Science & Technology - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Scientists have used which e-waste as electrode to generate electricity?
- Published on 27 Feb 17

a. LED glass
b. LCD glass
c. Tube light
d. Both a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and b

Explanation:
Scientists at IIT, Madras have come up with a novel technique where e-waste can be used as a resource not only to treat waste water.

It can also be used to generate electricity simultaneously, making it an important innovation to deal with fast growing menace of such hazardous waste in the country.

Under this technique, scientists use e-waste component like "LED\LCD (liquid crystal coated polaroid) glass" as an electrode material in 'Microbial Fuel Cells' (MFCs).

This is primarily a technology used for only waste water treatment.

Use of e-waste as an electrode, however, helps it to generate electricity and recover metals for reuse.

Use of waste to study waste and generate electricity is a novel concept.

Technologies available in the country at present are generally meant for only recovering and recycling components like glass, plastic, printed circuit board, hard drives, batteries and valuable metals.

But this new technology, the scientists claim, can use LED\LCD glass component of e-waste for the twin jobs–waste water treatment and electricity production.

IIT Madras: Know More

  • Director: Bhaskar Ramamurthy
  • Founded: 1959
  • Chairperson: Pawan Kumar Goenka
  • Motto: Sanskrit:सिद्धिर्भवति कर्मजा/ (English:Siddhirbhavati Karmaja)


2)   AAI and IATA have launched an e-billing solution called?
- Published on 27 Feb 17

a. SKYNEV360
b. SKYREV360
c. SKYREV460
d. SKYNEV460
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SKYREV360

Explanation:
The state-owned Airport Authority of India (AAI) along with International Air Transport Association (IATA) launched SKYREV360, an e-billing solution for airport operators across the world.

SKYREV360 will aid airport operators and air navigation services providers worldwide to overcome the issues of revenue leakages, besides reducing redundancies.

It will also help in the reduction in disputes, easy integration with all external systems and curtailing the debt collection period to the minimum.

It has been developed for the electronic billing solution for data, e-invoicing and collection of tariff from the airlines.

It is being used by the AAI for several years now.

IATA: Know More

  • Headquarters: Montreal, Canada
  • CEO: Tony Tyler (since 1 Jul 2011)
  • Founded: 19 April 1945, Havana, Cuba
  • Type of business: International trade association


3)   Alphabet Inc launched a new technology to track abusive comments called ________
- Published on 24 Feb 17

a. Perspective
b. Attitude
c. Mindset
d. Approach
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Perspective

Explanation:
Alphabet Inc's Google and subsidiary Jigsaw launched on 23rd Feb 2017 a new technology to help news organisations and online platforms identify abusive comments on their websites.

The technology, called Perspective, will review comments and score them based on how similar they are to comments people said were toxic or likely to make them leave a conversation.

The tool has been tested on New York Times and the companies hope to extend it to other news organisations such as The Guardian and The Economist as well as websites.

Perspective examined hundreds of thousands of comments that had been labelled as offensive by human reviewers to learn how to spot potentially abusive language.

The company was open to rolling out the technology to all platforms, including larger ones such as Facebook and Twitter where trolling can be a major headache.

The technology could in the future be expanded to trying to identify personal attacks or off-topic comments too.

Perspective will not decide what to do with comments it finds are potentially abusive; rather publishers will be able to flag them to their moderators or develop tools to help commenters understand the impact of what they are writing.

The initiative against trolls follows efforts by Google and Facebook to combat fake news stories in France, Germany and the United States after they came under fire during the US presidential vote.

The debate surrounding fake news has led to calls from politicians for social networks to be held more liable for the content posted on their platforms.

Jigsaw: Know More

  • Formerly called: Google Ideas (2010–2015)
  • Type: Think tank
  • Founded: 2010
  • Founders: Eric Schmidt
  • Headquarters: New York City, United States
  • Jared Cohen (President)
  • Parent : Google (2010–2015)/Alphabet Inc. (2015–present)
  • Website: jigsaw.google.com


4)   Scientists have discovered Earth like planets near a star called _________
- Published on 24 Feb 17

a. Trappist-10
b. Trappist-1
c. Trappist-3
d. Trappist-4
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Trappist-1

Explanation:
For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star - and these new worlds could hold life.

This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA and the Belgian-led research team who announced the discovery Wednesday.

The planets circle tightly around a dim dwarf star called Trappist-1, barely the size of Jupiter.

Three are in the so-called habitable zone, the area around a star where water and, possibly life, might exist.

Scientists said they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these rocky, terrestrial planets could support some sort of life.

But it already shows just how many Earth-size planets could be out there - especially in a star ripe for extraterrestrial life.

The more planets like this, the greater the potential of finding one that's truly habitable. Until now, only two or three Earth-size planets had been spotted around a star.

The potential for more Earth-size planets in the Milky Way galaxy is mind-boggling.

The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when.

University of Liege's Michael Gillon and his team reported finding three planets around Trappist-1. Now the count is up to seven, and scientists said there could be more.

This crowded yet compact solar system - 235 trillion miles away - is reminiscent of Jupiter and its Galilean moons, according to the researchers.

Altogether, astronomers have confirmed close to 3,600 planets outside our solar system since the 1990s, but barely four dozen are in the potential habitable zone of their stars.

Of those, just 18 are approximately the size of Earth.

Both ground and space telescopes were used to identify and track the seven Trappist-1 planets, which they label simply by lowercase letters, "b" through "h."

As is typical in these cases, the letter "A" - in upper case - is reserved for the star.

Planets cast shadows on their star as they pass in front of it; that's how the scientists spotted them.

Tiny, cold stars like Trappist-1 were long shunned by exoplanet-hunters (exoplanets are those outside our solar system).

But the astronomers decided to seek them out, building a telescope in Chile to observe 60 of the closest ultracool dwarf stars.

Their Trappist telescope lent its name to this star.

While faint, the Trappist-1 star is close by cosmic standards, allowing astronomers to study the atmospheres of its seven temperate planets.

All seven look to be solid like Earth - mostly rocky and possibly icy, too.

They all appear to be tidally locked, which means the same side continually faces the star, just like the same side of our moon always faces us.

Life could still exist at these places, the researchers explained.

Chemical analyses should indicate life with perhaps 99 percent confidence.


5)   CERT-In has launched which PC and mobile security solution?
- Published on 24 Feb 17

a. Cyber Forensic Kendra
b. Cyber Swachhta Kendra
c. Cyber Swachh Kendra
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Cyber Swachhta Kendra

Explanation:
At a time when cyber attacks are increasing, the government through its Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) on 21st Feb 2017 launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra.

This a new desktop and mobile security solution for a secure cyber space in the country.

The new solution will notify, enable cleaning and secure systems of end-users to prevent further infections.

Around 13 banks and internet service providers using this facility.

Cyber Swachhta Kendra will also enhance awareness among citizens regarding botnet and malware infection along with measures to be taken to secure their devices.

National Cyber Coordination Centre will be operational by June 2017. The government also announced it would set up CERT-Ins at the state level as well.

The government will set up 10 more STQC (Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification) testing Facilities.

Testing fee for any start-up that comes up with a digital technology in the quest of cyber security will be reduced by 50 per cent.

Part of the solution, USB Pratirodh is a desktop security solution that controls the usage of removable storage media like pen drives, external hard drives and other USB-supported mass storage devices.

M-Kavach tool offers a comprehensive mobile device security solution for Android devices addressing threats related to mobile phones.

AppSamvid is a desktop solution which protects systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. This helps in preventing threats from malicious applications.

CERT-in: Know More

  • CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a government-controlled information technology (IT) security organization.
  • The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents.
  • It also issues report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country.
  • CERT-In was created by the Indian Department of Information Technology in 2004.
  • CERT organizations throughout the world are independent entities, although there may be coordinated activities among groups.
  • The first CERT group was formed in the United States at Carnegie Mellon University.


6)   Scientists from NASA have discovered microbes trapped inside crystals for how many years?
- Published on 24 Feb 17

a. 60,000
b. 50,000
c. 40,000
d. 30,000
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: 60,000

Explanation:
Scientists from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute have discovered living microorganisms (most of them bacteria) trapped inside crystals for as long as 60,000 years.

These were found in a Naica mine in Mexico.

These ancient microbes have evolved so they can survive on a diet of sulphite, manganese and copper oxide.

The discovery has caused concern for astrobiologists about bringing back samples collected on space missions in the solar system as dangerous extraterrestrial organisms could accidentally enter into Earth on a returning spaceship.

Besides there is also risk that Earth organisms could contaminate other planets in the course of missions.

Bacteria: Know More

  • Bacteria constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms.
  • Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals.
  • Scientific name: Bacteria
  • Rank: Domain


7)   What does CBEC stand for?
- Published on 24 Feb 17

a. Central Board of Excise and Clearance
b. Central Board of Excise and Customs
c. Central Board of Excise and Cash
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Central Board of Excise and Customs

Explanation:
In step with the Government’s Digital India initiative, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has launched a mobile application for Goods and Services Tax.

Taxpayers can readily access a host of GST information such as:

  • Migration to GST-Approach and guidelines for migration
  • Draft Law-Model GST Law, IGST Law and GST Compensation Law
  • Draft Rules-Rules related to Registration, Returns, Payment, Refund and Invoice
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on GST
  • Various resources on GST such a videos, articles etc.
  • Related Website Links
  • Helpdesk/Email Contact
The Mobile Application enables taxpayers to be well informed of the latest updates on GST.

Taxpayers can also provide feedback and contact CBEC’s 24x7 helpdesk “CBEC Mitra” through a toll-free number or email, at the flick of a button.

The mobile application can be downloaded free of cost on Android platforms. The iOS version will be made available shortly.

GST Mobile Application is a yet another initiative by CBEC towards improving ease of doing business and providing outstanding taxpayer services.


8)   The most distant pulsar has been found using which ESA craft?
- Published on 23 Feb 17

a. NMM Newton
b. ZMM Newton
c. XMM Newton
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: XMM Newton

Explanation:
The pulsar is 50 million light years away.

It's a collapsed star spinning around at an increasing speed and sending out as much energy in one second as the Sun does in 3.5 years.

The discovery was made by scientists using the x-ray observatory space craft XMM-Newton managed by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The newly found pulsar is a 1000 times brighter than previously thought possible and also the most distant of its kind ever detected.

It completes one rotation in just over a second.

The discovery of this very unusual object, by far the most extreme ever discovered in terms of distance, luminosity and rate of increase of its rotation frequency, sets a new record for XMM-Newton, and is changing our ideas of how such objects really function.

XMM-Newton observed the object several times in the last 13 years, with the discovery a result of a systematic search for pulsars in the data archive–its 1.13 s periodic pulses giving it away.

The signal was also identified in NASA's Nustar archive data, providing additional information.

Previously, it was held only black holes at least 10 times more massive than our sun feeding off their stellar companions could achieve such extraordinary luminosities, but the rapid and regular pulsations of this source are the fingerprints of neutron stars and clearly distinguish them from black holes, according to scientists.

Only a neutron star is compact enough to keep itself together while rotating so fast.

The scientists think there must be a strong, complex magnetic field close to its surface, such that accretion onto the neutron star surface is still possible while still generating the high luminosity.

What are Pulsars?

  • Pulsars are spinning, magnetised neutron stars that sweep regular pulses of radiation in two symmetrical beams across the cosmos.
  • If suitably aligned with Earth these beams are like a lighthouse beacon appearing to flash on and off as it rotates.
  • They were once massive stars that exploded as a powerful supernova at the end of their natural life. They small and extraordinarily dense stellar corpses.


9)   Who is the Frogman of India?
- Published on 22 Feb 17

a. SD Biju
b. Salim Ali
c. Sunita Narain
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SD Biju

Explanation:
Professor SD Biju from Delhi University (DU) and his team discovered four new miniature species.

This is now listed among the smallest known frogs in the world.

The scientists were surprised by the relative abundance of these new miniature species.

In all Biju's team have discovered seven new frog species belonging to the genus Nyctibatrachus, commonly known as Night Frogs.

This finding is a result of five years of extensive explorations in the Western Ghats global biodiversity hotspot in India.

Four out of seven of the new species are miniature-sized frogs (12.2-15.4 mm), which can sit on a coin or a thumbnail.

These are among the smallest known frogs in the world.

Unlike other frogs in the genus that are predominantly stream dwelling, the new miniature frogs were found under damp forest leaf litter or marsh vegetation.

The newly sampled frogs were confirmed as new species by using an integrated taxonomic approach that included DNA studies, detailed morphological comparisons and bioacoustics.

Earlier Night Frog genus comprised of 28 recognized species of which only three were miniature-sized (<18mm).

Now the total number of known Nyctibatrachus species has increased to 35, of which 20% are diminutive in size.

This frog genus is endemic to the Western Ghats of India and represents an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70-80 million years ago.

Among the new species are four true miniatures, between 10 and 15 mm body length, among the smallest of frogs.

These seem to be common locally and they probably were overlooked because of their small size.

They occur more terrestrially, in leaf litter.

However, the future of many of the new species may be bleak. All the newly described species are currently known only from single localities in the southern Western Ghats, and some lie outside protected areas.

Researchers found the Radcliffe's Night frog and the Kadalar Night Frog inside private or state-owned plantation areas facing threats such as habitat disturbance, modification and fragmentation.

The Athirappilly Night Frog was found in close vicinity to the Athirappilly waterfalls and the Sabarimala Night Frog near the Sabarimala pilgrimage centre, both of which are disturbed by anthropogenic activities.

"Over 32%, that is one-third of the Western Ghats frogs are already threatened with extinction.

Western Ghats: Know More

  • Elevation: 2,695 m
  • Area: 160,000 km²
  • Highest point: Anamudi
  • Passes: Tamhini Ghat, Naneghat, Palakkad Gap, Kasara ghat
  • Types of rock: Basalt, Limestone


10)   Scientists are developing a new way of extracting _____ from seawater.
- Published on 22 Feb 17

a. Uranium
b. Radium
c. Plutonium
d. Cesium
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Uranium

Explanation:
Scientists are developing a new way of extracting uranium from seawater, an advance that may help countries that lack resources to harness nuclear power from the oceans.

Researchers have long known that uranium dissolved in seawater combines chemically with oxygen to form uranyl ions with a positive charge.

Extracting these uranyl ions involves dipping plastic fibers containing a compound called amidoxime into seawater. The uranyl ions essentially stick to the amidoxime.

When the strands become saturated, the plastic is chemically treated to free the uranyl, which then has to be refined for use in reactors just like ore from a mine.

How practical this approach is depends on three main variables - how much uranyl sticks to the fibres, how quickly ions can be captured and how many times the fibres can be reused.

Researchers from Stanford University in the US improved on all three variables: capacity, rate and reuse.

Their key advance was to create a conductive hybrid fibre incorporating carbon and amidoxime.

By sending pulses of electricity down the fibre, they altered the properties of the hybrid fibre so that more uranyl ions could be collected.

Researchers supervised lab tests that compared Stanford's amidoxime-carbon hybrid fibres with today's amidoxime fibres.

The extent of uranyl each type of fibre could hold before reaching saturation was tested.

By the time the standard amidoxime fibre had become saturated, Stanford's amidoxime-carbon hybrid fibres had already adsorbed nine times as much uranyl and were still not saturated.

The electrified fibre captured three times as much uranyl during an 11-hour test using seawater from Half Moon Bay, about an hour from Stanford and had three times the useful lifespan of the standard amidoxime.

Trace amounts of uranium exists in seawater, but efforts to extract that critical ingredient for nuclear power have produced insufficient quantities to make it a viable source for those countries that lack uranium mines.

A practical method for extracting that uranium, which produces higher quantities in less time, could help make nuclear power a viable part of the quest for a carbon-free energy future.

Researchers believe that a practical way to extract uranium from seawater is needed to reduce the energy insecurity of nations that depend on nuclear power but lack uranium within their own borders.

Uranium: Know More

  • Symbol: U
  • Atomic number: 92
  • Atomic mass: 238.02891 u ± 0.00003 u
  • Electron configuration: [Rn] 5f36d17s2
  • Discovered: 1789
  • Melting point: 1,132°C
  • Discoverer: Martin Heinrich Klaproth


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