Do your bit, broaden your science menu

Featured image credit: Hans/pixabay

Don’t judge the best science journalists in India after having read only the worst science journalism.

Auditing science stories: Two examples from the bottom rungs

The Green Bank radio telescope, West Virginia. Credit: NRAO/AUI, CC BY 3.0

The worst kinds of science stories are those that get facts wrong – and then those that report null results wrong.

Titan’s lakes might be fizzing with nitrogen bubbles

A shot by Cassini of the lakes Kraken Mare and Ligeia Mare near Titan’s north pole. Credit: NASA

The results are relevant for future lander-probes to Titan – and to understand the surface chemistry of the only other body in the Solar System known to have liquids on its surface.

Spotting scientists, lazy scientists

C.N.R. Rao. Source: YouTube

Calling scientists as a community ‘lazy’ is to abdicate the responsibility to make it easier for them to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

A gear-train for particle physics

Clockwork theory has been revived and reformulated by scientists from CERN to solve a difficult problem at the heart of particle physics.

Titan’s chemical orgies

Saturn in the background of Titan, its largest moon. Credit: gsfc/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

New studies of Saturn’s moon Titan should make it more familiar – but the more we learn about it, the more outlandish Titan gets.

Some notes on empiricism, etc.

The Wire published a story about the ‘atoms of Acharya Kanad‘ (background here; tl;dr: Folks at a university in Gujarat claimed an ancient Indian sage had put forth the theory of atoms centuries before John Dalton showed up). The story in question was by a professor of philosophy at IISER, Mohali, and he makes a solid case (not unfamiliar to many of us) as to why Kanad, the sage, didn’t talk about atoms specifically because he was making a speculative statement under the Vaisheshika school of Hindu philosophy that he founded. What got… Read More

Is it so blasphemous to think ISRO ought not to be compared to other space agencies?

Is it so hard to consider the possibility that we might get a better sense of ISRO’s activities if we did not keep comparing it to those of other space agencies?

About AWS/Azure/GCP coming to India, etc.

A data centre in San Antonio, Texas. Credit: scobleizer/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

If an Indian company has to beat them, then it has to be PaaS-like with its offering to grow, with better security and UX.

Establishing trust across the aisle on issues of climate change

An image from a shipborne NASA investigation to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean's chemistry and ecosystems. Credit: gsfc/Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Making people anxious even to ask honest questions, and robbing them of the opportunity to respectfully disagree, isn’t good for science.

The science in Netflix’s ‘Spectral’

A scene from the film 'Spectral' (2016). Source: Netflix

It’s fun to think about the implications of a film’s antagonists being modelled after a phenomenon I’ve often read/written about but never thought about that way.

The Indian Science Congress has gutted its own award by giving it to Appa Rao Podile

Credit: ratha/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

An award of the Indian Science Congress has become subverted into becoming an instrument of negotiation for political agents: “You let me interfere in your duties, I will give you a fancy-sounding award”.