Current Affairs Current Affairs - 23 April 2015 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 23 April 2015

Indian-descent software engineer shares Pulitzer Prize
  • A software engineer of Indian descent shared The Wall Street Journal's Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in growing recognition of the importance of using information technology tools for reporting as well as for presentation.

    Palani Kumanan, who is a software architect and technical lead with Dow Jones that publishes the Journal, was a part of the winning project's graphics team, according to Michael Siconolfi, the newspaper's investigations editor.

    The Journal won the top journalism award announced Monday for its mammoth investigative project, "Medicare Unmasked." The series mined data obtained from the US government after a prolonged legal fight.

    The Journal articles exposed fraud and waste in Medicare, the government health insurance program covering about 43 million senior citizens and about 9 million people with severe disablities. The exposures led to Congressional inquiries and criminal prosecutions.

    Kumanan, a graduate of the PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, developed the interactive database on Medicare billing used to analyse government payments made to over 880,000 medical service providers, including doctors and hospitals. From the this mountain of data, readers were also able to use an interactive database created on the newspaper's website to find for themselves information about various medical service providers and analyse it.

    In the digital age, coding and software applications are becoming essential journalism tools and training institutions have begun incorporating them into journalism curriculum. Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, for example, has been offering a dual-degree program in journalism and computer science.

Clamour for net neutrality grows among India's startups
  • NEW DELHI: India is seeing a startup boom thanks to the internet proliferation. But as the deadline for Trai's consultation approaches, the nationwide clamour for net neutrality is touching a crescendo with a number of internet ventures and startups telling TOI Tech that they firmly stand in favour of an unfettered net.

    Almost all entrepreneurs we spoke to unequivocally expressed that a free internet is their lifeline to future growth. Here are their reasons (in their own words) to vociferously demand that status quo be maintained.
    -- Bharat Gulia, founder, Metis Learning

    Startups are taking India by storm and companies that did not exist 10 years ago now have billion dollar valuations. In the process, they are creating thousands of jobs, strengthening India's image in the global markets and creating tremendous value for customers. However, the scenario was very different in the India of yore.

    Today's youngsters may not have witnessed the dreary 'License Raj' days. Contrived barriers, reinforced by obscure government policy, created monopolies. Uncompetitive, well-connected and cash-rich conglomerates and PSUs dominated. They thrived in an environment of scarcity where it took many years to buy an outdated scooter model, or even get a phone connection.The recent debate on net neutrality throws one back to those days. The choice India needs to make is simple - do we go back to the imprisoned economy of the license raj, or do we encourage fresh thinking and innovation.

Food per person declined over 25 years
  • The land available for farming in India, already under decline, is feared to drop further with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government trying to push through a controversial bill that is being criticised in the present format by a host of opposition parties, led by the Congress.

    The most controversial change proposed is the exemption of five categories of projects - industrial corridors, public-private partnership projects, rural infrastructure, public housing and defence projects - from getting the consent of 70 percent farmers of the area.

    This is worrisome since cultivated land on India's farms declined 15 percent over the past 25 years, according to government data analysed by IndiaSpend, reducing foodgrain production and portending new pressures as more land is set to be acquired for industries.

    While the net sown area includes orchards and crops, the cultivated area covers only crops. Land sown with crops declined from nearly 87 percent in 1987-88 to 72 percent in 2011-12.

    IndiaSpend's recent reports have been focusing on the farm crisis in India with case studies of Bundelkhand farmers. It has also reported on the decline in farmers across India.

    Reasons for the decline in cultivated land include a drop in households owning land in rural India and a decline in the proportion of households dependent on manual labour and farming, says a study by the Foundation for Agrarian Studies, using data from the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

    To analyse how the drop in cultivated area has affected India's food sufficiency, availability of foodgrains (cereals and pulses) was matched with the decrease in cultivated land. The decline is clear.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting gets ISO 9001:2008 Certification
  • British Standard Institute (BSI) has conferred the certificate of registration to Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for the Quality Management System as per the requirement of ISO 9001:2008 in respect of various permissions / licenses issued by the Ministry for the broadcasting, print and films sectors. These include permission / license for satellite television channels, teleports, multi-system operators, community radio stations, direct-to-home services, publication of Indian editions of foreign, technical and scientific foreign magazines of news and current affairs sector and facsimile edition of foreign newspapers and grant of permission for foreign film producers. 

    The Ministry has been taking several initiatives to bring in more transparency and efficiency in the processes relating to grant of various permissions / licenses to the eligible applicants. The Ministry has put in place a well defined procedure and measures for ensuring quality of services offered to the customers on the basis of ISO 9001:2008. This will ensure delivery of services by the Ministry in a qualitative manner.

Hubble Space Telescope marking 25th anniversary in orbit
  • One of NASA’s crowning glories, the Hubble Space Telescope, marks its 25th anniversary this week.

    With 1 million-plus observations, including those of some of the farthest and oldest galaxies ever beheld by humanity, no man-made satellite has touched as many minds or hearts as Hubble.

    NASA is celebrating Friday’s anniversary with ceremonies this week at the Smithsonian Institution and the Newseum in Washington.

    “Hubble has become part of our culture very much,” said NASA’s science mission chief, John Grunsfeld, a former astronaut who flew on the final three Hubble repair missions.

    A look at Hubble’s quarter-century in orbit about 560 km above Earth:

    A blurry start

    A full decade in the making, Hubble rocketed into orbit on April 24, 1990, aboard space shuttle Discovery.

    NASA wanted an observatory free of the atmosphere’s distortion and, in some cases, absorption of light. Stars, for example, do not appear to twinkle when seen from space. The telescope was named for American astronomer Edwin Hubble, who in the 1920s determined that the universe is expanding.

    Sky-high excitement turned into bottomless agony when it quickly became apparent that the telescope’s primary mirror had been botched during manufacturing, resulting in blurry eyesight. Three years later, with NASA’s reputation and entire future on the line, a team of astronauts managed to restore Hubble’s promised vision with replacement parts

'Nowhere is safe in Yemen', says ICRC as Saudi bombs rebels again
  • Sanaa: The hope for peace in Yemen appeared to flicker violently as just a day after announcing the end of air campaign, Saudi Arabia bombed the rebels and fighting intensified between Houthis and pro-Hadi forces.Meanwhile, the Red Cross has described the humanitarian situation in Yemen as “catastrophic” adding, “nowhere is safe in Yemen”.
    Saudi-led coalition is said to have bombed rebel positions in the city of Taez soon after Houthi on Tuesday claimed control of an army base there.
    Saudi Arabia had on Tuesday announced that it was ending its nearly one-month-long air strikes campaign in the strife-torn country.
    Saudi had said that the focus will now shift from military operations to the political process, beginning a new phase - Operation Restore Hope.
    However, it had warned that the coalition will continue to protect Yemeni people, and will counter any military moves by the Houthis or their allies.
    Reiterating the warning, Saudi ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubeir on Wednesday said that the coalitionwill continue retorting to attacks by Houthi rebels as part of its new mission.

IPL 2015: Nehra's magic gives CSK comfortable win
  • BENGALURU: Royal Challengers Bangalore's much-vaunted batting might disintegrated in the face of Chennai Super Kings' brilliant fielding in their needle IPL T20 clash in front of a capacity crowd at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday. RCB, chasing 182 for a win were restricted to 154 for 8 to leave CSK winners by 27 runs.


    The defeat, RCB's third successive at home, leaves them with just one win from four outings while CSK are sitting pretty with three wins from four matches.


    • 1.After a picture has been taken with a digital camera and processed appropriately, the actual print of the picture is considered:
      (1) data
      (2) output
      (3) input
      (4) the process
      (5) None
    • 2. Computers use the language to process data.
      (1) processing
      (2) kilobyte
      (3) binary
      (4) representational
      (5) None
    • 3.Computers process data into information by working exclusively with:
      (1) multimedia
      (2) words
      (3) characters
      (4) numbers
      (5) None
    • 4. In the binary language each letter of the alphabet, each number and each special character is made up of a unique combination of:
      (1) eight bytes
      (2) eight kilobytes
      (3) eight characters
      (4) eight bits
      (5) None
    • 5.The term bit is short for:
      (1) megabyte
      (2) binary language
      (3) binary digit
      (4) binary number
      (5) None
    • 6. A string of eight Os and is is called a:
      (1) megabyte
      (2) byte
      (3) kilobyte
      (4) gigabyte
      (5) None
    • 7. A           is approximately one billion bytes.
      (1) kilobyte
       (2) bit
      (3) gigabyte
      (4) megabyte
      (5) None
    • 8. A        is approximately a million bytes.
      (1) gigabyte
      (2) kilobyte
      (3) megabyte
      (4) terabyte
      (5) None
    • 9.             is any part of the computer that you can physically touch.
      (1) Hardware
      (2) A device
      (3) A peripheral
      (4) An application
      (5) None
    • 10. A storage area used to store data to compensate for the difference in speed at which the different units can handle data is ___
      A) Memory
      B) Buffer
      C) Accumulator
      D) Address
      E) None of these
    • 11. The components that process data are located in the:
      (1) input devices
      (2) output devices
      (3) system unit
      (4) storage component
      (5) None
    • 12. All of the following are examples of input devices EXCEPT a:
      (1) scanner
      (2) mouse
      (3) keyboard
      (4) printer
      (5) None
    • 13. Which of the following is an example of an input device?
      (1) scanner
      (2) speaker
      (3) CD
      (4) printer
      (5) None
    • 14.All of the following are examples of storage devices EXCEPT:
      (1) hard disk drives
      (2) printers
      (3) floppy disk drives
      (4) CD drives
      (5) None
    • 15. The           , also called the "brains" of the computer, is responsible for processing data.
      (1) motherboard
      (2) memory
      (3) RAM
      (4) central processing unit (CPU)
      (5) None
    • 16. The CPU and memory are located on the:
      (1) expansion board  
      (2) motherboard
      (3) storage device
      (4) output device
      (5) None
    • 17. Word processing, spreadsheet, and photo-editing are examples of:
      (1) application software
      (2) system software
      (3) operating system software
      (4) platform software
      (5) None
    • 18.             is a set of computer programs used on a computer to help perform tasks.
      (1) An instruction
      (2) Software
      (3) Memory
      (4) A processor
      (5) None
    • 19. System software is the set of programs that enables your computer's hardware devices and        software to work together,
      (1) management
       (2) processing
      (3) utility
      (4) application
      (5) None
    • 20.The PC (personal computer) and the Apple Macintosh are examples of two different:
      (1) platforms
      (2) applications
      (3) programs
      (4) storage devices
      (5) None
    • ANSWERS:
      1(2) 2(3) 3(4) 4(4) 5(3) 6(2) 7(3) 8(3) 9(1) 10(3) 11(4) 12(1) 13(2) 14(4)
       15(2) 16(1) 17(2) 18(4) 19(1) 20(3)

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