- [Block-1] Biotechnology
- Biotechnology bill 2013
- Genetically modified crops
- Anti GM-crops
- GM crops in India
- [Block-2] Robotics
- [Block-3] Nanotechnology
- Google-X Nanoparticles
- Nanotechnology: theory
- [Block-4] computer / Internet related
- Internet security
- [Block-5] Space-Tech
- ISRO MARS Mission
- IRNSS-Desi GPS
- NASA and others
- [Block-6] AGRO related
- [Block-7] Defense
- [Block-8] Physics, Chemistry, Misc.
Meaning: utilizing biological process for industrial, medical, agricultural and other purposes.
Applications of Biotechnology
- Affordable vaccines for variety of diseases for example rotavac: for rotavirus diarrhea. Clinical trials for human papilloma virus – HPV vaccine.
- Elisa kit to detect Japanese encephalitis in humans and various diseases in fishes.
- Typbar-TCV: typhoid vaccine by Bharat Biotech.
- Bio-fortified crops with higher quantity of vitamins and micronutrients=> no more malnutrition.
- Transgenic drought resistant, pest-resistant crops for various aggro climatic zones of India.
- Biocontrol agents to remove weeds and pests from farm.
- Improving yeast/fermentation process in bakery and desi-liquor industry.
- Bio informatics: for providing information/database Management. Helps in faster is a development and intersubjective coordination.
- Biosensors for detecting gene mutation in predicting genetic disease in future generations.
- Bio prospecting program – to use GIS and remote sensing to leverage bio resources of North East and West ghats.
- Cancer drugs from medicinal plants
Biotechnology bill 2013
- Setup Biotechnology regulatory authority of India and its appellate tribunal
- will replace genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC)
- Will not replace the present setup clinical trial approval. (Drug controller General of India DGCA)
- Single window fast track clearance
- Public consultation not mandatory.
will clear biotechnology application in three areas :
- Agro, forest, fishes
- human and animals
- environment and industries
Genetically modified crops
Soil Bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis=> take out crystal protein gene from it and insert in normal brinjal=> Bt.Brinjal. If borer/pests/larvae attack they die because of toxic protein binds in their guts.
GM-crops: to use or not to Use= endless argument
- Drought and pest resistant.
- Higher yield at low cost, because GM-crops need less fertilziers and pesticides.
- Bt-cotton has doubled our bales production in last decade.
- vegggies can remain fresh for longer time.
- Genetically modified trees can even suck up heavy metal and toxic chemicals from soil.
- Bio fortification: increasing vitamins and micro-nutrients in staple crops=> malnutrition removed.
- China doing R&D for cotton, rice, corn, tomatoes etc.
- father of green revolution – Norman Borlaug recommends GM crops for food security.
- Genetically modified mosquitoes in Brazil (Franken Skeeter): they kill Aedes Aegypti
- Mosquitoes=dengue reduced.
- Bt Brinjal releases Bt-toxin. Some clinical trials show its toxic to humans. (counter: Bt-toxin is broken down during digestion in human, hence not harmful.)
- farmers don’t cultivate indigenous varieties=> biodiversity loss. those desi varieties might be needed in future to R&D some new disease.
- Banned in Europe. Stringent labelling requirements. In India, veggies sold loose, not possible to distinguish normal veggies from GM-veggies.
- Data are insufficient to prove that food security increases after adopting GM crops.
- Men should not try to play God.
- SC appointed committee wants to stop new GM trials for next 10 years.
- Parliamentary committee says GM crop benefit only rich farmers.
GM crops in India
Genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC) looks after the matter. Permitted field trials for rice, cotton, brinjal, mustard etc. But Challenges:
- its recommendations are not binding on the environment Ministry or the State government
- Even after GM-approval, state governments would refuse under pressure from farmers/NGOs/Desi seed companies. (e.g. Gujarat state Government after Modi left.)
- Committee does not meet on regular basis
- Although FAO and WHO certified that GM crops are safe, >50% of farmland in third world using GM crops. Still environment Ministry hesitant to approve, due to ill-informed media and NGO pressure.
Robotics: New Developments
- Made of up actuator, links and chains.
- For picking up objects, they use mechanical grippers, vacuum-grippers or advanced mechanical finger.
||Isaac Asimov first used the word Robotics.
||first industrial robot Unimate
Application of Robotics
- Cleaning pipes, garbage etc.
- Exploring stars and planets
- Nuclear reactor
- Bomb diffusion, gas leakage etc.
- Mfg. tiny circuit chips, electronics etc.
- Finding defective products on assembly lines
Notable robotic technology: List not exhaustive
||Honda’s humanoid robot
||Acyut humanoid robot.
||DRDO+CAIR. Vision sensors to pick objects.
- This robot can do surgery with very tiny incisions=> very less blood loss=> faster healing and recovery.
- Cost higher than manual surgery because very sophisticated one-time instruments used.
- New tactile sensor.
- Made of transparent-synthetic rubber coating+ metallic paint.
- It can capture surface geometry of any material.
- Gives robot “touch” feeling so it can handle materials in more sophisticate manner.
|India nuke plants
||Six legged robot for handling accident at nuclear power plants. Couldn’t find out its fancy name.
||smartNAV robot for navigating moon surface in next manned mission.
||Modular advanced armed robotic system. Drone like killer-robots. They can attack but only on human command.
||Quest for curiosity – Sony’s entertainment robot.
Google-X Nanoparticles: How do they work?
- Pills containing Nano-particles.
- Patient swallows the pill=> Nanoparticles enter blood=>movement monitoring by wrist-watch sensor.
- Using this vehicle, Medicine can be delivered to target site e.g. Cancer cell. OR doing diagnosis of a blood-vessel.
Nanometer= 10(-9) meter. At this level, material display special physical, chemical and biological properties.
- Removing toxic chemicals from drinking water
- Nano-composite plastic films for packaging. Can preserve food for longer duration.
- Titanium dioxide nano coating can block ultraviolet radiation=> car color will not fade over time.
- Nano silver: antimicrobial agent, but dangerous to soil contamination
- Carbon Nano-tubes: tear resistant textiles
|Gold Nano particles
- detecting Alzheimer’s disease at an early age
- Delivery drugs to specific site in body, without harming healthy organs.
- Florescene microscope / Nanoscope won
- Won Nobel chemistry prize 2014.
- Earlier optical micrometers could show resolution upto 0.2 micrometres only (=half the wavelength of light).
- But Betzig, Moerner and Stefan Hell developed super-resolved fluorescence microscope, which can show details in nanometers.
[Block-4] computer / Internet related
- Confinement with Origin Web Labels (COWL)
|Heart bleed bug
- Exploits open-SSL vulnerability
- to spy on communication between user and server.
- Can spy, but can’t control machine.
- Internet of everything
- When everything connected with internet, controlled by internet.
- Even murder possible e.g. shutting down pacemarkers, ventilators, traffic signals etc.
- Exploits bash (shell-command) softwares in Linux/Unix machines, devices, even cars.
- Can spy and control machine.
- Any script kiddy with basic knowledge, can use. Hence more dangerous
- Voice phising to hack your bank account.
- Person calls you pretending to be bank officer, then diverts you to a fake toll-free number where you enter bank PIN/password.
- Internet service provider (ISP) should not priorities one type of traffic over others.
- Example: In USA, AT&T, comcast etc. have oligopoly over broadband connection. Suppose, AT&T offered google CEO that I’ll display your website faster to my customers than yahoo/bing websites IF you pay *** $commission$=> in this case “net neutrality” is violated.
- expert opine that India need not pursue net-netruality because we don’t have any oligopolies/monopolies ISPs. We should better focus on bringing down digital divide first.
- Website gives browser a digital certificate with public key.
- Browser matches public key with website’s private key.
- If both match=> secured website=> safe to send bank / credit card info.
- DEITY =>Controller of Certifying authorities=>digital certificates.
- Digital certificate + Public key infra (PKI) + SSL (secure socket layer)=>encrypted channel.
- National Informatics Centre (NIC) gives digital certificates for Government websites.
- But its Delhi office caught fire, hacker accessed backup data in Hyderabad office=> security risk.
Hardware / inventions
- Shubham Benerjee, 13 years old, Indian American.
- Made braille printer using lego toy parts. Just $349 while commercial Braille printers cost $1000
- Intel providing capital now to launch consumer product.
||a new type artificial intelligence/computer system. Just like brain, it learns language and builds its knowledge.
- Credit card sized mini-computer
- Plug it to TV, add keyboard.
- Can do most stuff like a normal computer- word processing, HD-videos, net-surfing etc.
- 25-35$ price depending on RAM/SD-card.
|System on Chips
- DRDO – miniaturized embedded computer chip for missiles and aircrafts.
- Has CPU, memory, IO devices everything fit into one.
- Hardly 200 gms, 50% cheaper, 6-7 times more powerful than existing models.
Mobile APPS and Web Portals
||NIC portal for prisoners database management. Details of their family, medical history, visitor history etc.
|Facebook Internet drones
- To laser-beam wireless internet over an area using Solar Powered Drones. Reduce digital divide in third world.
- Google wants to do similar using balloons (Project Loon).
|Facebook safety app
||During disasters, user can tick “I’m ok”, his friends will be notified.
- Indian Language Internet alliance to serve digital content in desi languages.
- 5 million new Indians added to mobile/internet every month but don’t know english.
||Microsoft’s sign language translator. Converts sign language into spoken words.
|Safety PIN App
- Map based application.
- Helps you judge safety of your current location. Shop-timing, rickshaw availability etc.
- Red=danger, amber-less safe, green=safe.
||Software app to deliver agro-message to illterate farmers via text-to-speech from their phones.
||To compare CBSE schools, their students’ performance record. Both teachers and parents will benefit.
ISRO MARS Mission
- 300 days, 450 crores, 1350 kg, PSLV launch vehicle, Banglore command centre.
- Five indictments for three studies:
- Surface/geology: using (1)camera and (2)spectrometer.
- (Particle) Environment: using (3)MENCA
- Atmosphere: using (4)Photometer and (5)Methane sensor
- Soft power, Big PR exercise, will help us get space contracts from third world via Antarix. Give’em Discount to buy votes at UNGA.
- History created. First attempt, no coaching, yet success. Will Attract and retain talented scientist. Less brain drain.
- NASA’s Maven = far costlier, only study upper atmosphere.
- Technology has indirect uses in weather prediction, telemedicine etc.
- Did not steal from poor’s mouth. Just 450 crore spent. Government has wasted far more in IAY, MNREGA, ICDS etc.
- We rely on American GPS and Russian GLONASS. But they may deliberately feed us wrong coordinates during war against them/their allies.
- Hence Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to run Indian global positioning system.
- 3+4=7 satellites @36k kms in sky=> can cover India + 1500 kms beyond borders.
- 2014, Oct: Third satellite IRNSS-B launched with PSLV. Command centre near Banglore.
- Std-service for all. Accuracy 20 meters.
- Restricted service for military and Government.
- +Disaster Management, Forest fire, fleet Management, missile navigation, cellphone apps etc.
Other space Developments List not exhaustive: क्योकि इस रात की सुबह नही
- Canada: it’s M3M (Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Micro-Satellite) communications satellite. Wanted to launch via Russia using Soyuz rocket.
- But Ukrain crisis,so Canada doesn’t want bad publicity, decided to handover the project to ISRO. (via ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix).
- To be launched from 2015 onwards
- Earth observation with 62cm resolution
|Comet Siding Spring
- Originated from material left over during solar system formation.
- Oct 2014: Comet travels close to Mars.
- NASA, ISRO moved their spacecrafts to avoid hitting by this comet.
- GPS aided Geo Augmented Navigation System (GAGAN)
- Jointly by ISRO+AAI. Air-traffic control, flight-landing during bad weather.
- Existing INSAT-3E got old stopped working in March 2014.
- So GSAT-16 for running DD-channels, private channels, internet and radio in India.
- This communication satellite will be launched from French Guiana using EU’s Ariane-5 launcher.
- Can carry ~4500-5500 kg satellites= more powerful than existing PSLV and GSLV systems
- Then, We won’t need to rely on EU’s launch vehicles anymore.
- Three stage, third stage is cryogenic.
- Can places multiple satellites on different orbits.
- Will help ISRO launch other nations satellites as well=> more $$ income.
- India based neutrino observatory, 50k tonne magnetic detector.
- Underground lab for particle physics and pure research in biology, chemistry.
- Bodi West hills, Theni district, Tamilnadu
- By DST + DAE + BARC + TIFR and dozen other institutes.
- NASA-ISRO synthetic aperture Radar mission for 2020
- Measure land surface, ice surface, glacier, volcanoes
- NASA to give L-band, GPS etc.
- ISRO to give S-Band, Launch vehicle etc.
- Largest infrared, largest optical telescope.
- 12x times better than Hubble space telescope
- Primary mirror 30 meters wide.
- @Hawaii, will finish @2022.
- India, Jap, US and Canada giving $$
- India gave 1k crore, mirror coating, control system etc.
- Terrestrial observation and predicting system by NASA
- But an Indian scientist modified it for Indian farmers
- Can predict floods, droughts and crop damage.
- Will help farmers and agro-insurance companies make proper business decisions.
- TOPS+UID+DBT=> crop insurance money can reach right farmer quickly.
NASA and others
NASA installed following gadgets on International space station
- Rapidscat earth observation instrument
- Purpose: hurricane, weather, ocean winds
- Cloud Aerosol Transport System (CATS)
- To measure cloud density and location.
- Sent via SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket + Dragon cargo spacecraft.
- Will help printing emergency spareparts for ISS repair.
More of USA/EU
- Titan=Saturn’s moon.
- Only two places in solar system, got liquid ocean: Titan + Earth.
- NASA is developing a space submarine to explore ocean waters on Titan.
||Found hematite containing rocks at mars. It may have provided chemical-energy to microbes.
|Earth Science Week
- October 12 – 18.
- NASA is inviting people around the world to observe the sky and share photos
- European space agency. Rosetta mission to deploy rover on a comet.
- Name of rover= Philae
- Name of comet = 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
- Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) Lidar device (2018 launch)
- 3D mapping of forest.
- Understand forests’ role in carbon cycle.
- At present, NASA sends astronauts using Russian space shuttle.
- Planning to get its own shuttle.
- Will goto Mars.
- Anyone can register name.
- NASA will send it to mars using electronic chip in Orion spacefraft.
- Rapid Acquisition Imaging Spectrograph Experiment (RAISE) mission
- Can Capture five images per second => more understanding about Sun spot activity
- UK setup a space weather station.
- Space weather anomalies can cause power outages, GPS disruption, Satellite damage etc.
|Orbital science corp.
- They were to deliver cargo to International space station for NASA.
- But Antares rocket caught fire.
- British billionaire Richard Branson’s company.
- Aims to fly people over 100km altitude=> few minutes of weightlessness and see earth against blackness of space.
- But its spaceshipTWO crashed due to fault in the feathering system. one pilot dead.
Chinese moon missions
- From 2007 onwards: Chang’E-1, 2 and 3.
- Moon rover Yutu malfunctioned.
- 2014: Chang’E-5-T1: this is just a test mission before next official Chang’E-5 mission.
- 2017: Chang’e-5, a robotic mission to bring lunar soil and rock samples from Moon. Only Russia and USA done this so far. China wants to be third country to accomplish this.
Chinese satellites to flood space
||Remote sensing, disaster prediction
||Total no. of satellites China wants to launch.
[Block-6] AGRO related
List not exhaustive
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Pariyojana
- To promote organic farming and its market linkages
- CarbonLite Pots are made from plant starches, They’re biodegradable.
- A 1,000 pots can supply 17 kg of carbon benefit, the same as removing almost 1.5 cars off the road a day.
- Available in various colors according to client’s requirement.
- Clam is a mollusk- found in both freshwater and saltwater.
- Ashtamudi lake and estuary, Kerala. Ramsar wetland site
- Clam fishery began in 80s. Exports to ASEAN nations
- MoEF recognized it for excellence.
- World food day’s theme- family famring- feeding the world, caring the earth.
- Family farmers = ~200 mn.ht. in India
- They produce balanced died, safeguard agro-biodiversity. Important for food security.
- Government gives them subsidized loan, fertilziers, crop insurance, SMS-service, weather prediction etc.
- Aquatic weed,, native of brazil, spread across world. Damages fish organs.
- Indian herbicide: dried leaf powder of a medicinal plant called Coleus amboinius/aromaticus (Karpooravalli or Omavalli in Tamil).
- Mothan: banana hybrid
- TTRI-2: Tea hybrid.
- Hydropony= growing plants in non-soil mediums
- Coconut husk, saw dust, rotten leaves used. = biodegradable
- Invention: Carbonlite Pots
- Examples: Sorghum, bajra, ragi.
- Gluten free. Suitable for Celiac patients
- Prevent diabetes, heart disease.
- High fiber content=sugar release at slow even pace=helps diabetic patients.
- Low in fat content but rich in essential amino acids, VitB, Calcium and micronutrients.
- food processing=>special diet foods for exports=> good potential for arid farmers.
- Agro min. wants Rabi farmers to grow Oilseeds as intercrop
- Better income + socio-economic status.
- Less import of edible oil=>CAD, inflation controlled.
- They attract the opposite sex for mating.
- Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad
- has developed synthetic pheromones designed to attract pests.
- Once all pests mass trapped => kill them =>pest population control.
||ICAR developed granular powder. Mix with soil + water=>gel that absorbs and retains water for the crops.
|Rashtriya Gokul mission
- Conserve indigenous cattle-breeds in scientific manner
- Setup Rahstriya Kamdehnu breeding centre
- MNCS control seed production and research. Traditional varieties not persevered.
- Need to regulation of private seeds and their pricing
- Setup community seed banks
- Feed security bill just like food security bill.
- Clear policies on milk pricing, cross breeding, vet.doctors, vaccination, NABARD-loans.
List the benefits of Agroforestry
Salient Features of National Agroforestry policy 2014
- Practice of cultivating trees on farm.
- Trees provide food, fodder, wood, fuel and fertilizers.
- Biomass, Biodiesel, Biochar and Biogas production.
- Carbon sequestration, climate moderation etc.
- National level board; Agro ministry as nodal.
- Simplify rules under FRA, PESA, Revenue dept etc.
- Land reforms, tenancy rights, computerize land record
- R&D as per agro-climatic zones. Grow suitable trees accordingly.
- Loans via NABARD, PPP funding, Awareness through NGOs, school syllabus update and so on.
Only selected topics
- Contains 2nd gen. hydrogen fuel cell.
- It contains 2nd generation hydrogen fuel cell.
- Helps the submarine recharge its batteries underwater. Without oxygen.
- If no AIP system => Submarine will have to come on surface for recharge => enemies can detect easily.
- DRDO will fit the AIP system on Scorpene submarines. And later in Project 75-I submarines.
- 290 kms range at 2.8 Mach speed. (supersonic, faster than sound).
- For navy submarines (Project 75I) and airforce (Su-30MKI)
- Light weight just 1.5 tonne compared to ergular version.
- Jointly Developed by India and Russia. Even thinking of exporting to friendly nations.
- Another Brahmos variant being developed with a ‘near vertical dive capability’ to shock the enemy hidden behind mountains.
|Dongfeng 31-B missile
- upgraded version of its 10,000-km range Dongfeng missile 31-A nuclear missile.
- Can reach most American and European cities.
- Exhibited on China’s national day = October 1, 2014 to demonstrate.
- Later plans for Dongfeng-41, range of 12,000 km, can hit any American city.
- U.S. plan to send 60 per cent of its military force to Asia by 2020, Hence China is busy making so many long range missiles.
- Hull mounted sonar (new generation).
- For navy, to detect enemy-divers trying to attack harbors.
- Sub sonic (below sound speed)
- 800+ kms, DRDO, nuke capable.
- Land and sea variants planned
- Based on Lakshya Dorone, can be controlled remotely.
- Loitering missile, tree top missile (hard to detect on radar), seeker missile (lock on after launch).
- Revolver for women 0.32 bore. 6 bullts, Very light weight.
- Indian ordinance factory, Kanpur.
- Will Build 6 stealth submarines in India
- Power: diesel-electric
- Can do Land attack using Brahmos Mini
- air-independent propulsion system
|Sniffer dog molecule
- Nitro-aromitc compounds =>can be purchased easily to make bombs.
- Indian institution of science (IISc) created a new polymer.
- Its florescent-glow reduced in presence of TNT & other nitro aromatic compounds.
- Spectrometer monitors this color change=>bomb detection.
- Chiense Mobile maker.
- It forwards IMEI, addressbook, text message to its Beijing server.
- Hence IAF (Airforce) ordered personnel not to use this phone due to security reasons.
[Block-8] Physics, Chemistry, Misc.
- From CSIR funding
- Broad Spectrum Confocal Microscope can generate 3D images of objects.
- Uses Infra-red beams and crystal fibres.
- Imported machine: 4 cr. Desi machine ~1.5 cr.
- 2012: Higgs boson (God particle) discovered at CERN lab.
- Stephen hawking says at 100 bn GeV the God particle could become unstable, create a vaccum
- decay that destroy entire universe.
- Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura
- Blue LED. Because Blue + Red + Green = white LED = energy savings.
- Compared to CFL, the LEDs 50% more efficient, no mercury, runs 4-5 times longer.
- BEE led joint venture planning to sell LED at cheaper price.
- Hardest material after diamonds.
- Apply high heat to purified aluminimum oxide=>slice in thin wafers=>sapphire glass.
- Used in LED lighting, high-end jewellery, windows in submarine and rockets.
- Sapphire glass used in high-end mobile phones- it costs 4x times than Gorilla Glass
Sarkaari initiatives (list not exhaustive)
||Clinical Development Services Agency (CDSA). For low cost & high quality clinical development and services
||Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research programme for the youth. To encourage them to join science.
||Knowledge Initiative for Research and Nurturing – to encourage women scientists come back, who had to take career break/ changed city due to marriage/childbirth earlier.
||Between UK and India for 3 societal challenges- Sustainable Cities and Urbanisation, Public Health and Well Being, Energy-Water-Food Nexus.
||scientists will have to compulsory teach kids @school and colleges for 12 hours a year. Without any extra salary. DST+CSIR got ~6k scientists.
|| Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent. Youth will be award for their work, so they can continue in science field.
||Scholarship for Higher Education. Summer attachment / fellowship with seniors.
||Desi Oceanographic Research Vessel. Will help discovering food-energy-mineral resources in Indian ocean.
Next (and last revision) note: GS3: Environment and disaster Management.
All the revision notes are archived at Mrunal.org/UPSC#CSE-2014
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