SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

Mumbo Jumbo as Science in the Science Congress

THE 102nd Science Congress did not distinguish itself by inviting speakers, who offered mumbo jumbo as science. It was not helped by the union minister for science and technology, Harsh Vardhan talking about how India had discovered the Pythagoras “formula”, and algebra well before Greeks and Arabs but generously gave them the “credit”. The past is no longer about scientifically discovering what really happened, but a race of who did what first.

Agenda of RSS in Indian Science Congress

FOR the first time in the Indian Science Congress in its 102 years history, the organisers held a symposium on “Ancient Sciences through Sanskrit”. Seven papers presented over the five-hour session were invited by the Department of Sanskrit, Mumbai University, and Kavi Kulaguru Kalidas University, and reviewed by the Mumbai University’s Department of Sanskrit. Evidence of ancient aviation in the Rigveda was claimed in a paper co-authored by Captain Anand Bodas, retired head of a pilot training centre, and Ameya Jadhav, a teacher.

No North Korea behind the Sony Hack

THE US, based on FBI reports, has blamed North Korea for hacking the Sony, the entertainment giant. In return, Obama threatened cyber attacks or what he called “proportionate response” against North Korea; the North Korean Internet did go down after Obama's threats. North Korea denied the US allegations and has called for an international enquiry to establish who are behind the Sony attack.

Lima Climate Summit: Bad Signs for Paris 2015

ANYONE following the climate negotiations, especially since the disastrous pattern set at Copenhagen in 2009 and even more so given the tepid progress made since the wishy-washy Durban summit in 2011, could have seen it coming. There were low expectations from the Lima Conference of Parties (COP 20) to begin with and, true to form, the summit ended with a whimper of a statement, low on ambition on all fronts, emissions reduction, finance and technology, but full of statements with dark portents for the future.

The Path to Sustainable Development: Lessons from the Bhopal Disaster

THE premise of sustainable development is that it should be non-discriminatory and equitable as well. Discriminatory practices in the name of development have disastrous consequences as the people of Bhopal had experienced at the hands of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), a US Transnational Corporation (which is currently owned by the Dow Chemical Company, USA).

Arithmetic of Precision Drone Strikes: Kill 28 to Eliminate One Target

THE drone strikes have been touted by the US as “precision” weapons, taking out specific “targets” with minimum “collateral damage”, the military speak for killing innocent victims. The recent report in the Guardian (The Guardian, November 24, 2014) by Reprieve, a human rights group, shows how bogus this claim is – for killing 41 targets, drone strikes killed an estimated 1,147 others. In other words, for successfully killing one “target”, 28 people have to be killed.

Coercive Population Control Claims Thirteen Lives in Chhattisgarh

THE shocking incident in Chhattisgarh, where thirteen women died and many more fell severely ill after undergoing an operation for female sterilisation (tubectomy), shows a mirror to all that is wrong with the public health system in India. The episode is also a clear indictment of the entire population control agenda of the Indian government, which has, for decades, been characterised by targeting and coercion of poor women and gross rights violations.

PROMOTION OF FEMALE
STERILISATION

Modi: Science and Nonsense

MODI's post electoral agenda is one, even more pro-rich policies, masquerading as development, combined with a medieval mindset. His economic policies have been an attack on the workers, the liquidating of the public sector, and giving up planning in favour of – in his view – the all powerful and all knowing “gods of the market”. For him, business is not the business of the government, translating that the government will henceforth work to help the capitalists.

Capitulation on IP: Reaching a Point of no Return?

THE government has chosen the occasion of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US to articulate a vision on Intellectual Property (IP) protection that promises to radically reshape the Indian IP system (as reported in this column a couple of weeks back). What is of particular interest is the contrast between the BJP led government’s present stance on IP and the BJP’s position on the floor of Parliament when India’s Patent Act was being amended in 2005, in order to make it compatible with the TRIPS agreement.

MODI'S US VISIT: Introducing Bad Patents & Removing Liability for US Suppliers

THE US-India Joint Statement signed during Modi's visit to the US has opened the doors for two Indian laws that have been passed by the Indian Parliament. One is on patents – the Indian Patents Act – that contains some measures to keep drug prices low for the people, which the US and its pharmaceutical industries have been trying to change for the last decade. The second is on nuclear liability, again anathema to the US nuclear industry.

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