What Donald Trump’s presidency means for science

The funny thing about the US elections is that so many people outside the country pay attention to it. There is, on second look, a good reason for this: decisions the United States takes on several issues will not only affect other countries, but will soon be mimicked by other governments as well — especially in infrequently trodden legal areas like technology. But one universal effect the US presidency has on the world is in science. Being as networked as it is, and having come far from the isolated, individual–driven field that it once was, developments in science are bound to be deeply affected by the decisions of whoever is calling shots at the White House.

Donald Trump, may have a lot to say about his business acumen, but his knowledge of science is not flaunted as often. What the reason behind this is, is best left to the imagination. In fact, Mr Trump’s biggest argument for his tryst with science is ludicrous. He has often spoken about how his family has stellar genes that somehow impart genius. “It’s in my blood. I’m smart. Great marks. Like really smart.” The man in question is John G. Trump, a former MIT professor who was undoubtedly smart. Donald Trump is his nephew, but, as the GOP frontrunner says, his own father was “the same level as [his] uncle”. And this intelligence, Mr Trump assumes, simply extends to all members of the Trump family. “Good genes,” he declares, “very good genes.” Science, for what it is worth, is yet to establish any credible relationship between genes and genius. Continue reading

The soft bigotry of low expectations

I will throw this out there, so never blame me if it seems sudden or unplanned. As I sit here at my desk, a strange mass of words comes to me: the soft bigotry of low expectations.

What does it mean? Often, what we hear in our minds is nothing more than what we have once heard aurally. I set out to find the origin of this — almost weird — phrase, and I managed to track it down to a little speech that the former U.S. president, George W. Bush, had delivered at a National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) convention.

So what did Mr Bush — or his speechwriter — mean by this? He was speaking in reference to the education system and these words gave rise to several opinions, all based on similar lines. Continue reading

What Dmitry Medvedev can teach you about photography

A very common cry about photography is that it can be hard. In truth, many are unwilling to accept that, while photography takes just as much care and thought as any other art form, it is actually a lot easier.

Why the complaint, then? It is because most people do not find time to take out their cameras and make photographs. I have spoken to one too many about this, and I often use a similar story to narrate the importance of this — or the futility of their reasoning, that they cannot find time. That is how this article came about.

Meet Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev

You may know him, you may like him, hate him or have never heard of him. Mr Medvedev is a busy man. A very busy man.

He does some interesting things like talk to world leaders, point his camera at anybody and anything he damn well pleases, and he probably even has an army of bodyguards around him every time he goes out to shoot. Sometimes he can be just another tourist…

Photo courtesy: Ria Novosti / Reuters

or he can be found sharing burgers with Obama, because, you know, burgers are great and all…

Photo courtesy: Mikhail Klimentyev/AP Images

This man is an all-round good guy who is one of the few people in his field today that I actually find extremely interesting. If you have not caught on so far, the man is none other than Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s ex-President and current Prime Minister. Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day!

~ To my mother–the best in the world! ~

Sometimes it’s March, sometimes it’s April and sometimes it’s May. Which ever it is, each year, one of these months have the honour of hosting Mother’s Day all over the world. This year, today, May the 8th is the day dedicated entirely to mothers, who were, are and always will be there for us. Wishing them and treating them royally at least on this one day is the least we can do for them. And, to be brutally frank, we can never do enough: one can never get even, ever. Continue reading