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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

6.35 pm

5.47 pm But from somewhere, a blue curtain had descended over the flat terminator. It hung further down into a gentler, paler azure, then a hurried, dirty transformation to brown. Why the rush I wanted to ask. As the crescent watched, the brown became ochre, ochre became salmon pink, salmon pink became orange, and orange […]

The informedness problem

The following is the text of a speech I prepared to deliver at the 11th Young Investigators’ Meeting in Guwahati on March 8, 2019. I wanted to use this opportunity to speak about education, which is one of science communication’s less known yet more important goals. I think it would be safe to argue that […]

Scicomm by scientists

Warning: profanity There are scientists who don’t want other scientists to communicate their work to the masses. There are scientists who want to but don’t have what they need to do it. And there are scientists who want to and are doing it. I love the last group. They are the best people to speak […]

Lightning strikes and sex

No, not that sex. Biological sex. In the past eight years, an astounding 80 percent of those killed by lightning strikes have been men. This astonishing statistic is from an article in Bustle, from 2014 – but it quickly stops being astonishing. It seems lightning preferred men because they were more likely to be engaged […]

Reading Manto

What is a short story? If you were to visualise the completeness of a ‘long-story’ as arcs of different lengths on a circle, then I would say a finished novel could be 90% of the circumference. Or an epic fantasy series like Lord of the Rings to be 100%. However, reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s short […]

A critique of Gaganyaan

Arup Dasgupta’s incisive article about ISRO’s human spaceflight mission, published on The Wire Science yesterday, is drawing a lot of civil, critical engagement from our readers. While this is good news from the newsroom’s perspective – civil engagement is always golden – I’d like to highlight two parts of it. First: Dasgupta’s article is a […]

Singin’ in the rain, Vadivelu version

Stanley Donen, who co-directed the famous 1952 Hollywood film Singin’ in the Rain with Gene Kelly, passed away on February 21. Though it released to moderate success at first, the film went on to become a cult classic. The titular song, first composed in 1929 and which “inspired” the film itself, according to its makers, […]

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