An Invitation to Think and Be Humane
TV Venkateswaran
PLEASE THINK: PRACTICAL LESSONS IN DEVELOPING A SCIENTIFIC TEMPER (Vichar Tar Karal) by Narendra Dabholkar. Translated from the original Marathi by Jai Vipra Context, an Imprint of Westland Publications, Chennai, 2019, 149 pp., 299.00
August 2021, volume 45, No 8

If one goes by the deluge of WhatsApp videos, Tulsishyam in Gujarat beholds a mysterious power. Things seem to roll uphill, defying gravity and our common sense. Vehicles, with the engine switched off and placed in neutral, on their own roll uphill. From mystifying ‘anti-gravity’ to magnetic or gravitational anomalies, explanations are offered. Some even go as far as to attribute this strange phenomenon to the paranormal that science cannot explain.

The answer is elementary; optical illusion. The view towards the horizon is obstructed by the outgrowth and trees. Along with the land layout, the trees and other objects that give us a visual clue for orientation, are themselves leaning slightly. This creates an optical illusion that makes a slender downhill gradient look like an uphill slope. The vehicles are not actually rolling uphill, but are in fact, going down.

Remember the ‘plastic rice’. The viral social media video claimed that plastic rice is being manufactured in China and mixed in with the natural rice? The cost of good quality rice in those days was around Rs.100 a kg, whereas the cost of the plastic was around Rs.200. Adulterating rice with plastic makes no economic sense at all, yet many were misled.

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