Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs August 4th Week 2016
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) Fungi to help recycle rechargeable batteries.

  • Scientists have found a low-cost and environment-friendly method to recycle used rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, with the help of fungi.
  • Old batteries often wind up in landfills or incinerators, potentially harming the environment. And valuable materials remain locked inside.
  • A team of researchers at the University of South Florida in the U.S. is turning to fungi to drive an environmentally friendly recycling process to extract cobalt and lithium from tonnes of discarded batteries.
  • The team first dismantles the batteries and pulverises the cathodes. Then, they expose the remaining pulp to the fungus.
  • According to the results, using oxalic acid and citric acid, two of the organic acids generated by the fungi - up to 85 per cent of the lithium and up to 48 per cent of the cobalt - from the cathodes of spent batteries were extracted.
2) Made-in-India leprosy vaccine to be launched.
  • A first-of-its-kind leprosy vaccine developed in India is to be launched on a pilot basis in five districts in Bihar and Gujarat.
  • The vaccine, called Mycobacterium indicus pranii (MIP), will be administered as a preventive measure to people living in close contact with those infected.
  • The vaccine developed by founder-director of the National Institute of Immunology (NII) G P Talwar, has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and the US-FDA.
  • The disease, caused by the bacteria, Mycobacterium leprae , affects around 1.25 lakh people every year in India. Sixty per cent of the world’s leprosy patients live in India.
3) China launches first Tibetan-language search engine.
  • China has launched its first Tibetan-language search engine `Yongzin`.
  • Yongzin means ``master`` or ``teacher`` in the Tibetan language. It will also be a major global source for information in Tibetan online.
  • The search engine will serve as a unified portal for all major Tibetan-language websites in China. It has eight sections for news, websites, images, videos, music, encyclopedia, literature and forums.

4) North Korea test fires new ballistic missile.

  • North Korea test fired a submarine-based ballistic missile. It was launched from a submarine in the Sea of Japan, off North Korea`s eastern coast.
  • The launch was also the latest in a series of missile, rocket and other weapon tests by North Korea, which is openly pushing to acquire a reliable weapon capable striking targets as far away as the continental U.S.
  • The launch comes amid the annual joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea.
5) FSS unveils new authentication platform for online transactions.
  • Financial Software and Systems (FSS) has launched a Visa and MasterCard certified 3-D secure authentication platform that enables issuers to reduce card-related risks and frauds.
  • The service provides a two-factor authentication an additional layer of security for e-commerce and m-commerce transactions.
  • FSS Access Control Server, card issuers and acquiring banks can protect customers from fraudulent usage of cards during transactions and increase both customer and merchant confidence.
6) Alibaba`s UC Browser launches new version for India.
  • UCWeb Inc., an Alibaba Mobile Business Group Company, has announced the launch of a new UC Browser and also a strategic partnership with Colors TV.
  • UC Browser is one of the leading mobile browser with over 80 million monthly average users.
  • The partnership with Colors TV for some of its shows is a reinforcement of the strategy of Alibaba Mobile Business Group, to digitize entertainment content on mobile while transforming itself from tool to content and further offer more comprehensive content options to users who access internet on the go.
7) World`s first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore.
  • The world’s first self-driving taxi service was launched in Singapore. This launch is significant as it offer technology demonstration that could revolutionize the future transport industry.
  • The self-driving taxi service was launched Singapore based nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup.
  • Each car is fitted with six sets of Lidar a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar including one that constantly spins on the roof. There are also two cameras on the dashboard to scan for obstacles and detect changes in traffic lights.
  • Its launch in Singapore is beating ride-hailing service Uber, which plans to offer rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh.
8) China unveils 2020 Mars mission probe and rover.
  • China has unveiled the designs of its Mars probe and rover to be launched in 2020 as it looks to catch up with India, US, Russia and EU to reach the red planet.
  • The 2020 mission will be launched on a Long March-5 carrier rocket, the work horse for China’s space missions.
  • It will be launched from the Wenchang space centre in south China’s Hainan province.
9) Scientists detect rare deep-Earth tremor.
  • Scientists in Japan studying earthquakes for the first time have detected a rare deep-Earth tremor, known as an S (secondary) wave microseism.
  • The rare deep-Earth tremor S wave microseism was detected for the first time and traced its location to a distant and powerful storm.
  • The Storm in the North Atlantic known as a weather bomb which was a small but potent storm that gains punch as pressure quickly mounts.
  • Microseism S waves are so faint that they occur in the 0.05 to 0.5 Hz frequency range.
  • It will help experts learn more about the Earth’s inner structure and improve detection of earthquakes and oceanic storms.
10) Indian-origin boy devises breast cancer treatment.
  • A 16-year-old Indian-origin boy in the United Kingdom has claimed to have found a treatment for the most deadly form of breast cancer which is unresponsive to drugs.
  • Krtin Nithiyanandam, who moved to the U.K. from India with his parents, hopes he has found a way to turn so-called triple negative breast cancer.
  • Many breast cancers are driven by oestrogen, progesterone or growth chemicals, so drugs that can block those fuels, such as tamoxifen, make effective treatments.
  • However, triple negative breast cancer does not have receptors and it can only be treated with a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy which lowers the chance of survival.


11) ISRO conducts successful test launch of scramjet engine.

  • The Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), a RH 560 sounding rocket (research rocket) with a solid booster carrying advanced scramjet engines, was successfully flight-tested from the launch pad of the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta in Andhra Pradesh
  • This first experimental mission of Indian Space Research Organisation is aimed at the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System which uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen from the atmosphere air as the oxidiser.
  • In turn help in increasing the energy efficiency of the rocket and also make it cost-effective.
12) Nasa`s Juno probe completes first Jupiter flyby.
  • NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft has successfully executed its first flyby of Jupiter, our solar system’s most massive planet.
  • During the closest approach with the gas-giant world, Juno passed about 4,200 kilometres above Jupiter`s clouds, travelling at 208,000 kilometres per hour with respect to the planet.
  • There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter planned during Juno`s mission scheduled to end in February 2018.
  • Juno is the first solar-powered mission designed by NASA to see beneath Jupiter’s clouds. It had travelled 2.7 billion kilometres since its launch to reach Jupiter.
  • The unmanned Juno spacecraft launched on August 5, 2011, from Florida, US. It had arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2014.
13) IISc researchers produce a better water purification membrane.
  • A team of researchers from IISc Bangalore has improved upon the water purification membrane they developed in 2014.
  • The membrane allows higher flow rate across it and kills nearly 99 per cent of E. Coli present in water.
  • Instead of creating a membrane with sub-micron pore size, IISc produced a more permeable structure by creating pores that are bigger in size and more interconnected.
  • Bigger and more tortuous pores were produced by mixing equal amounts of two polymers polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene oxide (PEO).
14) NASA ends year long Mars simulation on Hawaii.
  • Six people who were isolated on a remote site in Hawaii for one year to help NASA plan for a mission to Mars emerged from their dome, happy to breathe fresh air and meet new people.
  • The team was based on the barren northern slope of the Mauna Loa volcano, and spent their time inside a dome 36 feet in diameter and 20 feet tall.
  • The experiment shows that a mission to Mars in the close future is realistic.
15) First military heritage website launched.
  • India`s first military heritage website, was launched by Glory Foundation at Chennai.
  • A veteran of the 1971 Indo- Pakistan war, city-based Captain D.P. Ramachandran is the executive trustee of Glory Foundation.
  • The Foundation will conduct various awareness programs across the country, commencing with major metros, to educate the people about our military history and heritage.
  • The programs will be in the nature of exhibitions, seminars and talks, film shows, sound-and-like shows and the like.
16) New species of pterosaur from early Jurassic period discovered.
  • Scientists have discovered a new species of pterosaur - an extinct group of flying reptiles - from the early Jurassic period in the Patagonia region of South America.
  • Researchers who have named this new species `Allkauren koi` from the native Tehuelche word `all` for `brain`, and `karuen` for `ancient`.
  • Pterosaurs had an extraordinary adaptation to flight, including pneumatic bones to lighten their weight, and an elongated digit supporting a wing membrane.