Essential Facts (Prelims) – September 12 & 13 , 2019


World Oil Demand Report

Category: International

  • India’s oil demand will rise at the fastest pace globally this year and the next, even as its economic expansion has slowed down.
  • This was revealed in OPEC’s ‘World Oil Demand’ report.
  • It said India’s oil demand is projected to rise by 3.21% in 2019. In 2020, it will further rise by 3.36%. This outpaces China’s oil demand growth of 2.73% in 2019 and 2.37% in 2020.
  • China, however, is the world’s second-biggest oil consumer in 2019, behind only the U.S.

Boreas is the largest flying animal of all time

Category: Sc/tech

  • Scientists unveiled a new species of pterosaur, the plane-sized reptiles that lorded over primeval skies above T-rex, Triceratops and other dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous.
  • With a wingspan of 10 m and weighing 250 kg, Cryodrakon boreas rivals another pterosaur as the largest flying animal of all time.
  • Its remains were first discovered more than 30 years ago in Alberta, Canada, yet elicited scant excitement because of the misclassification. But a closer look at the fossil remains left no doubt that a new species had been discovered.
  • Like other winged reptiles living at the same time, about 77 million years ago, C. boreas was carnivorous and probably fed on lizards, small mammals and even baby dinosaurs.

Fedor

Category: Sc/tech

  • It’s mission over for a robot called Fedor that Russia blasted to the International Space Station, the developers admitting he could not replace astronauts on space walks.
  • Fedor, or Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, was built to assist space station astronauts.
  • The silvery anthropomorphic robot cannot fulfil its assigned task to replace human astronauts on long and risky space walks.
  • Fedor turned out to have a design that does not work well in space — standing 180 cm tall, its long legs were not needed on space walks.

Valley’s apple growers welcome govt.’s scheme

Category: Agricultue

  • J & K Government announced market intervention scheme to buy crop worth ₹8,000 crore directly from the farmers in Kashmir.
  • The decision of the Union government to revoke J&K’s special status resulted in a communication blockade, affecting the traders’ ability to tie up with wholesale buyers outside or line up with transport companies.
  • Kashmir produces 75% of the total apple crop in the country at 20 lakh metric tonnes.
  • The government’s market intervention, the first of its kind in J&K, will allow the apples produce to be bought from the doorsteps of the orchardists.

NATGRID wants to link social media accounts to central database

Category: Security

  • The ambitious National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project wants to link social media accounts to the huge database of records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details among others.
  • The project, initially started in 2009 with a budget of ₹2,800 crore, is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information and putting them on one platform.
  • At least 10 central agencies like Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and others will have access to the data on a secured platform.
  • The proposal has received resistance from the intelligence agencies, whose officials fear that linking the social media accounts to sensitive government data could expose the system to “trojan attacks.”
  • NATGRID links intelligence and investigation agencies. The 10 user agencies will be linked independently with certain databases that would be procured from 21 providing organisations and include telecom, tax records, bank, immigration, etc. to enable the generation of intelligence inputs.

Water found in atmosphere of habitable exoplanet

Category: Sc/tech

  • Water has been discovered for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet with earth-like temperatures that could support life as we know it.
  • Eight times the mass of earth and twice as big, K2-18b orbits in its star’s “habitable zone” at a distance — neither too far nor too close — where water can exist in liquid form.
  • Of the more than 4,000 exoplanets detected to date, this is the first known to combine a rocky surface and an atmosphere with water.
  • Most exoplanets with atmospheres are giant balls of gas, and the handful of rocky planets for which data is available seem to have no atmosphere at all.
  • Discovered in 2015, K2-18b is one of hundreds of so-called “super-earths” — planets with less than ten times the mass of ours — spotted by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
  • They found the unmistakable signature of water vapour. Exactly how much remains uncertain, but computer modelling suggested concentrations between 0.1 and 50 %. By comparison, the percentage of water vapour in earth’s atmosphere varies between 0.2% above the poles, and up to 4% in the tropics.
  • K2-18b orbits a red dwarf star about 110 light years distant — a million billion kilometres — in the Leo constellation of the Milky Way.