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 […]

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 […]

Significance of China’s moon mission

I wrote the following analysis for chinaindiadialogue.com and China Pictorial. A big thank you to Mithila Phadke for the opportunity and for working on the text to make it sharper and more readable. Beyond the Far Side China has always publicly advocated for the peaceful use of outer space. It adopted its current Constitution in […]


A member of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has confirmed it has made progress on its plan to test a new class of reusable rockets. B.N. Suresh, an honorary distinguished professor at ISRO, discussed some details of the ADMIRE project at a meeting of the Indian National Science Academy on December 26. And in […]

A question for Modi

On December 18, Manmohan Singh took a jibe at Narendra Modi for not holding any press conferences in his term as PM. To get in on the action, 15 people at The Wire (including myself) pitched 15 questions we’d like to ask Modi if we ever got the chance. The full list is here to view. My question, eleventh […]

On cosmology’s scicomm disaster

Jamie Farnes, a theoretical physicist at Oxford University, recently had a paper published that claimed the effects of dark matter and dark energy could be explained by replacing them with a fluid-like substance that was created spontaneously, had negative mass and disobeyed the general theory of relativity. As fantastic as these claims are, Farnes’s paper made the […]

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