Monthly Archives: February 2018

Last Chance To See by Douglas Adams

It’s easy to think that as a result of the extinction of the dodo, we are now sadder and wiser, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that we are merely sadder and better informed.

 

Doug

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams

In 1985, literary genius, Douglas Adams decided to go on a tour with zoologist Mark Carwardine around the world in search of Critically endangered animals for BBC. They goto Bali in search for Komodo Dragons, Zaire to see Northern White Rhinoceros, New Zealand to watch Kakapos, China to witness Yangtze River Dolphins and lastly to Mauritius to watch Rodriguez Fruitbats. Mark’s role, in this endeavor, was to be the one who knew what he was talking about and Adam’s was to be extremely ignorant and to whom everything that happened should come as a complete surprise. This book is written as if he is narrating his incredible and life changing journey, around a campfire to a bunch of his friends. Continue reading

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Scientific Temper in a nation full of Morlocks

Seventy years since Britishers left us tattered and torn, we have managed to stand up on our own legs. We put a probe in orbit around Mars. But then again, as I found out, there exists an India still under clutches of hoards of superstition and irrational beliefs. Recently as Rahu decided to feast on Moon as a revenge for ratting him out to Lord Vishnu, my mother bombarded me with shitload of data from eminent intellectuals from WhatsApp University on what to do and not to do during these couple of unfortunate hours of Lunar eclipse.

Lunar Eclipse

Demon Rahu feasting on poor Chandra. Credits to Chris Mayer for these barbaric images.

Made me ask myself… have we come a long way, since then?

Men are lynched in public on basis of rumors and worse, the murderers get away, casteism is still prevalent even among the most educated Indians, we have politicians calling for astrology to be recognized as valid science, we have leaders spending crores on their own statues, we have posters of film actors being bathed in milk when their films are released, affluent people in flashy neighborhoods have disgusting pile of waste rise up in their backyard mainly due to their own apathy, we have ‘intellectuals’ engaged in shouting contests over who should eat what which is marketed as news debates, we have a media obsessed over cleavages of actresses.

To talk about our thinkers who are supposed to be the torch bearers in quest for knowledge. The Indian Science Congress held annually is marred by many absurd claims, made in an attempt to exalt our ‘glorious’ past. Of flying jumbo jets and more advanced radar system being known to our forefathers, that organ transplantation a thing Indians invented citing examples of Ganesha. Many such pseudo-scientific theories were seen wanting to be passed as science. Continue reading