Nicking the notch

I got myself a new phone today – the iPhone 6S. Before the purchase, I had spent hours on Amazon looking for the right phone within my budget, and quite possibly went through at least two score models. During this exercise, I noticed many phones on the market that had unabashedly copied the fullscreen design…

The institution called Elon Musk

A painted portrait of Elon Musk. Credit: home_of_chaos/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Jean-Paul Sartre famously refused a Nobel Prize for literature (in 1964) because, he said, he didn’t want to be “institutionalised”. His eagerness to prevent this transformation wasn’t misguided. Perhaps more famously, at least among science journalists, many Nobel laureates in the sciences have turned into institutions after winning the coveted prize. Their presence in a room…

The stupidest six

Credit: PDPics/pixabay

After the IPL 2018 concluded last night, Star Sports TV has been doing reruns of the tournament, showing highlights from all the 60 matches as well as compilations of the performances by category. One of these categories is "longest sixes". Hitting a six is a combination of strength and skill: you need to get the…

There is neither truth nor news in Elon Musk’s ‘Pravda’

Elon Musk tweeted this week that he plans to setup an online platform called 'Pravda', where people can "rate the core truth of any article and track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor and publication." This isn't a joke. Bloomberg reported on May 24, "The California secretary of state’s website shows a Pravda…

Starting over again

I read a blog post on Coding Horror this morning, where Jeff Atwood, its author, writes about how he inculcated his blogging habit to the extent that it has come to change his life, net him book deals and speaking opportunities, and makes him some money. While the last bit is not something I usually…

‘Work from home’ is about culture, not economics

The glamourisation of productivity is everywhere. Credit: Carl Heyerdahl/ Unsplash

Working from home (WFH) is not for everyone or for every company. It works mostly when individual employees of an organisation don't need to work together often, or are embedded in workflows where tasks move quickly from one stage to the next. On a personal level, WFH isn't feasible if you lack self-discipline and/or need…

‘Weak charge’ measurement holds up SM prediction

Billiards. Credit: Pexels/Unsplash

Various dark matter detectors around the world, massive particle accelerators and colliders, powerful telescopes on the ground and in space all have their distinct agendas but ultimately what unites them is humankind's quest to understand what the hell this universe is on about. There are unanswered questions in every branch of scientific endeavour that will…

Sexual harassment, etc.

Credit: Alice Donovan Rouse/Unsplash

The name of Sadanand Menon had found mention in Raya Sarkar's list last year. Since then, a journalist and former student of the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) had published an article in The News Minute about how a noted scholar and culture critic had sexually harassed her. Though she hadn't mentioned Menon by name at the…

The technically correct strapline

Credit: Free-Photos/pixabay

(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 read…