Peter Higgs, self-promoter

I was randomly rewatching The Big Bang Theory on Netflix today when I spotted this gem: Okay, maybe less a gem and more a shiny stone, but still. The screenshot, taken from the third episode of the sixth season, shows Sheldon Cooper mansplaining to Penny the work of Peter Higgs, whose name is most famously …

The potential energy of being entertained

Netflix just published a report drafted by its Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, estimating – among other things – its environmental footprint for operations during the year 2019. According to the report, as The Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi writes: Binge-watching Netflix doesn’t just fry your brain; it may also be frying the planet. The streaming service’s global energy consumption increased by …

The fascist’s trap

The following lines appear in the opening portion of G.S. Mudur's report in The Telegraph about government opposition to student protests: “The people protecting our democracy are the people in JNU. They’re taking beatings on our behalf,” K.S. Venkatesh [a professor of electrical engineering at IIT Kanpur] told the assembled group [of students and faculty …

The mad world

Kate Wagner writes in The Baffler: What makes industrial landscapes unique is that they fascinate regardless of whether they’re operating. The hellish Moloch of a petrochemical refinery is as captivating as one of the many abandoned factories one passes by train, and vice versa. That doesn’t mean, though, that all industrial landscapes are created equal. …

A sympathetic science

If you feel the need to respond, please first make sure you have read the post in full. I posted the following tweet a short while ago: With reference to this: Which in turn was with reference to this: But a few seconds after publishing it, I deleted the tweet because I realised I didn't …

Injustice ex machina

There are some things I think about but struggle to articulate, especially in the heat of an argument with a friend. Cory Doctorow succinctly captures one such idea here: Empiricism-washing is the top ideological dirty trick of technocrats everywhere: they assert that the data “doesn’t lie,” and thus all policy prescriptions based on data can …

Sci-fi past the science

There's an interesting remark in the introductory portion of this article by Zeynep Tufekci (emphasis added): At its best, though, science fiction is a brilliant vehicle for exploring not the far future or the scientifically implausible but the interactions among science, technology and society. The what-if scenarios it poses can allow us to understand our own societies …

The Star Wars dynasty

The latest 'Star Wars' movie, The Rise of Skywalker, is worth a watch if you're a committed fan interested in staying up to date with the franchise. Otherwise, all you're missing is a movie unsure of what it's supposed to do, and ends up doing too many things as a result. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD One …