How did the pandemic start? The fine line between truth and conspiracy

“We are looking at it” – said former US President Donald Trump in April 2020, referring to the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus causing COVID-19 — having been engineered in a Chinese laboratory, and adding: “It seems to make sense”.

Conspiracy theories are owing their existence to rational flaws. If it makes sense, it must be true, and if it’s true, somebody must be lying and hiding the truth. This is how every conspiracy theory is built. Take flat Earthers for example — our planet seems flat to the eye, it must be flat. Everything else must therefore be a lie. Following the same logic, if there is a virology institute in Wuhan researching coronaviruses, it this must be the origin of the pandemic.

On May 3, 2020, US secretary of state Pompeo said there is “enormous evidence [the virus] is manmade or genetically modified”. The “enormous evidence”

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R. Madhavan’s new film adds to India’s science fiction tales

New Delhi: Actor R. Madhavan has announced Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, a biographical drama based on the life of Nambi Narayanan, former scientist and aerospace engineer of the Indian Space Research Organisation who was accused of espionage.

The film, written, produced and directed by Madhavan in his directorial debut, features the actor in the lead along with Simran.

Rocketry, shot simultaneously in Hindi, Tamil and English, adds to the handful of science fiction dramas India has produced, even as it continues to endorse Hollywood spectacles like the Star Wars franchise films, Avengers, Avatar and so on with robust box office numbers.

The science fiction tale begins as early as 1967, two years before Neil Armstrong even took that giant leap for mankind, with director TP Sundaram’s Trip to Moon (Chand Par Chadhayee) where legendary action star Dara Singh travels to different planets with a sidekick and beats up aliens.

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India’s new National Education Policy: Evidence and challenges

The global expansion of schooling in the past three decades is unprecedented: Primary school enrollment is near-universal, expected years of schooling have risen rapidly, and the number of children out of school has fallen sharply. Yet the greatest challenge for the global education system, a “learning crisis” per the World Bank, is that these gains in schooling are not translating into commensurate gains in learning outcomes. This crisis is well exemplified by India, which has the largest education system in the world. Over 95% of children aged 6 to 14 years are in school, but nearly half of students in grade 5 in rural areas cannot read at a grade 2 level, and less than one-third can do basic division (1). India’s new National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020 (the first major revision since 1986) recognizes the centrality of achieving universal foundational literacy and numeracy. Whether India succeeds

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