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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Kabir Firaque


Kabir Firaque is a civil engineering graduate-turned-news journalist with an interest in recreational mathematics and cinema. His interactive blog on puzzles, ‘Problematics’, appears weekly.

Question & Answer: Citizenship amendment law explained
Sat, Dec 14, 2019

The newly passed amendment to the Citizenship Act redefines the way migrants from three countries can become Indian citizens, linking this to their religion. What are the concerns about it nationwide, and why has it faced such fierce resistance in Assam? How does it relate to government’s plans for an all-India NRC?

Explained: Losing Nemo? His world is changing too fast for his genes to adapt
Sat, Nov 30, 2019

Clownfish typically live at the bottom of shallow seas in sheltered reefs or in shallow lagoons. It is this habitat that is under threat.

Donald Trump’s ‘Rocky’ tweet: what’s the occasion, is there a connection?
Fri, Nov 29, 2019

Running since 1976, the series is one of the most successful ever. Six Rocky films between 1976 and 2006 show the boxer fighting against various odds.

Explained — Fake ‘horns’ in the lab: will they save rhinos?
Sat, Nov 09, 2019

Study describes method to create fakes using horse hairs, rhino experts not convinced it can stop poaching

Explained: How long is a day on each planet? Venus and Saturn still tease scientists
Tue, Nov 05, 2019

Astronomers are still looking for an accurate assessment of the length of a day on Venus, while Saturn continues to deceive us. Two new studies underline how much there is still left to learn.

Explained: What is quantum supremacy?
Sat, Oct 26, 2019

Quantum supremacy is a milestone that has been long sought in computing, and now Google has announced it has reached it. A look at the science behind the concept, and what was really achieved and how much remains.

Explained: Why is there no mathematics Nobel? The theories, the facts, the myths
Wed, Oct 16, 2019

Researchers have looked for answers, and the generally accepted theory is that the idea of such a prize never occurred to Alfred Nobel.

The mysterious golden ratio: why is it everywhere, now in human skull?
Mon, Oct 14, 2019

The golden ratio appears in the work of artists and designers from Da Vinci to Corbusier, and also shows itself in nature in pineapple scales, rose petals and many more places.

What we know about the universe — the science behind Physics Nobel Prize
Wed, Oct 09, 2019

Canadian-American cosmologist James Peebles, 84, won one-half of the Prize for his theoretical work helping us understand how the universe evolved after the Big Bang.

Could Planet Nine be a black hole? A new theory, and the case around it
Sat, Oct 05, 2019

Over the years, scientists have sought to explain several puzzling aspects of the Solar System by attributing these to the influence of Planet Nine.

Politics after NRC threatens to change old framework of Assamese nationalism
Mon, Sep 23, 2019

In the wisdom of the 1980s, “Assamese first” was the identity we wore on our sleeve. A logician might find the idea questionable — each one of us was all his identities simultaneously — but what the phrase conveyed was tied with emotion.

Explained: How a 65-year-old maths problem was solved
Fri, Sep 20, 2019

An algorithm, a supercomputer, 2 mathematicians, unused power from 5 lakh home PCs: for ‘fun and philosophy’.

Identity Crises 
Sat, Aug 31, 2019

An important book that situates Assamese identity within the politics of its times, then and now

Explained: How to read leaked NRC data
Mon, Aug 12, 2019

Data released by Assam government caused a storm in Assembly but NRC process stays on schedule. What trends was the govt trying to highlight, and what is their demographic and political significance?

Explained: Can India really deport illegal immigrants after the final NRC list?
Sat, Aug 31, 2019

Assam NRC explained: The final NRC is scheduled on August 31. Those left out will have a series of options for appeal, which is a long haul. Only after that will the question of deportation come up, if at all.

Explained: What is Ramanujan Machine, and why is it named after the Indian mathematician?
Mon, Jul 22, 2019

Throughout his life, Ramanujan came up with novel equations and identities —including equations leading to the value of pi — and it was usually left to formally trained mathematicians to prove these.

Where to plant a trillion trees to save planet Earth? A study maps all the land that’s available
Tue, Jul 09, 2019

Researchers have quantified how much land around the world is available for reforestation, as well as the extent of carbon emissions these would prevent from being released into the atmosphere.

Record temperatures: Trend projected to continue, what it will take to check it
Mon, Jun 24, 2019

From the findings, it can be inferred that India too is projected to experience the frequent occurrence of unprecedented high temperatures over the next 20 years, study author Scott Power of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology told The Indian Express by email.

In Assam numbers, how BJP gained from demography, CAB and seat selection
Mon, May 27, 2019

How did BJP gain when it had faced so much anger over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill being pushed by its government at the Centre? When the BJP’s vote share in Assam has fallen fractionally from 36.86% in 2014 to 36.05% in 2019, how did that translate into two additional seats?

Explained: How the kilogram has changed, why your body mass has not
Tue, May 21, 2019

The kilogram is no longer what it used to be. How has the definition changed? Will it affect the way we measure body mass or weigh our groceries?