Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs September 4th Week 2016
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) HRD Minister inaugurates Super Computer PARAM-ISHAN at IIT Guwahati.

  • HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has unveiled the `Param-Ishan` supercomputer at IIT Guwahati.
  • The supercomputer was installed in a partnership with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and IIT – Guwahati. 
  • The high-performance ``Param-Ishan`` has the computing speed of 250 teraFLOPS and capacity of 300 tera bites (TB). The 250 teraFLOPS means that computer is capable of performing 250 trillion operations per second.
  • It will help to augment the research initiatives and also in creating an ecosystem for attracting right talents to the field of research.
  • PARAM-ISHAN can be used for Weather, climate modeling and seismic data processing.
2) Long range surface-to-air Barak-8 missile successfully test fired.
  • India has successfully test-fired its new, long range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) Barak-8jointly developed with Israel from a defence base off Odisha coast.
  • The missile was launched from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur.
  • It has been designed and developed by DRDO, Israel Aerospace Industries and Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure.
  • It has the capacity to identify and neutralize various forms of aerial threats such as rockets, UAVs, planes, helicopters in a single flight.
3) Sugarcane waste yields carbon for use in batteries.
  • Researchers from Pune’s National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) have used a simple, cost-effective and quick process to convert sugarcane bagasse into anode-grade porous, conducting, activated carbon material for use in Li-ion batteries.
  • While making anode-grade carbon is currently very expensive and time-consuming.
  • They had carried out initial carbonisation overnight at room temperature by mixing bagasse with concentrated sulphuric acid.
  • The quality of carbon used for electrodes depends on the choice of precursors and the process used for converting the precursors into carbon.

4) Russia-Pakistan Military Drill `Friendship 2016`.

  • The first military exercise between Russia and Pakistan named Druzhba - 2016 (Friendship - 2016) has kicked off in Pakistan.
  • The two week long joint military drills aims at bolstering and building military cooperation between the two countries.
  • It will involve experience sharing and develop coordination in carrying out practice combat tasks in a mountainous environment, including operations against illegal armed groups.
5) Blind People Use Brain`s Vision Centre To Solve Math. 
  • American researchers have revealed blind people use the visual processing region of the brain besides the region associated with numerical reasoning, to do math.
  • Neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the US have found that the brain network behind numerical reasoning is identical in blind and sighted people.
  • The researchers also found the visual cortex in blind people is highly involved in doing math, suggesting the brain is vastly more adaptable than previously believed.
  • The researchers had congenitally blind people and sighted people wearing blindfolds solve math equations and answer language questions while having a brain scan.
6) Indian Air Force successfully test fires long range air-to-air MICA missile.
  • The Indian Air Force has successfully fired long range air-to-air MICA missile on a manoeuvring target from Mirage-2000 Upgrade combat aircraft.
  • During the test, the missile achieved a direct hit on a target which was much smaller than an actual aircraft and flying at a low altitude.
  • It is a single-engine fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by France’s Dassault Aviation.
7) India, Russia begin joint military exercise in Vladivostok. 
  • The 8th edition of the Indo-Russia joint military exercise `Indra 2016` was flagged off in Vladivostok in Russia.
  • Indra, a portmanteau of the names of both the countries, is a biannual exercise which has been carried out between the two allies since 2003.
  • Main focus of this edition of the joint exercise is on `Counter-Terrorism Operations in semi mountainous and jungle terrain under United Nations Mandate`. To achieve interoperability in joint operations.
  • Brigadier Sukrit Chadah, Indian Contingent Commander addressed the two contingents and highlighted the need for jointness between the two nations to defeat terrorism.
8) Google launches instant messaging mobile app Allo.
  • Google launched its latest mobile chat application, Allo, along with Google Assistant that can be used in online conversations with friends.
  • Allo`s `Smart reply` function uses Google`s machine learning technology to suggest a reply to the last message, which can be selected from a few options.
  • The messaging app, which is available for Android and the iPhone, has similar features to most other messaging applications.
  • A feature `Whisper Shout` allows the user to increase or decrease the size of a message to represent volume.
9) China`s colossal radio telescope begins testing.
  • China has built world’s largest radio telescope nicknamed Tianyan (``Heavenly Eye`` or ``The Eye of Heaven``) or the five-hundred-metre aperture spherical radio telescope (FAST).
  • It has started its operation and is part of China’s drive to become a science powerhouse. It is located in the Dawodang depression (vast natural crater), a natural basin in Pingtang County in the Guizhou Province, Southwest China.
  • It will be also used to study stellar radio emissions, gravitational waves and potentially signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.

10) ISRO successfully launches 8 satellites into two different orbits.

  • Indian Space Research Organisation successfully placed advanced weather satellite SCATSAT-1 in orbit. These satellites were launched onboard of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C35) carrying eight satellites took off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • Among the eight satellites launched, three satellites were from India, three from Algeria and one each from Canada and United States.
  • It will provide weather forecasting services meant for ocean and weather forecasts, cyclone detection and tracking through wind-vector products. It will have life of five years.
11) IIT-M develops a lab-on-a-chip diagnostic device.
  • A simple, self-powered, lab-on-a-chip device that could enable diagnoses of several diseases, which is both affordable and accessible even in resource-constrained settings, has successfully passed preclinical trials.
  • It was developed by a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M).
  • IIT Madras, used a 2-cm-long microchannel device that employs capillary force to draw blood into the device to separate plasma from whole blood and test glucose level in diabetic patients.
12) NASA`s Hubble Spots Possible Water Plumes Erupting on Europa.
  • Astronomers using NASA`s Hubble Space Telescope have imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter`s moon Europa.
  • This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes.
  • The plumes are estimated to rise about 125 miles (200 kilometers) before, presumably, raining material back down onto Europa`s surface. Europa has a huge global ocean containing twice as much water as Earth’s oceans.
13) New lizard species named as Cyrtodactylus Varadgirii discovered in Mumbai.
  • A new species of a ground-dwelling lizard has been discovered in Goregaon’s Aarey Colony and Thane’s Badlapur forested belts in Maharashtra. It was discovered 130 years after the last such gecko was discovered.
  • It has been named as Cyrtodactylus Varadgirii or Giri’s Geckoella after a Bengaluru-based scientist Varad Giri.
  • The species, of the genus Cyrtodactylus known in Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka, is a member of the subgenus Geckoella, which are small ground-dwelling geckos largely found in leaf litter in forests.
  • This new species is active during night and take refuge under rocks and logs during the day. It is mostly seen moving among the leaf litter on the forest floor.