JWST and the imagination

An infrared image of the 'Pillars of Creation' in the Eagle Nebula, photographed by the Hubble space telescope in 2014. Credit: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA

When the Hubble space telescope launched in April 1990, I was too young to understand what was going on – but not yesterday, when NASA launched its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Every once in a while, the Hubble telescope team releases an image of thousands of stars packed into one shot, the…… Continue reading JWST and the imagination

About vaccines for children and Covaxin…

Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

I don’t understand his penchant for late-night announcements, much less one at 10 pm on Christmas night, but Prime Minister Narendra has just said the government will roll out vaccines for young adults aged 15-18 years from January 3, 2022 – around the same time I received a press release from Bharat Biotech saying the…… Continue reading About vaccines for children and Covaxin…

Disappointing persons of the year 2021

I’m starting to think that in this day and age, you will but err when you pick individuals for traditionally ‘prestigious’ awards, prizes, recognitions, etc., probably because the sort of people who can stand out by themselves have to have had the sort of clout and power that typically comes not through personal achievement as…… Continue reading Disappointing persons of the year 2021

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…… Continue reading Don’t donate bad food and call it ‘dharma’

The ‘one billion doses’ hype

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed India’s people 10 times during the country’s COVID-19 epidemic. This is fairly regular but also not frequent – that is, Modi’s addresses are something of special occasions, especially since it’s one of the few ways he interacts with the people at large (he doesn’t like speaking to the independent…… Continue reading The ‘one billion doses’ hype

He is never wrong

Akshay Deshmane reported for The Morning Context on October 20 that the Union environment ministry has reversed two important decisions it made earlier this year: (a) to invite private law firms to help amend the Indian Forest Act 1927 and (b) to oppose the Delhi high court’s directive to translate the new draft EIA notification…… Continue reading He is never wrong

Revisiting ‘The Resistance of the Time’

Let us visit the future – a suitable point of time located in one of the many tomorrows ahead of us, a tomorrow far enough to have left The Time behind. What do we see? We see, among other things, that many people spoke up. Many people did not. Many people who spoke up did…… Continue reading Revisiting ‘The Resistance of the Time’

NCBS retraction – addenda

My take on the NCBS paper being retracted, and the polarised conversation that has erupted around the incident, is here. The following are some points I’d like to add. a. Why didn’t the editorial and peer-review teams at Nature Chemical Biology catch the mistakes before the paper was published? As the work of famous research-fraud…… Continue reading NCBS retraction – addenda

The problems with one-shot Covishield

NDTV quoted unnamed sources in the Indian government saying it will be conducting a study to assess the feasibility of deploying the Covishield vaccine in a single-dose regimen instead of continuing the extant double-dose regimen. At any other time, such a statement may have been sufficient to believe the government would organise and conduct a…… Continue reading The problems with one-shot Covishield

The political theatre of Vardhan v. Ramdev

Last week, Baba Ramdev made offensive remarks against allopathic medicine and against people desperately looking for oxygen for their loved ones hospitalised with COVID-19. On Sunday, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan sent a letter to Ramdev asking him to withdraw his comments. On Monday morning, news reports suggested Ramdev had done so. However, it wasn’t…… Continue reading The political theatre of Vardhan v. Ramdev