Daily Current Affairs

To The Point Notes

Science and Technology

1.The Venusian Enigma: Unraveling the Mystery of Disappearing Water

A new study published in Nature sheds light on the culprit behind Venus’s lack of water: the HCO+ dissociative recombination (DR) reaction.

The Culprit: HCO+ DR Reaction

  • Occurs at high altitude (125 km) in Venus’ atmosphere, above the sulfuric acid clouds.

  • Involves the breakdown of HCO+ (formed from CO + H) into CO and a free hydrogen atom.

  • The free hydrogen escapes into space, depleting water (H2O) formation.

About Venus

  • Second planet from the Sun, sixth-largest in the solar system.

  • Hottest planet with a surface temperature of nearly 900°F.

  • Similar composition to Earth (iron core, rocky mantle).

  • Thick atmosphere dominated by carbon dioxide (96%) and nitrogen (3.5%).

Future Missions

  • EnVision orbiter (ESA)

  • DAVINCI+ and VERITAS (NASA)

  • Shukrayaan (ISRO)

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/an-overlooked-molecule-could-help-solve-the-venus-water-mystery/article68196326.ece  

Science and Technology

2.Ancient Viruses Unearthed in Yellowstone

Discovery

  • Location: Yellowstone National Park’s hot springs (USA)

  • Date: Recent discovery

Giant Viruses

  • Found in Yellowstone’s hot springs.

  • Date back 1.5 billion years.

  • “Giant” refers to their exceptionally large genomes compared to most viruses.

  • Do not pose a threat to humans.

  • Diverse: some linked to bacteria, others to archaea (extremophile single-celled organisms).

Significance

  • Offer insights into early life on Earth (1.5 billion years ago).

  • Help researchers understand the evolution and environmental factors that shaped life’s origins.

Yellowstone’s Hot Springs

  • Part of Yellowstone National Park’s natural wonders (UNESCO biosphere reserve).

  • Result of geothermal activity from the Yellowstone Caldera (massive volcanic system).

  • Diverse colors caused by heat-loving bacteria and algae thriving in the hot water.

  • Grand Prismatic Spring: Largest hot spring in the US (third-largest globally).

Environment

3.Orcas (Killer Whales)

Recent Event : A group of orcas sank a 15-meter yacht off the coast of Morocco.

About Orcas (Killer Whales):

  • Apex Predator: Top predator of the ocean.

  • Largest Dolphin: Largest member of the dolphin family (Delphinidae).

  • Distinctive Appearance: Recognizable by black and white bodies.

  • Social Creatures: Live in family groups called pods.

  • Echolocation: Use sound for communication, hunting, and navigation.

  • Global Habitat: Found in all oceans (most widely distributed cetacean).

    • Abundant in cold waters (Antarctica, Norway, Alaska).

    • Also found in tropical and subtropical waters.

  • Conservation Status: Data Deficient (IUCN Red List)

Source :https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-sci-tech/orcas-sinking-boats-9335819/

Environment

4.Rising Tensions in the South China Sea: Scarborough Shoal Dispute

The Scarborough Shoal:

  • Location: South China Sea, 220 kilometers from the Philippines

  • Description:

    • Series of small rocks and islands forming a triangle

    • Largest island has a lagoon (60 square miles)

    • Many rocks are submerged at high tide

  • Significance:

    • Productive fishing area with rich marine life

    • Lagoon contains valuable shellfish and sea cucumbers

  • Dispute:

    • Claimed by both China (Huangyan Island) and the Philippines

    • No structures built, but controlled by China’s coast guard (since 2012)

Competing Claims:

    • China:  Historical claim dating back to the Yuan Dynasty (1200s)

    • Philippines: Geographic proximity – closer to Luzon Island (Philippines) than China

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/philippines-urges-china-to-allow-scrutiny-of-disputed-south-china-sea-shoal/articleshow/110270895.cms

Environment

5.Protecting Tigers: Supreme Court Orders Closure of Mines near Critical Habitat

SC Order: The Supreme Court recently ordered the closure of 68 mines operating within 1 kilometer of the critical tiger habitat (CTH) of Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.

Critical Tiger Habitat (CTH):

  • Identified under the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), 1972.

  • Core areas of tiger reserves considered essential for tiger conservation.

  • Notified by state governments in consultation with expert committees.

About Sariska Tiger Reserve:

  • Location: Alwar district, Rajasthan (Aravali Hills)

  • First reserve to successfully relocate tigers.

  • Famous for:

    • Old temples (Pandu Pol, Bhangarh Fort)

    • Palaces and lakes (Ajabgarh, Pratapgarh, Siliserh Lake, Jai Samand Lake)

  • Landscape: Rocky, with scrub thorn forests, grasses, cliffs, and semi-deciduous woodlands.

  • Vegetation: Northern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests and Northern Tropical Thorn Forest.

  • Flora: Dhok trees, salar, kadaya, gol, ber, banyan, gugal, bamboo, etc.

  • Fauna: Leopards, sambhar, chital, nilgai, and other wildlife.

Source : https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-illegal-mining-in-sariska-9339325/

Environment

6.Saving a Legacy: Manipur Fights to Preserve the Manipuri Pony

The Effort: The Manipur government joins forces with organizations to save the Manipuri Pony (Meitei Sagol) from extinction.

About the Manipuri Pony:

  • One of seven recognized horse breeds in India (11-13 Hands high)

  • Known for:

    • Stamina, agility, intelligence, speed, and adaptability

    • Historical significance in polo (origin of modern polo)

  • Role in Manipuri culture:

    • Traditional events (Lai Haraoba)

    • Polo and horseracing

    • Cavalry mounts (feared 17th-century Manipur Kingdom)

Endangered Status: Declared by the Manipur government in 2013.

Reasons for Decline:

  • Habitat loss (wetlands) due to urbanization

  • Lack of polo grounds in rural areas

  • Restricted pony usage (only polo)

  • Uncontrolled diseases

  • Exodus of ponies to other regions

Source : https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/meitei-sagol-manipur-takes-host-of-decisions-to-save-its-fabled-equines-from-extinction-96227

Economy

7.Boost for Indian Helicopter Industry: Airbus Helicopters and SIDBI Sign MoU

The Deal: Airbus Helicopters and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to finance Airbus helicopter purchases in India.

About SIDBI:

  • Established: April 2, 1990 (Act of Indian Parliament)

  • Function: Principal financial institution for:

    • Promotion

    • Financing

    • Development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

  • Jurisdiction: Ministry of Finance, Government of India

  • Headquarters: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

  • Role for MSMEs:

    • Provides financial schemes and services

    • Helps acquire funds for growth, marketing, and technology

  • Financial Support:

    • Indirect/refinance to banks for MSME loans

    • Direct finance in niche areas (risk capital, sustainable finance, etc.)

  • Additional Support:

    • Administers Small Industries Development Fund and National Equity Fund

    • Promotes MSME development through a “Credit Plus” approach (skill development, marketing, etc.)

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/business/airbus-helicopters-sidbi-sign-mou-for-helicopter-financing-in-india/article68197032.ece

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