My own religion

Copyright issues scare me

I’m scared of copyright issues. I have nightmares of my website being pulled down due to altercations with a photographer. So as a preventive measure, I thought of updating my FAQ with the following message.

Was your picture used?

I’m sorry if I used any of your copyrighted pictures here. You can send me a mail, comment, mention, etc. about it and I’ll remove it, as soon as I see it.

Since this website is run by a single man and is updated everyday, finding time to contact and waiting for responses from photographers is next to impossible. At the same time, it is important for me to make my posts look attractive by finding the best pictures.

In fact, I’d have been flattered if a website should have thought of using my pictures to adorn their articles. And since I don’t click pictures, I’d be happy if someone used my content with or without attribution. Sadly, not everyone thinks alike. And there is nothing wrong in seeking permissions for your handwork.

In the end, it was all done with a good intention in mind, nothing personal. If you still mind me using them here, you can rest assured that I’ll pull them down in a matter of minutes once you tell me to.

I hope AweSci, for the kind of free educational website it is, never faces any such issues. 

Story Behind The New AweSci Look

Probably my future wife will hate me for this, but I’m a person who hates to lose control (It is kind of unrelated that I also hate people who lie). You can think of me as a male version of Monica from FRIENDS TV series. That was one reason I was using the zenhabits theme, zh2. It made things easy for me. To elaborate this, I find it easier to quote an excerpt from my FAQ section here. (You can skip this):

1. Content is the focus. This theme uses large text, no sidebar, extremely mild colors. Besides that, links don’t make the text look like a clown dressed in blue-black. Also, headings are bigger than the website name (what is in a name?) which means, content is the focus. In short, it creates a pure reading experience with nothing to distract the reader.

2. It is extremely easy to manage. I’m a control freak. Even a single misaligned pixel spoils my sleep. This theme contains very little to worry about and ensures that I sleep well at night. Everything in it, fits exactly as I want it to. There was just 1 thing I had to fix in the CSS – the video-container div in this theme’s CSS. Moreover, the theme directory also follows a minimalist style. So, even a non WordPress user can simply find the exact code he needs altered, in a matter of seconds.

3. Loads fast. It is a full text-only-theme. It uses no images at all. This reduces loads on my server and gives me one more less thing to worry about – the bandwidth. I don’t have to pay for heavy bandwidth too. That, in turn, enables me to keep the website ad free (okay I’m trying out very subtle ads for now to see how it changes things).

4. I love zenhabits. I’m an avid follower of the blog Zenhabits by Leo Babauta. Throughout the years, he has inspired me in a number of ways and I find it extremely satisfying to emulate his ways in every way possible.

But now, I’ve moved on to a newer theme called twenty fourteen. There are some reasons I’d not like to reveal for now. But there are several others which I’d like to share with you on why I’ve changed from zh2 to twenty fourteen.

As Always, the Story

Wordpress has just updated to the version 3.8, with a sparkling twenty fourteen theme. My hosting, BigRock, usually provides me with one click Wordpress updates every time, but this time it got delayed a bit. Not much, it was just a two day delay. I waited happily as I found it easier to wait for a few days and click one button to update rather than going through the trouble of clicking a hundred buttons and getting the same result. One, it was easier, but more importantly, It enable me to hack out several precious minutes for other pressing issues.

I digress…

So, I felt a strong attraction towards twenty fourteen – a theme which had just released with the new version of Wordpress. I hope you understand how vital events like these for a Wordpress geek. Plus, it was a magazine theme, perfect for a website like AweSci.

Basically, till now:

  1. It is a new theme.
  2. It is a magazine theme.

Pardon me. I HAVE to make lists.

Apart from that, technically:

  1. With side bars and top menu, it made navigation easier (people have complained about it in the past).
  2. It made me worry a lot less about the built in features that a theme comes with which zh2 lacks. Like, widgets, perfect responsive movement, page templates etc etc etc…

A few cons:

  1. It loads slowly on slow connections. Compared to zh2 (~90kb), the size of this theme (~1.5mb) is huge for a page. Also, consumes a shit load of bandwidth.
  2. It did not have an archives page template which I was able to code fairly easily.  
  3. Since it is new, the featured images slider/grid isn’t stable yet. I had to go around tinkering with it for several hours before I could get it right.
  4. No pure reading bliss. Sidebars and stuff take over.
  5. If compared to zh2, this beast is not easy to manage for a male Monica. There are a too many things going on.

PS: I did not sleep at night when I was thinking about changing the looks of my blog, lying on the bed. Not a second of sleep got through. And the moment I stepped out of the bed at 6:00 AM, I impulsively changed it to twenty fourteen. 7 hours of tooth picking followed. Then I could sleep in peace.

A Tough Decision for AweSci

It has been very tough for me to decide this, but I think, I’m not going to post any post-excerpts from AweSci here anymore. I’m not sure, I might revert this back pretty soon too. So, if you think, I shouldn’t do this, you can get in touch through Twitter and share your views with me. 
Why I’m really taking this decision is mentioned here in this post:


According to what I’ve seen for a couple of day, a major part of Tumblr fails to pay attention to banal text based blogs unless they are from an established source. Since all of my posts on AweSci are like that, they fail to attract any attention here. What really does attract the Tumblr community is, images and other similar things that capture their attention in a few fraction of seconds. Unfortunately, my website doesn’t permit me that (due to time constraints).

At the same time, I love Tumblr for its elegance. Elegant is one word which captures everything I see in Tumblr. I’d put it up in detail in some other post later on. Basically, I love Tumblr. And I’d love to keep writing on it.

So, keeping both these things in mind, I’ll post things on Tumblr that I can’t on AweSci for various reasons - Like updates and other author to reader interactions. I’ve decided to treat this page like a huge company* would treat their blog. It is different from what their website is. At the same time, it is an essential part of the website. (The website in question is AweSci)

*By that, I did not mean to convey that I’m a huge company or something. I’m small, not even a legal company yet. Very small. Looking for ways to grow.

Ancient Brain Surgery 1000 Years Ago

With specialized equipment and several other complications, we think we’ve come far with brain surgery. Today, brain surgery is supposed to be a modern advancement that enables us to treat obscure anomalies associated with the human brain. Of course we’ve advanced a lot, but there is no way we can reject the advancements in brain surgery attained during ancient times –
Ancient brain surgery.
Trepanation: About 1000 years ago, ancient surgeons were already drilling through the human skulls; exposing the brain. Early Peru doctors were practicing a process called trepanation to treat a variety of brain related ailments.

The Story

Just a few days back, a research team led by…
Read the complete article at Ancient Brain Surgery 1000 Years Ago 


First, think of something that is 1,200 km in length, 3000 m in height and yet it is complete buried under the Antarctic ice. A whole mountain range called the Gamburtsev Mountain Range in Antarctica has remained unexplored, buried for centuries under a 2 to 4 kilometer thick sheet of ice. The range is named after Grigoriy A. Gamburtsev – a Russian geophysicist.
It amazes me how something of the size of European Alps, right here on earth, has remained unexplored for decades. Scientists estimate that these mountains are several millions of years old. But, till date they have no concrete idea on how they were…
Read the complete article at Gamburtsev Mountain Range - The Unexplored 


'Ants Act as Both a Fluid and a Solid'

John Mooallem’s crazy Times Magazine story about crazy ants (yep, “that’s their actual name”) has rightfully spawned some public fascination with the insects that are terrorizing large swaths of the country. But scientists—especially those interested in the physics of fluids—have long been studying crazy ants and their counterparts to learn (and maybe even learn from) their ways. 

"See how the ants drip, like some kind of syrup?" New York Times science writer James Gorman asks in the video above. But ants can also behave like a solid, as we saw in the pictures accompanying Mooallem’s article. Researchers—researchers, Gorman notes, doing “serious, ant-ball physics”—press the ants down … and they spring back. Like some kind of crazypants, crazy-ants marshmallow.

Read more.

Raining Frogs and Fish

Raining cats and dogs is a bit unlikely, but there is nothing wrong about saying raining frogs and fish. It happens more often than you think. So, don’t be alarmed if one day you wake up and find fish on your terrace.
When we talk about rain, the one place in India which stands out is Kerala. As we’ve seen in a previous post that Kerala has seen red rains, it has also seen raining fish. This isn’t a joke. On February 12, 2008, people actually saw fish falling down from the sky.
Not just that. I’ve seen reports of water birds, tomatoes, coal, and even a boats falling from the sky.
Raining Animals
After a few moments of awe, when you look at the occurrence of raining animals with the science microscope, you’ll find that…
Read the complete article at Raining Frogs and Fish - AweSci | Science Everyday 

There Is No Lake Like The Taal Lake

Geologically this is quite a phenomenon and might get a bit confusing to grasp if you stop paying enough attention. Here we go…

Island in a lake on an island in a lake…

Taal lake is a freshwater lake on the Luzon island of Philippines. Almost at the center of this lake, is an island called the volcano island. At the center of this island is another lake called the main crater lake. And in this lake is a small landmass called the Vulcan point. [map]
Now take a deep breath…in short, it is, Luzon island > Taal lake > Volcano island > Main crater lake > Vulcan Point.
The main crater lake: Even though the crater lake isn’t…
Read the complete article at There Is No Lake Like The Taal Lake 
Don’t you feel like pinching the cheeks of a chubby little baby or hugging the life out of your puppy? Even if a kid might find it unpleasant you pinching its cheeks really hard, or even if you’d not want to hurt a little kid, you’d still be bubbling to do it. What is it that forces you to vent out a physical reaction towards cuteness?
Most of us do and science proves that intense cuteness can often manifest itself as aggression. Rebecca Dyer, a graduate student in psychology at Yale University, has coined the phrase cute aggression for this feeling. Scientists are not yet sure on what causes this. According to them:…
Read the complete article at Cute Aggression - Hugging The Life Out of Your Puppy 

The Coastline Paradox

The length of Australia’s coastline according to two different sources is as follows:
  1. Year Book of Australia (1978) – 36,735 km
  2. Australian Handbook – 19,320 km
There is a significant difference in the numbers. In fact, one is almost double the other. So, what is really happening here? Which one is the correct data?
Actually, it depends. The correct data can be anyone of them or none of them. It completely depends on the kind of precision you decide to use while measuring the coastline. This is the coastline paradox.

The coastline paradox

The coastline paradox is…

Read the complete article at The Coastline Paradox