Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Feb 09, 2017

1)   Which words made it to the Merriam Webster Dictionary for the first time?

a. Face Palm
c. Net Neutrality
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

FLOTUS, face-palm, net neutrality along with terms from recent advances in science - such as CRISPR - are among over 1,000 new words added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

This is for the first time since 2014.

The new entries include borrowings from foreign languages as well as words from tech, medicine, pop culture, sports.

In some cases, terms have been observed for years and are finally being added; in others, the fast rise and broad acceptance of a term has made for a quicker journey.

‘Seussian’ relating to or suggestive of the works of Dr Seuss is now in the online dictionary, along with ‘conlang’ - an invented language like Klingon - and ‘prosopagnosia.'

New tech terms such as net neutrality, abandonware, and botnet have also been included in the list of new words.

The word ghost now has a new meaning - to abruptly cut off all contact with someone, such as a former romantic partner, by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages.

Supercentenarian, EpiPen and urgent care are among the words added from the field of medicines.

New words from the ever-expanding vocabulary of cooking and food include arancini, EVOO and macaron, as well as sharp tools of the kitchen santoku and chef’s knife.

Political terms include ‘town hall’ and ‘truther’ as well as ‘SCOTUS’ and ‘FLOTUS’.

All of these words have been observed, collected, and researched, with many examples in context used to write definitions that explain both basic meanings and specific usage.

About Merriam-Webster

  • In 1831, George and Charles Merriam founded the company as G & C Merriam Co. in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • In 1843, after Noah Webster died, the company bought the rights to An American Dictionary of the English Language from Webster’s estate.
  • The company adopted its current name in 1982.

2)   Who is the first Dubai ruling family member's woman commercial pilot?

a. Shaikha Mozah Al Maktoum
b. Shaikha Latifa Al Maktoum
c. Shaikha Ali Al Maktoum
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Shaikha Mozah Al Maktoum

Shaikha Mozah Al Maktoum, one of the female members of Dubai’s ruling family, is claimed to have become the first woman commercial pilot.

A few members of the Al Maktoum family took to Instagram to congratulate the young achiever, expressing their pride and joy on her accomplishment.

Other members of the ruling family sent their congratulations on social media to the young royal pilot, with Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum praising her.

It is noteworthy that UAE’s aviation sector boasts of many women, from pilots to engineers.

In 2016, Etihad Airways announced that more than half the UAE nationals employed by the airline are women, including nearly 50 pilots.

In recent years, an Emirati woman fighter pilot - Major Mariam Al Mansouri - made news around the world when she led an aerial raid against ISIS in Syria.

3)   Which new novel is to be released by Salman Rushdie?

a. The Satanic Verses
b. Midnight's Children
c. The Golden House
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: The Golden House

Author Salman Rushdie’s new novel titled The Golden House is slated to release in September 2017.

The announcement was made by Penguin Random House on 7 February 2017.

The book will be published in India by Penguin Random House, which acquired the subcontinent rights from the Wylie Agency.

Rushdie’s forthcoming novel is a modern-day thriller, which tells a story of a mysteriously wealthy family from Bombay that is desperately seeking to forget the tragedy they left behind as they settled in New York City.

About Salman Rushdie:

  • Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist.
  • He was born in Bombay (British India) into a Muslim family of Kashmiri descent. His second novel, Midnight’s Children, won the Booker Prize in 1981.
  • It was also deemed to be “the best novel of all winners” on two separate occasions.
  • His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, was the subject of a major controversy.
  • In 1983, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
  • The Times ranked him 13th on its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

4)   Why do pitcher plants turn carnivorous?

a. They need nutrients
b. They live in nutrient poor habitats
c. Their habitat does not provide enough nitrogen and phosphorous for growth
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

According to new study was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, scientists have identified the evolutionary pathway that led some plants to turn carnivorous.

The new finding explains why pitcher plants (carnivorous plants) from different parts of the world appear strikingly similar despite having evolved independently.

Pitcher plants or carnivorous plants grow in very nutrient-poor habitats.

Just like other plants, they produce carbon through the usual photosynthetic processes.

However, their habitats do not provide enough phosphorus and nitrogen for their growth. They obtain these essential nutrients feeding on insects.

These plants capture insects by luring them into a trap, a cupped leaf with a waxy, slippery interior that makes it difficult to climb out.

A blend of digestive fluids sits at the bottom of cupped leaf’s chamber that breaks down the flesh and exoskeletons of prey.

The study had probed the origins of carnivory in several distantly related pitcher plants from Australia, Asia and America, which appear strikingly similar to the human eye.

Though, each species of the pitcher developed carnivory independently, scientists concluded that the biological machinery required for digesting insects evolved in remarkably similar fashion.

The similarity for has long been known to be an example of convergent evolution in which distinct species independently develop the same traits.

These plants have a genetic tool kit so they look similar, with a cupped, waxy leaf that is slippery on the inside to trap insect inside.

During the course of their evolution, digestive fluid of these plants co-opted for proteins that were originally used to defend against disease, and repurposing them into enzymes that could aid the digestion of insects.

These plants have enzymes basic chitinase, which breaks down chitin the major component of insects’ hard, exterior exoskeletons and purple acid phosphatase.

This enables them to obtain phosphorus, a critical nutrient, from victims’ body parts.

5)   Stratasys Ltd has announced a partnership with which 3D printing major?

a. 3D Systems
b. Hewlett-Packard
c. Proto Labs
d. Dassault Systemes
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Dassault Systemes

The 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company Stratasys Ltd on 7th Feb 2017 announced a collaboration with global 3D printing major Dassault Systemes.

The partnership is to provide next-generation design tools in the field of additive manufacturing.

The specific partnership with Simulia will enable final part designs that are optimised for weight and strength for aerospace and automotive applications.

Simulia is an engineering simulation software brand under Dassault Systemes powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

For additive manufacturing to reach its true potential, engineers need tools that will allow them to harness the virtually limitless geometric freedom that it provides.

By fully simulating the unique characteristics of the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) process, they will be able to bring unprecedented accuracy and speed to the design and validation process.

With this partnership, the new industry leading capabilities include design optimisation for lighter weight 3D parts.

This will be using less material than a traditional manufacturing technology to achieve the same performance.

Stratasys: Know More

  • Stratasys is one of top 3D printing companies in the world.
  • Stratasys is headquartered in Minnesota and Israel.
  • It has over 2,800 employees and holds 600 granted or pending additive manufacturing patents.
  • Some of its major patents are the FDM®, PolyJet™ and WDM™ 3D printing technologies, which create prototypes and manufactured goods directly from 3D CAD files and other 3D content.
  • Its subsidiaries include MakerBot and Solidscape.
  • It has a market cap of $1.02 billion, and as of January 16, 2017, its share price traded at $19.37.

6)   In Monetary Review on 8th Feb 2017, RBI has kept repo rate _________

a. Unchanged
b. Changed to 7.25%
c. Changed to 8.25%
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Unchanged

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept the repo rate unchanged at 6.25% in its monetary policy review on 8th Feb 2017.

It was citing inflation concerns after the first quarter of the next financial year, once the base effect vanishes.

The RBI said all the six members of the monetary policy committee voted in favour of the decision.

“ Favourable base effects and lagged effects of demand compression may mute headline inflation in Q1 of 2017-18,” the central bank said in a statement.

“Thereafter, it is expected to pick up momentum, especially as growth picks up and the output gap narrows. Moreover, base effects will reverse and turn adverse during Q3 and Q4 of 2017-18,” the RBI added.

Now, the RBI has projected inflation in the range of 4.0 to 4.5% in the first half of the financial year and in the range of 4.5 to 5.0% in the second half.

The central bank cited ‘three significant upside risks’ that impart some uncertainty to the baseline inflation path -

  • The hardening profile of international crude prices;
  • Volatility in the exchange rate on account of global financial market developments, and the
  • Fuller effects of the house rent allowances under the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) award.
At the same time, the RBI lauded the Central government for its effort in maintaining fiscal discipline that could have a favourable impact on inflation.

Monetary Policy Review
  • Repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF): Unchanged at 6.25 percent.
  • Reverse repo rate under the LAF: Unchanged at 5.75 per cent.
  • Marginal standing facility (MSF): Unchanged at 6.75 per cent.
  • Bank Rate: Unchanged at 6.75 per cent.
  • Reserve Ratios Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks: Unchanged at 4.0 per cent of net demand and time liability (NDTL).
  • Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR): Unchanged 20.75 per cent.

7)   ISRO has realised the indigenous development of TTCP, which stands for __________

a. Telemetry and Telecom Processor
b. Telecom and Telemetry Processor
c. Telecommand and Telemetry Processor
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: None of the above

ISRO has indigenously developed Telemetry and Telecommand Processor. Its production will commence with the help of the Indian industry.

Processor's indigenous development was taken as part of Make in India, replacing expensive imported equipment.

TTCP will be used in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft, ISRO said.

This system is configurable to meet uplink and downlink requirements of both CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems) and ISRO standards.

Number of multiple clients can remotely access this system for data and monitoring.

Spacecraft Checkout Group of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) is responsible for integrated spacecraft testing to ensure the flight worthiness of the spacecraft built at ISAC.

Pointing out that during the testing, ground systems will communicate to spacecraft via the same uplink and downlink signals.

This is because as in space, the spacecraft typically use ISRO formats for telemetry and telecommand (downlink and uplink), for which indigenous equipment are being used.

However, the interplanetary spacecraft use an international standard known as CCSDS, and presently equipment are being imported for telemetry reception and telecommand transmission requirements.

This indigenously developed Processor was successfully deployed for the first time in checkout of GSAT-19, which is scheduled to be launched shortly.

All About GSAT-19

  • GSAT-19E is an Indian communications satellite scheduled by the Indian Space Research Organisation for launch aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III on 20 January 2017.
  • Launch date: December 2016
  • Launch mass: 3,200 kg
  • Launch mass: 3,200 kg
  • Bus: I-3K
  • Mission type: Communications satellite
  • Manufacturers: Indian Space Research Organisation Satellite Centre, Space Applications Centre

8)   Scientists have discovered which first stellar remnant of its kind?

a. Red Dwarf pulsar
b. Brown Dwarf pulsar
c. White Dwarf pulsar
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: White Dwarf pulsar

Astronomers have located an elusive white dwarf pulsar. This is the first of its kind to be discovered in the universe. It is housed in an exotic binary star system 380 light years away from Earth.

Researchers identified the star AR Scorpii (AR Sco) as the first white dwarf version of a pulsar.

Fresh data shows that AR Sco's light is highly polarised, showing that the magnetic field controls the emission of the entire system.

This is a dead-ringer for similar behaviour seen from the more traditional neutron star pulsars.

The white dwarf pulsar has eluded astronomers for over five decades.

AR Sco contains a rapidly spinning, burnt-out stellar remnant called a white dwarf, which lashes its neighbour- a red dwarf.

It does so through powerful beams of electrical particles and radiation, causing the entire system to brighten and fade dramatically twice every few minutes.

The lash of energy from AR Sco is a focused 'beam', emitting concentrated radiation in a single direction much like a particle accelerator- something which is totally unique in the known universe.

AR Sco lies in the constellation Scorpius, 380 light years from Earth, a close neighbour in astronomical terms.

The white dwarf in AR Sco is the size of Earth but 200,000 times more massive. It is in a 3.6 hour orbit with a cool star one-third the mass of the Sun, as per the study.

What is a Pulsar?

  • They are what is known as the “lighthouses” of the universe.
  • These are rotating neutron stars that emit a focused beam of electromagnetic radiation that is only visible if you’re standing in it’s path.
  • Referred to as pulsars, these stellar relics get their name because of the way their emissions appear to be “pulsating” out into space.
  • Pulsars are types of neutron stars which are the dead relics of massive stars.
  • They are highly magnetized, and rotating at enormous speeds.
  • Astronomers detect them by the radio pulses they emit at regular intervals.

9)   MIT researchers have developed a small battery running on?

a. Stomach acids
b. Stomach bile
c. Gastric juice
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Stomach acids

MIT researchers have developed a small battery that runs on stomach acids and is capable of powering e-pills to monitor patient health.

The small system can generate enough power to run small sensors or drug delivery devices that can reside in the gastrointestinal tract for long periods of time.

For this battery, researchers used idea of very simple type of voltaic cell, lemon battery that produces electric current between the two electrodes stuck in a lemon due to its citric acid.

To replicate it, the researchers attached zinc and copper electrodes to the surface of their ingestible sensor.

The zinc emits ions into the acid in the stomach to power the voltaic circuit.

It can generate enough energy to power a commercial temperature sensor and a 900-megahertz transmitter to wirelessly transmit the data to a base station located 2 metres away, with a signal sent every 12 seconds.

The current prototype of the device is a cylinder about 12 millimetres in diameter and 40 millimetres in length.

Researchers are anticipating to make the capsule about one-third that size.

It offers a safer and lower-cost alternative to the traditional batteries used to power such devices.

It can also help in manufacturing new generation of electronic ingestible pills.

This could enable novel ways of monitoring patient health and treating disease.

10)   The Parliament passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2017 for?

a. Payment of wages via cheque
b. Payment of wages through cash transfer
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Parliament passed a bill seeking for Centre and state governments to specify industrial units paying wages through cheques or transferring into bank accounts.

LS passed the bill on 7th Feb 2017. This bill will improve the compliance of labour laws.

Workers will now get their wages in a transparent manner.

The bill was introduced in the LS on Dec 15, 2016.

The bill replaces Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2016 and repeals the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance 2016.

Section 20 of the bill "provides for six months imprisonment for violation of the Act. Moreover the inspector can initiate appropriate action under the Factories Act 1948.

Demonetisation: Know More

  • In the first demonetisation in January 1946, banknotes of 1000 and 10000 rupee were withdrawn.
  • New notes of 1000, 5000 and 10000 rupee were introduced in 1954.
  • The Janata Party coalition government had again demonetized banknotes of 1000, 5000 and 10000 rupee on 16 January 1978 as a means to curb counterfeit money and black money.
  • In 2012, the Central Board of Direct Taxes had recommended against demonetization.
  • On 28 October 2016 the total banknotes in circulation in India was ₹17.77 lakh crore (US$260 billion).
  • In terms of value, the annual report of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) of 31 March 2016 stated that total bank notes in circulation valued to ₹16.42 lakh crore (US$240 billion)
  • Nearly 86% (around ₹14.18 lakh crore (US$210 billion)) was ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes.
  • In terms of volume, the report stated that 24% (around 22.03 billion) of the total 90,266 million banknotes were in circulation.
  • Indian demonetisation by the NDA government was announced on Nov 8, 2016.