Species in red

As always, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, which catalogues the endangered species of the world, has brought in good and bad news alike. At least four species from India figure in the ‘critically enangered’ category — two animals and two plants. Some were already in that category and some have got upgraded following further decline in their numbers.  Read more

Indus comes to India

Heavy flooding has apparently pushed Pakistan’s Indus river, bed of the great Indus valley civilisation, into Indian territory via the Rann of Kutch, according to new satellite data. Though the study is yet to be peer reviewed or published, Gujarat University researchers working on the water bodies of the west Indian state say they have found satellite data that shows the river has re-entered India and is feeding a lake near Ahmedabad.  Read more

Deadly bugs

Recovering slowly after a particularly stressful battle with dengue, I am told that I should be thankful I got the virus this year. Reason: the virus circulating this year in the national capital region of Delhi is far less virulent than its cousin from last year. “If you came with dengue last year, we would have had a tougher time managing it,” the attending doctor said by way of comforting my weak body and soul.  Read more

Doing science in India

This week I was rummaging through data to understand what it means to be a scientist in India. I poured into fresh government policy documents, funding proposals and announcements. I read again the Prime Minister’s address to the Indian Science Congress. I pursued with interest the angry voices of post-docs and scientists in the Nature India forum. I spoke to women scientists who have their share of problems. And some more.  Read more

Shuttle shuts shop

India’s GSAT-12 Communication Satellite, launched onboard Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C17), perched itself successfully in the geosynchronous orbit this week. On the other side of the globe, curtains came down on NASA’s three decade long space shuttle programme.  Read more

Caffeine alert

What would we expect from an energy drink? An instant blast of energy, of course. But do we even know where that energy comes from? Are our energy drinks safe?  Read more

Paper run

Here’s another contentious story of an Indian research group feeling left out in the ‘paper run’. A group of researchers from IIT, Madras Chennai has claimed that they lost precious time while trying to get their paper published — it was rejected a couple of times by prestigious publications before another one accepted it. In the meantime, another group of ‘first world scientists’ got a similar paper published by the very same publishers who had rejected the IIT group.  Read more