What about the celebrities in food ads?

The row over Bournvita last month was spurred by a social-media influencer’s viral video of the product’s allegedly unhealthy sugar content. Following a legal threat from Mondelez International India, which makes Bournvita, the influencer deleted his video and apologised. But on April 26, the National Commission on the Protection of Child Rights issued a letter …

The gap between language and quantum mechanics

Physics World has a fantastic article about the problem with using a language invented, in Terry Pratchett’s words, “to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is”, to describe the peculiar but very much real possibilities created by the rules of quantum mechanics. Excerpt: … despite the burgeoning growth of quantum technology, one thing that …

Where do scientists communicate their work?

A group of Spanish researchers analysed the mentions of scientific papers authored by scientists (affiliated with Spain) on the social media, on Wikipedia, and on news outlets, blogs and policy documents to understand where the consumers of such scientific information were located. They selected 3,653 authors, and the following platforms/modes in their analysis: Twitter, Facebook …

BLR road-widening is a sham

While I’m told that discussions on a plan to widen Bengaluru’s Sankey Road, between Bhashyam Circle and Malleshwaram 18th cross – a stretch that’s one of the contributors to the city’s reputation for horrific traffic – have progressed in the last two months to become less unilateral and more consultative, the idea that road-widening can …

Nature paper says bad news is good news

‘Negativity drives online news consumption’, Claire E. Robertson et al., Nature Human Behaviour, March 16, 2023: Here we analyse the effect of negative words on news consumption using a massive online dataset of viral news stories from Upworthy.com—a website that was one of the most successful pioneers of click-bait in the history of the Internet23. …

What’s the anomaly in a Nobel for Modi?

I’m sure you’ve seen the reports doing the rounds today that some person on some Nobel Prize Committee said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was very deserving of the vaunted peace prize, followed by less widely circulated reports that the person was misquoted (or dysquoted) and in fact that he never said such a thing. I …

Hype from Fermilab

Where do you think the following bit of text is from? A wormhole, also known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge, is a hypothetical tunnel connecting remote points in spacetime. While wormholes are allowed by Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, wormholes have never been found in the universe. In late 2022, the journal Nature featured a paper …