Saturday, 27 February 2010

I was just listening to a video lecture , one of the MIT OCW lectures. The lecture was an introduction to chemistry and dealt with the periodic table, atoms etc. In conclusion, the prof said that a new element was just discovered, with zero protons, but three hundred -odd neutrons cosisting of vice neutrons, assistant neutrons etc.... and the element was named Administratium with symbol Ad and the name was put up for approval to the IUPAC... and some properties-you can guess what properties. All in a serious tone.
A nice drama, amusing, though carried to a little excessive length. But my point is this- if I ever did such a thing in my class, barring maybe 10 or 15, the rest of the class would have written it as an answer to my exam question on the periodic table/ heavy elements. They would have believed it.
But what is even funnier, is that when my daughter was in school, one of her classmates told the Chemistry teacher that a new element was discovered and it was named Linkinpark and the teacher believed it. Of course, not having teenage kids does give you a dont keep up to date with rock bands.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


A hypothetical scenario:- People want to get a foothold in an area where it is difficult to do so. They talk persuasively to students about some cause...some cause that is likely to interest them.....tell them-if we have this and this from the govt., you will get good jobs, you will become rich.... tell them anything.
Students, individually, are as intelligent as any average human, but in a crowd, they are more malleable than the average human. Being a part of a crowd affects decision making in all of us, but it is more pronounced in college students. They totally suspend disbelief and rationality. Perhaps it is because they are used to take the word of anyone who speaks to them from a podium. Or it is the lack of wife and kids to think about before taking decisions.. I do not know, but they take the stupidest decisions when egged on by a crowd. They can be manipulated to do anything....commit suicide, or murder.. anything without thinking.
The tragedy is that the parents who sent these boys to college in the hope that they will be educated and get jobs, get back their bodies in a cloth.
But the people whose agenda is being fulfilled are happy.. each death takes them closer to their goal...

Thursday, 11 February 2010


The famous bacillus is in the news again. Jairam Ramesh has taken a balanced view...he has not condemned it outright, nor accepted it without question. All trangenic species must be studied for over a few generations. secondly, once let into the wild (though that is a fait accompli with bt cotton) we have no idea what the gene will do. It is like faith in God... that good will come out of our technological manipulations. Other scary ideas are the geoengineering ideas of curing global warming like the sulfur clouds in the stratosphere!!! I don't need to be particularly intelligent to realise that such actions will go far beyond my control once I initiate them.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

paid content

Open-source science takes on neglected disease: paid content

Does anyone else see the irony in the title from the list of Nature articles?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

I received comments twice from a reader in Chinese/Japanese/some similar script. Since I cannot read them, I do not post them. If they are genuine comments, my apologies to the reader.
Language is something that can be viewed as a release or as a prison.
For the articulate person, language is a release. You give expression to your thoughts or at least use language to organise your thoughts. If you are inarticulate, if you have poor language skills, it must be very difficult to have feelings, but not be able to express them, to even understand them since you do not have words for what you feel. You cannot understand what you do not have words for. It is a prison.