SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

NSA's Hacking Tool in World's Biggest Malware Attack

LAST week, the world woke up to the largest cyber security threat ever, with a ransomware wannacry originating from NSA's cache of cyber weapons, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers. Computers in more than 150 countries have been infected by the ransomware, with the users locked out of their vital files and data. The criminal group behind wannacry want $300 in bitcoin as ransom, for releasing the files back to their users. The ransom note, displayed on the hacked machines, also say that the ransom will double if the victims do not pay up within three days.

RSS Marketing Illegal Mumbo Jumbo as Science for Making Super Babies

THE RSS linked Arogya Bharati has been running programmes for producing “fair, tall babies” with “high intelligence”; even if the parents are dark, short and with low intelligence. All this according to Arogya Bharati “experts” can be done by following Garbhasanskar, claimed to be ancient Indian wisdom. They have even set up Garbhavigyan Anusandhan Kendra, a so-called research centre in Jamnagar, Gujrat. Garbhavigyan Anusandhan Kendra not only promises the parents of “getting the best progeny”, but also the “desired sex of offspring”.

Is Trump Starting a Second Korean War, This Time with Nuclear Weapons?

THE US has been positioning its aircraft carrier strike force Carl Vinson and USS Michigan, an Ohio class nuclear submarine, off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Trump has threatened that if China does not intervene, the US will “solve the problem” of a nuclear Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) “all by itself”; presumably through military strikes.

March for Science

EARTH Day, commemorated on April 22 each year, has always seen marches and demonstrations  highlighting dangers to life on the planet and mobilising people for the defence of the environment from wanton exploitation and profiteering. Earth Day this year was different. It saw rallies in cities round the world, especially in the US, under the banner March for Science. This year Earth Day was not about saving the planet, but about saving science and the institutions that engage in studying and propagating it. Who would have thought such a thing would happen?

Generic Prescribing of Medicines: Diktats are Not a Substitute for Sound Public Policy

IN a recent public meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government would take steps to reduce costs incurred on purchase of medicines by making it mandatory for doctors to prescribe medicines in generic name. In itself such a step by the government would be welcome. Unfortunately past experience shows that such pronouncements are mere empty promises that have no relation to the situation on the ground.

Hyperloop in India: Yet Another Pipedream?

THERE is a new buzz in the country at the prospect of an ultra-modern, even futuristic, transportation system making a debut in India, among the first few countries to host this much-touted system. If it becomes reality, it would be yet another instance of India leading the march of highly developed tech-led countries, the dream being actively promoted among the “aspirational classes” in this country, not satisfied with just a bullet train but looking to leapfrog to the next generation transport.

Earth's Seven Sisters 40 Light-years Away

AN international team of scientists have discovered a set of seven, near earth-sized exoplanets circling a nearby star, named Trappist-1. They have reported this discovery recently in Nature. What is exciting about these exoplanets is that all of them may have water, with three falling in what is called the habitable zone. In the habitable zone, planets may have water in liquid form on their surface, and therefore the possibility of life.

ISRO’s Record Launch: Less Known Innovations

INDIA last week once again breathlessly celebrated another record-breaking feat by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in launching 104 satellites on a single flight of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-37 on February 16, 2017.  Print and electronic media in India went ga-ga with stories about how India had pulled off another “first,” beating by several times the earlier Russian record launch of 37 satellites in a single flight in 2014.

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