In defence of ignorance

Wish I may, wish I mightHave this wish, I wish tonightI want that star, I want it nowI want it all and I don’t care how Metallica, King Nothing I’m a news editor who frequently uses Twitter to find new stories to work on or follow up. Since the lockdown began, however, I’ve been harbouringContinue reading “In defence of ignorance”

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”

Scientism is not ‘nonsense’

The @realscientists rocur account on Twitter took a surprising turn earlier today when its current curator, Teresa Ambrosio, a chemist, tweeted the following: If I had to give her the benefit of doubt, I’d say she was pointing this tweet at the hordes of people – especially Americans – whose conspiratorial attitude towards vaccines andContinue reading “Scientism is not ‘nonsense’”

The fight over ISRO

My report about ISRO’s ’90-95%’ success claim vis-à-vis Chandrayaan 2 had precisely three kinds of response, split 49%, 49% and 2%. One 49% group went like this: The other 49% went like this: The remainder, which constituted meaningful engagement, was virtually residual. To add to this, K. Sivan has brought a new thing about himContinue reading “The fight over ISRO”

A journey through Twitter and time, with the laws of physics

Say you’re in a dark room and there’s a flash. The light travels outward in all directions from the source, and the illumination seems to expand in a sphere. This is a visualisation of how the information contained in light becomes distributed through space. But even though this is probably what you’d see if youContinue reading “A journey through Twitter and time, with the laws of physics”

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”