A gentle push over the cliff

From ‘Rotavirus vaccine: tortured data analyses raise false safety alarm’, The Hindu, June 22, 2024: Slamming the recently published paper by Dr. Jacob Puliyel from the International Institute of Health Management Research, New Delhi, on rotavirus vaccine safety, microbiologist Dr. Gagandeep Kang says: “If you do 20 different analyses, one of them will appear significant. … Read more

The universe’s shape and its oldest light

The 3-torus is a strange and wonderful shape. We can’t readily visualise it because it has a complicated structure, but there’s a way. Imagine you’re standing inside a cube in which light is moving from the left face towards the right face. If the two faces are opaque, the right face will absorb the light, … Read more

On the Nature feature about the Sarafs, a rare disease, and time

Heidi Ledford has a tragic and powerful story published yesterday in Nature, about a team of scientists at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology racing to develop a CRISPR treatment for Uditi Saraf, a young girl whose brain was losing neurons due to a very rare, very aggressive genetic condition called FENIB. The story’s … Read more

The pitfalls of Somanath calling Aditya L1 a “protector”

In a WhatsApp group of which I’m a part, there’s a heated discussion going on around an article published by NDTV on June 10, entitled ‘Sun’s Fury May Fry Satellites, But India Has A Watchful Space Protector’. The article was published after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) published images of the Sun the Aditya … Read more

A nationalism of Sunita Williams

The headlines in Indian mainstream media over the course of June 6, after Boeing (finally) launched its Starliner capsule on its first crewed test flight… … betray a persistent inability to let go of the little yet also false pride that comes with calling Sunita Williams an “Indian-American” astronaut. This is from the Wikipedia page … Read more

12 years and counting

I’ve been a journalist for 12 years. For the first few years these anniversaries helped to remember that I was able to survive in the industry but now, after 12, I’m well and truly part of the industry itself — the thing that others survive — and the observances don’t mean anything as such. This … Read more

The BHU Covaxin study and ICMR bait

Earlier this month, a study by a team at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi concluded that fully 1% of Covaxin recipients may suffer severe adverse events. One percent is a large number because the multiplier (x in 1/100 * x) is very large — several million people. The study first hit the headlines for … Read more