Dazzled and deceived

Thanks to a recent British library membership acquisition, I got hold of this book by Peter Forbes – Dazzled and deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage. The book effortlessly leads the reader through a journey that begins in earnest with the comma butterfly flying across a garden and slowly winding its way through personal lives of luminaries in biology, through the private struggles and public lives of... read more

Hitchhiking reason

Hitchens died two days back fighting oesophageal cancer for over a year now. How many people wished that he would in the last days of his life renounce the acerbity with which he attacked religion of any sort. With the three other horsemen – Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris (cf the four horsemen of the apocalypse), the public debates they had with several religious leaders, evangelists and... read more

From questionable social subsidies to unquestioned corporate welfare

An unusually punctual gathering on the dais greeted me at Rotary Club. Thankfully, this was a gathering of unimportant people both on and off the dais; none of those species of “Very Important People” often sporting Anna-like caps were invited to the gathering and things started on time. P Sainath was supposed to be speaking on “Rural India after two decades of liberalisation” and... read more

“old and fragile records” in an age of RTI and computers: How our heritage collections are managed by ZSI

The Zoological Survey of India has an illustrious history. On 1st July, 1916, the organisation was instituted with a mission to “…to promote survey, exploration and research leading to the advancement in our knowledge of various aspects of exceptionally rich life of the erstwhile British Indian Empire” (Emphasis mine). Alfred William Alcock was a British physician-naturalist, a common breed in those... read more

… and Then The Dessert Arrived: Global Health Dichotomies

The story was tragic. A Tuberculosis patient from India who died because the system which was expected to provide for his treatment failed to deliver… and then the dessert arrived. The setting? The official dinner of the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research organized at the Montreux Casino. A photo of the dying TB patient formed the background for 20 minutes of a talk on “Why Health... read more

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