Saturday, June 05, 2010


  1. Prem Panicker at FTP: Fit To Post: Spell i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e:

    I think it was at that moment that I realized why a competition for pre- and early-teen kids spelling words the rest of us have never heard in our lives was being telecast on the premier sports channel: this was sport, at its finest. The preparatory work these kids do is analogous to the cricketer who spends endless hours practicing foot movement with the aid of a ball on a string; the golfer who, immured in his own private space, drives hundreds, even thousands, of balls a day seeking to perfect his swing… And the pressure of competition is just as much: literally millions of kids take part in the regional and state level bees that you have to win to qualify for the grand finals. This year, 273 kids — the highest ever number of contestants in Bee history — have made it to the final stage.

  2. My friend and colleague B. Ananthanarayan has an article in Phalanx entitled "Some Issues in 'Doing Science' in India."

    ... [T]he age of stalwarts everywhere in the world is essentially gone. No longer do we have the `Mendeleev' periodic table or the `Gaussian' distribution, or the Dirac equation, and even less the Darwin theory of the Mendel's law. It is worth keeping in mind that the Large Hadron Collider is built by thousands of nameless and faceless, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe project by hundreds of nameless and faceless, and that science today is indeed based on teamwork and is increasingly so. What the role of the individual scientist will be in this scientific environment is hard to say, but the times are exciting as we enter unknown frontiers on a daily basis, on the microscopic as well as the macroscopic, in elementary particle physics on the one hand and cosmology on the other, in biophysics and biochemistry where borders blur everyday.

  3. Manoj Mitta at Legal Airs: Why Canada Should Not Have Backed Off On Visa:

    The reason I went into these incredible details about the 1984 massacre is to give you a sense of how that episode in our history has become a benchmark of impunity. Nobody can be faulted for believing that if India had rendered justice to the victims of 1984, it would have perhaps been spared the trauma of further sectarian violence in 1992, 2002 and 2008. The casualties of these subsequent events were largely Muslims and Christians, a fact underlying the common interest that lies in grappling with this monster of impunity.

  4. Gulzar Natarajan at Urbanomics: Discrimination and the Economics of Life.

  5. One of the papers discussed in Gulzar's post reminded me of a study done by Sukhdeo Thorat and Paul Attewell: The Legacy of Social Exclusion. You need a subscription to read that paper, but you can find the abstract and a few excerpts in this post.


  1. gaddeswarup said...

    "[T]he age of stalwarts everywhere in the world is essentially gone."
    I am not sure about this statement at least in mathematics. I think people like Grothendieck, Thurston, Perelman are comparable to the greats of any era. It is true that there is much more cumulative achievement compared to earlier days. I am not sure how it is in other subjects.