Some good books I read recently

Since January 2020 Read Lady Death: The Memoirs of Stalin's Sniper, Lyudmila PavlichenkoEvery Creature Has a Story, Janaki LeninThe Writing Life, Annie DillardHalf-Life: The Divided Life of Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist, Frank CloseShoes of the Dead, Kota NeelimaThe Overstory, Richard PowersWild and Wilful, Neha SinhaDifficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights, Helen LewisHer Body…

End of a tab-hoarding era

Google Chrome just pulled the plug on the Great Suspender browser extension. The Great Suspender allowed its users to keep lots of tabs open at any time on Chrome without guzzling RAM, which Chrome is notorious for – simply by keeping the tab open but not displaying any of the page's contents. When a user…

Good luck with your Maggi

You know when you're cooking a packet of Maggi noodles in a saucepan, and you haven't used enough water or don't move the stuff soon enough from the pan to a plate once it's done cooking, and you're basically left with a hot lump of maida stuck to the bottom? That's 2020. When you cook…

My heart of physics

Every July 4, I have occasion to remember two things: the discovery of the Higgs boson, and my first published byline for an article about the discovery of the Higgs boson. I have no trouble believing it's been eight years since we discovered this particle, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its ATLAS and…

The life and death of ‘Chemical Nova’

You know how people pretend to win an Oscar or a Nobel Prize, right? Many years ago, I used to pretend to be the author of a fictitious but, blissfully unmindful of its fictitiousness, award-winning series of articles entitled Chemical Nova. In this series, I would pretend that each article discussed a particular point of…

Time and the pandemic

There is this idea in physics that the fundamental laws of nature apply the same way for processes moving both forwards and backwards in time. So you can't actually measure the passage of time by studying these processes. Where does our sense of time, rather the passage of time, come from then? How do we…

There is more than one thunder

A winding bolt of lightning descends onto the top of a well-lit skyscraper against an overcast sky.

Sunny Kung, a resident in internal medicine at a teaching hospital in the US, has authored a piece in STAT News about her experience dealing with people with COVID-19, and with other people who deal with people with COVID-19. I personally found the piece notable because it describes a sort of experience of dealing with…

Lord of the Rings Day

An artist's impression of the iconic One Ring of 'Lord of the Rings' film trilogy.

A happy Lord of the Rings Day to you! (Previous editions: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014) Every year I pen a commemorative piece about Lord of the Rings, and share something about the books and films that I think about nearly every day week. This year, I don't have the strength, thanks to the workload…

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…

Ending 2019

This blog achieved multiple minor but personally enjoyable milestones in 2019: It was read by people in 143 counties, the highest in a single year since 2008 (when I started blogging)It was the second busiest year by traffic (after 2015)It was the year with the highest post engagement (as 'likes' on WordPress and shares/comments on…