SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

Unholy Nexus Trumps Public Health

MEDICINES can save lives and ameliorate suffering. In the past decades, medicines have contributed enormously to the improvements in population health as people across the world, in spite of unacceptable inequities, are generally healthier than before and live longer. But medicines can also kill people and cause disease and suffering. Diseases caused by the adverse effects of medicines are called iatrogenic diseases and typically can account for 20 percent of hospital admissions.

India Signs COMCASA with US: Falling into a Deep Pit

INDIA signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the US in New Delhi on September 6 during the ‘2+2 Summit’ involving the defence and foreign ministers of both countries. The signing of this Agreement with the US, after considerable delays by both parties, and despite several recent US moves by the Trump administration showing scant regard for Indian concerns, suggests that India under the BJP government has brushed aside all cautionary advice, and has decided to put all its national security and foreign policy in the US basket regardless of costs. 

The Crisis is of Electricity Sector not NPA’s of Banks

THE electricity sector enters the news nowadays only as a financial crisis. In this framing of the issues as one of NPA’s of banks, the real crisis – the crisis of the electricity sector – is wished away. The brutal truth is that the restructuring of the electricity sector that started in the 90’s with Enron economics, and dismantling of the state electricity boards, followed by the 2003 Electricity Act, is the cause of the current crisis.

Assault on Scientific Temper

EARLIER this year, the All India Peoples Science Network (AIPSN) called for observing August 20 as National Scientific Temper Day (NSTD), in order to commemorate the cold-blooded murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, well known campaigner against superstition and for scientific temper, on that day in 2013. To the horror of the nation, the original suspicion was confirmed by the very similar murders over the next three years of Govind Pansare, Prof M M Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

RS Sharma’s Aadhaar Challenge: Claiming Victory from Defeat

BY a sleight of hand, RS Sharma, the TRAI chief, has changed his irresponsible challenge “harm me using my Aadhaar” to “hack my Aadhaar database”. The two are completely different issues. What the ethical hacker community – yes, there is one – has shown is the immense harm that they could have done to Sharma, but did not. They only showed us the danger from Aadhaar to our privacy, and they succeeded quite convincingly.

Strategic Partnership Model for Defence Acquisitions: Ready for the Next Scam?

THE Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC), the apex decision-making body for all domestic and international defence acquisitions, as well as for indigenous R&D, finalised guidelines for the vaunted Strategic Partnership (SP) Model under which foreign manufacturers would tie-up with identified Indian partners for manufacturing the concerned platforms in India. The DAC chaired by the defence minister also drew up platform-specific guidelines for the forthcoming acquisition of Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH), which would be the first project taken up under this model.

Microbes are Striking Back

THE development of new knowledge is a fascinating exercise. Since humans evolved, they have been driven by curiosity to learn more and more about nature. Over time the knowledge accumulated came to be systematised and this is what we call science. The hunger for knowledge deepened and expanded our collective understanding of nature. This knowledge is utilised to create tools and other artifacts that humans use to improve conditions of living.

Puerto Rico Hurricane: Racist Discrimination by USA

IT is now about ten months after Hurricane Maria hit the US territory of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean in September 2017. The hurricane destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, brought down electricity and drinking water systems, and communications networks. It also wreaked havoc on health facilities, roads and other infrastructure, much of which has not yet been restored. Estimates have put the total damage caused at over $100 billion (Rs 6,80,000 crores), making it the third highest economic loss due to tropical cyclones in the US since 1900.

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