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Culture Science

Hail the Royal Society

The Royal Society’s appointment of its first Brazilian member since 1871 brings an underappreciated form of our colonial hangover to the fore.

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Analysis Science

The problem with giving “Mother Nature” rights and duties

Recently, the Madras high court passed a curiously worded order in which Justice S. Srimathy extended the Uttarakhand high court’s 2017 order, granting the rights due to citizens to the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers, to “Mother Nature” in toto. It’s hard to say what this means (I haven’t read the order, only some excerpts), […]

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Analysis Science

India – where repairing a bad road could make life worse

There is a long road that runs from Mantri Mall to Sankey Road, in Malleshwaram, Bengaluru, called Sampige Road. There are eighteen smaller roads that branch off from it on either side (straightforwardly numbered one through 18), and both the main stem and almost all of these side roads, or crosses, are full of shops […]

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Science

There’s a scientistic eclipse

There is a solar eclipse today and news websites are as usual participating in amplifying nonsense. It’s prima facie not nonsense in and of itself but because it’s not qualified as astrological material. That is, it’s an example of news sites not exercising good judgment. Science doesn’t have a monopoly on sense-making, so calling it […]

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Analysis Science

The paradoxical virtues of primacy in science

Primacy is a false virtue imposed by the structures of modern science – yet it is also necessary to right some wrongs.

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Culture Science

Climate change, like quantum physics, will strain language

One of the defining features of quantum mechanics is that it shows up human language, and thought supported by that language, to be insufficient and limited. Many of the most popular languages of the world, including Tamil, Hindi and English, are linear. Their script reads in a line from one end of the page to […]

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Analysis Science

Must war have consequences for scientists?

The Journal of Molecular Structure has temporarily banned manuscript submissions from scientists working at state science institutes in Russia. The decision extends the consequences of war beyond the realm of politics, albeit to persons who have played no role in Putin’s invasion and might even have opposed it at great risk to themselves. Such reactions […]

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Scicomm Science

‘Aatmanirbharta through science’

The Week magazine distinguished itself last year by picking Indian Council of Medical Research chief Balram Bhargava as its ‘person of the year’ for 2021. And now, ahead of National Science Day tomorrow, The Week has conducted an “exclusive” interview with science minister Jitendra Singh. Long Small story short, it’s rubbish. I discovered the term ‘Gish gallop’ in […]

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Science

NSD II

That the Modi government has been able to coopt National Science Day as well as it has speaks only to the occasion’s moral vacuity. India’s National Science Day is the day on which physicist C.V. Raman discovered the optical effect named for him, and the government zeroed in on this discovery, over numerous others, because […]

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Analysis Culture Science

Marie Curie: An icon or ‘in the way’?

Who would have been the most iconic woman physicist of all time if the Nobel Prizes didn’t exist?