The Scientific Indian

Archives for August, 2008

Podcasts on books and writers

It’s blogroll rebuilding time! How better to start than with a clean slate. To begin, all the book podcasts I listen to regularly have now been placed in Google Reader. You’ll also find it shared on the side bar to the left. Subscribe to the share, if you would like to keep a tab on…

Explaining Computers

How would you explain digital computation and binary math/logic to someone who does not have a mathematics or computer science background? I had about two minutes to think when my brother-in-law asked how computers work. I went with the first useful thought that came to my mind. Explain what’s counting, since counting is where all…

Faulkner on Writing Techniques

Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is…

Lessons to wannabe astrologers

Suvrat Kher, a geologist, has given answers to questions from a muddled engineer and wannabe astrologer. Suvrat Kher is a patient bloke. Instead of hitting the questioner on the head repeatedly with Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit, he has done the nicer thing. Why do so many seemingly educated people – people who have been trained…

How does one deal with those who do not understand the rational way of living, those who follow unreasonable dogma like religion and give in to superstitions? There are two different approaches marked by the diametric positions that they take. One is to shame the irrational person so that they are persuaded or forced to…

Shampoo Leap or Kaye Effect

Leaping Shampoo Fascinating effect. Even more fascinating is how the experimenters are able to produce a cascade effect (towards the end of the video). [via reddit]

Top 10 Biotech fixes for our bag of bones

LiveScience has a nifty list. From an artificial hippocampus – the part of the brain that helps with short-term memory-, to Retinal Prosthesis or bionic eyes – electrodes implanted in the eye that help people who’ve lost some of their retinal function see again.

Brother, I’m Dying

An article in NY Times about an immigrant who has lived half his life in the US dies in custody due to systemic negligence and apathy. This is not a one off case, if you are tempted to dismiss it. Mr. Ng’s death follows a succession of cases that have drawn Congressional scrutiny to complaints…

Inhuman India

Anand Giridharadas (his blog) writes at IHT: many of the people who are making the new India new – from the stockbrokers to the bedecked socialites – are responsible for preserving a certain gloomy element of the Indian past: a tendency to treat the hired help like chattel, to taunt and humiliate and condescend to…

Wandering around the world

What is the purpose, I wonder, of all this restlessness? I sometimes seem to myself to wander around the world merely accumulating material for future nostalgias. -Vikram Seth, From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet.