Science and Technology Current Affairs January 2017
First ‘Water-wave Laser’ Created by Scientists in Israel
- The scientists have created the first ‘water-wave laser’ that emits a beam through the interaction of light and water waves, and may be used in ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices to study cell biology and test new drug therapies, on November 29, 2016.
- The water-wave laser offers a ‘playground’ for scientists studying the interaction of light and fluid at a scale smaller than the width of a human hair.
- The study conducted by Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is the first bridge between two areas of research that were previously considered unrelated to one another : Nonlinear optics and Water waves.
MobiKwok Launched MobiKwik ‘Lite’ App to Make Life Easier for Small Business Holders
- MobiKwik, launched MobiKwik ‘Lite’, and easy to understand app that will help the unorgainised retailers and shopkeepers across India in receiving payments seamlessly on Novemher 27, 2016.
- The majority of Indians do not have access to digital payments due to connectivity issues. With 250 million smartphones and less than 50% net penetration.
- The app can be downloaded by small business holders who don’t have Google Play Store account or e-mail ids.
China Launched World’s Longest Quantum Communication Line
- China launched a 712-km quantum communication line, stated to be the world’s longest secure telecommunications network, which boasts of ultra-high security making it impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through them, on November 20, 2016.
- The new quantum communication line links Hefei, capital of Anhui province, to Shanghai, the country’s financial hub.
- It is part of a 2000-km quantum communication line connecting Beijing and Shanghai. The 712-km line has 11 stations and it took three years of construction. A quantum communication line boasts ultra-high security.
- It is impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through them.
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ECOLOGY & ENVIRONMENT CURRENT AFFAIRS
Great Barrier Reef Suffered the Worst Coral Die-off on Record
- The Great Barrier Reef was devastated by the largest mass bleaching event ever seen — as record-warm ocean temperatures turned large swaths of this vibrant 1400-mile habitat into a ghastly white boneyard, on November 30, 2016.
- Coral reefs are often dubbed the rain forests of the ocean. Anchored by millions of coral : polyps are tiny, soft-bodied animals that MM create elaborate calcium carbonate skeletons that shelter fish, these reefs cover just 0.1% of the sea floor but are home to 25% of marine fish species.
- Coral reefs are also extremely vulnerable to soaring temperatures. In normal times, the living coral polyps form a symbiotic relationship with Zooxanthellae, a colorful type of algae that synthesises sunlight and carbon dioxide to create nutrients for the reef. This algae gives the coral its purple and gold colours.
India Ranked 20th on Climate Change Performance Index
- India has been ranked 20th on Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2017, released on November 21, 2016 which underlined that countries like India are making ‘great efforts’ in the fields of renewables and energy efficiency.
- The publication was issued by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe.
- Positive trends are seen as well among emerging economies of G20 like India (rank 20), Argentina (36) and Brazil (40), which aP improved their ranking.
Salt Tolerant Plant Garden Inaugurated in Tamil Nadu
- Mauritius President Amecnah Gurib Fakim inaugurated a genetic garden of naturally occurring salt-tolerant plants called halophytes at the coastal town of Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu on November 19, 2016.
- Halophytes tolerate salinity and could grow in saline affected regions. Their seeds contain high oil (30%) and protein (35%) like soyabeans and other oilseed crops and the salt content is less than 3%.
- This is probably the first such garden in the world and could be called a global garden—very important in the aspect of anticipatory research. With regions likely to be affected differentially in one way or other, it is going to be a mega-calamity, unless we take pro-active action.
New Species of Fish Discovered in China
- A new species of fish discovered in China shed fresh light on research of the evolution and internal fertilization of the neopterygian group of fish on November 18, 2016.
- The newly discovered species is the oldest and most primitive representative of the ovoviviparous neopterygian fish. Its discovery will promote research of the origin of the neopterygian.
- The new species, named Eltopleurus nitidus by Chinese scientists, was found in Luoping, Yunnan province.
Uttarakhand High Court Directed Declaring Hill Stations as Eco-sensitive
- Uttarakhand High Court on November 11, 2016 ordered all hill stations and glaciers in the state to be declared as eco-sensitive within three months and put a ban on all construction within 25 km radius of the glaciers.
- It also directed all municipal boards and nagar panchayats along the Ganges and the Yamuna to set-up sewage treatment plants within six months besides asking the government to check water quality every 24 hours.
- The High Court banned all new construction and felling of trees within a radius of 2 km and 5 km respectively around the lakes of Bhimtal, Sattal, Naukuchyataal, Nainital and Khurpataal.
‘Lost’ Chandrabhaga River found in Odisha
- After an expert panel on November 7, 2016 confirmed the existence of the mythical Saraswati river in India’s North-West, scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur now claim they have found evidence of another ‘lost’ Indian river.
- Called Chandrabhaga, the ancient river is believed to have existed at a distance of about 2 km from the 13th century Sun Temple at Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Odisha.
- The existence of a palaeo channel was further corroborated through profiling the surface using ‘ground-penetrating radar’ that showed the existence of a V-shaped subsurface river valley.
- It is one of the main Rigvedic rivers mentioned in the scripture Rigveda and later Vedic and post-Vcdic texts. It plays an important role in Hinduism, since Vedic Sanskrit and the first part of the Rigveda are regarded to have originated when the Vedic people lived on its banks, during the 2nd millennium BCE.
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Four Member Team Constituted for Conservation of Loktak Lake
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has constituted a four-member team for conservation and management of Loktak Lake (Manipur) on November 4, 2016.
- It will review the implementation of works carried out with financial assistance provided by the Central and State governments so far for the conservation and management of Loktak Lake and suggest further interventions required for conserving the lake in a holistic manner.
- It also enumerate the steps required to be initiated for declaring Loktak Lake as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Identify the steps and actions to be taken to increase the tourism potential of Loktak Lake.