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New Multiferroic material discovered to make computers 100 times more energy efficient

Researchers including one of Indian-origin have engineered a material that could lead to a new generation of computing devices, packing in more computing power while consuming nearly 100 times less energy thant today's electronics require.
●    Electronics are the fastest-growing consumer of energy worldwide.
●    Five per cent of total global energy consumption is spent on electronics, and that's projected to grow to 40-50 percent by 2030.
●    Known as a magnetoelectric multiferroic material, it combines electrical and magnetic properties at room temperature and relies on a phenomenon called "planar rumpling."
●    The new material sandwiches together individual layers of atoms, producing a thin film with magnetic polarity that can be flipped from positive to negative or vice versa with small pulses of electricity.

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Largest Dinosaur Footprint in Gobi Desert Found

One of the biggest dinosaur footprints ever recorded has been unearthed in the Gobi Desert, researchers said today, offering a fresh clue about the giant creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago.
●    A joint Mongolian-Japanese expedition found the giant print, which measures 106 centimetres long and 77 centimetres wide.
●    One of several footprints discovered in the vast Mongolian desert, the huge fossil was discovered last month in a geologic layer formed between 70 million and 90 million years ago, researchers said.
●    It was naturally cast, as sand flowed into dents that had been left by the creature stomping on the once muddy ground.
●    The footprint is believed to have belonged to Titanosaur, a long-necked dinosaur, and could have been more than 30 metres long and 20 metres tall, according researchers.

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FAST - World'sLargest Radio Telescope Built in China


China has built world’s largest radio telescope nicknamed Tianyan (Heavenly Eye” or “The Eye of Heaven) or the five-hundred-metre aperture spherical radio telescope (FAST). 
•    It has started its operation and is part of China’s drive to become a science powerhouse. 
•    It is located in the Dawodang depression (vast natural crater), a natural basin in Pingtang County in the Guizhou Province, Southwest China. 
•    With its opening, the intensive testing phase of the telescope will begin. 
•    It will take nearly three years to calibrate the instruments of telescope to become fully operational. 
•    The facility is part of China’s drive to become a science powerhouse. It is an ambitious project of the National Astronomical Observatories of China. 
•    It is made up of 4,450 panels and has reflector as large as 30 football pitches. It has 500 meters diameter, giving it more sensitivity. 
•    It will be also used to study stellar radio emissions, gravitational waves and potentially signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. China’s best supercomputers the SkyEye-1 will be used to process the massive amounts of data supplied by FAST.

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Google launches instant messaging mobile app Allo

Google on 21 September 2016 launched its latest mobile chat application, Allo, along with Google Assistant that can be used in online conversations with friends.
•    Allo's ‘Smart reply’ function uses Google's machine learning technology to suggest a reply to the last message, which can be selected from a few options.
•    The feature also analyses images sent to the user in order to suggest responses.
•    Similar to the smart reply feature seen in Google's Inbox app, it learns from the user's behaviour to adapt its suggestions over time.
•    It supports Google Assistant, a conversational virtual assistant.
•    A feature ‘Whisper Shout’ allows the user to increase or decrease the size of a message to represent volume.
•    Allo also lets users draw on photos before sending them.
•    Incognito mode is an optional mode that includes expiring chats, private notifications, and end-to-end encryption.
•    For encryption, the app uses the Signal Protocol.


 

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Mars Orbiter Completes 2 Years


Initially, the life of the Indian Mars orbiter was estimated to be about six months after insertion into the Martian orbit. 
•    As Mangalyaan completed its two years in Mars orbit, the Indian space agency has released first year of MOM Long-term archive data to public.
•    MOM, which is India’s first interplanetary mission, is orbiting around Mars in an elliptical orbit of about 343 km x 71191 km as on 16th September 2016, says ISRO’s data release statement.
•    MOM is a complex technological mission considering the critical mission operations and stringent requirements on propulsion, communications and other bus systems of the spacecraft.
•    Thus, India created history as the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first country in the world to do so in its first attempt.
 

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World's Largest Solar Powered Plant at Kamudhi, Tamil Nadu

Adani Green Energy, part of the Adani Group, Wednesday said it has dedicated to the nation the world's largest 648-mw solar power plant in Tamil Nadu entailing an investment of Rs 4,550 crore. 
•    The solar power plant, producing 648 mw at a single location, was formally dedicated to the nation, a company statement said.
•    The plant is set up at Kamuthi, Ramanathapuram, in Tamil Nadu with an investment of Rs 4,550 crore. 
•    It is part of the state government's ambitious target of generating 3,000 mw as per the solar energy policy unveiled by the government in 2012.
•    The entire 648-mw plant is now connected with Kamuthi 400 kv sub-station of Tantransco, making it the world's largest solar unit at a single location, it said.
•    The plant consists of 3.80 lakh foundations, 25 lakh solar modules, 27,000 mt of structure, 576 inverters, 154 transformers along with 6,000-km cables.
•    About 8,500 personnel worked for an average about 11 mw of installation in a day to set up the plant in the stipulated time, it said.
 

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Yahoo hit in World's Biggest Data Breach

Yahoo reported the largest data breach in history - affecting at least 500 million user accounts - months after first detecting signs of an intrusion that the company blamed on "state-sponsored" hackers.
•    The Web giant called on customers to change their passwords and institute other protective measures, but the largest fallout could be for Yahoo itself. 
•    The long-faltering company this summer agreed to sell its core business for $4.8 billion to telecommunications giant Verizon in a deal now clouded by news of the massive breach. 
•    Verizon said it learned of the incident only "within the last two days."
•    Yahoo learned of the incident in July, the same month it announced its deal with Verizon, a person familiar with the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the issue.
 

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Indian Origin Inventor Ramesh Raskar wins 2016 Lemelson-MIT Prize

Ramesh Raskar, 46, an Indian-origin scientist has bagged the Lemelson-MIT Prize worth $500,000 for his groundbreaking inventions. 
•    Raskar told MIT News that he has plans to use a portion of the prize money to launch a new effort using peer-to-peer invention.
•    Nasik-born Ramesh Raskar, 46, an Indian-origin scientist has bagged the Lemelson-MIT Prize worth $500,000 for his groundbreaking inventions to create solutions to improve lives globally. 
•    He is the founder of the Camera Culture research group at the MIT Media Lab and an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences.
•    He has more than 75 patents to his name
•    He has written more than 120 reviewed publications
•    He is the co-inventor of radical imaging solutions including femto-photography, an ultra-fast imaging system that can see around corners
•    He has developed low-cost eye-care solutions for the developing world
•    He has also invented a camera that allows users to read pages of a book without opening the cover

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August 2016 Warmest Month in History : NASA

August 2016 was the hottest month measured since contemporary records began in 1880, according to a NASA analysis. 
•    It was not only the hottest August ever, but also it ties July 2016 as the hottest month ever—an extraordinary occurrence.
•    In 2015, the hottest October ever took place, and it was followed by the hottest November ever, and then by the hottest December ever—and this sequence continued right up to the present.
•    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keeps separate records, and its streak of record-breaking months stretches even further back in time: Every month since May 2015 has been the hottest version of that month ever, according to the agency. 
•    Second, August’s record essentially ensures that 2016 will be the warmest year on record. 
•    2016 could wind up being as much as 1 degree Celsius hotter than the pre-industrial temperature average. 
•    This is a stark accomplishment when you consider that the nations of the world committed last year to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. 
•    We are two-thirds of the way there already.
 

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Contract with ISA for Extraction of PMS Approved by Union Cabinet

The Union Cabinet on 12 September 2016 approved the extension of contract between Ministry of Earth Sciences and the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules.
The contract has been extended for a further period of 5 years (2017-2022). 
•    By extending the contract, India's exclusive rights for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules in the allotted Area in the Central Indian Ocean Basin will continue.
•    It will open up new opportunities for resources of commercial and strategic value in area beyond national jurisdiction.
•    At present, India has an area of 75000 sq.km. located about 2000 km away from her southern tip for exploration of Polymetallic nodules.
•    Polymetallic nodules are also known as manganese nodules.
•    Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium.
•    Out of the minerals found in it, nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.

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