Categories
Op-eds

WordPress.com rolls back its botched ‘experiment’

So, WordPress.com has restored the family of premium plans that it had until April this year, and has done away with the controversial ‘Starter’ and ‘Pro’ plans. The announcement on the WordPress.com blog yesterday has already garnered a high 65 comments, even as the post itself was brief and didn’t contain indication that WordPress.com had […]

Categories
Analysis Science

Should ‘geniuses’ be paid extra?

A newsletter named Ideas Sleep Furiously had an essay propounding a “genius basic income” on May 28. Here are the first two paragraphs that capture a not-insignificant portion of the essay’s message: Professor Martin Hairer is one of the world’s most gifted mathematicians. An Austrian-Brit at Imperial College London, he researches stochastic partial differential equations and holds two […]

Categories
Tech

The 5ftf blunder

Automattic owner Matt Mullenweg recently made a scene on Twitter when he called out GoDaddy as a “parasitic” organisation for profiting off of WordPress without making a sufficient number of contributions to the WordPress community and for developing a competitor to WooCommerce, which is Automattic’s ‘WordPress but for e-commerce’. (To the uninitiated, Automattic owns WordPress.com […]

Categories
Scicomm

A quantum theory of consciousness

We seldom have occasion to think about science and religion at the same time, but the most interesting experience I have had doing that came in October 2018, when I attended a conference called ‘Science for Monks’* in Gangtok, Sikkim. More precisely, it was one edition of a series of conferences by that name, organised […]

Categories
Analysis Culture

Unless the West copies us, we’re irrelevant

We have become quite good at dismissing the more asinine utterances of our ministers and other learned people in terms of either a susceptibility to pseudoscience or, less commonly, a wilful deference to what we might call pseudoscientific ideas in order to undermine “Western science” and its influence. But when a matter of this sort […]

Categories
Life notes Science

JWST and the sorites paradox

Where does beauty end and ugliness begin?

Categories
Life notes

The Higgs boson and I

My first byline as a professional journalist (a.k.a. my first byline ever) was oddly for a tech story – about the advent of IPv6 internet addresses. I started writing it after 7 pm, had to wrap it up by 9 pm and it was published in the paper the next day (I was at The Hindu). […]

Categories
Scicomm

25 years of Maldacena’s bridge

Twenty-five years go, in 1997, an Argentine physicist named Juan Martin Maldacena published what would become the most highly cited physics paper in history (more than 20,000 to date). In the paper, Maldacena described a ‘bridge’ between two theories that describe how our world works, but separately, without meeting each other. These are the field […]

Categories
Analysis Tech

The problem that ‘crypto’ actually solves

And why that makes cryptocurrencies hard to beat.

Categories
Analysis

What the bitcoin price drop reveals about ‘crypto’

One of the definitive downsides of cryptocurrencies raised its head this week when the nosediving price of bitcoin – brought on by the Luna/Terra crash and subsequent cascading effects – rendered bitcoin mining less profitable. One bitcoin today costs $19,410, so it’s hard to imagine this state of affairs has come to pass – but this is […]