UPSC Prelims News of 27 October 2022
Methane Super- Emitters
- Context: More than 50 methane “super-emitters” have been identified by NASA, in Central Asia, the Middle East and the Southwestern United States.
- These methane hotspots include sprawling oil and gas facilities and large landfills.
- It includes a cluster of 12 plumes from oil and gas infrastructure in Turkmenistan, which can collectively spew methane at a rate of 111,000 pounds (50,400 kilograms) per hour.
- Two other large emitters were an oilfield in New Mexico, and a waste-processing complex in Iran, emitting nearly 60,000 pounds (29,000 kg) of methane per hour combined.
- Methane accounts for a fraction of all human-caused greenhouse emissions but has about 80 more heat-trapping capacity pound-for-pound than carbon dioxide.
Instrument Used for Detection
- NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Investigation, or EMIT, which is an imaging spectrometer, was used for identification of methane “super-emitters”.
- The spectrometer was built primarily to identify the mineral composition of dust blown into the atmosphere from Earth’s deserts and other arid regions by measuring the wavelengths of light reflected from the surface soil in those areas.
- EMIT aims to help scientists determine whether airborne dust in different parts of the world is likely to trap or deflect heat from the sun, thus contributing to warming or cooling of the planet.
- As methane can absorb infrared light in a unique pattern that EMIT’s spectrometer can easily detect, EMIT was used for identification of methane “super-emitters”.
Bhoota Kola Ritual
Context: A controversy has emerged w.r.t. to the depiction of the Bhoota Kola ritual of Karnataka, in a recently released movie.
What is Bhoota Kola?
- Bhoota Kola is an annual folk ritual of Tulu-speaking people in Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi in Karnataka and some Kerala districts where local spirits or deities are worshipped.
- The word Bhuta means spirit of supernatural power and Kola means a ceremony for powers.
- As per Tulu Adivasi tradition, Bhoota Kola or Daiva Kola is a “non-vedic” ritual where Bhootas or Daivas (guardians and ancestors) are worshipped.
- It is widely believed these spirits protect the village from unfortunate incidents.
- The Bhuta-Kola ritual is usually performed during the months of December to May.
- Performers have to undergo spiritual training and observe several restrictions for their role. They follow a strict regimen that prohibits them from eating meat, consuming alcohol or engaging in sexual activities.
Context: The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has approved seed production “prior to commercial release” of India’s first indigenously developed transgenic hybrid mustard.
About the GM Mustard Variety
- The transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 contains two alien genes isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens that enable breeding of high- yielding commercial mustard hybrids.
- This GM hybrid is a product of crossing two plants containing alien ‘barnase’ and ‘barstar’ genes derived from a soil bacterium.
- DMH-11 is claimed to produce 25-30 per cent more grain/seed than the existing high-yielding mustard varieties.
- Status of other GM Crops: India has until date approved GM breeding technology only in cotton. Previous attempts at commercial release of GM brinjal were foiled by environmental activists.