Science is history

If you are a young father, you will doubtless be skewered by your kid with questions the answers for which you haven’t the faintest idea of.

‘Why is the sky blue’ is particularly a prime question that fathers stumble unfailingly upon. In the history of human civilisation, there is not even one instance of a father ever answering this query to the reasonable satisfaction of the kid that posed it.

‘How does a plane fly’ is another toughie of the genre that dads usually answer intelligently by buying the child an unasked ice cream.

Fathers can’t handle such posers mainly because when they were kids their respective fathers could provide them with only a vague, middling response that was no response at all, something similar to the nation’s Home Minister’s reaction after every blast.

The point is the Home Minister scares us. Okay, you understand that this is a weak joke before I begin to say that science scares us all. But why has science frightened us? Because it involves making sense out of sentences such as this:

‘A theoretical distribution of the number of successes in a finite set of independent trials with a constant probability of success.’

The quoted line is a verbatim dictionary explanation of Bernoulli’s distribution, apparently a terrific scientific idea that lies beyond the ken of normal human comprehension.

With such theories and explanations, it was inevitable that the people even chose to go to a T Rajendhar film.  The point is science is impenetrable thanks to scientists who use language as their first line of defence.

But the time (10.30 p.m.) has come to challenge science and scientists as this week we seek to understand and explain in every-day ideas and words mechanical things that occupy our lives today (Saturday).

The idea is to demystify science and unbare its soul, and in the process if truth and logic are a big casualty, then so be it.. That is a small price to pay as we set out to swim to the depths of knowledge, reach the frontiers of understanding, climb to the pinnacle of perception, touch the glory of human endeavour in our unwavering quest to complete this column.

Cell phone

This handy and convenient gizmo is not so much a utility as much a lifeline to the entirety of the world’s population, which is now divided into two sets of people —  tele-marketers and those who hate tele-marketers. In combination, the two groups have ensured that the families of Bharthi Mittal and others like him will remain unimaginably rich for centuries to come. These days mobile ph-ones come stacked with features that boggle mind and method. The other day there was an ad for a phone that allows you to store 18,000 songs.

If on an average a song runs for 4 minutes, those who have access to calculators can deduce that it works out 50 days of non-stop hearing. After that all hearing has to stop as the eardrum will be perforated beyond salvage. This handy feature has been conjured up to help people commit suicide.


If you read science journals they will confuse you with words like  but the  technology behind cell phones is not complicated. It is a simple mechanism and works on the fundamental scientific theory that anything that is dropped from heights will stop working. If you want to keep your mobile working, you must not drop it from your terrace.

But those who wanted to escape the tele-marketers are known to have thrown the instrument from Himalayan heights. Such people have been rewarded for their extreme tenacity by the tele-marketers who call them on their land-line phones that work on the scientific principle that a person needs such a phone to get bills, which are the biggest tool to establish that you exist where you are supposed to be existing.

White goods

Washing machine, microwave oven, vacuum cleaner, dish washer.  These are called white goods because all the other colours have been taken by other goods.

These appliances have been thought up by ingenious human minds (that didn’t have access to mobiles or internet) that since other human beings are always immersed in www, cell phones (answering tele-marketers) and reading Crank’s Corner,  something has got to do the house work.

The creation of these appliances has naturally resulted in the breakthrough on another frontier, namely fitness equipment. Fitness equipment have been created by thoughtful individuals who realise that you must have forgotten things like walking and running, something that you learnt when you were a toddler.


This is predicated on the simple logic that anything with an outer packing and makes a noise and throws up heat is bound to be accepted as utility by the public who are already too busy or tired (after surfing the internet or answering mobiles) to do anything else other than press the buttons on the TV remote.


The marvel that modern science is has led to the creation of the world wide web which seamlessly enables you to listen in real-time to audio clips, forward emails that involve Sardarji jokes in circulation since 1857 Sepoy Mutiny or photos of Ajith’s daughter to distant people who will forward it so many others including you,  without in any way arousing the suspicion of the bosses who will think that some office work is happening.

Of course, most bosses are doing the same thing without arousing the suspicion of their subordinates. The internet with its unsurpassed ability to make life convenient has also made possible that which has been impossible so far in history: Watching porn at office At home, children use it for things that they usually do when their parents are away. In short, it is a handy tool for cheating, and hence has been accorded industry status.


Then again, it works on the unfussy principle that was obtained using the Google. Google, for the uninitiated, is the company that helps the world to remain uninitiated.  So, when you type ‘technology and internet’, it would spit out close to 20 lakh reference sites out of which 1999999 will be of no use and the remaining one will be inaccessible due to server failure.

This is the magic of internet,  flooding you with boundless bags of information with which you can convince the world that you know many things without actually knowing anything.  Crank’s Corner uses this proven technology.