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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC – 21 January 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC 2023

Q) Recently seen in news, the term ‘Shadow banning’ is best related to which one of the following?

  1. To replace a Minister by passing a censure motion.
  2. To circulate otherwise prohibited information on Dark Web.
  3. To limit a post’s visibility on social media.
  4. Restricting access to a website by increasing network traffic.

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC – 20 January 2023

Explanation:

  • Option (3) is correct: Shadow banning refers to the perception that social media companies are taking stealth actions to limit a post’s visibility. The term traces back to 2012, when Reddit users accused the platform of banning a link to a Gawker article while publicly championing transparency. The meaning of the term has evolved over time. Now, the term is used to describe general discontent about not getting the required attention on social media, even if they don’t necessarily think a platform has engaged in any clandestine moderation. Private companies have the freedom to make their own rules about content moderation, but for users of the platform, true shadow bans enforce unarticulated rules secretly. Through shadow, ban companies avoid taking responsibility for moderating content while quietly manipulating its flow. Many social media posts of individuals are being accused of getting ‘shadow banned’.

Q) With reference to ‘light pollution’, consider the following statements:

  1. The satellites can easily catch the blue light emitted from LEDs and the pollution caused by it.
  2. The ‘skyglow’ is the light scattered and reflected by solid or liquid particles in the atmosphere reducing sky visibility at night.
  3. The International Dark-Sky Association is a non-profit organization that works to protect the night skies by advocating for responsible outdoor lighting.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is incorrect but statement 2 is correct: According to a study, ‘Sky Glow’ (a form of light pollution) has increased by nearly 10 per cent annually in the last decade. The 10% annual increase of sky glow is much higher than satellite-based estimates, which show that the sky brightness has increased by 2 per cent a year from 2012-2016. Satellites do not catch blue light emitted from LEDs, which have increasingly grown popular in the last decade, the study noted. Due to increased sky glow, 30 per cent of the global stargazers have been robbed of a good view of stellar bodies. The reduction in night sky visibility is a result of “skyglow,” upward-directed light emanating from poorly designed or directed lamps and security floodlights. This wasted light is scattered and reflected by solid or liquid particles in the atmosphere and then returned to the eyes of people on the ground, obliterating their view of the night sky. The effect of skyglow from a town or city is not necessarily localized; it can be observed far from the main source.
  • Statement 3 is correct: The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that works to protect the night skies for present and future generations by advocating for responsible outdoor lighting and promoting dark sky places. The Globe at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution.

Q) Consider the following statements about ‘Poompuhar’:

  1. Poompuhar served as the capital of the Chera kingdom in the Sangam period.
  2. The Tamil epic ‘Manimekalai’ mentions about Poompuhar.
  3. The city of Poompuhar is being reconstructed under the Indian Digital Heritage project of the Ministry of Culture.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is incorrect but statement 2 is correct: Poompuhar is also known as Kaveripoompattinam and there are references to this in the Tamil epic Manimekalai, which for a while served as the capital of the Early Chola kings in Tamilakam. Puhar is located near the mouth of the Kaveri River, on the sea coast. City was established initially in the Cauvery Delta, about 30km away from the present town around 15,000 years ago. The city was spread over about 250 sq. km, complete with a huge harbour, a lighthouse, ship and dockyards, and settlements. It had maritime trade links with South East Asia and Egypt, City was submerged due to “kadalkol” or rising sea levels. However, the reasons and periods of its extinction remain unresolved. Several geological features indicate that the Poompuhar region was prone to floods, tsunamis and accelerated impact of sea level rise and cyclone-induced surges.
  • Statement 3 is incorrect: Reconstruction of Poompuhar is part of Indian Digital Heritage project India Digital Heritage is a unique initiative by DST (Department of Science and Technology) to support collaborative projects between researchers in the areas of Technology and Humanities for digital documentation and interpretation of our tangible and intangible heritage.

Q) With reference to ‘Superconductivity’, consider the following statements:

  1. It is the property of certain materials to conduct direct current electricity without energy loss when they are heated above a critical temperature.
  2. The Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory is related to the concept of superconductivity.
  3. Mercury is considered a superconductor due to the unique pairing of electrons in it.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 2 and 3 only

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is incorrect: Superconductivityis the property of certain materials to conduct direct current (DC) electricity without energy loss when they are cooled below a critical temperature (referred to as Tc). These materials also expel magnetic fields as they transition to the superconducting state.
  • Statements 2 and 3 are correct: More than a century after discovery of superconductivity in mercury, scientists have been able to understand mechanism behind it. Mercury is classified as a conventional superconductor due to electron pairs moving through it, which could be explained by the concepts of Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory. In BCS theory, superconductivity takes place in three steps:
  • First, an electron exerts an “impulsive force” on the lattice.
  • Second, the atomic lattice releases vibrational energy when its atoms oscillate in their positions; these packets are called ‘phonons’.
  • Third, the force exerted by phonons encourages electrons to overcome their mutual repulsion and pair up (over a relatively large distance).
  • These electron pairs move through the material, making the material superconductor.

Q) Which of the following is not a feature of New Pension Scheme (NPS) in India?

  1. It is a contributory pension scheme where the employee and the employer contribute their respective shares.
  2. The employer contributes 10 per cent towards the employees’ NPS accounts while employees contribute 20% of their basic salary.
  3. It is regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
  4. It is based on market based returns over the long term and covers both the private and government sector.

Explanation:

  • Option (2) is incorrect: The Old Pension Scheme was discontinued by the Union government in 2003 and introduced the National Pension System (NPS) from April 1, 2004. The feature of New Pension Scheme (NPS) in India are:
  • It is a contributory pension scheme where the employee and the employer contribute their respective shares.
  • The government contributes 14 per cent towards the employees’ NPS accounts while employees contribute 10% of their basic salary.
  • NPS is regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
  • Pension payout post-retirement depends on the returns generated by the corpus accumulated during the working years of the employee.
  • NPS is based on market based returns over the long term and covers the private sector and not just government sector.

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Recently seen in news, the term ‘Shadow banning’ is best related to which?

To limit a post’s visibility on social media.

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