Curious Bends – WhatsApp doc, nuclear nonsense, AIDS in Mizoram and more

1. As they amass a bigger nuclear arsenal, both India and Pakistan also attend a non-proliferation conference every year

“While most of the momentum behind the humanitarian initiative comes from non-nuclear weapons states, its success ultimately depends on how it influences states with nuclear weapons. Because India and Pakistan are the only two such states that have consistently attended the conferences, it’s important to assess their respective incentives for participation.” (5 min read,

2. An AIDS epidemic in Mizoram is about to start

“This infrastructure worked well until a year ago. Till 2010, said an official in the state AIDS control society, the number of new HIV cases was rising every month in the state. And then, in 2010-’11, it slowed to about 100-150 new cases a month. Even this slower rate has meant that from 4,000 cases across the state in 2010, Mizoram now has double the number of cases – according to the official, about 9,000-10,000 cases. With this funding delay, this number of new cases might rise faster once more.” (12 min read,

3. Scientists need a ritual to reflect on all the evils that have enabled our world

“If it was we who discovered the expansion of the universe through the redshifts of galaxies, then it was we who stole Ahnighoto. If it was we who understood the nature of the atom, then it was we who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If it was we who cured smallpox, then it was we who ran the experiment at Tuskegee. We can’t choose our heritage, but we can choose how we live with it. In that respect, I think that we cannot in good faith take pride in the light if we do not also take responsibility for the dark.” (10 min read,

+ The author of this piece, Ben Lillie, is a scientist-turned-writer.

4. Bill Gates: you can help the world save 34 million lives

“If we can prevent 10 million tuberculosis deaths, 21 million deaths from AIDS, and 3.3 million maternal fatalities, that comes to 34.3 million lives saved–a number roughly equivalent to the entire population of Canada.” This can be achieved mainly by doing things we already know how to do. (3 min read,

5. WhatsApp doctors! You are here!

“When she joined NH four months ago, Bhende was only doing e-consults as part of the hospital’s experiments with digital OPDs. “We started with a variety of social media platforms, like Skype, Whatsapp, emails, SMS, but over time we have realised that Whatsapp works best,” says Bhende, who specialises in gestational diabetes and does consultations with over 350 patients on the app.” (3 min read,

Chart of the Week

“On April 25, Nepal was hit with the biggest earthquake in 80 years—but just how big was it? Amidst the destruction, there was a spat on the issue between the US and China. The US Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors earthquakes worldwide, reported that the Nepal earthquake measured at a magnitude of 7.8. However, the China Earthquakes Network Center (CENC), which hopes to provide a similar service, measured the same earthquake at a magnitude of 8.1. A difference of 0.3 in the magnitude of the seismic activity may not seem like much, but the apparently small differences in magnitudes of earthquakes reported by different agencies around the world are, in real-life, huge. Because if we are to believe the Chinese data, the Nepal earthquake may have been 2.8 times bigger than if we believe the US data.” (2 min read,

How earthquakes are measured. Credit:
How earthquakes are measured. Credit: