Science & Technology - GS questions based on daily current affairs

1)   Scalp Cooler is being used for
- Published on 24 Jan 17

a. Skin diseases
b. Chemotherapy
c. Bone regeneration
d. Muscle regeneration
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Chemotherapy

Explanation:

  • The Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Parel has started a clinical trial using technology to minimise hair loss due to chemotherapy.
  • The initiative, the first such in India, is expected to address the loss of self-esteem and confidence that many cancer patients, especially women, face and reduce cancer-related trauma.
  • The process uses a scalp cooling technique to restrict chemotherapy medication from reaching the scalp, thus reducing hair fall.
  • The machine has two scalp coolers, which are essentially specialised inner silicon caps containing coolants at temperatures of up to minus 4 degrees centigrade.
  • The technique is widely used in the U.K.
  • The machine circulates the coolant in the caps, reducing its temperature and consequently blood supply to the scalp.
  • As chemotherapy medication is given intravenously and circulated through the blood, the scalp gets less blood and thus less of the medication.
  • This reduces damage to hair follicles and preserves hair. But, experts say reduction in hair loss may vary from person to person.
  • Chemotherapy medication works best on fast-dividing cells.
  • Since cancer cells divide rapidly, the medicines attack those cells, but other cells like those in the blood, mucosal lining and hair follicles also come under attack.
  • This is why patients suffer from reduced blood count, mouth ulcers and hair loss during chemotherapy. But of all the side-effects, hair loss has the worst impact on women.
  • The most common side-effects of using scalp coolers are headache and cold.


2)   Which of the following are seen to be uses of capsicum?

1) Neutralize free radicals
2) AIDS treatment
3) Anti-cancer properties

- Published on 23 Jan 17

a. 1, 2
b. 2, 3
c. 1, 3
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: 1, 3

Explanation:

  • A team of Indian researchers has successfully decoded the molecular basis of extreme fiery hot (pungency) property of Bhut jolokia (Capsicum chinense) which is native of northeast India;
  • Bhut jolokia has the highest pungency level in the world.
  • In the study, many varieties belonging to C. chinense, C. frutescens, C. annuum were studied and comparative analysis carried out for pungency, vitamins and other metabolites.
  • The high level of pungency and vitamins was found to be positively correlated with high antioxidant activities - the higher the pungency of the capsicum variety the higher was its antioxidant property.
  • Pungency and vitamin C show high correlation, and these two along with other metabolites have high antioxidant activity.
  • When we tested the extract on in vitro cell-free assays the highly pungent capsicum varieties showed very high potential for free radical scavenging activity compared with low pungent varieties.
  • To compare the free radical scavenging capacity of the capsicum varieties, the researchers generated free radical through chemical reactions and tested how effectively the extracts from different varieties scavenged the free radicals.
  • The capsicum Bhut jolokia [popularly known as ghost chilli] has more anticancer property compared with other capsicum varieties.
  • The scavenging property is useful in humans and animals as it neutralises the free radicals which are otherwise harmful.
  • The team also identified crucial genes involved in pungency development.


3)   Which of the following is/are true regarding National Small Savings Fund (NSSF)?

1) MoU between ISRO and JAXA for cooperation in the field of outer space has been signed for the first time.
2) JAXA is space agency of Israel.

- Published on 20 Jan 17

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation:

  • India and Japan pursued space cooperation for more than 5 decades and carried out studies in the field of atmospheric study, observation of universe and scientific investigation in remote sensing.
  • With the formation of Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2003, an "arrangement concerning the considerations of potential future cooperation in the field of outer space" was signed in October 2005 between ISRO/ Department of Space (DOS) and JAXA.
  • Subsequently both agencies have signed cooperative documents addressing lunar exploration, satellite navigation, X-ray astronomy and Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF).
  • During the ISRO-JAXA bilateral meeting held at New Delhi in 2016, both sides stressed the need for updating the contents of '2005 Arrangement' with enhanced scope of cooperation.
  • The purpose of this MoU is to pursue future cooperative activities in the exploration and use of outer space exclusively for peaceful purposes in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable in each country and their international obligations.
  • This MoU provides scope for pursuing cooperation in various areas of space science technology and applications including: earth observation, satellite communication and navigation; exploration and space sciences; Research and development (space systems and space technology); and Space industry promotion.
  • ISRO and JAXA will bear the costs of their respective activities under this Memorandum, unless they decide otherwise in writing.


4)   Professor C.V. Vishveshwara worked on
- Published on 20 Jan 17

a. Hunger and malnutrition
b. Black Holes
c. Poverty in India
d. Tropical Diseases
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Black Holes

Explanation:

  • Professor C.V. Vishveshwara (77), who did pioneering work on black holes, passed away in Bengaluru.
  • In the 1970s, while at the University of Maryland, he was among the first to study “black holes” even before they had been so named.
  • His calculations gave a graphic form to the signal that would be emitted by two merging black holes – this was the waveform detected in 2015 by the LIGO collaboration, and contained the so-called “quasi normal modes” - a ringdown stage that sounds like a bell’s ringing sound that is fading out.
  • In 2015, at a conference to commemorate the detection of gravitational waves, he jokingly said that he should now probably be known as Quasimodo (after having first discovered the quasi normal modes).
  • Prof. Vishveshwara also drew cartoons, many of which have been published in physics conference proceedings.
  • Prof. Vishveshwara was the founding director of the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru.
  • He has written several books including Einstein’s Enigma, or Black Holes in My Bubble Bath.


5)   International Vaccine Institute is in
- Published on 19 Jan 17

a. South Korea
b. Japan
c. Philippines
d. Australia
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: South Korea

Explanation:

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the proposal for India’s taking full membership of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Governing Council.
  • The move involves payment of annual contribution of US $ 5,00,000 to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea.
  • International Vaccine Institute (IVI) was established in 1997.
  • It was established on the initiatives of the UNDP.
  • It is an international organization devoted to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the people, especially children, against deadly infectious diseases.
  • In the year 2007, with the approval of Cabinet, India joined IVI.
  • India is a long-term collaborator and stake-holder of IVI.
  • In December, 2012 the Board of Trustees (BOT) of IVI approved the formation of its new governance structure.
  • As per the new governance structure of IVI, a member State has to contribute to the IVI by paying a portion of its core budget.
  • Since India is classified in Group-I, it had to pay an annual contribution of US $ 50,000.


6)   Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) is related to
- Published on 18 Jan 17

a. e-cigarettes
b. Painkillers
c. Regulating morphine in hospital
d. Cancer treatment
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: e-cigarettes

Explanation:

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), also called e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigars, e-hookah, or vaping devices, are products that produce an aerosolized mixture containing flavoured liquids and nicotine that is inhaled by the user.
  • Although they are projected as ‘tobacco cessation’ products by various sellers, the lack of concrete evidence in support of this claim make them a serious public health threat
  • This is coupled with the absence of any regulatory approval for their use.
  • This is especially the case when one considers the increasing import of e-cigarettes into the country.
  • As e-cigarettes contain nicotine and not tobacco, they do not fall within the ambit of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), which mandates stringent health warnings on the packaging and advertisements of tobacco products.
  • Most e-commerce websites sell e-cigarettes as therapeutic products which enable people to quit smoking.
  • They do not even mention health warnings.
  • E-cigarettes are not meant for non-smokers.
  • Other dangers posed by e-cigarettes, which do not feature in the health warnings, are the possibilities of the product exploding (incidents have been reported globally) and accidental consumption of the liquid inside the e-cigarette, which leads to death.
  • The current unregulated sale of e-cigarettes is dangerous for a country like India where the number of smokers is on the decline (WHO Global Report, 2015)
  • It increases the possibility of e-cigarettes becoming a gateway for smoking by inducing nicotine addiction and perpetuating smoking by making it more attractive, thereby encouraging persons to become users of tobacco as well as e-cigarettes.
  • The Indian government has been slow to respond.
  • Since the first declaration of its intention to ban e-cigarettes containing nicotine in 2014, only Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Punjab have implemented the ban.
  • The State governments are adopting different routes: Punjab has classified nicotine as a poison, while Maharashtra treats it as an unapproved drug.
  • Lack of a uniform approach in dealing with this public health problem will not only jeopardise the health of the people, but will also enable the sellers of such products slip through the holes.


7)   Piperlongumine is concerned with
- Published on 17 Jan 17

a. Anti-malarial drugs
b. Cure for Zika
c. Organic farming
d. Anti-cancer properties
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Anti-cancer properties

Explanation:

  • The Indian long pepper, widely popular for spicing up food, may soon be used as a potential cancer treatment drug, according to a new study.
  • The Indian long pepper contains a chemical that could stop your body from producing an enzyme that is commonly found in tumours in large numbers.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Enter scientists have uncovered the chemical process behind anti-cancer properties of a spicy Indian pepper plant called the long pepper, whose suspected medicinal properties date back thousands of years.
  • The secret lies in a chemical called Piperlongumine (PL), which has shown activity against many cancers including prostate, breast, lung, colon, lymphoma, leukaemia, primary brain tumours and gastric cancer.
  • PL converts to hPL, an active drug that silences a gene called GSTP1.
  • The GSTP1 gene produces a detoxification enzyme that is often overly abundant in tumours.


8)   Who introduced the electron pair bond?
- Published on 16 Jan 17

a. Irving Langmuir
b. John Dalton
c. G.N. Lewis
d. Neil Bohr
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: G.N. Lewis

Explanation:

  • In 1916, G. N. Lewis introduced the electron pair bond.
  • In chemistry, an electron pair or a Lewis pair consists of two electrons that occupy the same orbital but have opposite spins.
  • He proposed that two atoms may share from one to six electrons forming single, double or triple bonds.
  • He introduced the cubical atom and six postulates to understand their chemical behaviour.
  • That chemical bond decides the properties of molecules such as colour, reactivity, solubility, etc. all of which decide their applications.
  • Besides, it decides the physical properties of matter.
  • We can now design the bond at will and get desired properties from the material so produced.
  • Atoms can be assembled the way we want, to get the shapes we need.
  • Many of these capabilities have inputs from several branches of science, but the underlying reason is the understanding of the chemical bond itself.
  • Lewis wrote about the electron shell model and proposed that atoms acquire a configuration containing eight electrons in the process of forming chemical bonds.
  • He introduced a symbolism for the bond — A:B, where the colon implies the existence of an electron pair bond involving the sharing of two electrons between atoms A and B.
  • He symbolised this as A: B and A :B implying polar bonds, where electrons are closer to A and B, respectively.
  • He had, models for different types of bonds such as covalent and ionic — in the former, electrons are shared and in the latter, an electron from one atom is transferred completely to the other.


9)   What is Frankenfixation?
- Published on 13 Jan 17

a. Use of genetic modification to fix nitrogen and carbon dioxide into the soil
b. New technique to harvest organs from dead
c. New process to preserve and recuperate damaged organs
d. Use of genetic modification to fix carbon dioxide into the soil
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Use of genetic modification to fix carbon dioxide into the soil

Explanation:

  • Frankenfixation refers to the use of genetic modification to fix carbon dioxide into the soil.
  • It derives from term popularised by critics of genetically modified foods, ‘Frankenfoods’.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute recently oversaw an effort to piece together an artificial metabolism from the bits and pieces of biosynthetic pathways that were once scattered across the three kingdoms of life.
  • What they found was a novel pathway based on a new CO2-fixing enzyme that is nearly 20 times faster than the most prevalent enzyme in nature responsible for capturing CO2 in plants by using sunlight as energy.
  • Were such pathways to be perfected, new species of plants, trees or entirely new organisms, could be grown that are specifically designed to take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hold off the looming crisis of rising global temperatures.


10)   What is BILI?
- Published on 13 Jan 17

a. Only 1
b. New process of cleaning pollution
c. Instrument of NASA
d. New gene
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Instrument of NASA

Explanation:

  • The Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument, or BILI is a fluorescence-based lidar, a type of remote-sensing instrument similar to radar in principle and operation.
  • Instead of using radio waves, however, lidar instruments use light to detect and ultimately analyse the composition of particles in the atmosphere.
  • Although NASA has used fluorescence instruments to detect chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere as part of its climate-studies research, the agency so far hasn’t employed the technique in planetary studies.
  • It is a sensing technique that the US military currently uses to remotely monitor the air to detect potentially life-threatening chemicals, toxins, and pathogens.
  • The beauty of BILI is its ability to detect in real-time small levels of complex organic materials from a distance of several hundred meters
  • Therefore, it could autonomously search for bio-signatures in plumes above recurring slopes - areas not easily traversed by a rover carrying a variety of in-situ instruments for detailed chemical and biological analysis.
  • This can be used to detect signatures of life on Mars.


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