Category Archives: Science

The Metal Master

A few weeks ago, we were driving down to Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu – some colleagues of mine had to do field work there, and I ‘volunteered’.  Who wouldn’t want to … Continue reading

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Conservation questions

A workshop on conservation philosophy in the 2013 edition of the Student Conference on Conservation Science, Bangalore, started off with a discussion of the question, ‘Why conserve?’  Most participants said, ‘Oh, I love this species so much… it’s so beautiful! … Continue reading

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What’s the problem?

Buffaloes are bad for birds. Shifting cultivation is bad for forests. Everyone agrees these are ‘problems’ that need to be solved.  Cultivators and pastoralists are told to leave the forests, grasslands and wetlands alone.  Everyone waits eagerly for the ‘solutions’ … Continue reading

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Science and caution

‘Ignorance is not an option’ declared the title of a recent Editorial in the journal, Science.  The Editorial starts with a hypothetical scenario where one country’s action, implemented in the face of seemingly insurmountable crises, puts other countries’ people and … Continue reading

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‘On nobody’s word’

Consider the following verses from Sanskrit and Halegannada (old Kannada) texts written in India about a millennium ago (translations mine): If cucumber and ash gourd plants coated with honey and ghee are tied with a rope and smeared with cow dung, … Continue reading

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Preserving the preservers

Last week (early March 2015), science journals, both professional and popular, decried the funding cuts to Kew Gardens, considered the largest botanical repository in the world.  The Kew Gardens houses more than seven million plant and fungal specimens, and has … Continue reading

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The ‘Wow!’ factor

Ants running treadmills, plants that can ‘strategize’, fungal cheats…  There is a kind of science that amazes anyone who encounters it: through the sheer ingenuity of the methods, the novelty of the results, and the mind-altering nature of their import. … Continue reading

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