Home   »   Current Affairs 28th August, 2023

Current Affairs 28th August 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 28th August 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Picoflare Jets

Context: Extreme ultraviolet images of the Sun obtained by the Solar Orbiter spacecraft have revealed the picoflare jets.

What are Picoflare Jets?

  • Definition:  The picoflare jets emanate from structures on the corona called coronal holes where the sun’s magnetic field stretches into space rather than back into the star. They are called “picoflare jets” due to their relatively small size.
    • They arise from areas a few hundred miles wide – tiny when compared to the immense scale of the sun, which has a diameter of 865,000 miles (1.4 million km).
  • Creation of Picoflare Jets:  It is being speculated that magnetic reconnection may be creating picojets in coronal holes.
    • Magnetic reconnection, in this case, refers to the breaking and reconnecting of magnetic field lines that ultimately releases a tremendous amount of stored energy.
    • In fact, this activity is a fundamental process for stars.
    • Magnetic reconnection is thought to be, by its nature, a highly intermittent process. Such a process is then a suitable candidate to explain the intermittent picoflare jet outflows.
  • Frequency and Energy: “The ‘pico’ prefix refers to the energy scale of the jet. The picoflare jets that have been discovered are a trillion times energetically weaker compared to large X-class flares which are sun’s most powerful explosive outflows.
    • Still the energy content of a single picoflare jet that lives for about 1 minute is equal to the average power consumed by about 10,000 households in the UK over an entire year.
    •  The frequency of the picojets was observed by the team with the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) while the spacecraft was just 31 million miles (50 million kilometers) from the star.
      • Studying this parameter led them to believe these tiny jets are a substantial source of energy and matter for solar winds.
  • Importance of Finding Picoflare Jets:
    • These jets could actually be a major source of mass and energy to sustain the solar wind.
    • This finding is important as it sheds more light on the physical mechanism of the solar wind generation.
    • These observations could eventually help solve one of the most pressing mysteries surrounding the sun — why its outer atmosphere, the corona, is thousands of times hotter than its surface despite being further from the source of stellar heat, the nuclear furnace found at our sun’s heart.
    • The finding will improve our understanding of the physics of fundamental plasma and astrophysical processes and we can also learn more about how solar activity drives space weather.

Current Affairs 28th August 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam_4.1

Current Affairs 26th August 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam


Global Biodiversity Framework Fund

Context:  The Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) has been finally ratified and launched at the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Vancouver, Canada.

About Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF)

  • Definition: GBFF aims to support goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) formulated by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by 2030.
    • Contributions from countries, non-profits, and the private sector are welcome.
    • Under Target 19 of GBF, at least $200 billion per year will need to be raised by 2030.
  • Aim: The fund will mobilize and accelerate investment from governments, philanthropy, and the private sector to support nations in:
    •  The conservation and sustainability of wild species and ecosystems whose health is threatened by wildfires, flooding, extreme weather, and human activity, including unsustainable industrial agriculture, consumption and production pressures, and urban sprawl.
    • Action towards halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and putting nature on a recovery path by 2050.
  • Current Status of Funds: Canada: 200 million Canadian dollars, United Kingdom: 10 million pounds.
  • Use of Funds:
    • 20% will be allocated to Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs)
    • 25% to GEF agencies
    • 36% to SIDS (Small Island Developing States)
    • 3% to LDCs (Least Developed Countries)
    • The allocation for IPLCs will be reviewed for two years and the allocations for SIDS and LDCs will be reviewed for three years.

What is Global Environment Facility (GEF)?

  • Definition: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
  • Members: The GEF is a unique partnership of 18 agencies — including United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities and international NGOs — working with 183 countries to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues.
  • Aim: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a family of funds dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health.
    • Its grants, blended financing, and policy support helps developing countries address their biggest environmental priorities and adhere to international environmental conventions.
    • Over the past three decades, the GEF has provided more than $23 billion and mobilized $129 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 national and regional projects.


Right to Repair Movement

Context: The tech giant Apple has expressed surprising support for California Right-to-Repair bill.

More on News

  • Apple has penned a letter to a California state senator supporting California’s ‘right to repair’ bill and has endorsed the proposed legislation in its current form as it sees the law would benefit users and protect their privacy and security.

About Right to Repair Movement

  • Definition: Activists and organisations around the world have been advocating for the right of consumers to be able to repair their own electronics and other products as part of the ‘right to repair’ movement.
    • The movement traces its roots back to the very dawn of the computer era in the 1950s.
  • Aim: The goal of the movement is to get:
    •  Companies to make spare parts, tools and information on how to repair devices available to customers and
    •  Repair shops to increase the lifespan of products and to keep them from ending up in landfills.
  • Need for Right to Repair :
    • Planned Obsolescence: Activists argue that these electronic manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence’.
      • It means that devices are designed specifically to last a limited amount of time and to be replaced.
      • This leads to immense pressure on the environment and wasted natural resources.
    • Environmental Concern: Manufacturing an electronic device is a highly polluting process.
      • It makes use of polluting sources of energy, such as fossil fuel, which has an adverse impact on the environment.
      • For instance, the mining and manufacturing materials used to make an iPhone represent roughly 83% of its contribution to the heat-trapping emissions in the atmosphere throughout its life cycle.
    • Boosting Local Economy: Right to repair advocates also argue that this will help boost business for small repair shops, which are an important part of local economies.
    • Pricing: Price is a major factor propounded by these activists.
      •  If a manufacturer has monopoly on repairs, then prices rise exponentially and quality tends to drop.
      • As there is a lack of competition in the repair market in the west, consumers are not able to hunt for the best deal.

Why do electronic manufacturers oppose this movement?

  • Large tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Tesla, have been lobbying against the right to repair.
    • Their argument is that opening up their intellectual property to third party repair services or amateur repairers could lead to exploitation and impact the safety and security of their devices.
  • Tesla, for instance, has fought against right to repair advocacy, stating that such initiatives threaten data security and cyber security.
  • These big companies are constantly claiming that they are working towards greater durability themselves.
    • For instance,  Apple has taken more steps towards reducing its contribution to e-waste.
    • Apple has expanded its free, independent repair provider programme in 200 countries and extended access to genuine spare parts, information on repairs and tools for out of warranty repairs.


Somatic Mutations

Context: A vast number research is being done wrt somatic variants and their role in diseases in the recent years.

What are DNA mutations?

  • A mutation is a change to your DNA sequence, which is the information your cells receive to be able to perform properly.
  • Changes to your DNA happen when your cells divide and replicate. Most changes to a person’s DNA don’t affect their genetic makeup and won’t lead to any health problems, but some mutations cause genetic conditions that could affect your health.
  • There are thousands of possible genetic mutations that could occur when your cells divide and replicate. One of them is Somatic mutations.

Current Affairs 28th August 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam_5.1

What are Somatic Mutations?

  • Definition: Somatic mutations are a change to a person’s DNA that occurs after conception to any cell that isn’t a germ cell (egg or sperm cell).
    • Somatic mutations don’t pass from parents to their children (not hereditary) and happen sporadically or randomly, without the mutation existing in a person’s family history.
    • They also can’t pass to future generations.
  • Importance:  Somatic genetic variants are important for a number of normal physiological processes.
    • For example, the immune cells in our body, which produce antibodies, undergo an enormous amount of somatic changes to create diverse proteins.
    • These proteins recognise and bind to specific pathogens, forming a ‘library’ of cells, each with a specific protein.
    • During an infection, the body selects cells from this library, depending on which can bind to a pathogen better, and uses them to make antibodies.
  • Problems with Somatic Mutations:
    • Sometimes, a somatic genetic mutation can render a cell fitter than others, which leads to the formation of tumours. So, these mutations are called driver mutations.
    • Somatic changes can cause a cancer to develop and that cancers can accelerate the development of somatic changes. So, they can help with early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis.
    • Somatic genetic variants are cause of many immune disorders that are the result of mutations in a single gene, including primary immunodeficiency disorders.
      • In some instances, somatic changes can be beneficial in a genetic disease – by changing a deleterious change to a normal one, a phenomenon known as revertant mosaicism.
      • For example, around 10% of cases of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a rare genetic immunodeficiency, have been found to have revertant mosaicism, as a result alleviating the severity of the disease in many individuals.
  • Use of Somatic Mutations: Early detection and diagnosis of cancers rely on the fact that certain patterns – called mutational signatures – of genetic variations are characteristic of specific cancers.
    • There are technologies to detect DNA from tumour cells that has ‘escaped’ the cells into blood or fluids, to spot a cancer early.
    •  Similarly, certain variations in a cancer could be used as a signature of the disease’s progress and/or to track how a tumour has responded to some course of therapy.
  • SMaHT Network: ‘Somatic Mosaicism across Human Tissues’ (SMaHT) Network is a program by U.S. National Institutes of Health.
    •  It aims to catalyse our study of the field by discovering somatic variants, developing tools and resources with which to study them, and improving our ability to analyse, interpret, and organise them in different biological and clinical contexts.


Naming of Landing Sites on the Moon

Context: The Indian Prime Minister in his speech at the headquarters of the ISRO announced that the landing spot of Chandrayaan-3 will be named Shiv Shakti.

Who names the landing sites on Moon?

  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU), which has 92 members under it (including India), has been overseeing the naming of planetary and lunar sites since 1919.
  • As per the IAU’s website, its Working Groups usually handle the naming process.

Procedure to naming sites on planets, satellites

  • When the images of a planet or a satellite are obtained for the first time, names for a few important gestures are proposed to the IAU by the members of the appropriate IAU task group.
  • Following this, when higher resolution images and maps come into the picture, investigators mapping or describing specific surfaces or geological formations put in requests for naming additional features.
  • Post this, anyone could suggest that a specific name be chosen by a Task Group. However, there is no guarantee that the name will be accepted.
  • The names which are picked by the group are pushed ahead by the task group chair to the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN).
  • The names are considered approved as official IAU nomenclature after the successful review by vote of the members of the WGPSN. These names can be used on maps and in publications.
  • The names which receive the approval are immediately entered into the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, and posted on its website.
  • There is an option to raise objections to the names. In general, the naming process takes a little while.

India naming sites on Moon

  • After the 2008 Chandrayaan-1 mission, the site where the probe was made to crash as part of the mission was named “Jawahar Sthal” after the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

About the International Astronomical Union (IAU)

  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU) was founded in 1919.
  • Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation.
  • IAU membership spans 92 countries. Out of those countries, 85 are National Members. In addition, the IAU collaborates with various scientific organizations all over the world.
  • Among the other tasks of the IAU are the definition of fundamental astronomical and physical constants; unambiguous astronomical nomenclature and informal discussions on the possibilities for future international large-scale facilities.
  • Furthermore, the IAU serves as the international authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and surface features on them.
    • This authority was recognized by the United Nations in 1982 in UN Resolution 13 on Extraterrestrial feature names.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *