All entries by this author

The Greatest Nature cover ever….

The Greatest Nature cover ever….

After years in our office, someone finally got round to putting up the huge copy of the greatest @NatureNews cover. — Daniel Cressey (@DPCressey) I worked on the Human Genome Project, so I guess I should make a poster out of this as well.



Closing The Education Divide

Closing The Education Divide

In the Arab world, sheer numbers call for leap-frogging into digital learning, said Maysa Jalbout, CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education. Over half the 385 million people who live the region are under 25 years of age, she said. A good many are refugees whose educational prospects have been shattered by political conflicts. Youth unemployment in the region is also the highest in the world partly because of the poor quality of education, except in some centers of excellence. What gives? Read […]



The Download with a map-and-compass guy

The Download with a map-and-compass guy

  Harvard professor John Huth is an experimental particle physicist who was on the team that discovered the Higgs boson. He teaches an undergraduate course on primitive navigation at the university, and is the author of The Lost Art of Finding Our Way. The professor, whose love for the outdoors takes him beyond the pale of cellphone coverage, spoke to The Download about his digital habits. What wakes you up each morning? Changing light levels at dawn wake me during spring, summer, and autumn.  When […]



Technological Indian

Technological Indian

In recent years, India sent a space probe to orbit Mars; Indian-born engineers were named chief executives of two top technology firms in the world. For most of the 20th century, when the very idea of a high-tech India seemed improbable, the foundation was actually being laid to make the dream a reality. In his new book The Technological Indian American science historian Ross Bassett, who analyzed the careers of 850 Indians who earned engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) between 1880 and […]



The Naming of Things

Recently, Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, was in the news because scientists named a tiny Australian leech after her. “I am thrilled to be immortalized as Chtonobdella tanae,” Tan said. “This humble leech has looped across a new scientific threshold—the first microscopic soft-bodied critter to be described inside and out using CT scanning. Imagine the possibilities for identifying legions of tiny organisms that have thus far lived in obscurity. I am now planning my trip to Queensland, Australia, where I hope to […]



A Library in Jaffna

Shareeq is too young to remember much of the war years. But for another patron, 75-year-old Rajenthiran Selvanayagam, spending time at the library is a peaceful contrast to that era. He lost his wife to the war. His son went mad. Selvanayagam visits the library three times a week. “Having a book in my hand,” he says, “is more than meditation to me.” Read/listen to the report on NPR about the library in a war-torn land. So what books should such a library stock? The authorities, […]



Ethan Zuckerman: ‘I go to Reddit for the cat pictures’

Ethan Zuckerman: ‘I go to Reddit for the cat pictures’

Ethan Zuckerman is the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. Over a decade ago, the Internet scholar co-founded GlobalVoicesOnline.org, a site to help guide readers through the maze of citizen journalism from several countries. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection. What wakes you up? My son, when I’m lucky enough to be at home in western MA. He’s six, and our morning ritual involves blueberry waffles and Disney cartoons recorded on the DVR, so my first media of […]



The Original Angry Young Man

The Original Angry Young Man

Many boys who went to school in Madras must’ve worn this costume for the “fancy-dress” competition at school. Draw on a mustache, wear your dad’s wedding reception coat, memorize a couple of Tamil verses, and you are all set! Outside of Tamilnadu, this costume cannot work unless your audience is predominantly Tamil for some reason. Recently, I have been running into a lot of interesting details about the life of the revolutionary Tamil poet Subramaniya Bharathi (1882 –1921). There is always the question, why did […]



The Download with An Old-Fashioned Novelist

The Download with An Old-Fashioned Novelist

Allegra Goodman is a novelist who lives in Cambridge, MA. She is married to David Karger, a professor at MIT. She is a mother of four. She uses a computer to write, but she prints out the draft, and edits by hand. Then, she types in all the “30,000 changes.” What wakes you up? I am a morning person and I wake up without an alarm clock. How do you get your news? I get my news from “The New York Times” paper edition—but I […]



Driving Ms. Desi

Driving Ms. Desi

Even as we speak, hundreds of women in India are getting ready to enrol in universities across the United States for the fall semester. I was also a graduate student once, but I set out before the days of unlimited Internet access. Back then, America might well have been undiscovered for the precious little information I managed to gather about my destination. Once on campus, undergraduates have an option of being rushed into three-letter Greek societies, which let them build lasting friendships with others who […]