World’s smallest land fern:
- A new land fern named Malvi’s adder’s-tongue fern (Ophioglossum malviae) was discovered by Scientists.
- It is endemic to Ahwa forests of Western Ghats in Gujarat’s Dang district.
- Its size is just one centimetre (the most similar adder’s-tongue fern is 10 cm tall).
- Ferns are seasonal and mostly grows during the first monsoon rain.
Giant mosquito spotted in China:
- A giant mosquito with a wingspan of 11.15 cms was spotted in Sichuan province, China. It belongs to the world’s largest mosquito species Holorusia mikado.
- The giant mosquito was found in August 2017 during field trip to Mount Qingcheng in Chengdu, capital of south-west China’s Sichuan province. The mosquito mainly feeds on nectar and not on blood.
World Malaria Day:
- 25 April is observed as World Malaria Day every year with a motto of controlling preventable vector borne disease malaria.
- It was started during the 60th session of World Health Assembly, a part of WHO in May 2007.
- Theme of 2018 WMD is“Ready to beat malaria“.It signifies about the collective responsibility and commitment of global community in bringing together people on working towards making world free of malaria.
Removal of sulphur from fossil fuels using bacterial strains:
- CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT) have identified four bacterial strains that remove sulphur from fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal.
- Sulphur is considered to be one of the major pollutants emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels.
- The bacterial strains are Rhodococcus rhodochrous, Arthrobacter sulfureou, Gordonia rubropertinita and Rhodococcus erythropolis. Dibenzothiophene, an organic sulphur compound which is a major contaminant during fossil fuel combustion is used as energy source to nullify the effect of sulphur.
- These four bacterial strains in the bio-desulfurization process will be eco-friendly and economical. They can be potentially used on commercial scale for removal of sulphur from fossil fuels on commercial scale.
A Potent molecule to treat chikungunya:
- Two small potent molecules Pep-I and Pep-II, for their inhibitory activity to treat Chikungunya disease developed by researchers from IIT, Roorkee.
- The antiviral activity was tested by adding molecules directly into virus culture. Researchers had identified two small molecules Pep-I and Pep-II for their inhibitory activity against vector borne disease based on the study of structure of chikungunya virus-specific nsP2 protease .
- Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a new planet-hunting spacecraft onboard of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was launched by NASA from Cape Carnival, Florida, US. It was designed to carry out first space borne all-sky transiting exoplanet survey.
- TESS is 362 kg in weight and consists of four wide-view cameras surrounded by a sun shade to monitor brightness dips from target stars. It has no instruments capable of detecting life. Its main target is to characterize planets that will become main targets of future telescopes.
World Liver Day:
- April 19 is observed as the World Liver Day every year with an objective to build awareness and understanding the importance of liver and how liver ailments can be treated.
- Theme is ‘Riding New Waves in Liver Diagnosis, Staging & Treatment’. Liver disease is the 10th most common cause of death in India as per WHO.
Cybersecurity Tech Accord:
- 34 leading global technology firms including Facebook, Microsoft, HP, ARM, Cisco, and Oracle have signed Cybersecurity Tech Accord to work together on cybersecurity issues.
- Four Principles of Cybersecurity Tech Accord are:
- Protect users customers and everywhere
- Oppose cyber attacks on innocent citizens and enterprises
- Empower users, customers and developers to strengthen cybersecurity
- Partner with each other and like minded groups to enhance cybersecurity
Chandrayaan-2 launch postponed:
- Chandrayaan-2 is postponed from April 2018 to October-November 2018. It was postponed for additional tests suggested by national level committee to review Chandrayaan-2.
- It is the advanced version of previous Chandrayaan-1 mission (launched in 2008). It has been developed indigenously by ISRO.
World’s first contact lens approved by USFDA :
- Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses with the specification of Transitions Light Intelligent Technology, that automatically darkens when exposed to bright light approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- It is first of its kind contact lens to incorporate same technology that is used in eyeglasses that automatically darken in the sun.
- People with non-diseased eyes who are nearsighted (myopic) or farsighted (hyperopic) are used for daily use to correct vision of. They can be used by people with certain degrees of astigmatism.
- IRNSS-1I navigation satellite was successfully launched by ISRO from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
- The satellite was launched on board of PSLV-C41 (height of 44.4 meters and weight of 321 tonnes) after the normal lift-off and was successfully placed in the designated orbit. It was 20th overall flight of PSLV-XL version and 41st successful mission out of 43.
India’s first 5G lab:
- Massive Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) lab on campus for standardization, R&D and manufacturing of 5G equipment installed by IIT,Delhi.
- It is the first kind of 5G lab in the country and has been set-up at Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology and Management.
- 5G is wireless communication technology based on third-generation partnership project (3GPP). It is next generation mobile networks technology after 4G LTE networks. It is expected to offer enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) through R15 repeaters that can cater to coverage requirements.
World’s first micro factory for e-waste:
- IIT-trained Australian scientist of Indian origin Veena Sahajwalla has launched world’s first micro factory that can transform components from electronic waste items into valuable materials for re-use.
- The e-waste micro factory uses green manufacturing technologies to turn many types of consumer waste such as glass, plastic and timber into commercial materials and products. It is modular micro factory that can operate on site as small as 50 square metres and can be located wherever waste may be stockpiled.
- The e-waste micro factory has the potential to reduce the rapidly growing problem of vast amounts of e-waste causing environmental harm and going into landfill. It offers a cost-effective solution to one of the greatest environmental challenges of our age.
- Researchers have discovered new class of antibiotics called odilorhabdins or ODLs that fights drug resistance. It was produced by symbiotic bacteria found in soil-dwelling nematode worms that colonize insects for food.
- The bacterium helps to kill insect and secrete antibiotic to keep competing bacteria away.
Parker Solar Probe:
- NASA’s will launch humanity’s first mission Parker Solar Probe (PSP) to the Sun in July 31, 2018. It is undergoing final preparations for its scheduled launch on board of NASA’s Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
- Scientific Goals of PSP:
- Determine structure and dynamics of magnetic fields at sources of solar wind.
- Trace flow of energy that heats corona and accelerates solar wind.
- Determine what mechanisms accelerate and transport energetic particles.
- Explore dusty plasma near Sun and its influence on solar wind and energetic particle formation.
RH300 sounding rocket launched for atmospheric studies
- The RH-300 MKII sounding rocket developed by IRSO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) was successfully launched from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
- The objective of experiment is to measure neutral wind in dynamo region (80-120 km) of equatorial ionosphere using indigenously developed Electron Density and Neutral Wind Probe (ENWi). It will also perform cross-validation using an independent Tri Methyl Aluminium (TMA) release technique.
Government bans imports of hormone oxytocin
- The Union government has banned imports of hormone oxytocin to stop its misuse in livestock industry, where it causes hormonal imbalances and shortens the lives of milch animals.
- It is a controversial hormonal injection that is used widely in the dairy industry, agriculture and horticulture. Even its misuse is reported among trafficked children, injected to accelerate puberty among girls. It is also being misused to speed up deliveries for pregnant women in overcrowded government hospitals.
- India had halted retail sales of oxytocin as prescription-only drug in 2014, but failed to curb illegal sales and the volume of imports was unclear. Even, Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) in February 2018 had recommended import ban of oxytocin. For adopting its recommendations, DTAB proposal had proposed amendments to section 10 of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and rule 96 of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
Internet Security Threat Report:
- According to recently published Internet Security Threat Report, India emerged as third most vulnerable country in terms of risk of cyber threats, such as malware, spam and ransomware in 2017. India has moved up by one place over previous year.
- The report was published by security solutions provider Symantec. The global threat ranking of countries was based on 8 metrics viz. malware, spam, bots, phishing, network attacks, web attacks, ransomware and cryptominers.
- United States (with 26.61% global threats) was most vulnerable country to such cyber-attacks, followed by China (10.95%) in 2017. In India, 5.09% of global threats were detected, slightly less than 5.11% in 2016. India continues to be second most impacted by spam and bots attacks, third most impacted by network attacks, and fourth most impacted by ransomware.
- NASA has successfully conducted Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) to test supersonic parachute that will help its space exploration missions to land on Mars.
- The parachute was launched aboard of sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in US. It was tested in sky, mimicking conditions of entering red planet.
- Scientists have discovered new organ in human body and have named it as ‘interstitium’. It will be the 80th organ in the human body. It might be might be also the biggest organ in human body.
- The new organ is network of interconnected, fluid-filled spaces all over the body. It is found everywhere in human bodies, acting as shock absorber in all places where tissues are moved or subjected to force. It is made up of both flexible (elastin) and strong (collagen) connective tissue proteins, with interstitial fluid moving throughout.
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