The weekly linklist – July 25, 2020

I’ve decided to publish this linklist via Substack. Next weekend onwards, it will only be available on https://linklist.substack.com. And this is why the list exists and what kind of articles you can find in it. Want to buy a parrot? Please login via Facebook. – “F-commerce emerged in Bangladesh largely because there was no majorContinue reading “The weekly linklist – July 25, 2020”

Social media and science communication

The following article was originally intended for an Indian publication but I withdrew from the commission because I couldn’t rework the piece according to changes they required, mostly for lack of focus. I thank Karnika Kohli and Shruti Muralidhar for their inputs. Since the mid-20th century, the news-publishing industry has wielded the most influence onContinue reading “Social media and science communication”

IBT’s ice-nine effect on Newsweek

In his 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut describes a fictitious substance called ice-nine: a crystalline form of water that converts all the liquid water it comes into contact with into more ice-nine. This is the sort of effect the International Business Times had on Newsweek, which, as Daniel Tovrov writes in the Columbia Journalism Review, went from being one ofContinue reading “IBT’s ice-nine effect on Newsweek”

The technically correct strapline

(Re)Stumbled upon this article, by Ed Yong in The Atlantic, July 2016, this morning. As usual, it is rivetingly packaged. The strapline in particular caught my eye: Biology textbooks tell us that lichens are alliances between two organisms—a fungus and an alga. They are wrong. Makes you go “Wow”, doesn’t it? But then you readContinue reading “The technically correct strapline”

How science is presented and consumed on Facebook

This post is a breakdown of the Pew study titled The Science People See on Social Media, published March 21, 2018. Without further ado… In an effort to better understand the science information that social media users encounter on these platforms, Pew Research Center systematically analyzed six months’ worth of posts from 30 of theContinue reading “How science is presented and consumed on Facebook”

Friends no more

Growing up, watching Friends was a source of much amusement and happiness. Now, as a grownup, I can’t watch a single episode without deeply resenting how the show caricatures all science as avoidable and all scientists as boring. The way Monica, Rachael, Phoebe, Chandler and Joey respond to Ross’s attempts to tell them something interestingContinue reading “Friends no more”

The blog and the social media

Because The Wire had signed up to be some kind of A-listed publisher with Facebook, The Wire‘s staff was required to create Facebook Pages under each writer/editor’s name. So I created the ‘Vasudevan Mukunth’ page. Then, about 10 days ago, Facebook began to promote my page on the platform, running ads for it that wouldContinue reading “The blog and the social media”

Confused thoughts on embargoes

Seventy! That’s how many observatories around the world turned their antennae to study the neutron-star collision that LIGO first detected. So I don’t know why the LIGO Collaboration, and Nature, bothered to embargo the announcement and, more importantly, the scientific papers of the LIGO-Virgo collaboration as well as those by the people at all theseContinue reading “Confused thoughts on embargoes”

The metaphorical transparency of responsible media

We in India often complain about how the media doesn’t care enough to cover science stories. But when we’re looking back and forward in time, we become blind to the media’s efforts.

Curious Bends – big tobacco, internet blindness, spoilt dogs and more

1. Despite the deadly floods in Uttarakhand in 2013, the govt ignores grave environmental reports on the new dams to be built in the state “The Supreme Court asked the Union environment ministry to review six specific hydroelectric projects on the upper Ganga basin in Uttarakhand. On Wednesday, the ministry informed the apex court that itsContinue reading “Curious Bends – big tobacco, internet blindness, spoilt dogs and more”