Category: Analysis

  • Should journos pay scientists for their expertise?

    Should journos pay scientists for their expertise?

    I recently came across a question posed on Twitter, asking if experts whom journalists consult to write articles should be compensated for their labour, especially since, in the tweeter’s words, “it’s quite a bit of effort”. The tweeter clarified their position further in some of the conversations that sprang up in response. I felt compelled […]

  • Notes on the NIF nuclear fusion breakthrough

    My explainer/analysis of the US nuclear fusion breakthrough was published today. Some stuff didn’t make it to the final draft for space and tone constraints; I’m publishing that below. 1. While most US government officials present at the announcement of the NIF’s results, including the president’s science advisor Arati Prabhakar (and with the exception of energy […]

  • Skyward light, wayward light

    Skyward light, wayward light

    This is welcome news: … even if it’s curious that three of the four officially stated reasons for designating this ‘dark sky reserve’ aren’t directly related to the telescopes, and that telescopes had to come up in the area for the local government, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and whoever else to acknowledge that […]

  • Science’s humankind shield

    “Science benefits all of humanity,” they say.

  • The strange beauty of Planck units

    The strange beauty of Planck units

    What does it mean to say that the speed of light is 1? We know the speed of light in the vacuum of space to be 299,792,458 m/s – or about 300,000 km/s. It’s a quantity of speed that’s very hard to visualise with the human brain. In fact, it’s so fast as to practically be instantaneous […]

  • The covering COP27 quandary

    The covering COP27 quandary

    “Of the 1,156 publicly-listed companies, regions and cities that have so far made net-zero pledges … [more than half] are little more than vague commitments or proposals,” according to a new UN report. Even when proper promises to cut emissions are in the picture, “Audi, Volkswagen, Daimler – now Mercedes-Benz – and BMW commissioned Bosch to […]

  • The ideologues cometh for the IITs

    The ideologues cometh for the IITs

    In July 2019, when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched its Chandrayaan 2 mission, the spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev was present in the control centre, along with other dignitaries, getting a close view of the launch from a balcony. After the launch, he was seen taking photographs with the scientists in the room. Many […]

  • The biopolitics of Covaxin

    The biopolitics of Covaxin

    In a new investigation, STAT has reported fresh problems with Covaxin’s approval process in India, including the phase 2 trial dropping its placebo arm in favour of one preordained to make Covaxin look good and Bharat Biotech – the maker – commencing phase 3 trials based on results from animal studies. I’m also filing the report […]

  • COP talks as ambition police

    COP talks as ambition police

    Part of what makes Greta Thunberg such a powerful voice in climate activism is her no-nonsense communication. Yesterday, for example, she called the impending COP27 climate talks, to be held in Egypt on November 6-18, an opportunity for “people in power” to “greenwash”, “lie” and “cheat”. Her words are presumably referring to the world’s wealthiest nations resisting […]

  • A masculine build-up to the Ind-Pak cricket match

    It’s just good business.