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‘The Disordered Cosmos’, A Contemplation of the Exclusionary Culture of Physics – The Wire Science
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‘The Disordered Cosmos’, A Contemplation of the Exclusionary Culture of Physics – The Wire Science

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an award-winning physicist,⁠ feminist, activist and the first Black woman to earn a PhD in the field of theoretical cosmology. Photo: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein Every community guards a creation story, a theory of cosmic origins. In much of sub-Saharan West Africa, for the past few thousand years, itinerant storytellers known as griots have communicated these and other tales through song. Cosmologists also intone a theory of cosmic origins, known as the Big Bang, albeit through journal articles and math. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is a cosmologist who is adept with both equations and “the keeper of a deeply human impulse” to understand our universe. In her first book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, & D...
India Going Through a Spate of U-Turns in Scramble To Stem COVID-19 Tide – The Wire Science
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India Going Through a Spate of U-Turns in Scramble To Stem COVID-19 Tide – The Wire Science

People carry the body of a man who died of COVID-19 from an ambulance for burial, New Delhi, April 16, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui Bengaluru: India’s response to its new COVID-19 epidemic is going through an inflexion. It was most prominent when the government stopped sharing its daily bulletin of adverse events following immunisation. Next, Brazil’s vaccine regulator Anvisa said Bharat Biotech wasn’t following good manufacturing practices to make Covaxin, the ‘Made in India’ vaccine in the country’s two-vaccine inoculation campaign. Supporters of the government rose in its defence but the presence of problems was unmistakable, calling into question why India’s vaccine regulator didn’t notice them. Then, since about two weeks ago, India went from be...
Migrant Workers Among the Most Vulnerable To Himalayan Disasters – The Wire Science
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Migrant Workers Among the Most Vulnerable To Himalayan Disasters – The Wire Science

An aerial view of the washed-away Tapovan power plant after the February 7 flash-flood, in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, February 12, 2021. Photo: PTI Search operations are still underway to find those declared missing following the Uttarakhand disaster on February 7, 2021. “As of now [18 March], we have found 74 bodies and 130 people are still missing,” said Swati S. Bhadauria, district magistrate in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India. Chamoli is the district where a hanging, ice-capped rock broke off from a glacier and fell into a meltwater- and debris-formed lake below. The lake subsequently breached, leading to heavy flooding downstream. The disaster is attributed to both development policies in the Himalaya and climate change. And as is common with climate-li...
Young Covid survivors not safe from reinfection: Lancet – Times of India
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Young Covid survivors not safe from reinfection: Lancet – Times of India

NEW YORK: If you are planning to avoid vaccination just because you are a Covid survivor, think twice. According to a new study, despite a prior Covid-19 infection young people can likely catch the virus again and may still transmit it to others. Even after a previous infection and the presence of antibodies, vaccination is still necessary to boost immune responses, prevent reinfection, reduce transmission, and that young person should take up the vaccine wherever possible, asserts the study published in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine."Immunity is not guaranteed by past infection, and vaccinations that provide additional protection are still needed for those who have had Covid-19," said Professor Stuart Sealfon, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the US. In t...
Watch: ‘COVID Outbreak Will Lead to More Deaths and Hospitalisation, Alarming Situation’ – The Wire Science
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Watch: ‘COVID Outbreak Will Lead to More Deaths and Hospitalisation, Alarming Situation’ – The Wire Science

In a violent outbreak of cases across the country, India added over two lakh new COVID cases in the last 24 hours, taking its toll to over 1.4 crore. As hospitals and health infrastructure in urban pockets comes under siege, yet again, there has been a worrying increase in the number of deaths with crematoriums reporting an overwhelming load. What does the current wave spell for the weeks ahead? In a deep-dive conversation with Mitali Mukherjee, Professor Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), said India was facing an alarming situation as the current virus has a higher load and was causing more deaths. He also emphasised the breakdown in discipline and enforcement that had caused an escalation in cases, alongside irresponsib...
Lewis Hamilton set to resume battle with Max Verstappen at Imola
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Lewis Hamilton set to resume battle with Max Verstappen at Imola

World champion Lewis Hamilton won’t change his approach despite seeing a rival from another team threaten his and Mercedes’ dominance of Formula One. Hamilton has won the title in six of the past seven seasons, with his stranglehold on the crown only being interrupted in 2016 by then-Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. Hamilton’s current teammate, Valtteri Bottas, finished runner-up to the British driver in the past two seasons. But, after a thrilling duel at the season opener in Bahrain, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen appears set to push Hamilton even closer this year. Hamilton doesn’t seem rattled, though. “We approach every weekend the same as we always have. … If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” Hamilton said on Thursday ahead of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. “We do what we do, we...
As the Gujarat Govt Downplays COVID-19 Crisis, People Suffer in Silence – The Wire Science
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As the Gujarat Govt Downplays COVID-19 Crisis, People Suffer in Silence – The Wire Science

A volunteer packs urns containing ashes after final rites of those who died of COVID-19, to be taken to Haridwar, in Surat, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Photo: PTI Ahmedabad: Residents of Gujarat, India’s ‘model’ state, were shocked on Thursday when they read news reports that their government had given Uttar Pradesh 25,000 vials of the antiviral Remdesivir at a time when stocks of the drug in Ahmedabad appear to be low. In Ahmedabad, the families of people in need of Remdesivir have been compelled to wait in queues for up to eight hours to buy the drug, underlining the fact that the coronavirus crisis in the state has been severely underplayed by the government. On Thursday night for example, Gujarat reported 8,152 new cases, the highest daily figure of new c...
COVID-19 Is Surging In India – but Will There Be Fewer Deaths This Time? – The Wire Science
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COVID-19 Is Surging In India – but Will There Be Fewer Deaths This Time? – The Wire Science

A woman is consoled after her husband died due to COVID-19, outside a hospital in New Delhi, April 15, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui Amidst reports of overwhelmed hospitals, graveyards running short of space and crematoria working 24×7, it might sound odd to ask if mortality will be lower during this wave. But several recent articles on the current COVID-19 wave have raised such questions about mortality. Actually, two somewhat different questions can be asked: 1. Are there reasons why the total number of deaths will be fewer this time than during the first wave? 2. Are there reasons why a smaller fraction of those who get infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, will die this time? These are difficult questions but let’s look at th...
How Can We Get People To Stop Idling Their Vehicles at Signal Intersections? – The Wire Science
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How Can We Get People To Stop Idling Their Vehicles at Signal Intersections? – The Wire Science

Photo: Pixabay/Pexels For the past few winters, most Delhi motorists would have encountered school children and volunteers with sign boards asking to switch off stopped vehicles at signalled intersections. Such initiatives by multiple NGOs as well as the Delhi government’s recent ‘red light on, gaadi off’ campaign1 is motivated by evidence regarding emissions from idling fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. Idling refers to situations in which the vehicle’s engine is running while the vehicle is stopped. The CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), backed by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association, has conducted multiple studies to understand fuel consumption and emissions due to idling, especially at signalised intersections in Delhi. A 2019 study by sci...
Running Low on Sedatives, Brazil Hospitals Tie Down Patients Before Intubation – The Wire Science
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Running Low on Sedatives, Brazil Hospitals Tie Down Patients Before Intubation – The Wire Science

Medical workers take care of patients in the emergency ward of an overcrowded hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, March 11, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Diego Vara Rio De Janeiro: Brazil’s hospitals were running out of drugs needed to sedate COVID-19 patients on Thursday, with the government urgently seeking to import supplies amid reports of the seriously ill being tied down and intubated without effective sedatives. Health minister Marcelo Queiroga said Brazil was in talks with Spain and other countries to secure the emergency drugs. Hospitals, he added, were also struggling to get enough oxygen. The scenes playing out across Brazil, one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, are placing growing international pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro. Aid...
Thanks to Us, the Amazon Is Now a Net Greenhouse Gas Emitter, Study Finds – The Wire Science
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Thanks to Us, the Amazon Is Now a Net Greenhouse Gas Emitter, Study Finds – The Wire Science

An aerial view of the Amazon rainforest near Manaus, Brazil. Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT Something is wrong in the lungs of the world. Decades of burning, logging, mining and development have tipped the scales, and now the Amazon Basin may be emitting more greenhouse gases than it absorbs. Most of the conversation about climate change is dominated by carbon dioxide. While CO2 plays a critical role in the complex climate equation, other forces such as methane, nitrous oxide, aerosols and black carbon are also factors. In a first-of-its-kind effort, a group of 31 scientists calculated the balance of all natural and human-caused greenhouse gases coming in and out of the massive Amazon Basin. The team concluded that warming of the atmosphere from agents other than C...
India’s COVID-19 Story Goes From Bad To Worse With 2.16 Lakh New Cases – The Wire Science
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India’s COVID-19 Story Goes From Bad To Worse With 2.16 Lakh New Cases – The Wire Science

Patients suffering from COVID-19 get treatment at a casualty ward in a New Delhi hospital April 15, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo Bengaluru: India has reported the highest number of deaths on a single day due to COVID-19 since its peak on September 19 last year – of 1,184 people. The total number of new cases also remained above the 2-lakh mark for the second consecutive day on April 15, with 2.16 lakh, taking India’s total number of active cases past 1.5 million. Times of India reported that no less than 14 states and union territories reported their highest daily tallies ever since the pandemic’s start. Maharashtra, however, logged its second-highest daily spike, of 61,695 cases. The worst affected city at present is New Delhi, which over...
Virus Variants Inciting India’s Second Surge, Epidemiologists Say – The Wire Science
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Virus Variants Inciting India’s Second Surge, Epidemiologists Say – The Wire Science

Patients suffering from COVID-19 get treated at a casualty ward in a hospital in New Delhi, April 15, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui New Delhi: The second surge of COVID-19 cases in India has swamped hospitals much faster than the first because mutations in the virus mean each patient is infecting many more people than before, epidemiologists and doctors say. India‘s daily infections skyrocketed more than 20-fold to more than 200,000 on Thursday since a multi-month-low in early February, though the government has played down the role of mutants in the latest rise, the worst anywhere this month. The world’s hardest-hit country after the US has reported about 950 cases of people contracting the variants first detected in the US, South Africa and Brazil. ...
Akhil Rabindra: From go-karting in Bangalore to only Asian at GT4 European Series
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Akhil Rabindra: From go-karting in Bangalore to only Asian at GT4 European Series

Returning with the same enthusiasm and team he raced for last year in the French GT4 Championship, Akhil Rabindra will be partnering with 19-year-old French driver Hugo Conde at AGS Events Racing to compete in the GT4 European Series. The tournament is set to begin at the Monza Circuit in Italy from April 16-18. The 24-year-old Indian racer recalls his journey from obsessing over cars and speed as a kid, enjoying recreational go-karting on weekends to becoming the first Asian to be re-selected by the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy. Obsession with cars and speed How does a boy from Bangalore get himself into the world of motor racing, something still not very popular in the country? For Rabindra, it was taking a liking to a hobby, pursuing it at the national level and cl...
Covishield: What We Need To Know To Understand the Safety of Viral Vector Vaccines – The Wire Science
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Covishield: What We Need To Know To Understand the Safety of Viral Vector Vaccines – The Wire Science

A nurse draws from a vial of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles, March 25, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo Two COVID-19 vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, are currently at the forefront of India’s fight against COVID-19. Earlier this week the Drug Controller General approved another viral vector vaccine, Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Russia, for restricted use. The health ministry is also expected to approve yet another viral vector vaccine, AdV26 by Johnson & Johnson, in time. So India will soon be employing three viral vector vaccines in its large-scale COVID-19 vaccination drive, in which hundreds of million doses will be administered. Recently, many reports of rare blood-clotting disorders associat...
Rivers Have the Potential To Act as Shock Absorbers to Climate Change – The Wire Science
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Rivers Have the Potential To Act as Shock Absorbers to Climate Change – The Wire Science

A view of the Cauvery river in Mekedatu, Karnataka. Photo: Renjith Sasidharan/Flickr, CC BY 2.0 This past December marked the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement. Soon after, the Biden Administration rejoined the Paris Agreement as one of their first actions in office. And in January, the Climate Adaptation Summit once again convened global leaders and local stakeholders to accelerate adaptation action. As these milestones reinvigorate a call to action for our politicians and business leaders to act on climate and “ramp up climate ambition,” all eyes inevitably turn to the usual avenues for addressing and adapting to climate change: forests, clean energy and waving goodbye to our toxic relationship with fossil fuels. And while mitigation efforts ...
India Will Raise Its Climate Ambitions but Not Under Pressure: Javadekar – The Wire Science
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India Will Raise Its Climate Ambitions but Not Under Pressure: Javadekar – The Wire Science

Prakash Javadekar. Photo: PTI New Delhi: Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said India will raise its climate ambitions but not under pressure, and that it will not allow anybody to forget their historical responsibility. He also said that India is suffering because of the mistakes of others and “is not responsible for climate change that is happening”. Javadekar made the remarks during a speech after a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the French Embassy. The minister said the collaboration between India and France will go “deep and deeper”, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron have an “unusual good chemistry amongst themselves”. Underlining that India is a responsible country, ...
India Reports 2 Lakh New COVID-19 Cases on Single Day, Spike in Haridwar – The Wire Science
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India Reports 2 Lakh New COVID-19 Cases on Single Day, Spike in Haridwar – The Wire Science

People push trolleys loaded with grocery items as others wait to enter a supermarket, Mumbai, April 14, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Niharika Kulkarni Bengaluru: India reported a record 200,739 COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, according to data issued by the health ministry on Thursday. Deaths stood at 1,038, taking the total to 173,123. The country’s total case load reached 14.1 million, behind only the US, which leads the global tally with 31.4 million cases. The number of active COVID-19 cases stands at 1.4 million, according to the ministry. Thus far, 1,24,29,564 people have also recovered from the disease. The country’s new and dubious record-setting spree has been paralleled by three particular events: lockdowns, vaccine shortage and the Kumbh Mela. Maha...
Overcrowded Delhi Prisons Witness Massive Spike in COVID-19 Cases – The Wire Science
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Overcrowded Delhi Prisons Witness Massive Spike in COVID-19 Cases – The Wire Science

Asia’s largest prison facility, Tihar Central Jail, and Mandoli and Rohini prisons in Delhi have become hotspots for COVID-19 with over 500 inmates and staff members testing positive since last year. Over the past week, the number of cases at these prisons have increased almost five times, as they struggle with overcrowding since most of the 5,000 prisoners, who were released on interim bail or special parole last year due to the pandemic, have since returned. At the three jails, 190 inmates have tested positive so far, while two have died due to the novel coronavirus. The pandemic has also impacted the jail staff, and so far 304 of them have tested positive while 11 of them are in the active category. Two prisoners dead  The overcrowded jails, from where a ...