Science & Technology Current
September 2nd week 2015 current affairs
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up.

  • The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient.
  • A Biophysical Journal study reveals exactly how the venom`s toxin—called MP1 (Polybia-MP1)—selectively kills cancer cells without harming normal cells.
  • MP1 interacts with lipids that are abnormally distributed on the surface of cancer cells, creating gaping holes that allow molecules crucial for cell function to leak out.
  • This could be useful in developing new combination therapies, where multiple drugs are used simultaneously to treat a cancer by attacking different parts of the cancer cells at the same time.
  • MP1 acts against microbial pathogens by disrupting the bacterial cell membrane.
2) World`s largest twin-engine jetliner closer to real.
  • Big rumblings are going on at America`s airplane capital - the Boeing Co. aircraft factory north of Seattle.
  • They`re calling it the 777-9X, the world`s biggest twin-engine jetliner, the first aircraft of the 777X family.
  1. Specifically, the 777-9X will have hinges on its wingtips. The hinges will fold up, allowing the plane to shorten its wingspan when it`s rolling across airport taxiways.
  2. It will be the first design of its kind on any commercial airliner.
  3. The plane will have the widest wingspan of any aircraft in the company`s 99-year history: 235 feet, 5 inches (71.8 meters).
  4. The 777-9X will seat at least 400 passengers.
3) Indian Army to induct indigenous artillery gun Dhanush, first since the Bofors scandal.
  • In what would be a shot in the arm for a force that has not had a new 155mm artillery gun inducted since the Bofors scandal of 1987, the Indian Army is set to soon be handed over the indigenously-developed howitzer `Dhanush`, also known as `desi bofors`.
  • Dhanush, the indigenously-developed 155mm gun with 45 calibre having advanced features, is likely to be handed over to the army in November this year.
  • The gun, a towed howitzer with a strike range of 38-km, has been developed by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

4) New species of human relative discovered in South Africa.

  • Scientists have discovered a new ancestral species in the human family tree dubbed as Homonaledi in South Africa.
  • The new discovered species were named after the location where it was found i.e. naledi which means star in Sesotho, a local South African language.
  • The species has been classified in the genus Homo to which modern humans belong.
  1. It was made inside the Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa by team of scientists led by Lee Berger, professor at University of the Witwatersrand.
  2. They have discovered a huge haul of fossilised bones of these species which is the largest fossil hominin found on the African continent.
Characteristic of Homonaledi species:
  • These species are among the first of our kind (genus Homo) and could have lived in Africa up to 3 million years ago.
  • 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 modern-looking teeth, primitive fingers, odern-looking feet and characteristic long legs.

5) Chinese, Pakistani forces launch joint air drill called `Shaheen (Eagle)-4`.
  • The Chinese contingent includes fighter jets, fighter bombers and early warning planes while Pakistan has dispatched fighter jets and early warning planes for the military exercise.
  • About "Shaheen (Eagle)-4":
  • The joint exercise called "Shaheen (Eagle)-4" is part of a series of military exchange programmes between the two air forces, Shen said, adding that China`s air force was willing to expand the scope of cooperation with various countries.
  • The first such drill was held in Pakistan in March 2011, the second in China`s western Xinjiang Uygur region in September 2013.
  • The third was held in Pakistan`s Punjab province in May 2014.
6) Blood Test Can Determine Biological Age Of Human Body.
  • Scientists have developed a new method of determining the body`s biological age, which they believe is more helpful than birth age in studying how well or badly the body is aging.
  • A simple blood test can pinpoint who is at high risk of dementia and can even predict when a person will die, further affecting medicine, insurance and pensions.
  • In a collaborative study conducted for seven years, researchers at King`s College London, Duke University in the United States and Karolinska Institute used RNA-profiling to measure gene expression and compared them with samples of thousands of human tissue.

7) Cell-free protein manufacturing platform a game-changer.

  • A team of researchers has developed a user-friendly technology to help scientists understand how proteins work and fix them when they are broken.
  • The human body has a novel way of turning its proteins on and off to alter their function and activity in cells called phosphorylation -- the reversible attachment of phosphate groups to proteins.
  • Using a special strain of E coli bacteria, the researchers built a cell-free protein synthesis platform technology that can manufacture large quantities of these human phosphoproteins for scientific study.
  • This will enable scientists to learn more about the function and structure of phosphoproteins and identify which ones are involved in disease.
  • "This innovation will help advance the understanding of human biochemistry and physiology," -Michael C. Jewett, biochemical engineer from Northwestern University.
8) Swiss students roll out cool, fish-like robot.
  • A group of Swiss students just might revolutionize the filming of marine life with a highly maneuverable cuttlefish-inspired robot called Sepios.
  • The only four finned cuttlefish robot in the world, its creators, Students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.
About Sepios:
  1. Sepios actually has four independently controllable fins that allow it to rotate on any axis and translate in any direction.
  2. Each of these fins contains nine rays which are put into action by a sensor-coupled motor (servomotor). Each of these rays has a range of 270 degrees, allowing the fins to generate thrust in angled positions.
9) Email tech start-up Strike wins Swiss-based Seedstars.
  • Strike, a start-up, which helps people do research inside their Gmail App, has won the regional round of Seedstars World, a global start-up competition.
  • Based in Geneva, Switzerland and founded by Alisee de Tonnac and Pierre-Alain Masson, the competition is supported by the venture builder Seedstars.
  • It promotes, connects and invests up to $1.5 million (Rs. 9.9 crore) in start-ups in emerging markets, ranging from Shanghai to Cairo.
10) Steve Waugh promoted Waugh Global Realty.
  • Former Australian cricketer Steve Waugh promoted Waugh Global Realty has entered the domestic real estate market by launching a portal that will cater to the housing demands of NRIs.
  • "There is a lot of enthusiasm about the Indian realty market among the NRIs who are looking at good properties in the country not only from the investment angle but also to come and settle down later.
  • Our portal, `waughglobal.Com` will help them find the right property in a transparent and hassle free manner".
  • The company currently has 91 properties listed on its portal of 10 developers across seven cities Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata.