This article is  for General Studies 2 or 5 markers in UPSC Mains Examination (and some for MCQs in CSAT, SSC, IBPS etc exams)

  • Earlier I had provided the revision notes for The Hindu Science & Tech (upto April 2012). Click on following links if you haven’t seen them already:
  1. [Revision] Science-Tech Highlight from The Hindu 2011 A to F (Part I)
  2. [Revision] Science-Tech Highlight from The Hindu 2011 G to N (Part II)
  3. [Revision] Science-Tech Highlight from The Hindu 2011 OtoZ (Part III, The End)

Now moving on, here is the new list, made from The Hindu Science & Tech articles from 1st May to 31st August 2012. (List is not exhastive, I might have missed some topics.)

  1. Dhiraj 101
  2. Balwan Pyaj
  3. Coniophis
  4. Spin OLED
  5. Nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC)
  6. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft
  7. CQD solar Cells
  8. Chang’e
  9. Shenzhou-9
  10. CO-4 grass
  11. Dark circles around eyes
  12. Dragon capsule
  13. Zero farming
  14. Pearlspot farming
  15. green rust
  16. Kasalath
  17. Telstar
  18. OraQuick
  19. Truvada
  20. Type Ia supernova
  21. How mosquitoes fly in rain
  22. Can curd and yoghurt be called as probiotics?
  23. lactose intolerance
  24. Isocyanic acid
  25. Jimmy Wales
  26. Kinesio tape
  27. Naper Bajra grass
  28. Chromosphere
  29. NuSTAR
  30. Probiotics
  31. Red tide
  32. Refrigerated onions
  33. Curiosity
  34. Science Express
  35. Solar storms
  36. tropical enteropathy.
  37. Nirmal Rajya
  38. Mt Tongariro
  39. Food Irradiation

Dhiraj 101

  • groundnut variety that does not need much water. (UPSC has nasty habit of asking some rice/wheat variety every now and then.)

Balwan Pyaj

  • Onion variety has a longer shelf life as compared to other commercial varieties.


  • A transitional snake
  • an intermediate form between lizards and the highly evolved snakes seen today
  • combining a snake-like body with a lizard-like head


  • Spin organic light-emitting diode (OLED)
  • U.S. physicists have invented it.
  • It is brighter, cheaper and more eco-friendly LED light than those currently widely used in electronic devices.

Nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC)

  • anti-oxidant compound
  • in the tree pulp
  • flexible, durable, and also stronger than steel.
  • help improve health and anti-aging products by neutralizing more of the harmful free-radicals found in the body

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft

  • For studying Saturn and its moons.

CQD solar Cells

  • colloidal quantum dot (CQD) Solar cells.
  • They’re Very cheap compared to regular solar cells.


  • Name of lunar probe launch of China.
  • first in 2007
  • Chang’e 2 in 2010
  • both named for the Chinese goddess of the moon.


  • spacecraft became China’s longest-ever space mission and was notable for including the nation’s first woman astronaut.

CO-4 grass

  • variety of grass used to feed the milking animals in South India.

Dark circles around eyes

  • Why do we develop dark circles around our eyes when we have had insufficient sleep?
  • Skin under the eye lids is very thin and delicate. This makes it prone to show both dehydration and water-logging in an exaggerated fashion. ‘Sleeping less’ also usually implies overwork and poor eating. This results in a generalised dehydration causing the thin under eye skin to go into a fine wrinkling pattern which gives the appearance of dark circles under the eye.
  • On the other hand, it is common to have puffy eyes after a long bout of sleep. This can be explained by the fact that when we lie flat the excess fluid that normally pools in the lower limbs gets distributed all over the body.

Dragon capsule

  • unmanned space capsule
  • developed by a private U.S. space company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX),
  • It’ll dock with the International Space Station.
  • In future private companies will try take on the task of transporting humans and cargo to orbits around Earth.

Zero farming

  • Zero farming method requires no ploughing, fertilizers or weeding.
  • It dispels the myth that hybrid seeds, fertilizers, and pest-control techniques alone can guarantee good yield.
  • Concept revolves around the theory that ‘nature knows best’ and hence it is better to leave everything in her care.

Pearlspot farming

  • fish farming in captivity
  • requires minimum investment and harvesting is easy. Even small scale farmers and women can grow the fishes in the backyard.

green rust

  • A rare kind of mineral
  • could be used to scrape toxic metals and radioactive species from the environment,


  • A rice variety origin in eastern States of India,
  • Growing rice in soil poor in phosphorus possible with this variety.


  • was the first communications satellite, launched in 1962
  • 2012 marks the half centuary of its launch.


  • Oral kit for HIV Test
  • It detects antibodies developed within 1-3 months after getting infected. It cannot pick up acute or recent infection.
  • in a stigmatised disease like HIV, getting people to test is the hardest part. This is due to lack of privacy and loss of confidentiality and fear of visibility in public settings. So people desire private testing options.
  • The over-the-counter OraQuick test is a historic milestone because it is a step towards destigmatisation of HIV and normalising an HIV diagnosis.


  • oral pill to reduce HIV transmission

Type Ia supernova

  • important stellar phenomena, used to measure the expansion of the universe.

How mosquitoes fly in rain

  • mosquito’s strong exoskeleton and low mass render it impervious to falling raindrops.

Can curd and yoghurt be called as probiotics?

  • No. Curd and yoghurt cannot be called as true probiotics.
  • According to the 2001 definition of probiotics by FAO/WHO, it is important that for any strain/product to be classified as a probiotic it must be or must contain live microorganisms (generally numbering one billion) which are resistant to gastric acid, bile and pancreatic juices and reach the target site (small intestine/large intestine) in numbers sufficient enough to elicit a beneficial effect. It should be scientifically validated through well controlled clinical trials.
  • Curd is defined as a product obtained by souring boiled or pasteurized milk naturally, by harmless lactic acid bacteria or other bacterial cultures. It may contain a wide variety of bacteria, which are not defined qualitatively/quantitatively. The number and type of bacteria also vary from home to home.
  • Yoghurt, on the other hand, is obtained by lactic acid fermentation of milk by Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophillus, which are not true probiotics as per the definition.
  • The role of buttermilk in treating diarrhoea has not been scientifically proven. But it is given during diarrhoea to rehydrate, and hence it imparts some benefit.

lactose intolerance

  • In this disease patients cannot digest lactose since they lack the enzymes that are needed to break down lactose, the milk sugar.
  • In fermented products like curd and buttermilk, most of the lactose is converted to lactic acid/acetic acid by the enzymes that are found in fermenting bacteria.  Hence these products are easier to digest and used by those patients.

Isocyanic acid

  • Forest fires and emission of air pollutants, which include fumes from vehicles running on diesel and slow burning of coal and charcoal, release toxic isocyanic acid in the troposphere.

Jimmy Wales

  • Wikipedia founder

Kinesio tape

  • a strong elasticated tape, was developed more than 30 years ago by a Japanese chiropractor.
  • Popular among atheltes.
  • Kinesio tape can stretch and contract, inhibiting damaging movements but allowing the right kind.
  • Runners can continue to train even when they have a problem.

Naper Bajra grass

  • also called as NB CO-4 hybrid or Emperor grass.
  • This grass can be grown in most soil types,
  • can supply raw material to run one 10 MW biomass electric power mill, continuously, all through the year without break


  • area of the sun’s low atmosphere
  • constantly changing magnetic fields


  • NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array
  • to see the highest energy X-rays in our universe, in future help in the hunt for black holes.


  • microorganisms that exhibit beneficial health effects for hosts when a sufficient amount of them are ingested.”
  • probiotics can shorten the duration of diarrhoea by half-a-day
  • Probiotics are generally beneficial in treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal disease.

Red tide

  • a tiny aquatic organism in harmful algal blooms.When the algae are present in high concentrations, the water appears to be discolored or murky, varying in color from purple to almost pink.
  • They deplete the dissolved oxygen from water and release toxin substances thus killing the marine and coastal species of fish, birds, marine mammals, and other organisms.

Refrigerated onions

  • How does refrigerating onions prevent them from causing tears in our eyes when chopped?
  • When you cut the onion, enzymes start mixing and produce a volatile sulphur compound that starts wafting towards your eyes.
  • The gas that is emitted reacts with the water of your eyes and forms sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid thus produced causes burning sensation in your eyes and this in turn leads to the tear glands secreting more tears.
  • Thus you end up with watery eyes every time you cut onions at home.
  • When you chill an onion, either in the refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water, the enzymes in the onion slow down at a molecular level.
  • This means that when you cut into a cold onion, the slow-moving enzymes and sulphur molecules have less momentum when they combine to make the irritating sulphurous molecules.
  • They also move much more slowly as they escape the onion walls and often will not reach your eyes or nose. This simple tactic can greatly reduce or eliminate an onion’s ability to make you cry.


  • NASA’s program on Mars exploration
  • Launched in 2011
  • test the soil samples to see if there are signs of life in the history of Mars.
  • determine Mars’ geological conditions and changes, and if there are any microorganisms present on the planet.
  • Curiosity will test the Mars soil only with its own equipment after it lands on the planet in August 2012
  • but future missions will bring samples back to Earth for more study,
  • Curiosity will help pave the way for future manned Mars missions
  • Curiosity also will take video images for the first time and send them back to Earth
  • The rover also will be the first to use nuclear power
  • will enable Curiosity to operate for at least a full Mars year (687 Earth days, or 1.9 Earth years).
  • will travel almost 352 million miles (567 million km) to reach Mars

Science Express

  • a train for promoting scientific temper
  • began its fifth journey, this time to raise awareness about the country’s unique biodiversity
  • The ‘Science Express — Biodiversity Special (SEBS)

Solar storms

  • Solar storms occur when the sun hurls large clouds of electrically charged particles into space and these strike the earth. The solar cycle takes around 11 years to complete.
  • can overload electricity networks causing breakdowns, cause satellites to fail, and endanger astronauts and people in aircraft
  • A solar storm in mid-March 1989 did in fact disrupt power supplies to millions of Canadians for several hours and cut contact with around 1,600 satellites.
  • Since then many electricity networks have improved their equipment, but preparations need to be made, not only for events similar to those in the past, but also for the extreme events that might arise only once in a thousand years.
  • the cycle will rise in strength to a peak in 2013.

tropical enteropathy.

  • This is a condition which affects the intestines (hence entero-) by killing or disabling the villi and microvilli covering the surface of the small intestine, and helping the absorption of the digested food into the blood and lymphatic systems.
  • It also leads to inflammation and mal-absorption. The benefits of whatever the child eats are not being transferred and utilised in the system for growth and development.
  • And the cause of tropical enteropathy is infection by the bacteria found in faeces. Children (and adults) living in conditions of poor sanitation are affected in great measure by such faecal bacterial infection leading to enteropathy.

Nirmal Rajya

  • Sikkim Is India’s the first Nirmal Rajya — 100 per cent open defecation-free state.
  • over 626 million Indians do not have access to toilets, Government  has initiated the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) or Total Sanitation Campaign, which would attempt to banish open defecation within a decade.

Mt Tongariro

  • Volcanic Mountain in New Zealand, recently eruptions were felt.

Food Irradiation

  • useful process employed in preservation of food, control of sprouting of items such as potato and onion and control of food-borne diseases.
  • Irradiation destroys or inactivates organisms that cause spoilage thereby extending shelf life of certain foods.
  • One of the reasons for the unpopularity of food irradiation is the mistaken notion that irradiated food is radioactive.
  • These radiations do not have sufficient energy to make food radioactive.
  • No radioactivity is produced or released during the process.

For the entire Archive of Science and Tech articles, go to this link: