TRAPPIST-1:

TRAPPIST-1:

  • It is an ultra-cool dwarf star about 40 light years away, located in the constellation Aquarius.
  • It is named after the telescope that discovered this system – TRAPPIST (Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescop) in Chile.
  • The planets have sizes and masses comparable to the Earth and Venus.
  • It is an ultra-cool star (unlike our sun). Therefore, liquid water could survive on planets very close to it as well.
  • All 7 planetary orbits are closer to their host star than Mercury is to our sun. The planets are very close to each other.
  • Based on their densities, the planets of this system are likely to be rocky.
  • The TRAPPIST-1 star is quite old: between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years. This is up to twice as old as our own solar system, which formed some 4.5 billion years ago.
  • Since it is a low mass star, the temperature and brightness almost remains constant. Therefore, it is expected to live 900 times longer than the current age of the universe – 13.7 billion years.
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Dhruv:

Dhruv:

  • Dhruv has been indigenously designed and developed by the HAL, and is powered by the Shakti engine jointly developed with Turbomeca of France.
  • It is a twin engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter.
  • It is superior to the other helicopters used by the Army such as Cheetah and Chetak, both of which have single engine.
  • It has been exported to several countries in the region.
  • As a part of military diplomacy, India has offered it to several friendly countries in the neighbourhood and South-East Asia.

Hyperloop

Hyperloop:

  • It is a system where magnetically levitating capsules are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes.
  • It was entrepreneur Elon Musk who came up with the idea for a hyperloop.
  • The Hyperloop project is being pegged as a mode of transport different from rail, mainly due to following reasons:
    • It is said to be two-to-three times faster than the fastest high-speed rail, and in India, it would be possible for the pods (like cabins) to reach the peak speed of 1,100 km per hour on certain routes.
    • Hyperloop departures could happen with a low frequency of a pod every 20 seconds.
    • Hyperloop is estimated to have a smaller civil engineering footprint, with no direct emissions or noise

International Treaties fro Hazardous Substance Management

Hazardous Substance Management

To promote safe management and use of hazardous substance in order to avoid damage to the health and env.

International conventions

  • Basel convention – control the transboundary mvmt of hazardous waste
    • Non binding agreement
    • Reduce the movement of hazardous waste between nations
    • Prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed country
    • USA, UK dumping e-waste in India, Pak and China
  • Rotterdam convention – Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for certain chemicals and pests in intl trade
    • Legally binding
    • Shared responsibility in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals
    • Like using proper labelling, directions on safe handling etc.
  • Stockholm convention – Persistent Organic pollutants (POP)
    • Legally binding
    • Under aegis of UNEP
    • POPs are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio accumulate through the food web and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment
  • Minamata convention on mercury 

CITES ( Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

  • CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
  • It is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.

Everything about Cyberwar?

What is Cyberwar?

  • Cyberwar is a form of war which takes places on computers and the Internet, through electronic means rather than physical ones.
  • With an increasing global reliance on technology for everything from managing national electrical grids to ordering supplies for troops, cyberwar is a method of attack which many nations are vulnerable to.
  • In cyberwar, people use technological means to launch a variety of attacks.
  • Some of these attacks take a very conventional form. Computers can be used, for example, for propaganda, espionage, and vandalism.
  • Denial of service attacks can be used to shut down websites, silencing the enemy and potentially disrupting their government and industry by creating a distraction.
  • Cyberwar can also be utilized to attack equipment and infrastructure, which is a major concern for heavily industrialized nations which rely on electronic systems for many tasks.

Challenges to India’s National Security:

  • India’s reliance on technology reflects from the fact that India is shifting gears by entering into facets of e-governance.
  • India has already brought sectors like income tax, passports” visa under the realm of e -governance.
  • Sectors like police and judiciary are to follow.
  • The travel sector is also heavily reliant on this.
  • Most of the Indian banks have gone on full-scale computerization.
  • This has also brought in concepts of e-commerce and e-banking.
  • The stock markets have also not remained immune.
  • To create havoc in the country these are lucrative targets to paralyze the economic and financial institutions.
  • The damage done can be catastrophic and irreversible.

Challenges and Concerns:

  • Some challenges and concerns are highlighted below :­
  • Lack of awareness and the culture of cyber security at individual as well as institutional level.
  • Lack of trained and qualified manpower to implement the counter measures.
  • Too many information security organisations which have become weak due to ‘turf wars’ or financial compulsions.
  • A weak IT Act which has became redundant due to non exploitation and age old cyber laws.
  • No e-mail account policy especially for the defence forces, police and the agency personnel.
  • Cyber attacks have come not only from terrorists but also from neighboring countries inimical to our National interests.

Everything about Surrogacy

What is surrogacy?

  • Surrogacy is where a woman becomes pregnant with the intention of handing over the child to someone else after giving birth.
  • Generally, she carries the baby for a couple or parent who cannot conceive a child themselves – they are known as “intended parents”.
  • There are two forms of surrogacy.
  • In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is used, making her the genetic mother.
  • In gestational surrogacy, the egg is provided by the intended mother or a donor.
  • The egg is fertilised through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and then placed inside the surrogate mother.

Is surrogacy legal?

  • It varies from country to country.
  • Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria prohibit all forms of surrogacy.
  • In countries including the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Belgium, surrogacy is allowed where the surrogate mother is not paid, or only paid for reasonable expenses.
  • Paying the mother a fee (known as commercial surrogacy) is prohibited.
  • Commercial surrogacy is legal in some US states, and countries including, Russia and Ukraine.

Where do people go for surrogacy?

  • countries popular with parents for surrogacy arrangements are the US,  Thailand, Ukraine and Russia.
  • Mexico, Nepal, Poland and Georgia are also among the countries described as possibilities for surrogacy arrangements.
  • Costs vary significantly from country to country, and also depend on the number of IVF cycles needed, and whether health insurance is required.

Cambodia the new destinations:

  • While Cambodia has become popular among people — both Indians and from other parts of the world — countries such as Ukraine and Kenya are attracting doctors from India.
  • India is no longer on the surrogacy map and after Bangkok and Thailand stopped surrogacy, Cambodia opened up.
  • As in the early days of surrogacy in India, the lack of proper laws or guidelines in Cambodia has proved a big attraction.
  • There is growth in surrogacy in Cambodia since last year.
  • There is a huge pressure building and Cambodia is ill-prepared to handle it.
  • Besides, there are no laws in place in Cambodia.
  • Doctors who offered surrogacy service in India are aware of the new hubs.