The Scientific Indian

Archives for November, 2007

Body Snatchers

Murphy’s Body Snatchers Law states that if a body can be snatched, it will be. Watch a wasp turn a cockroach into a zombie by blocking a neurotransmitter and then leading it by its antenna to the dining table to be eaten [via Slashdot] Reminds me of a recent short story I read. Greg Egan’s…

The paradox of Pakistan

Nature talks of the paradox where military generals have helped science more than politicians. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of Pakistan’s first fully fledged military coup. In 1958, it fell to General Mohammad Ayub Khan to “save the nation” from what he called “discredited politicians”, and later to offer himself up for election…

Thou churlish crook-pated boar-pig!

Hence rotten thing! Or I shall shake thy bones out of thy garments.

Starting shortly at The Royal Society. I am going to see if I can plug into the webcast.

A question for sari-clad Indian women

Why do Indian women drape their sari on the left shoulder normally? Is it just because of the preponderance of right handedness (so draping over left shoulder is just a bit more convenient) or is there some other reason?

Show me my true love, Computer

An eligible beebs reporter tries out scientific algorithmic superior proven and utterly amazing match-making advertised in some websites. “The website then uses what statisticians call a regression equation to determine what sort of person I would be best matched with, according to my character and how that fits with historical data about other people’s relationships.…

WSJ on OLPC

A summary in WSJ about the state of affairs for OLPC.[via reddit] The discussion is not very much about what really makes an OLPC. It is more about how Intel, Microsoft and other companies are actively subverting it and how governments in many countries are weighing their options – not all in favor of OLPC.…

Only in Singara Chennai. During my seven years of madras monkey business I traveled by hanging onto a window rail with my left hand small finger like a gibbon. Never once did I have the privilege of seeing a wheel coming off, or even a screw popping out. Although, once the axle connecting the back…

Commerce, the French way

The Big Sleep at NY Times Until the 20th century, few people needed money. Apart from salt and iron, everything could be paid for in kind. Economic activity was more a means of making the time pass than of making money, which might explain why one of the few winter industries in the Alps was…

DIY Week

The past week has been one long workout. Over the course of the week, I’ve wrestled with instruments of great power: two electric saws (one light weight, one heavy duty), sander, drill, and a few others for whom I haven’t yet worked out what their purpose is. Along the way I have learnt plastering techniques,…