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22 health lessons from “Trust me, I’m a Doctor”

The BBC ran an excellent second series of three episodes of “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor”. You can dig into all their conclusions here. Here are the take away lessons from it: 1. Moderate amount of exercise every day is better than few intense gym sessions a week. Anything outdoors from walking to gardening is good enough to be considered moderate. Most exercises...

I love gadgets but here’s why I’m immune to the temptations of new devices

Despite my love for new technology, I’ve become averse to adopting it right away. This may be a reflection of having conservative parents who worked as retailers in the tech industry. Even though my dad had access to the latest gadgets, he hardly ever switched to using them everyday. When advising clients, he made it clear which devices actually offered...

To become an elite sportsperson, you need to win the genetic lottery

A review of The Sports Gene by David Epstein Winners, it is said, are not born but made. That, however, is not the whole truth, as David Epstein, an investigative reporter with Pro Publica, shows in his book The Sports Gene. In recent decades, the role of genes in causing diseases has been elucidated time and again. So it should not be surprising that...

10 reasons why digging a tunnel under London is an epic endeavour

The BBC has a nice documentary on Crossrail, a £15 billion project to build a new 120-km train line passing through central London. I knew that this is a great engineering challenge, but I did not appreciate the scale of difficulty the engineers faced. You can watch the three one-hour episodes here (need UK access), or here’s the summary of the interesting...

Welcome to Curious Bends

A few years ago, I formed a group of science enthusiasts. Our goal was to fix the problem of poor science communication in India. There only existed a handful of science publications and fewer among them did the work that was so critical to a democracy with the potential that India has. We discussed many ideas but couldn’t implement them. After all...

An attempt at setting the information balance right

The problem is not that there is too much information, but that there is too little of the right kind In his brilliant book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson shows through many examples how history often credits the wrong person. They show how being in the right place at the right time or publishing your ideas in the right publication so...

‘Supernova in a bottle’ will help create matter from light

In 1934, two physicists came up with a theory that described how to create matter from pure light. But they dismissed the idea of ever observing such a phenomenon in the laboratory because of the difficulties involved setting up such an experiment. Now, Oliver Pike of Imperial College London and his colleagues have found a way to achieve this dream,...

Jellyfish are the most energy efficient swimmers, new metric confirms

Even though a blue whale is much heavier than a tuna, the mammal consumes less energy per unit weight than the fish when they travel the same distance. For years, these sort of comparisons have dominated our understanding of the energy efficiency of animal movement, which is important for designing vehicles inspired by nature, such as underwater drones. But...

Search for alien life could remain fruitless

Given that we are unlikely to be visiting an exoplanet any time soon, astronomers have been contemplating whether it might be possible to detect indications of simple life – a biosignature – from a distance. Many think that the strongest case for extraterrestrial life would be the discovery of oxygen and methane on the same body. They also think that...

My year with the real wonks: how academia enriches journalism

I stepped out of a chemistry lab to receive a shiny doctorate a little more than two years ago. Then, against the wisdom of many, I decided to become a journalist. That decision was made not because I despised academia, but because it seemed to me that journalism was where my strengths would give me the best chance to succeed. In doing so, I was leaving...

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