Prelims Revision

  1. A government order recently allowed 10 central agencies including from the Intelligence Bureau to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the Cabinet Secretariat (RAW) to the Commissioner of Delhi Police, to intercept, monitor and de-crypt “any information” generated, transmitted, received or stored in “any computer resource”. The order is based on Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act of 2000 and Rule 4 of the Information Technology 2009 Rules (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009. Permission for surveillance needs to be got from the Union Home Secretary. Besides, the law mandates the Centre and States to constitute a review committee with the Cabinet Secretary.
  2. Hampi Utsav, also known as Vijaya Utsav, is celebrated in Karnataka. The festival is all about dance, music, drama, puppet shows, vibrant processions and fireworks.
  3. West Coast Canal (WCC) is the arterial inland waterway of the State of Kerala, which is being developed to the standard of a National Waterway.
  4. Higher consumption of tomatoes could be associated with a decreased risk of liver cancer caused by high-fat diets, a study has found. The study, conducted on mice, showed that tomatoes are rich in lycopene — a strong antioxidant and anti-cancer agent — which helps in effectively reducing fatty liver disease, inflammation and liver cancer development.
  5. Theyyam is a dance form of Kerala.  A Theyyam is a ritualistic performance where pantheistic deities are summoned to the body of the performing man, one who is almost always from a subaltern community. Each of these instances of “possession” is rooted in a unique local myth, which in turn is rooted in the ancient sacred groves of Kerala called kaavu. Each kaavu is a small rainforest. The grove nurtured the dance form and the dance form was instrumental in arresting the destruction of the groves even when development and modernity came knocking. Theyyam’s accoutrements have always been drawn from nature — such as garlands and decorations of ripe areca nuts, flowers, leaves and fruits — just as the biodiversity-rich wilderness of the groves has been the home of the pantheistic deities that thrived in the Malabar region.
  6. Azolla (mosquito fern, duckweed fern, fairy moss, water fern) is a genus of seven species of aquatic ferns in the family Salviniaceae. Azolla is unique because it is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet – yet it does not need any soil to grow. Unlike almost all other plants, Azolla is able to get its nitrogen fertilizer directly from the atmosphere. That means that it is able to produce biofertilizer, livestock feed, food and biofuel exactly where they are needed and, at the same time, draw down large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus helping to reduce the threat of climate change. In addition to its traditional cultivation as a bio-fertilizer for wetland paddy (due to its ability to fix nitrogen), azolla is finding increasing use for sustainable production of livestock feed. Azolla is rich in proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Studies describe feeding azolla to dairy cattle, pigs, ducks, and chickens, with reported increases in milk production, weight of broiler chickens and egg production of layers, as compared to conventional feed.
  7. Bhovi or Mannu Vaddar community are traditional well-diggers in Karnataka.
  8. Earthquake size is measured by the Richter Scale. This magnitude scale was referred to as ML, with the L standing for local. This is what was to eventually become known as the Richter magnitude. The method developed by Richter scale was strictly valid only for certain frequency and distance ranges. In order to correct that, new magnitude scales that are an extension of Richter’s original idea were developed. These include body wave magnitude (Mb) and surface wave magnitude (Ms). Each is valid for a particular frequency range and type of seismic signal. In its range of validity, each is equivalent to the Richter magnitude. Because of the limitations of all three magnitude scales (ML, Mb, and Ms), a new, more uniformly applicable extension of the magnitude scale, known as moment magnitude, or Mw, was developed. In particular, for very large earthquakes, moment magnitude gives the most reliable estimate of earthquake size. The moment magnitude provides an estimate of earthquake size that is valid over the complete range of magnitudes, a characteristic that was lacking in other magnitude scales.
  9. Kole wetlands are in Thrissur, Kerala.
  10. The Kolkata-New Delhi Rajdhani Express embarked on its first journey on March 3, 1969 from Howrah, making it the country’s first fully-airconditioned, high-speed train that covered the 1,450 km stretch in 17 hours and 20 minutes.