Science & Technology Current Affairs October 2015 (Part 1)

World’s First Invisibility Cloak Now a Reality

  • As on September 18, 2015, Scientists from the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Berkeley Lab and University of California (UC)-Berkeley have devised the first-ever ultra-thin invisibility ‘skin’ cloak that can conform to the shape of an object and conceal it from detection with visible light.
  • Although the cloak is only microscopic in size, the principles behind the technology should enable it to be scaled-up to conceal macroscopic items as well.
  • Working with brick-like blocks of gold nanoantennas, a ‘skin’ cloak fashioned barely 80 nanometers in thickness. It was wrapped around a 3D object about the size of a few biological cells and arbitrarily shaped with multiple bumps and dents.

New Species of Human Relative Discovered in South African Cave

  • The discovery of a new species of human tree dubbed as Homo-naledi was announced on September 10, 2015 by the University of the Witwatersrand, the National Geographic Society and the South African Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation.
  • The new discovered species were named after ‘Naledi’, location where it was found. The species has been classified in the genus Homo to which modern humans belong. They have a tiny brain, a primitive pelvis and shoulders.
  • They have more progressive human like body shape of its skull and have relatively small modem-looking teeth, primitive fingers, modern-looking feet and characteristic long legs.
  • The discovery is the single largest fossil hominin find yet made on the continent of Africa. The initial discovery was made in 2013 in a cave known as Rising Star in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, some 50 km North-West of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Read Also – Smart Practice Current Affairs September 2015.

Marine Population Halved Since 1970

  • As per a document was prepared by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London populations of marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% since 1970.
  • The study says some species are in extinct because people rely on them for food for example noting a 74% drop in the populations of tuna and mackerel. In addition to human activity such as over fishing, the report also says climate change is having an impact.
  • Sea cucumbers seen as a luxury food throughout Asia. So, they have seen a significant fall in numbers, with a 98% in the Galapagos and 94% drop in the Red Sea over the past few years. Carbon dioxide is being absorbed into the oceans, making them more acidic, damaging a number of species.

Ban on Multidose Vial of Diclofenac to Save Vultures

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has banned the sale of Diclofenac on September 18, 2015 in multidose vial as per the recommendation of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It will be sold only in single-dose vial packaging.
  • Earlier, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in consultation with MoEF, published a Gazette notification no GSR 558 (E) dated July 17, 2015, regarding the restriction on packaging of multi-dose vial of Diclofenac to single dose for human use.
  • The commonly-used anti-inflammatory drug for cattle is considered the Chief cause for the steep decline in the number of vultures in recent years. The drug is harmless to the cattle it is administered to, but is fatal for the vultures, who routinely feed on the carcass of dead cattle.
  • Studies have shown that the drug causes kidney and liver failure in vultures. Earlier, in 2006, the government of India had imposed a ban on the use of Diclofenac for treating cattle.

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Updated: December 30, 2015 — 6:57 am

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