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Up and atom: How exactly does a ‘forever’ battery work?

They are small, nuclear, and will never need to be charged. But what are they likely to cost? What will their carbon footprint be? Take a look.

A BetaVolt atomic battery about the size of a coin could allow a drone, which can currently fly for about 15 minutes at a time, to fly for years on end.
Updated on Apr 13, 2024 01:19 PM IST

How old is the laugh? Well, it’s a funny story...

Laughter, it turns out, originated at least 10 million years ago. Among apes. See which other species enjoy a chuckle and why the guffaw survived.

(Images: Adobe Stock; Imaging: Monica Gupta)
Updated on Apr 13, 2024 01:14 PM IST
ByNatasha Rego

How many stars is too many? Anupama Chopra on A-listers and streaming platforms

As stars flood the series and films on India’s streaming platforms, I worry that the promise of fresh voices, innovative tales could be eclipsed, Chopra says.

A poster for The Night Manager, a Disney+ Hotstar series featuring Aditya Roy Kapur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Anil Kapoor that leaned heavily on its stunning locales and elaborate action sequences.
Updated on Apr 13, 2024 01:00 PM IST

What did the Big Bang sound like? Tour astonishing sonic landscapes of our world

A Book of Noises journeys back, and peers into the future. See how sound shaped the era of the dinosaurs, and how it’s altering medicine today.

(HT Illustration: Rahul Krishnan)
Updated on Apr 12, 2024 04:59 PM IST
ByAnesha George

We had no camps, apps or even TV, but we had the best summers,says Poonam Saxena

Train journeys with home-made aloo-poori, afternoons spent lounging with cousins and comic books. Saxena takes a fond look back, in this week’s The Way We Were.

‘I’ll never forget the chaos of refilling our surahi or earthen pot with drinking water at a midway station. I also won’t forget the spicy chana at Tundla Junction.’ (Shutterstock)
Updated on Apr 06, 2024 05:19 PM IST

A space of our own?: Where anti-cafés fit into urban-planning theory

They charge by the hour or minute, and not the food you eat. In cities with shrinking or inaccessible public spaces, what does their presence signal?

At GVQ, an anti-café in Kochi.
Updated on Apr 06, 2024 04:41 PM IST
BySukanya Datta

Venti minutes to chill: Inside India’s anti-cafés

Time is on the menu here. Patrons pay by the hour or minute, and are welcome to sit, read, chat, nap. Beverages and light snacks are free. Take a look.

 (Adobe Stock)
Updated on Apr 06, 2024 05:18 PM IST
BySukanya Datta

It’s alive! The making and remaking of ‘monster’

Why does a 200-year-old tale continue to draw storytellers? See how modern retellings of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are taking on patriarchy, migration, AI.

Emma Stone as Bella Baxter in Poor Things, the Oscar-winning 2023 feminist retelling.
Updated on Apr 05, 2024 08:25 PM IST

1984-letter words: Ripple effects in music, videogames, books and films

Artists have found creative ways, over 75 years, to bring Oceania and its dystopia into their works. Reimaginings have included parodies and spoofs too.

Muse performs songs from their 1984-inspired album The Resistance (2009), in Birmingham.
Updated on Apr 05, 2024 06:19 PM IST

Book, line and sinker: Are we living in the world George Orwell predicted?

His classic, 1984, turns 75 this year. Where did the idea come from? Who was the man? Dhamini Ratnam takes a look at his life and complex legacy.

Orwell and his first wife, Eileen O’Shaughnessy, a poet and Oxford graduate. A year before she met Orwell, she wrote a poem titled End of the Century, 1984. Themes from it would echo years later, in Orwell’s classic. (Photo imaging by Puneet Kumar)
Updated on Apr 05, 2024 05:13 PM IST
ByDhamini Ratnam

What does it take to change the world? A chat with eco policy consultant S Faizi

He has spent his life pushing for international treaties to be fairer. Perseverance is the only certainty, and failing is a big part of the job, says Faizi, 63.

Faizi recently won a Planet Earth Award, instituted by the Alliance of World Scientists (AWS) to recognise individuals who “demonstrate exceptional creativity or contributions in their work in science-based advocacy with the public”. (Photo by P Unmesh)
Updated on Apr 05, 2024 06:10 PM IST
ByNatasha Rego

Borrowed and Lent: Where do Easter terms come from?

The hare, the eggs, the origins of Palm Sunday... Adam Jacot de Boinod takes a tour through Easter traditions and their roots, in this week’s Capital Letters.

Ukrainian Easter eggs. In Slavic cultures, eggs are often decorated in celebratory hues. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated on Mar 30, 2024 03:45 PM IST
ByAdam Jacot de Boinod

Read an exclusive excerpt from the book Head Curry

Why is Sunday lunch a headache for young Khadeer? An excerpt from Head Curry by Mohammed Khadeer Babu, translated from the Telugu by A Suneetha.

 (Image courtesy Gulammohammed Sheikh / Eklavya)
Updated on Mar 30, 2024 02:08 PM IST
ByMohammed Khadeer BabuMohammed Khadeer Babu

Read an exclusive excerpt from the book Paati’s Rasam

Little Malli loves her grandmother’s rasam. She wants to learn to make it. Then one day, Paati is gone, and so is the dish that felt like a warm hug.

 (Image courtesy Pallavi Jain / Karadi Tales)
Updated on Mar 30, 2024 02:03 PM IST
ByJanaki Sabesh

And then there were naan: Finally, Indian food stars in children’s books

The scones and gingerbread men were a hangover that lasted far too long. Now, stories of love, loss, identity star rasam, jalebis, thukpa and biryani.

 ((From left) Images courtesy Chaaya Prabhat / Two Lions, Sumanta Dey / Pickle Yolk Books, Alankrita Amaya / Haathi Tales)
Updated on Mar 30, 2024 01:55 PM IST
BySukanya Datta

Throwing shades: How colours get their names

A new paint brand wanted its 2,400 shades to be rooted in everyday India. Here’s how Meera Ganapathi came up with the labels.

Swatch cards for the hues named Bombay Monsoon, Chilli Guava, and Dosa Chicken at Midnight.
Updated on Mar 30, 2024 01:45 PM IST

Trophy wiles: Anupama Chopra on strange awards and why they must stop

Incredible-sounding prizes are being handed out, often on demand. I wish stars would show up for others, allow awards to have meaning, Chopra says.

Emma Stone is handed the Oscar for best actress, for Poor Things, by previous winners Sally Field, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Yeoh, Charlize Theron and Jessica Lange. (Reuters)
Updated on Mar 30, 2024 05:23 PM IST

Caught in the current: Check out the short film series Water Wars

How have diet, real-estate, crime contributed to our water crises? Two great minds collaborate to offer answers, in a series of animated narrative short films.

A still from The Land of Good Intentions, on Punjab, rice and agriculture, illustrated by Sarnath Banerjee. (Courtesy MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology and MIT Department of Economics)
Updated on Mar 29, 2024 04:30 PM IST

No, don’t eat that!: Swetha Sivakumar on how foods spoil

In this week’s Sound Bites, a look at different definitions of ‘too bad’; at the microbes at play; and why you shouldn’t cringe when someone eats a soft banana.

Bread mould as seen under a microscope. (Adobe Stock)
Updated on Mar 29, 2024 03:53 PM IST
BySwetha Sivakumar

Choral riffs: A Wknd interview with jazz icon Asha Puthli

Her songs inspired Donna Summer; her fashion is said to have inspired Madonna's. She’s performing, after 44 years, in a tour that includes a gig at Glastonbury.

‘I was always the outsider, in India and in the US,’ Puthli says. ‘But I’ve always done whatever the hell I wanted. I still do.’ (Photo by Alan Mercer)
Updated on Mar 29, 2024 02:36 PM IST

An ode to childhood romances that last: With Love by Simran Mangharam

To me, such couples are the stuff of fairytales. But, as they point out, there is no magic wand. These bonds take a unique kind of hard work.

Friendship and loyalty are key. Above, David Copperfield and Agnes, childhood friends who eventually marry, in the 2000 film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic tale.
Updated on Mar 23, 2024 06:01 PM IST
BySimran Mangharam

Knives out: Meet the man crafting Japanese blades in Kochi

A documentary on the katana or samurai sword first inspired Jesudas Puthumana, 45. ‘It’s a thrill to control the character of the cutting edge,’ he says.

(From left) A Japanese meat cleaver. The versatile Santoku, designed to chop finely with a rocking motion. The Gyuto or Beef-Knife. Deba, a thick, heavy-duty knife for cutting and skinning fish. The Kiritsuke, designed for intricate slicing and knife-tip work.
Updated on Mar 23, 2024 05:55 PM IST

Paws and play: An animated short about seniors, with a twist

Rahul Razdan knew he wanted to make films in his final year at architecture school. At 51, his first movie is now out and winning awards.

Old Age Home follows different characters as they talk about their lives. The twist emerges at the end: the residents aren’t people, they are dogs at a shelter. (Image courtesy Bakarmax)
Updated on Mar 23, 2024 05:41 PM IST

Agents of shield: Meet the folk performers who once served as spies

Parshuram Gangavane waged a lonely battle to preserve the stories of his tribe. He set up a museum, won a Padma Shri. ‘The world must know our art,’ he says.

An art work from the Gangavane family collection. Some of the paintings date back 350 years.
Updated on Mar 23, 2024 05:36 PM IST
ByRiddhi Doshi

Never say never: Rudraneil Sengupta on changing fortunes of FC Bayer Leverkusen

The club had so many last-minute collapses, they earned the nickname Never-kusen. Coach Xabi Alonso is using hidden talent, ‘clockwork’ precision to change that

Alonso embraces midfield pivot Exequiel Palacios after a Bundesliga win against 1 FC Köln in Germany this month. (Getty Images)
Updated on Mar 23, 2024 05:29 PM IST
ByRudraneil Sengupta

Quick serve: Where did the game of squash come from?

It can be traced to France 1,000 years ago, then a London prison. See how it evolved and spread to colonised countries, which are home to its best players today

Sunayna Kuruvilla wins a semi-final during the 2019 National Squash Championship in Pune. India has a long history with the sport. One of the first squash courts built outside Europe came up at the Bombay Gymkhana in the 1880s. (HT Archives)
Updated on Mar 22, 2024 07:11 PM IST
ByRudraneil SenguptaRudraneil Sengupta

‘I have a lot of respect for Ray, but am tired of stereotypes of Indian poverty’

Siddartha Jatla discusses the grim plot of In the Belly of a Tiger, why his villagers wear brightly coloured clothes and why every frame is suffused with beauty

 (Photo by Mihir Malla for HT)
Updated on Mar 22, 2024 06:32 PM IST

They are playing their own tune: Charles Assisi on Gen Z

Gen Z is criticised for being hyper-consumers who opt to fit in rather than rebel, but they're often simply trying to make the most of the world they inherited.

At a Taylor Swift concert in Australia. Through music and lyrics, fandom and TikTok, this generation has found new ways to mobilise, protest, reframe narratives. (Getty Images)
Updated on Mar 16, 2024 08:01 PM IST

Grime-fighting: Swetha Sivakumar on the art of kitchen clean-up

Whether it’s breakfast in a skillet or meat slow-cooked in a pan, clean-up is easier if one knows exactly how to woo stubborn proteins and oil away from metal.

 (Adobe Stock)
Updated on Mar 16, 2024 07:27 PM IST
BySwetha Sivakumar

Manjummel Boys is an evocative tale about friendship, says Anupama Chopra

The film, about young men who risk their lives to save a friend, is based on a true story. It’s another Malayalam hit, another masterclass in storytelling.

The 11 young men have grown up together, grown close. They are otherwise unremarkable, even rowdy. Then one of them falls into a crevasse, and we see a different side to them all.
Updated on Mar 16, 2024 07:11 PM IST
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