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Daily News

Bioluminescence

Context:

Visitors to beaches in Maharashtra have witnessed the spectacle of a Bioluminescence or light-emitting tide when the waves hit the shoreline.

Bioluminescence:

  • Bioluminescence is the property of a living organism to produce and emit light.
  • It is found in many marine organisms such as bacteria, algae, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, sea stars, fish, and sharks.
    • Animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria show bioluminescence.
  • Luminescence is generally higher in deep-living and planktonic organisms than in shallow species.

Bioluminescent waves:

  • Bioluminescence has been an annual occurrence along the west coast since 2016 during the months of November and December.
  • Bioluminescence is not common in India but there are several tourist places across the world which is famous for the phenomenon.

Impact of Blue Tides:

  • While smaller blooms may be harmless, slow-moving larger blooms may have an impact on deep-sea fishing.
  • The occurrence of Blue Tides is an indicator of climate change.
  • The factors such as the pattern of the wind and the temperature of the ocean also determine the occurrence of bioluminescent waves.
  • It is an ecological indicator of degraded water quality.
  • The experts argued that bioluminescence could have been caused by heavy rain, fertilizers runoff, discharge of sewage into the ocean.

Source: Indian Express

Climate Emergency

Context:

New Zealand government has decided that it would take the decision of declaring a Climate Emergency or not.

Details:

  • Greenpeace New Zealand is urging the government to declare a climate emergency since people are facing more extreme weather events, catastrophic loss of wildlife, and a crisis over access to fresh water and food.
  • The world is in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact nearly every aspect of lives.
  • Some of the countries that have declared a climate emergency in recent years include the UK, Portugal, Canada, France, and, most recently, Japan.

Climate Emergency:

  • In 2019, the Oxford dictionaries declared “climate emergency” to be the word of the year which reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.
  • It defines climate emergency as a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.
  • The climate emergency declaration refers to the act of naming a state of emergency.

Importance of 1.5°C:

  • At 1.5°C, over 70% of coral reefs will die, but at 2°C, all reefs over 99% will be lost.
  • Insects, vital for pollination of crops and plants, are likely to lose half their habitat at 1.5°C but this becomes almost twice as likely at 2°C.
  • The Arctic Ocean is completely bare of sea ice in summer would be a once per century likelihood at 1.5°C but this leaps to a once a decade likelihood at 2°C.
  • Over 6 million people currently live in coastal areas vulnerable to sea-level rise at 1.5°C degrees, and at 2°C, this would affect 10 million more people by the end of this century.
  • The sea-level rise will be 100 centimeters higher at 2°C than at 1.5°C.
  • The frequency and intensity of droughts, storms, and extreme weather events are increasingly likely above 1.5°C.

Source: Indian Express

ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus)

Context:

Defence Minister of India and Minister of National Defence of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam held bilateral talks via video-conferencing. The Vietnamese Defence Minister invited his counterpart for ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus which is being hosted by Vietnam in December 2020.

Details:

  • India and Vietnam signed an Implementing Arrangement for cooperation in the field of Hydrography between National Hydrographic Office, India and Vietnam Hydrographic Office.
  • The Arrangement will enable sharing of Hydrographic data and assist in the production of navigational charts by both sides.
  • The meeting discussed collaboration in defence industry capability building, training and cooperation in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
  • India and Vietnam are also looking at collaborating in a number of domains of defence Cooperation like shipbuilding, surface and subsurface capacities like submarines at sea.

ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus):

  • It is the only official framework of Defense Minister's meetings in the Asia-Pacific Region.
  • It aims to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.
  • It is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, ROK, Russian Federation and the United States.
  • The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Ha Noi, Viet Nam in October 2010.
  • Objectives:
    • To benefit ASEAN member countries in building capacity to address shared security challenges, while cognizant of the differing capacities of various ASEAN countries;
    • To promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency; and
    • To enhance regional peace and stability through cooperation in defence and security, in view of the transnational security challenges the region faces.

Source: The Hindu

Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling (BEOSP)

Context:

A team of CBI officers probing the accused in the Hathras rape case arrived at the Gandhinagar-based Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to conduct a brain electrical oscillation signature profiling (BEOSP) test.

  • Gandhinagar-Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) is India’s premier laboratory for forensic sciences and technical investigation founded in 1974.

Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling (BEOSP):

  • BEOSP is a neuro-psychological method of interrogation in which the accused’s participation in the crime is investigated by studying their brain’s response.
  • It is a non-invasive technique with a great degree of sensitivity and a neuro-psychological method of interrogation which is referred to as brain fingerprinting or brain finger mapping.
  • This test is carried out via a process known as an electroencephalogram, conducted to study the electrical behavior of the human brain.
  • Under this test, the consent of the accused is first taken and they are then made to wear caps with dozens of electrodes attached to them.
  • The accused are then shown visuals or played audio clips related to the crime to check if there is any triggering of neurons in their brains which then generate brainwaves.

Difference between BEOSP test and a polygraph:

  • The BEOSP procedure does not involve a question-answer session with the accused and is rather a neuropsychological study of their brain.
  • In a polygraph test, the accused person’s physiological indicators are taken into account which includes blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration, and skin conductivity.
  • The experts have argued that while a person might be able to control their pulse rate and BP even in times of distress, a BEOSP test offers a much more credible result.

The validity of the BEOSP test:

  • In the Selvi versus State of Karnataka case 2010, the Supreme Court observed that narco analysis, polygraph, and brain mapping tests cannot be forced upon any individual without their consent and the test results cannot be admitted solely as evidence.
  • The bench observed that any information or material discovered during the tests can be made part of the evidence.

Source: Indian Express

Brahmi Inscription

Context:

Researchers have discovered a terracotta object containing Brahmi inscription written in Prakrit language and in characters of the 3rd century B.C.

Details:

  • The inscription reads “devanam” prefixed with a symbol of ‘nandipada’.
  • The word “devanam” suggests indicating the part of the title of Emperor Asoka of the Mauryan dynasty.
  • The terracotta antiquity was discovered on the bank of Manjira River, which is a tributary of Godavari River located at Kulcharam (deserted village) in Medak district of Telangana state.
  • The discovery of Brahmi script palaeographically assignable to the Mauryan period on the terracotta is a rare and landmark epigraphical discovery in India.

Brahmi Inscription:

  • After the Indus script, Brahmi Inscription is the earliest writing system developed in India
  • Brahmi Inscription is one of the most influential writing systems because all modern Indian scripts and several hundred scripts found in Southeast and East Asia are derived from Brahmi.
  • The origin of numerous writing systems currently in use across Asia including the Gurmukhi, Kanarese, Sinhalese, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Javanese, and several others can be traced back to the Brahmi script.  
  • In the late 19th century CE, Georg Buhler advanced the idea that Brahmi was derived from the Semitic script and adapted by the Brahman scholars to suit the phonetics of Sanskrit and Prakrit.
  • Kharosthi Script is an adaptation of Semitic but the connection between Brahmi and Semitic remains unclear.

Source: The Hindu