Hindu Notes from General Studies-01
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Over 40 Indian languages, dialects heading to extinction
- Officials said that,more than 40 languages or dialects in India are considered to be endangered and are believed to be heading towards extinction as only a few thousand people speak them.
Findings in the Report
- According to a report of the Census Directorate, there are 22 scheduled languages and 100 non-scheduled languages in the country, which are spoken by a large number of people one lakh or more.
- A Home Ministry official said that, there are 42 languages which are spoken by less than 10,000 people. These are considered endangered and may be heading towards extinction.
- A list prepared by UNESCO has also mentioned about the 42 languages or dialects in India that are endangered and they may be heading towards extinction.
The languages or dialects which are considered endangered
- The languages or dialects which are considered endangered, include 11 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Lamongse, Luro, Muot, Onge, Pu, Sanenyo, Sentilese, Shompen and Takahanyilang), seven from Manipur (Aimol, Aka, Koiren, Lamgang, Langrong, Purum and Tarao) and four from Himachal Pradesh (Baghati, Handuri, Pangvali and Sirmaudi).
- The other languages in the endangered category are Manda, Parji and Pengo (Odisha), Koraga and Kuruba (Karnataka), Gadaba and Naiki (AP), Kota and Toda (Tamil Nadu), Mra and Na (Arunachal Pradesh), Tai Nora and Tai Rong (Assam), Bangani (Uttarakhand), Birhor (Jharkhand), Nihali (Maharashtra), Ruga (Meghalaya) and Toto (West Bengal).
Hindu Notes from General Studies-02
Sex ratio at birth dips in 17 large States, Gujarat tops list
- The sex ratio at birth (SRB) saw a decline in 17 out of 21 large states of the country, with Gujarat recording an alarming dip of 53 points, a Niti Aayog report stated and stressed on the need to check sex-selective abortion.
Findings in the Report:
- According to the report, among the 17 states which recorded substantial drop of 10 points or more, in Gujarat the SRB fell to 854 females from 907 females per 1,000 males born registering a drop of 53 points from 2014-15 (base year) to 2015-16 (reference year).
- Gujarat is followed by Haryana, which registered a drop of 35 points, Rajasthan (32 points), Uttarakhand (27 points), Maharashtra (18 points), Himachal Pradesh (14 points), Chhattisgarh (drop of 12 points), and Karnataka (11 points), the Healthy States, Progressive Indiareport states.
- The report stated that, there is a clear need for States to effectively implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 and take adequate measures to promote the value of the girl child.
Hindu Notes from General Studies-03
SHERLOCK: A new paper-based DNA test to rapidly diagnose diseases
- Scientists have developed the first inexpensive, miniature paper test that can precisely detect diseases from DNA samples and allows the results to be seen with the naked eye, just like pregnancy tests.
- After dipping the paper strip into a processed sample, a line appears, indicating whether the target molecule was detected or not.
- The innovations build on the team’s earlier version of SHERLOCK (Specific High Sensitivity Reporter unLOCKing) and add to a growing field of research that harnesses CRISPR systems for uses beyond gene editing.
- The team used SHERLOCK to detect cell-free tumour DNA in blood samples from lung cancer patients and to detect synthetic Zika and Dengue virus simultaneously, in addition to other demonstrations.
- The technology demonstrates potential for many healthcare applications, including diagnosing infections in patients and detecting mutations that confer drug resistance or cause cancer.
- It can also be used for industrial and agricultural applications where monitoring steps along the supply chain can reduce waste and improve safety.
- At the core of SHERLOCK’s success is a CRISPR-associated protein called Cas13, which can be programmed to bind to a specific piece of RNA.
- Cas13’s target can be any genetic sequence, including viral genomes, genes that confer antibiotic resistance in bacteria, or mutations that cause cancer.
Andromeda galaxy is the same size as Milky Way
- Astronomers have discovered that our nearest big neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy, is roughly the same size as the Milky Way.
- It had been thought that Andromeda was two to three times the size of the Milky Way, and that our own galaxy would ultimately be engulfed by our bigger neighbour.
- But the new study evens the score between the two galaxies.
- It found the weight of the Andromeda is 800 billion times heavier than the Sun, on par with the Milky Way.
- The research suggests scientists previously overestimated the amount of dark matter in the Andromeda galaxy.
- The study used a new technique to measure the speed required to escape a galaxy.
- The Milky Way and Andromeda are two giant spiral galaxies in our local Universe, and light takes a cosmologically tiny two million years to get between them.
- With Andromeda no longer considered the Milky Way’s big brother, new simulations are needed to find out what will happen when the two galaxies eventually collide, suggests the study.
Guards get modern weapons to fight poaching
- In a major initiative for wildlife protection, the forest guards in Assam were given modern weapons like self-loading rifles (SLRs) and 9 MM pistols to check poaching of rhinos, tigers and other wild animals.
‘First time in country’
- Chief Minister said that,for the first time in the country, 10 wildlife fast-track courts have been set up to exclusively deal with poaching and other related crimes against wild animals.
- According to the plan, forest guards were given 954 SLRs, 272 INSAS rifles, 133 rifles of .12 bore, 20 of 9 MM pistols and 91 Ghatak rifles.
- Wildlife fast-track courts have been set up in 10 districts and such courts have been set up for the first time in the country.
- Assam has five national parks and 19 wildlife sanctuaries. It is home to more than 91% of Indian rhinos (2,431 rhinos as per 2015 census). It is also home to 167 tigers, 248 leopards, 1,169 swamp deer besides a large number of wild buffaloes, different varieties of deer and other animals.
- According to an estimate tabled in the Assembly this month, altogether 74 rhinos have been killed by poachers since 2015 and 316 poachers arrested during 2015-17.
Aerial mapping of Bengaluru’s solar energy potential takes off.
- Laser mapping technology is being used in Bengaluru to map the city’s potential to generate rooftop solar energy.
- The initiative, which is based on a 2016 agreement of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) with the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) and Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd. (KREDL), finally took flight at Jakkur aerodrome.
- Bescom has commissioned the mapping in a bid to meet its target of generation of 1,000 MW of rooftop solar energy by 2022 from Bengaluru alone.
- The aircraft will cover an approximate area of 1,100 sq. km, generating high resolution images of rooftops of buildings in the city. The mapping will be carried out by CSTEP and the data generated will be submitted to the Energy Department.
LiDAR technology(light detection and ranging)
- The LiDAR technology will send pulsed laser light on to the rooftop of a building and translate the reflected light into data points. Based on objects such as trees surrounding the rooftop, shadow-free area available for solar power generation will be calculated and an estimate will be arrived at as to the capacity of solar generation of each building in the city, said officials.
- The data mapping will continue for a fortnight for about two hours every day.