Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (18th to 25th June, 2019)

India’s first solar cruise vessel to be rolled out soon

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (18th to 25th June, 2019)

(Info graphic Summary at the end)

Topic: NASA’s First Astrobee robot– Bumble

Topic in Syllabus: Science & Technology

 

Context:

NASA’s First Astrobee robot– Bumble

  • Bumble becomes the First Astrobee robot of NASA’s to fly under its own power in space.
  • Bumble is a free-flying robot system that will help researchers test new technologies in zero gravity and perform routine work alongside astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

 

Astrobee Robot:

  • Astrobee robots can move in any direction and turn on any axis in space.
  • Astrobee plays a significant part in NASA’s future missions to explore the Moon and Mars.
  • Astrobee – Bumble and Honey launched to the space station, and the 3rd robot Queen shall be launched in July 2019.

 

Robots on Earth vs Robots

  • Robots on Earth rely on wheels, treads, or legs to get around, but none of those are any good in space.
  • The Astrobee robots are free-flying, able to zip around the ISS using small electric fans at the behest of ground control or astronauts on the station.

 

Uses:

  • NASA wants robots like the Astrobee series to serve as custodians.
  • They’ll perform some of the upkeep and assistance so that astronauts can focus on their missions instead of monotonous tasks.
  • They could be particularly valuable for long-term missions to the Moon and Mars, where personnel and time will likely be very limited.

 

Sample Question:

NASA’s First Astrobee Robot starts flying in the space, recently. It was named as;

[A].        Bunny

[B].         Robocop

[C].         Gerry

[D].        Bumble

 

Answer: Option D

Explanation:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s robot named Bumble became the first Astrobee robot to fly under its own power in space. Astrobee is a free-flying robot system that will help researchers test new technologies in zero gravity and perform routine work alongside astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

 


Topic : ICANN partners with NASSCOM to develop technology, standards for iot devices

Topic in Syllabus: Science & Technology

 

Context:

ICANN partners with NASSCOMto develop technology, standards for iot devices

Internet Corporation forAssigned Names and Numbers(ICANN), the global internet body and Indian apex body for ITindustry NASSCOM (NationalAssociation of Software and Services Companies)announced collaboration for working in developingstandards and identifier technology that will feedinto the global consultation for managing Internetof-Things (IoT) devices and infrastructure usinginternet.

 

Key Issues

  • Under the partnership, both ICANN & NASSCOM will1st focus on updating Internet of Things (IoT) devicesusing domain name system (DNS) even in situationwhen manufacturer or supplier has closed down thebusiness.
  • The collaboration will provide a structure for bothbodies to jointly identify research projects,predominantly in new technologies related tointernet’s system of unique identifiers.
  • The researchproject undertaken will look at directing people whoare looking to update their IoT to othermanufacturers/vendor in case if original vendor hasclosed down his business.
  • First Project: 1st research project undertaken focuseson testing the use of DNS to update IoT firmware andstudying how proposed technology could scaleoutside a lab environment.
  • Project Team: under collaboration includes ICANNtechnical experts, NASSCOM’s Centre of ExcellenceIOT team, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)Hyderabad team and participants from Education andResearch Network (ERNET) of India.
  • The teams have already begun research on DNS andInternet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in context ofInternet of Things (IoT) in 2018.

 

About ICANN

  • It is nonprofit global organization that is responsiblefor allocating IP addresses, managing domain namesystem (DNS) and also overlooks all internetplumbing on behalf of governments, universities andcompanies, as well as public.
  • It is often dubbed as phone book of internet as itmatches domain names with appropriate IP addressnumbers.
  • Although this global multi-stakeholder organizationwas created by United States (US) government butsince March 2016, ICANN is no longer overseen by USgovernment and has roped in now into the hands oflesser known organisation that will have a number ofcountries on board

 

ICANN performs four major functions namely:

  • Approval of companies that can become accredited registrars for domain names.
  • Decision making regarding the addition of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) to the Root system.
  • Coordinating technical parameters to maintain universal connectivity.
  • Creating a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for competing domain names.

 

About NASSCOM:

  • The National Association of Software and Services Companies(NASSCOM) is a trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.
  • Established in 1988, NASSCOM is a non-profit organisation.
  • NASSCOM initiated a program called ‘10000 Startups’ in 2013. The purpose of 10000 Startup is to support and impact 10,000 startups in India by 2023.

 

Sample Question:

ICANN is responsible for

a. Coordination of global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers.

b. Coordination of the Internet Protocol address spaces.

c. Introduction of new generic top-level domains (TLDs).

d. All of the Above

 

Answer : D

 


Topic : Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Geography

 

Context:

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) claimed as the world’s largest multi-stage and multi-purpose lift irrigation scheme, was inaugurated.

 

Uses:

  • The Kaleshwaram project is an off-shoot of the original Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme taken up by the government in 2007 when Andhra Pradesh was not divided.
  • Waters of the Godavari will be tapped by reverse pumping and storage, thereby facilitating agriculture on over 38 lakh acres.
  • It would help rejuvenate thousands of tanks, providing water for industries, and supplying drinking water to Hyderabad and Secunderabad by creating a series of storage tanks and a network of pipelines.

 

Rivers involved:

  • The project starts at the confluence point of Pranahita River (amajor tributary of Godavari River) and Godavari River.
  • Pranahita river is a confluence of various other smaller tributaries like Wardha, Penganga and Wainganga Rivers.

 

Significance:

  • In a state that accounts for the second highest number of farmers’ suicides after Vidarbha in Maharashtra often because of poor monsoon rains or lack of irrigation facilities, the project holds the potential to change this tragic tale of Telangana.
  • It is aimed to make Telangana drought proof by harnessing the flood waters of the Godavari.

 

Sample Question

Consider the following,

  1. Mission Bhagiratha
  2. Mission Kakatiya
  3. Polavaram Project
  4. Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Project

 

Which of the above are associated with State of Telangana?

a. 1 and 2 only

b. 1,2 and 3 only

c. 1,2 and 4 only

d. All of the above

 

Answer: C

 


Topic : Laser-based method to measure pressure and its derived SI unit ‘pascal’.

Topic in Syllabus: Science & Technology

 

Context:

Laser-based method to measure pressure and its derived SI unit ‘pascal’

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists have developed a highly precise method for measuring pressurethat is based on treating pressure as energy density — an equivalent physicaldescription to force per unit area because it is derived from the same combination ofthe SI base units.

 

FLOC method:

  • The method involves probing atoms of gas in a cavity directly witha laser to determine their pressure.NIST’s new pressure sensor, called a fixed-length optical cavity (FLOC), comparesthe speed of a laser travelling through a gas-filled cavity with that of an identicalbeam in a vacuum.
  • The speed of light varies with the density of the gas in a way thatquantum chemists can calculate based on the properties of atoms.
  • For a steady-temperature system, metrologists can combine these densitymeasurements — effectively the number of particles in the cavity — with theBoltzmann constant, which relates temperature to kinetic energy.
  • This calculates the gas’s ‘energy density’, which is equivalent to pressure
  • In short, the method involves probing atoms of gas in a cavity directly with a laser to determine their pressure.

 

Advantages:

Doing Away with Mercury: The achievement is fantastic from a metrology point of view and if widely accepted by the metrology community, the method would do away with the need for mercury, which is toxic and faces international bans.

Direct Method: Also, the technique measures pressure directly, using a fundamental constant of nature, meaning metrologists can derive the pascal without relying on previous measurements of other quantities, such as density, which the manometer depends on.

Easy Usage: The method is neat as it measures pressure by counting the number of gas particles in the cavity, using just quantum calculations and a fundamental constant of nature. Moreover, it could also allow anyone to measure pressure from first principles without the tedious work of a chain of calibrations to a primary standard that is currently required.

 

Conclusion

Metrologists have long been striving to replace manometers. This new way to define pressure and its derived SI unit, the pascal will have a lot of potential. Scientists are expecting that this new technique within a year, begin to replace the mercury-based measurement methods that have been in use since 1643.

 

Sample Questions:

Instruments that measure pressure are generally classified as:

a. nonlinear
b. linear
c. free of hysteresis
d. None of the above

 

Answer: b

 


Topic : Varunastra Torpedoes to Indian Navy

Topic in Syllabus: Security Issues

 

Indian Navy and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) have signed a contract recently worth for supply of heavyweight torpedo Varunastra to Indian Navy.

Varunastra Torpedoes to Indian Navy

About Varunastra:

  • Varunastra is capable of targeting quiet and stealthy submarines, both in deep and littoral waters in intense countermeasure environment.
  • Having almost 95 per cent indigenous content, it weighs around 1.25 tonne.
  • The torpedo, which has already been test-fired from ships, will soon be fired from a submarine.
  • Varunastra has been designed with latest technologies such as high-speed and long-endurance propulsion, software-driven intelligence, conformal array acoustic homing with wide look angle and advanced digital signal processing.
  • The torpedo can be launched from Kolkata, Delhi, Teg, Talwar and Kamorta classes of ships.
  • It has conformal array transducer which can look at wider angles than other torpedos.
  • It is also having advanced autonomous guidance algorithms with low drift navigational aids, insensitive warhead which can operate in various combat scenarios.
  • It has a GPS-based locating aid, a unique feature in contemporary torpedoes in the world.
  • The weapon has completed all environmental qualification tests like shock, vibration, temperature cycling, marine environmental tests.

 

Torpedo:

A modern torpedo is a self-propelled weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with its target or in proximity to it.

 

Significance:

  • This made India one of the eight countries to have the capability to design and build such a system. 73 such torpedoes have been ordered by the Indian Navy.
  • This landmark has put navy in the elite club of navies across the globe that can boast of self-reliance in under water sensors and under water weapons.
  • The development of such a technology took 11 whole years by the NSTL and they took a year extra as there were many issues since it was being done for the first time.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following have signed a contract for supply of heavyweight torpedo Varunastra to Indian Navy?

a) Indian Navy

b) Bharat Heavy Electricals limited

c) Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)

d) None

Answer: C

 


Topic : Kolhapuri chappal gets GI Tag

Topic in Syllabus: Art & Culture

 

Context:

Kolhapuri chappal gets GI Tag

  • Kolhapuris, the sturdy leather chappal that rose from its humble rural origins to occupy the high table of fashion globally, now has a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  • The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks has granted the GI tag for Kolhapuris to a large area in Maharashtra and Karnataka, covering four districts in each state.
  • The approval for GI tag was jointly received by Karnataka and Maharashtra recently for making these chappals.
  • These leather chappals are hand-crafted and tanned using vegetable dyes.

 

Geographical Tag

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country).
  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
  • The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India.

 

History:

  • According to the GI application made by the two states, Kolhapuris can be traced back to the 12th century King Bijjal who ruled Bidar in Karnataka.
  • His prime minister VishwaguruBasavanna wanted to create a casteless society and remove the stigma associated with the cobbler community.
  • The community embraced Lingayat faith and used its creative skills to start producing footwear known equally for its ruggedness and regal bearing.
  • Brand Kolhapuri came into being only in the beginning of 20th century when the footwear began to be traded in Kolhapur.
  • Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (1874-1922) of Kolhapur encouraged its production and 29 tanning centres were opened during his rule in Kolhapur.

 

Sample Question:

India enacted The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 in order to comply with the obligations to

a. ILO

b. IMF

c. UNCTAD

d. WTO

 

Correct Answer: D. WTO (CSE 2018)

 


Topic : India’s first solar cruise vessel to be rolled out soon

Topic in Syllabus: Infrastructure

 

Kerala is gearing up for the launch of the country’s premier solar-powered cruise boat by December.

 

More in News

India’s first solar cruise vessel to be rolled out soon

The initiative comes from the State Water Transport Department (SWTD), whose solar ferry Aditya in the Vaikom-Thavanakadavu route has proved to be a success.

The ₹3-crore cruise boat that can carry 100 passengers is under construction at a boatyard in Aroor and comes from the stable of the builders of Aditya.

It will be rolled out in Alappuzha in December.

 

About Solar Cruise Vessel:

  • The hybrid vessel will be powered by a motor that can source energy from solar panels, battery, and generator.
  • Its battery will have 80 KWh (kilowatt hour) power backup, as compared to 50 KWh backup in Aditya
  • The double-deck, double-engine catamaran-type vessel adheres to norms specified by the Indian Registry of Shipping (IRS).

 

Benefits

  • Fuel efficient: Aditya incurs a rock-bottom energy expense of ₹200 a day, as compared to the approximately ₹8,000 needed for diesel-powered ferries.
  • Solar vessels do not create air and noise pollution
  • Reduce operational cost

 

Sample Question

India’s first solar-powered cruise boat to be rolled out in which of the following states?

a. Karnataka

b. Kerala

c. Andhra Pradesh

d. Tamil Nadu

 

Answer: b

 


Topic : Bitcoin use causing huge CO2 emissions: Study

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

Context:

Bitcoin use causing huge CO2 emissions- Study

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has revealed that Bitcoin system has a carbon footprint of between 22 and 22.9 megatonnes per year. This is comparable to the footprint of cities such as Hamburg, Vienna or Las Vegas.

Bitcoin mining is very energy-intensive and the process has increased rapidly in recent years.

 

Concern:

  • The computing capacity used in this process — known as Bitcoin mining — has increased rapidly in recent years. Statistics show that it quadrupled in 2018 alone.
  • Consequently, the Bitcoin boom raises the question of whether the cryptocurrency is imposing an additional burden on the climate
  • The researchers determined the annual electricity consumption by Bitcoin, as of November 2018, to be about 46 TWh.
  • Based on these data, the team was able to localise 68 per cent of the Bitcoin network computing power in Asian countries, 17 per cent in European countries, and 15 per cent in North America.

 

Bitcoin:

  • Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital currency, which is used and distributed electronically.
  • Bitcoin is a decentralised peer-to-peer network. No single institution or person controls it.
  • Bitcoins can’t be printed and their amount is very limited – only 21 mln Bitcoins can ever be created.
  • Bitcoin was first introduced as an open-source software by an anonymous programmer, or a group of programmers, under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.

 

Way Forward:

  • The researchers have recommended that cryptocurrency mining should be regulated in regions where power generation is especially carbon-intensive. Also, to improve the ecological balance, more mining farms can be linked to additional renewable generating capacity.

 

Sample Question

Who created Bitcoin?

a. Satoshi Nakamoto

b. Samsung

c. John Mcafee

d. China

 

Answer: A

 


Info graphic Summary


 

Weekly current affairs 18 to 25th june - 1