

I’m sure you’ve seen the reports doing the rounds today that some person on some Nobel Prize Committee said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was very deserving of the vaunted peace prize, followed by less widely circulated reports that the person was misquoted (or dysquoted) and in fact that he never said such a thing. I … Read more