13thFebruary,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 13thFebruary,2022

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • Dvaita Vs Advaita Vs Vishishtadvaita (PIB)
  • Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) (TH, pg 7)
  • Origami Metamaterials (TH, pg 11)
  • Erratus sperare(TH, pg 11)
  • Proxima d, Exoplanets, Goldilocks Zoneand Tidal Locking (TH, pg 11)
  • 35th African Union Summit (TH, pg 13)
  • Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as Young Entrepreneur (PIB)
  • The Wild Oranges of India (TH, pg 11)

 

  1. Dvaita Vs Advaita Vs Vishishtadvaita (PIB)

  • Context: Vice President visits Statue of Equality, calls for imbibing Acharya Ramanuja’s teachings for a ‘New India’.
Analysis
Dvaita
  • Madhvacharyapropounded this philosophy.
  • It considers Brahman and Atman as two different entities, and Bhakti as the route to eternal salvation.
  • According to Dvaita, Jivatma are many and Paramatma is one.
  • Concerning the soul Madhvacharya says that no two souls are alike.
  • The soul becomes similar to God in some respects when it is liberated, yet even in these respects it is much inferior to God.
Advaita
  • At the intellectual level, the most serious challenge to Buddhism and Jainism was posed by Sankara who reformulated the Hindu philosophy.
  • Shankara, one of the most influential philosophers of India, was born in Kerala in the eighth century.
  • Sankara’s philosophy is called advaitavada or the doctrine on non-dualism. According to Sankara, God and the created world are one: the differences were apparent but not real, and arose due to ignorance, maya being a part of it.
  • The way to salvation was devotion to God, strengthened by the knowledge that God and the created beings were one and the same. This philosophy is called vedanta. Thus, Sankara upheld the Vedas as the fountainhead of true knowledge.
  • He was an advocate of Advaita or the doctrine of the oneness of the individual soul and the Supreme God which is the Ultimate Reality.
  • He taught that Brahman, the only or Ultimate Reality, was formless and without any attributes.
  • Advaita is the oldest school of Vedanta, and it states that Brahman is the only reality and the world is illusory (Maya).
  • Ignorance of the reality is what causes suffering, and liberation can be obtained only by true knowledge of Brahman.
  • It states that both the individual self (Atman) and Brahman are the same, and knowing this difference causes liberation.
  • The quintessence of Shankara’s philosophy is “Brahma satya jagat mithya, jivo Brahmaiva na aparah”, meaning Brahman (the absolute) alone is real; this world is unreal, and the jiva or the individual soul is non-different from Brahman.
  • The Jiva or the individual soul identifies itself with the body-mind complex due to Avidya (ignorance).
  • The path of knowledge put forward by Sankara could be followed by only a few. Sankara did not reject the path of bhakti by which the devotee merged with God. But for this, the heart had to be cleaned through jnana or knowledge. It could not, thus, influence the masses.
Vishishtadvaita
  • Ramanuja, born in Tamil Nadu in the eleventh century, was deeply influenced by the Alvars.
  • According to him the best means of attaining salvation was through intense devotion to Vishnu.
  • He propounded the doctrine of Vishishtadvaita or qualified oneness in that the soul even when united with the Supreme God remained distinct.
  • Vishishtadvaita literally means the Unique Advaita, that is, Advaita with some amendments.
  • While it accepts Brahman as the unified whole, it states He is characterized by multiple forms.
  • Vishishtadvaita is qualified monism, where God alone exists, but it admits plurality of souls.
  • God and the individual souls are inseparable, just like the fire and spark. In liberation, the Jivatma understands Paramatma, but do not merge in Paramatma.
  • According to Ramanujacharya, souls are intrinsically the same and all souls are alike in their quality.
  • God stands for the whole universe and matter and souls form His body, He being THEIR soul. God is viewed as the cause and also as the effect.
  • Ramanuja’s philosophy is a fusion of the Vedas and the Bhagavata Purana.
  • Ramanuja’s doctrine greatly inspired the new strand of bhakti which developed in north India subsequently.
  • He provided an intellectual basis for the practice of bhakti (devotional worship) in three major commentaries: the Vedartha-samgraha (on the Vedas, the earliest scriptures of Hinduism), the Shri-bhashya (on the Brahma-sutras), and the Bhagavadgita-bhashya (on the Bhagavadgita).
  • Majority of Hindus follow the Dvaita philosophy. They feel that God is the controller of their life, God is different from them.
Ramanuja Vs Shankara
  • Ramanuja insisted that the phenomenal world is real and provides real knowledge, and that the exigencies of daily life are not detrimental or even contrary to the life of the spirit.
  • In this emphasis he is the antithesis of Shankara, of whom he was sharply critical and whose interpretation of the scriptures he disputed.
  • Ramanuja’s worldview accepts the ontological reality of three distinct orders: matter, soul, and God.
  • Like Shankara and earlier Vedanta, he admits that there is nonduality (advaita), an ultimate identity of the three orders, but this nonduality for him is asserted of God, who is modified (vishishta; literally “qualified”) by the orders of matter and soul; hence, his doctrine is known as Vishishtadvaita (“qualified nonduality”) as opposed to the unqualified nonduality of Shankara.
  • Ramanuja, tried to assimilate bhakti to the tradition of the Vedas. He argued that in order to attain salvation, grace of God was more important than knowledge about Him.
  • Ramanuja emphasized that the path of prapatti or total reliance on, or surrender to God was open to all, including the Shudras and the Dalits.
  • Thus, Ramanuja tried to build a bridge between the popular movement based on bhakti, and the upper caste movement based on the Vedas.

 

  1. Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) (TH, pg 7)
  • Context: In a pan-India operation, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested 22 persons for their alleged involvement in procurement and sale of drugs via darknet.
Analysis
  • The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is based on the Directive Principles, contained in Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, which direct the State to endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drugs injurious to health.
  • Prohibition on the consumption of intoxicating drugs, except for medicinal purposes comes from these 3 Central Legislations:
  • Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940,
  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and
  • The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
  • The responsibility of drug abuse control, which is a central function, is carried out through a number of Ministries, Departments and Organisations.
  • These include the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue which has the nodal co-ordination role as administrator of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
  • India is also a signatory to:
  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol
  • Conventions on Psychotropic Substances, 1971
  • United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau is a statutory body under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and exercises the powers and functions of the Central Government under the Act.
  • The Bureau is subject to the supervision and control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • India is signatory to various international drug related UN conventions and the responsibility of implementation of the provision of these international conventions also lies with NCB.
  • It exercises the powers and functions of the Central Government for taking measures with respect to:
  • Co-ordination of actions by various offices, State Governments and other authorities under the N.D.P.S. Act, Customs Act, Drugs and Cosmetics Act and any other law for the time being in force in connection with the enforcement provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985.
  • Implementation of the obligation in respect of counter measures against illicit traffic under the various international conventions and protocols that are in force at present or which may be ratified or acceded to by India in future.
  • Assistance to concerned authorities in foreign countries and concerned international organisations to facilitate coordination and universal action for prevention and suppression of illicit traffic in these drugs and substances.
  • Coordination of actions taken by the other concerned Ministries, Departments and Organizations in respect of matters relating to drug abuse.
Dark Net or “Darknet”
  • In its original meaning, the Dark Net refers to any device connected to the Internet which has an IP address, but has no active services running on that IP address.
  • Darknet is the deep hidden internet platform that is used for narcotics sale, exchange of pornographic content and other illegal activities by using the secret alleys of the onion router (TOR) to stay away from the surveillance of law enforcement agencies.
  • Owing to its end-to-end encryption, darknet is considered very tough to crack when it comes to investigating criminal activities being rendered over.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was part of a global ‘Operation Trance’, launched in December 2019, entailing a joint intelligence gathering action on international postal, express mail and courier shipments containing psychotropic drugs (which can only be purchased on a doctor’s prescription) that are abused as sedatives and painkillers.

 

  1. Origami Metamaterials (TH, pg 11)

  • Context: A car that dashes against an obstacle suffers damages, first to its fenders. There is a keen interest to develop materials that can be sandwiched in the fender system which will absorb the shock and prevent the interiors from being damaged.
  • Origami metamaterials that crumple rather than tear, and take the impact, can play an important role in such situations.
Analysis
Poisson Ratio
  • When you crush or stretch a material along a particular direction, it undergoes a modification in the perpendicular, or lateral, direction.
  • For example, take a clay cube and compress it along one face, it will then bulge out in the sides.
  • The ratio between the deformation along the force and the deformation in a direction lateral to the force is called the Poisson ratio.
  • The Poisson ratio can be positive or negative. While, as in the example of the clay cube, we can easily visualise a material with a positive Poisson ratio, it is somewhat counter-intuitive to consider a material with a negative Poisson ratio.
  • In fact, there is a lot of interest in such materials – they are called
  • One uses of auxetic materials is in lining the soles of sports shoes, where it offers better support when running or jumping.
  • “If we try to crush or impact an auxetic material, it offers resistance to the crushing load as the material below will try to contract inwards, making it ‘denser’ and therefore, preventing the crushing load from moving further into the material,
  • In order to be useful, materials need to maintain a constant Poisson ratio when they crumble under pressure. However, they are prone not to do so, and the Poisson ratio varies as they deform.
Using origami
  • Into this scenario enter a special class of materials called origami metamaterials. These combine the Japanese art of paper folding (origami) and the existing material of choice and fold it to obtain desired properties.
  • Scientists have developed a special class of origami metamaterials which show a constant value of Poisson Ratio when subjected to stress.
  • The benefit is that the observed property does not depend on whether it is made from a sheet of paper, polymer or metal. What matters is that under impact the sheet folds up along the creases.
Morph Cell
  • The crux of the idea is a unit cell called Morph that Dr. Pratapa and collaborators developed earlier.
  • This cell can transform into two contrasting geometries. One which exhibits positive Poisson ratio and the other which exhibits negative Poisson ratio.
  • It is possible to combine these two geometries to join and deform together as a single system, by joining them along their edges.
  • This is what made it possible for the researchers to develop a material which showed a constant Poisson ratio when stress was applied.

 

  1. Erratus sperare(TH, pg 11)

  • Context:Arthropods, the group of animals that includes creepy crawlies like spiders and woodlice, are the largest phylum in the animal kingdom and are found everywhere from the deepest ocean trench to the top of Mount Everest.
Analysis
  • New research shows the newest addition to the group is a 520-million-year-old (about 10 times as old as the dinosaurs) organism called Erratus sperare.
  • Erratus sperare was discovered in the Chengjiang Fossil Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Yunnan, China, that preserves an ancient underwater ecosystem.
  • Modern water dwelling arthropods have biramous limbs, legs that have two parts – one for breathing and one for walking – but how such specialised limbs evolved was a mystery.
  • Some of the earliest fossil arthropods, like Anomalocaris, had swimming flaps that may have doubled as gills, but until now researchers didn’t know how arthropods made the jump from these specialised flaps to the biramous limbs of modern arthropods.
  • Erratus sperare provides the missing link between arthropods that used such specialised flaps and arthropods with biramous limbs. It has both legs and flaps.
  • Now with the new fossil, researchers have finally solved the riddle. The gills also probably went on to evolve into the wings of insects and the lungs of terrestrial arthropods like spiders.

 

  1. Proxima d, Exoplanets, Goldilocks Zoneand Tidal Locking (TH, pg 11)

  • Context:A new exoplanet has been found orbiting Proxima Centauri, the Sun’s nearest star neighbour, just over four light years away.
  • Named Proxima d, this is the third planet to be found in this system. It orbits the star between it and the habitable zone.
  • Proxima Centauri also has another near earth-sized planet in its habitable zone, but which is tidally locked.
Analysis
  • Proxima d is one of the lightest exoplanets known, and the lightest exoplanet detected using radial velocity.
  • The radial velocity technique detects tiny wobbles or perturbations in the planet’s and star’s orbit.
  • Because two bodies exert gravitational force on each other, both the star and planet wobble under each other’s effects.
  • This can be detected from earth and used to calculate the planet’s mass from the known star’s mass.
  • The discovery was made by the Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile.
Exoplanets
  • An exoplanet is a planet that orbits a star outside our solar system.
  • The first exoplanet was discovered in 1992, orbiting a pulsar (a neutron star that emits electromagnetic radiation).
  • Exoplanets are made of the same elements as the worlds of our own solar system.
  • Exoplanets are very hard to see directly with telescopes as they are hidden by the bright glare of the stars they orbit.
  • So, astronomers use other ways to detect and study these distant planets. They search for exoplanets by looking at the effects these planets have on the stars they orbit.
Goldilocks Zone
  • The Goldilocks Zone refers to the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is just right – not too hot and not too cold – for liquid water to exist on a planet.
  • Looking for planets in the Goldilocks Zone is a way that allows scientists to hone in their search for Earth-like planets that could contain life.
  • The location of a Goldilocks Zone around another star depends on the type of star.
  • Bigger hotter stars have their Goldilocks Zones further out, while smaller cooler stars such as M-type red dwarf stars have habitable zones much closer in.
  • Red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the Milky Way galaxy, and have very long-life expectancies.
  • This means life should have lots of time to evolve and develop around such as star.
  • Alternatively, NASA’s planet hunting Kepler space telescope searches for planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars by looking for planets with an average 365-day orbit.
More than just temperature
  • Just because a planet or moon is in the Goldilocks Zone of a star, doesn’t mean it’s going to have life or even liquid water.
  • After all, Earth isn’t the only planet in the Sun’s Goldilocks Zone – Venus and Mars are also in this habitable zone, but aren’t currently habitable.
  • Venus is Earth’s sister planet, both are about the same size and in the same region of the solar system, and Venus once also had water.
  • However, Venus now has a runaway greenhouse effect going on, with a surface temperature of over 460 degrees Celsius, which has boiled away all its liquid water.
  • At the other end of the Sun’s Goldilocks Zone is Mars which also once had liquid water flowing across its surface in rivers, lakes and oceans.
  • However, the Red Planet is now a freeze-dried desert, with a thin carbon dioxide atmosphere, and only one 99th the atmospheric pressure of sea level on Earth.
  • The lack of both a significant atmosphere and a global magnetic field – thanks to its mostly solidified core – means the Martian surface is constantly being irradiated by the Sun.
 What is Tidal locking?
  • Tidal locking is the phenomenon by which a body has the same rotational period as its orbital period around a partner.
  • So, the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth because it rotates in exactly the same time as it takes to orbit the Earth.
  • That is why we only see one side of the Moon.
  • If both bodies are of comparable size and are close together, both bodies can be tidally locked to each other – this is the case in the Pluto-Charon system.
  • Charon is the largest of the five known natural satellites of the dwarf planet Pluto.
  • Tidal locking is a natural consequence of the gravitational distortions induced by a body on another.

 

  1. 35th African Union Summit (TH, pg 13)

  • Context: In the 35th African Union Summit held in February 2022 at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, the key concerns were the rising wave of military coups in the continent, especially in West Africa, and the lack of COVID-19 vaccines in the continent.
Analysis
  • An unprecedented number of member states had recently been suspended from the 55-member bloc — Guinea, Mali, Sudan and most recently Burkina Faso — for military putsches that had occurred in those countries.
  • Civil conflicts, Islamist insurgencies, a rising number of military takeovers and the COVID-19 outbreak all pose serious challenges to the AU.
  • The AU has set up institutions such as the 15-member Peace and Security Council on the same lines as the UNSC, and empowered them to intervene in the case of military conflicts.
African Union (AU)
  • AU is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.
  • It was officially launched in 2002 in Durban, South Africa as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).
  • African Union Headquarters is situated at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • The work of the AU is implemented through several principal decision making organs:- The Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the Executive Council, the Peace and Security Council and The African Union Commission.
  • The AU structure promotes participation of African citizens and civil society through the Pan-African Parliament and the Economic, Social & Cultural Council (ECOSOCC).
Agenda 2063
  • Agenda 2063 calls for greater collaboration and support for African led initiatives to ensure the achievement of the aspirations of African people.

 

  1. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as Young Entrepreneur (PIB)

  • In 1917, Dr. Bababasaheb Ambedkar set up a firm called ‘Stock & Shares Advisors’ to do business as a consultant in the trading of stocks and shares.
  • He submitted a memorandum to Viceroy Linlithgow in 1942, demanding the participation of the underprivileged in the tenders of CPWD.
  • Due to his extensive social and political responsibilities, Babasaheb could not give time to his entrepreneurial side.

 

  1. The Wild Oranges of India (TH, pg 11)

  • Over 60 different citrus fruits are popular in the world today, all of which are hybrids of the three fruits mentioned below, or hybrids of hybrids, and so on:
  • (1) The large, sweet and spongy-skinned Pomelo (Citrus maxima; chakotara in Hindi);
  • (2) the tasteless Citron, which is used in traditional medicine (Citrus medica; Galgal), and
  • (3) the loose-skinned and sweet mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata; Santra) that we associate with Nagpur.

 

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