Disappointing persons of the year 2021

I’m starting to think that in this day and age, you will but err when you pick individuals for traditionally ‘prestigious’ awards, prizes, recognitions, etc., probably because the sort of people who can stand out by themselves have to have had the sort of clout and power that typically comes not through personal achievement as…… Continue reading Disappointing persons of the year 2021

The vaccine that was built from scratch

I have no plans to read ICMR chief Balram Bhargava’s new book, Going Viral, about the “inside story” of Covaxin’s making, and am grateful for that reason for Dr Jammi Nagaraj Rao’s quick but seemingly thorough review in The Wire Science. My lack of interest in the book itself also means I’m going to take…… Continue reading The vaccine that was built from scratch

Is Covaxin’s WHO approval guaranteed?

I suspect after reading this PTI report that the WHO is practically helping Bharat Biotech put together a better application to have its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, get the body’s approval for international use, instead of simply considering what Bharat Biotech chooses to submit. The overall tone of the report is mollificatory – as if the…… Continue reading Is Covaxin’s WHO approval guaranteed?

Where the atmanirbharta in spine?

https://twitter.com/CSIR_IND/status/1451156798958829572 Truth be told, I didn’t expect CSIR chief Shekhar Mande could be so disingenuous. “India didn’t have to depend on western countries,” he says. What is this abject refusal to thank other countries for help – and preferring instead to take their help and rewriting the past to pretend we didn’t need any? Of…… Continue reading Where the atmanirbharta in spine?

Revisiting ‘The Resistance of the Time’

Let us visit the future – a suitable point of time located in one of the many tomorrows ahead of us, a tomorrow far enough to have left The Time behind. What do we see? We see, among other things, that many people spoke up. Many people did not. Many people who spoke up did…… Continue reading Revisiting ‘The Resistance of the Time’

India’s missing research papers

If you’re looking for a quantification (although you shouldn’t) of the extent to which science is being conducted by press releases in India at the moment, consider the following list of studies. The papers for none of them have been published – as preprints or ‘post-prints’ – even as the people behind them, including many…… Continue reading India’s missing research papers

Journalistic entropy

Say you need to store a square image 1,000 pixels wide to a side with the smallest filesize (setting aside compression techniques). The image begins with the colour #009900 on the left side and, as you move towards the right, gradually blends into #1e1e1e on the rightmost edge. Two simple storage methods come to mind:…… Continue reading Journalistic entropy

In conversation with Sree Srinivasan

On May 1, I was hosted on a webinar by the American journalist Sree Srinivasan, along with Anna Isaac of The News Minute and Arunabh Saikia of Scroll.in. As part of his daily show on the COVID-19 crisis, hosted by Scroll.in, Srinivasan hosts a few people working in different areas, and they all chat about what they’re doing and…… Continue reading In conversation with Sree Srinivasan

‘Science alone triumphs’: A skeptic annotates

An article entitled ‘Science alone triumphs: Providing a true picture of the world, only science can help India against coronavirus’, penned by a Jayant Sinha, appeared on the Times of India’s editorials page on April 8, 2020. My annotated reading of the article follows… As the coronavirus continues its deadly spread around the world, it…… Continue reading ‘Science alone triumphs’: A skeptic annotates

On India’s path to community transmission

There’s a virus out there among many, many viruses that’s caught the world’s attention. This virus came into existence somewhere else, it doesn’t matter where, and developed a mutation at some point that allowed it to do what it needs to do inside the body of one specific kind of animal: Homo sapiens. And once…… Continue reading On India’s path to community transmission