Tag: democracy

  • Free-speech as an instrument of repression

    One of the more eye-opening discussions on Elon Musk’s attempt to take control of Twitter, and the Twitter board’s attempts to defend the company from the bid, have been playing out on Hacker News (here and, after Twitter’s response, here) – the popular discussion board for topics related to the tech industry. The first discussion has already […]

  • On the NBDSA opinion against Zee News

    On April 5, JNU PhD student Shehla Rashid tweeted that the National Broadcasting and Digital Standards Agency (NBDSA) had ordered Zee News to remove links to a show it had broadcast in November 2020, alleging that Rashid was indulging in “anti-national activities” and that she was “funding terror”. The program was hosted by Zee News editor-in-chief […]

  • Cooperative distrust

    Is there a doctrine or manifesto of cooperative distrust? Because I think that’s what we need today, in the face of reams of government data — almost all of it, in fact — that is untrustworthy, and the only way it can support our democracy is if the public response to it (if and when […]

  • Pandemic: Science > politics?

    By Mukunth and Madhusudhan Raman Former Union health secretary K. Sujatha Rao had a great piece in The Indian Express on January 14, whose takeaway she summarised in the following line: Science, evidence and data analytics need to be the bedrock of the roll-out policy, not politics and scoring brownie points for electoral advantages. However, […]

  • “Enough science.”

    Edit, 6.04 pm, December 15, 2020: A reader pointed out to me that The Guardian may in fact have been joking, and it has been known to be flippant on occasion. If this is really the case, I pronounce myself half-embarrassed for having been unable to spot a joke. But only half because it seems […]

  • Retrospective: The Wire Science in 2019

    At the start of 2019, The Wire Science decided to focus more on issues of science and society, and this is reflected in the year-end list of our best stories (in terms of traffic and engagement; listed below). Most of our hits don’t belong to this genre, but quite a few do – enough for us […]

  • My country is burning. Why should I work?

    A few days ago, I found asking myself the following question: My country is burning, why should I work? I ended up with some (admittedly inchoate) thoughts, delineated below. I’m trying to fight off this abject helplessness I’m feeling and edit some science articles, and failing. I’m not able to justify to myself why I […]

  • False equivalency

    Margaret Sullivan in the Washington Post on August 16: Does finding these powerful ways to frame the [Charlottesville] situation amount to abandoning journalistic impartiality? “The whole doctrine of objectivity in journalism has become part of the [media’s] problem,” Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, said this week in a talk at the Chautauqua Institution in […]

  • Bitcoins and the landscape of internet commerce

    In a previous post, I’d laid out the technical details of what goes into mining and transacting with bitcoins (BTC). My original idea was to talk about why they are an important invention, but also felt that the technology mattered enough to merit a post of its own. BTCs are not a fiat currency. That means […]