Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam
Video lectures for ESE prelims 2020
- National and International Issues on
- Economic Development
- Social Development
- Industrial Development
- Energy and Environment
- Information and Communication Technology
- General Knowledge
Topic 2 : Environment
Studying animal sounds for conservation
Bioacoustics devices is being used worldwide to not only monitor threats to biodiversity but also study animal behaviour and diversity, the field is still in its nascent stages in India.
- A workshop has been arranged trained participants to use one of the world’s most popular bioacoustics softwares, RAVEN.
- The study can not just help understand animal behaviour but also analyse their responses to humans.
What is Bioacoustics?
Bioacoustics is the study of the study of animal sound production, dispersion and reception.
How does it works?
Bioacoustic studies of bird song have involved studying the differences in song dialects between birds on different mountaintops in the Western Ghats. These studies reveal that bird songs across deforested landscapes were extremely different from those in undisturbed areas.
Read more at:The Hindu
World Meteorological Organization’s Statement on the State of the Global Climate 2018
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has published the Statement on the State of the Global Climate on the sidelines of a high-level meeting on climate and sustainable development.
WMO’s findings: The following are the Climate indicators.
- 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record.
- The past four years—2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018—taken together are the four warmest years on record.
- The levels of carbon dioxide concentrations have continuously increased in 2018. The CO2 levels were at 357 parts per million (PPM) in 1994 and reached 405.5 PPM in 2017.
- Increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are key drivers of climate change.
- Mean Global Mean Sea Level for the period from January to July 2018 has been 2 to 3 mm higher than for the equivalent period in 2017.
- More than 90% of the energy trapped by greenhouse gases, goes into the oceans. Ocean Heat Content provides a direct measure of the energy that accumulates in the upper layers of the ocean.
- Observations in the open-ocean over the last 30 years have shown a clear trend of decreasing pH. There was a decrease in the surface ocean pH of 0.1 units since the start of the industrial revolution (1750).
- Changes in pH are linked to shifts in ocean carbonate chemistry that can affect the ability of marine organisms such as mollusks and reef-building corals, to build and maintain shells and skeletal material.
- Sea Ice Well Below Average
- The extent of Arctic sea ice was below average throughout 2018 and was at record-low levels for the first two months of the year.
- The annual maximum occurred in mid-March at 14.48 million square km, third lowest on record and approximately 7% below the 1981-2010 average.
- Antarctic sea-ice extent was also well below average throughout 2018. The annual minimum extent occurred in late February and the monthly average was 2.28 million square km, 33% below average.
- World Glacier Monitoring Service monitors glacier using a set of global reference glaciers with more than 30 years of observations between 1950 and 2018.
- Preliminary results for 2018, based on a subset of glaciers, indicate that the hydrological year 2017/18 was the 31st consecutive year of negative mass balance (mass balance is the gain or loss of ice from the glacier system).
- WMO also underlined the extreme weather events experienced all over the world in 2018, including the severe flooding in Kerala in August 2018, which led to economic losses estimated at $4.3 billion. Rainfall in Kerala in August was 96% above the long-term average.
- A cold wave also affected parts of India, with 135 deaths between January 3 and 13 in 2018 attributed to cold in Uttar Pradesh.
- In 2018, natural hazards associated with extreme weather and climate events affected nearly 62 million people.
- Floods affected more than 35 million throughout the world.
- Exposure of the agriculture sector to climate extremes is threatening to reverse gains made in ending malnutrition.
- In 2017, the number of undernourished people was estimated to have increased to 821 million, partly due to severe droughts associated with the strong El Niño of 2015–2016.
- Hurricane Florence and Michael in 2018 in the U.S. led to over 100 deaths and damages of around $49 billion.
- 1,600 deaths were associated with intense heat waves and wildfires in Europe, Japan, and the U.S.
- Between 2000 and 2016, the number of people exposed to heat waves is estimated to have increased by around 125 million persons,
- Out of the 17.7 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) tracked by the International Organization for Migration, over two million people were displaced due to disasters linked to weather and climate events as of September 2018.
Read more at: UN
World’s Longest Salt Cave
Israeli researchers have claimed that they have discovered the world’s longest salt cave near the dead sea.
- The cave named Malham, stretching over 10 kilometers (6.25 miles) runs through Mount Sodom, Israel’s largest mountain, and spills out to the southwest corner of the adjacent Dead Sea.
- In the cave, thousands of salt stalactites hang from the ceilings, and some of the walls have salt crystals.
- These were formed by the dissolution of the overhead rock by rainwater.
- The water percolates through cracks and deposits salt on the cave’s ceiling.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 3 : ICT
Coffee Board Activates Blockchain Based Marketplace
Coffee Board in India has launched blockchain based coffee e-marketplace. A Blockchain based marketplace app has been initiated.
How does it work?
The stakeholder like coffee farmers, traders, coffee curers, exporters, rosters, importers and retailers register on the platform to make trade transactions. The coffee farmer registers credentials like place where coffee is grown, details of the crop, elevation, certificates if any and any relevant information. A block is created for each of the lot the farmer sells on the Blockchain. The credentials of the block/ lot will be stored on the Blockchain throughout its journey and are immutable.
- Bring in transparency in the trade of Indian coffee
- Maintain the traceability of Indian coffee from bean to cup so as the consumer tastes real Indian coffee and the grower is paid fairly for his coffee produced.
- It will help in creating a brand image for Indian Coffee through traceability in reducing growers dependency an intermediaries by having a direct access to buyers for a fair price for their produce.
- Finding right coffee suppliers for exporters and within the stipulated time to meet the growing demands
- Building a better trust and long term relationship due to increased visibility towards the traceability
- Help farmers double their income
- Will reduce the number of layers between coffee growers and buyers
- Lead to realisation of fair price for the coffee producer.
Read more at: Livemint
Three researchers, Bengio, Hinton, and LeCun, have won the 2018 Turing Award, known as the ‘Nobel Prize of computing,’ for conceptual and engineering breakthroughs in artificial intelligence by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
About the award:
- The ACM AM Turing award, often referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize of Computing,’ carries a one million USD prize.
- It is named for Alan Mathison Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing.
- Turing was also instrumental in British code-breaking work during World War II.
- Since its inception in 1966, the Turing award has honored the computer scientists and engineers who created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry.
Read more at: Indiatoday