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Current Affairs 27 May 2024

  1. Importance of Wind Shear in Hurricane Formation
  2. Personality Rights and Their Protection
  3. Space Tourism
  4. Naegleria fowleri : Brain-eating amoeba
  5. Mount Ibu
  6. Arab League
  7. Sweet Sorghum


Context:

Recently, the concept of wind shear has garnered significant attention for its critical role in determining whether a storm escalates into a destructive hurricane.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Wind Shear?
  2. El Nino’s and La Nina’s Influence on Wind Shear

What is Wind Shear?

Definition

  • Wind Shear: The change in wind speed, wind direction, or both, over some distance.
Common Contexts
  • Turbulence: Airplane pilots often warn passengers about turbulence, which can be caused by sudden changes in wind speed or direction (wind shear).
  • Hurricanes: Focus is usually on vertical wind shear, which refers to how wind changes in speed and direction with height.
Types

Vertical Wind Shear:

  • Present nearly everywhere on Earth.
  • Winds typically move faster at higher altitudes than at the surface.
  • Strength can vary and is crucial during hurricane season.

Horizontal Wind Shear:

  • Occurs over a horizontal distance.
  • Can cause rapid changes in wind direction and speed.
Role in Tropical Storms and Hurricanes
  • Tropical Waves: Tropical storms start as a low-pressure system associated with thunderstorms over warm water. Warm air rises, drawing fuel for the storm, leading to rotation and intensification into a tropical storm or hurricane.
  • Symmetry in Hurricanes: Hurricanes thrive when their vertical structure is symmetrical, allowing faster rotation and stronger storms.
  • Impact of Wind Shear: Excessive vertical wind shear can disrupt the top of the storm, weakening wind circulation and the transport of heat and moisture, potentially tearing the hurricane apart.
Examples and Effects
  • Low-Level Jet Streams: Common examples of vertical wind shear.
  • Frontal Systems and Sea Breezes: Examples of horizontal wind shear.
Importance

Understanding wind shear is crucial for aviation safety, weather forecasting, and managing the impacts of severe weather phenomena like hurricanes and tropical storms. Proper detection and response to wind shear can help mitigate risks associated with sudden changes in wind speed and direction.

El Nino’s and La Nina’s Influence on Wind Shear

Wind Shear and El Nino
  • Increased Wind Shear: During El Nino years, wind shear tends to be stronger over the Atlantic during hurricane season.
El Nino Events:
  • Occur when sea surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean basin become significantly warmer than average.
  • Western Pacific Ocean basin waters become cooler than average.
  • These events happen every two to seven years and affect global weather patterns.
Impact on Hurricanes
  • Stronger Upper-Level Winds: During El Nino events, upper-level winds over the Atlantic are stronger, resulting in increased wind shear.
  • Effect on Tropical Storms: The faster air flow in the upper troposphere increases wind speed with height, making the upper atmosphere less favorable for tropical storm development.
  • Eastern North Pacific: Tends to have less wind shear during El Nino events.
Case Example
  • Hurricane Idalia (2023): Despite record warm sea surface temperatures and increased wind shear, Hurricane Idalia fought through the wind shear and hit Florida as a powerful Category 3 storm.
La Nina Influence
  • Opposite of El Nino: La Nina, the opposite climate pattern, also occurs every two to seven years.
  • More Active Hurricane Seasons: La Nina conditions allow for more active hurricane seasons, as seen during the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
  • Expected Development: La Nina conditions were expected to develop by fall 2024, with forecasts predicting another busy hurricane season.
Key Points
  • Multiple Factors: The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season highlighted that multiple factors influence the destructiveness of hurricanes.
  • Persistent Wind Shear: Vertical wind shear is a constant presence and will always be monitored by meteorologists.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, Hollywood Actress Scarlett Johansson claimed that the GPT-4o’s voice, sounds very similar to her own. She has accused OpenAI of using her voice without permission despite previously declining licensing requests from CEO Sam Altman.

Relevance:

GS: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background: Personality Rights and Their Protection
  2. Personality Rights in India
  3. Personal Rights vs. Consumer Rights

Background: Personality Rights and Their Protection

GPT-4o
  • Recent Unveiling: OpenAI introduced its latest AI model, GPT-4o, which includes improvements on existing ChatGPT features.
  • Voice Mode Feature: Allows users to have voice conversations with the AI chatbot, offering a choice of five different voices.
  • Incident: Scarlett Johansson alleged that one of these voices, named ‘Sky’, was copying her voice.
OpenAI’s Response:
  • Paused the availability of Sky.
  • Clarified that Sky’s voice was not Johansson’s but another voice actor’s and was never intended to resemble hers.
What are Personality Rights?
  • Definition: Name, voice, signature, images, or any other features easily identified by the public as markers of a celebrity’s personality, loosely referred to as personality rights.
  • Examples: Poses, mannerisms, or any aspects of their personality.
  • Commercial Use: Many celebrities register certain aspects as trademarks to use them commercially, e.g., Usain Bolt’s “bolting” or lightning pose is a registered trademark.
  • Purpose: Ensures that only the owner or creator of these distinct features can derive any commercial benefit from them.
Categories of Personality Rights

Right of Publicity:

  • The right to keep one’s image and likeness from being commercially exploited without permission.
  • Similar (but not identical) to the use of a trademark.

Right to Privacy:

  • The right not to have one’s personality represented publicly without permission.

Personality Rights in India

Legal/Constitutional Basis
  • Absence in Statutes: Personality rights or their protection are not expressly mentioned in any statute in India.
  • Rights to Privacy and Property: These rights are generally traced to fall under the right to privacy and the right to property.
  • Interim orders have been passed by the Delhi High Court and the Madras High Court, indicating the nascent stage of this law in India.
Governance by Statutes

Relevant Laws:

  • Trademarks Act 1999
  • Copyright Act 1957
2017 Judgment (Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India):
  • Elevated personality rights to the status of constitutional rights.
  • Recognized the right to privacy as a fundamental right derived from the right to life and personal liberty (Article 21 of the Indian Constitution).
  • Allowed individuals to prevent others from using their image, name, and other personal aspects for commercial purposes without consent.
Other Supreme Court Judgments

Shivaji Rao Gaikwad (aka Rajinikanth) v. Varsha Production:

  • Courts in India have recognized personality rights through various judgments, despite the absence of a statutory definition.

ICC Development (International) Ltd. vs. Arvee Enterprises:

  • The right of publicity has evolved from the right of privacy.
  • Any effort to take away this right would violate Articles 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Personality Rights on the Internet:

  • Delhi High Court (Arun Jaitley vs. Network Solutions Pvt Ltd, 2011): Stated that the popularity or fame of individuals on the internet is no different than in reality.
  • Names with peculiar/distinctive characters, coupled with gained popularity, have become well-known personal marks under trademark law.

Personal Rights vs. Consumer Rights

  • Protection Against Commercial Misuse: Celebrities are protected from the commercial misuse of their name and personality.
  • False Advertisements: Instances of misleading advertisements or endorsements by celebrities have led to consumer protection measures.
  • Ministry of Consumer Affairs Notification (2022): Issued Guidelines on Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements.
    • Imposes penalties on endorsers for misleading consumer products advertisements.
Recent Examples from India

Anil Kapoor (September 2023):

  • Delhi High Court passed an interim order protecting his personality rights.
  • Sought to restrain the use of his name, acronym AK, voice, image, and characters (e.g., Lakhan, Mr. India, Majnu Bhai, Nayak) without his consent.

Jackie Shroff (May 2024):

  • Delhi High Court protected his personality and publicity rights.
  • Restrained various e-commerce stores, AI chatbots, etc., from misusing his name, image, voice, and likeness without consent.

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

Recently, Gopi Thotakura, an India-born commercial pilot based in the US, became the first space tourist from India. She, along with five other space tourists, made a short recreational trip to space.

Relevance:

GS III: Space

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Space Tourism
  2. Karman Line

Space Tourism

Definition:

  • A sector of the aviation industry offering tourists the chance to experience space travel for leisure, recreation, or business.

Market Growth:

  • Valued at $848.28 million in 2023.
  • Expected to reach $27,861.99 million by 2032.
Types of Space Tourism:
  • Sub-orbital spaceflight:
    • Takes passengers just beyond the Kármán line (100 km above sea level).
    • Offers a few minutes in outer space before returning to Earth.
    • Example: Blue Origin’s New Shepherd mission.
  • Orbital spaceflight:
    • Takes passengers to an altitude of nearly 1.3 million feet.
    • Passengers can spend from a few days to over a week in space.
    • Example: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 mission in September 2021 took four passengers to an altitude of 160 km for three days in orbit.
Challenges:
  • Cost:
    • Typically, a passenger must pay at least a million dollars for the trip.
  • Environmental Concerns:
    • Rockets emit gaseous and solid chemicals into the upper atmosphere.
    • A 2022 study by UCL, University of Cambridge, and MIT found rocket soot emissions significantly warm the atmosphere.
  • Safety:
    • As of 2023, 676 people have flown into space with 19 fatalities, resulting in an approximate 3% fatality rate.

Karman Line

Definition:

  • An imaginary boundary that marks the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, situated at 100 km (62 miles) above sea level.

Origin:

  • Named after aerospace pioneer Theodore von Kármán.
  • Established by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) in the 1960s.

Significance:

  • An aircraft or spacecraft crossing the Karman line is classified as a spaceflight.
  • Individuals crossing this line are officially recognized as astronauts.
Characteristics:
  • Aerodynamics vs Orbital Mechanics:
    • Below the Kármán line, flight is dominated by aerodynamic principles.
    • Above the line, orbital mechanics become more crucial.
  • Atmospheric Conditions:
    • At the Karman line, the atmosphere is extremely thin.
    • Traditional aircraft relying on wings for lift struggle to function effectively due to the thin atmosphere.
    • Spacecraft above the Karman line require their own propulsion systems to maintain trajectory and counteract the minimal atmospheric drag.

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

The recent death of a 5-year-old girl in Kerala due to primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) caused by the Naegleria fowleri amoeba, often referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba,” has highlighted the rare yet fatal nature of this devastating infection.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Naegleria fowleri?
  2. How does it infect humans?
  3. Symptoms of PAM
  4. Can climate change increase the spread of the infection?

What is Naegleria fowleri?

  • Naegleria is an amoeba, a single-celled organism, and only one of its species, called Naegleria fowleri, can infect humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • It was first discovered in Australia in 1965 and is commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such as hot springs, rivers and lakes.
How does it infect humans?
  • The amoeba enters the human body through the nose and then travels up to the brain.
  • This can usually happen when someone goes for a swim, or dive or even when they dip their head in a freshwater body.
  • In some cases, it was found that people got infected when they cleaned their nostrils with contaminated water.
  • Scientists haven’t found any evidence of the spreading of Naegleria fowleri through water vapour or aerosol droplets.
  • Once Naegleria fowleri goes to the brain, it destroys brain tissues and causes a dangerous infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), according to the CDC.
Symptoms of PAM
  • The first signs of PAM start showing within one to 12 days after the infection.
  • In the initial stages, they might be similar to symptoms of meningitis, which are headache, nausea and fever. In the later stages, one can suffer from a stiff neck, seizures, hallucinations, and even coma.
  • The US public health agency also observed that the infection spreads rapidly and on average causes death within about five days.
  • The fatality of PAM is as such that only four people have survived out of 154 known infected individuals in the United States from 1962 to 2021.
Treatment for the infection
  • As the Naegleria fowleri infection is rare and progresses quickly, scientists haven’t been able to identify any effective treatments yet.
  • At present, doctors treat it with a combination of drugs, including amphotericin B, azithromycin, fluconazole, rifampin, miltefosine, and dexamethasone.

Can climate change increase the spread of the infection?

  • According to the CDC, with the rising global temperatures, the chances of getting Naegleria fowleri infection will go up as the amoeba mainly thrives in warm freshwater bodies.
  • The organism best grows in high temperatures up to 46°C and sometimes can survive at even higher temperatures.
  • Various recent studies have found that excess atmospheric carbon dioxide has led to an increase in the temperature of lakes and rivers.
  • These conditions provide a more favourable environment for the amoeba to grow.
  • Heat waves, when air and water temperatures may be higher than usual, may also allow the amoeba to thrive
  • So far, Naegleria fowleri has been found in all continents and declared as the cause of PAM in over 16 countries, including India.

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

Recently, Mount Ibu erupted again, sending ash 4 km high, as streaks of purple lightning flashed around its crater.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Mount Ibu Overview
  2. Stratovolcano
  3. About the Ring of Fire

Mount Ibu Overview

About Mount Ibu:
  • Location: An active stratovolcano situated along the northwest coast of Halmahera Island in Indonesia.
  • Volcanic Activity: Part of a series of eruptions from various volcanoes across Indonesia.
    • Indonesia is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.
    • The country has 127 active volcanoes.
Stratovolcano
  • A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava and tephra.
  • Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile with a summit crater and periodic intervals of explosive eruptions and effusive eruptions, although some have collapsed summit craters called calderas.
  • The lava flowing from stratovolcanoes typically cools and hardens before spreading far, due to high viscosity.
  • The magma forming this lava is often felsic, having high-to-intermediate levels of silica (as in rhyolite, dacite, or andesite), with lesser amounts of less-viscous mafic magma.
  • Stratovolcanoes are sometimes called “composite volcanoes” because of their composite stratified structure built up from sequential outpourings of erupted materials.
  • They are among the most common types of volcanoes, in contrast to the less common shield volcanoes.
  • Two famous examples of stratovolcanoes are Krakatoa in Indonesia, known for its catastrophic eruption in 1883, and Vesuvius in Italy, whose catastrophic eruption in AD 79 buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
  • In modern times, Mount St. Helens in Washington State, USA and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines have erupted catastrophically, but with fewer deaths.

About the Ring of Fire

  • Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire were created through a process of subduction. And most of the planet’s subduction zones happen to be located in the Ring of Fire
  • It is a string of at least 450 active and dormant volcanoes that form a semi-circle, or horse shoe, around the Philippine Sea plate, the Pacific Plate, Juan de Fuca and Cocos plates, and the Nazca Plate.
  • There is a lot of seismic activity in the area.
  • 90 per cent of all earthquakes strike within the Ring of Fire
Why are there so many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire?
  • The tectonic plates move non-stop over a layer of partly solid and partly molten rock which is called the Earth’s mantle.
  • When the plates collide or move apart, for instance, the Earth moves, literally.
  • Mountains, like the Andes in South America and the Rockies in North America, as well as volcanoes have formed through the collision of tectonic plates.
  • Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire were created through a process of subduction. And most of the planet’s subduction zones happen to be located in the Ring of Fire

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

The Arab League recently called for UN peacekeeping forces in the Palestinian territories during a summit in Bahrain’s Manama.

Relevance:

GS II International Relations

About the Arab League

Overview:
  • Name: Arab League, also known as the League of Arab States (LAS).
  • Region: Middle East and parts of Africa.
Formation:
  • Date: March 22, 1945.
  • Location: Cairo, Egypt.
  • Purpose: Address postwar colonial divisions and oppose the emergence of a Jewish state on Palestinian territory.
Goals:
  • Promote Arab Interests: Strengthening political, cultural, economic, and social programs among member states.
  • Dispute Resolution: Settling disputes among member states or between members and third parties.
  • Military Support: Members agreed in 1950 to provide mutual military support.
Structure:
  • Headquarters: Cairo, Egypt.
  • Official Language: Arabic.
Members:
  • Founding Members: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
  • Later Members: Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritania, Somalia, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Djibouti, and Comoros.
  • Observer Status Nations: Brazil, Eritrea, India, and Venezuela.
  • Palestine: Regarded as an independent state by the League.
Council:
  • Composition: Representatives from member states, typically foreign ministers or their delegates.
  • Decision Making: Decisions are made on a majority basis, but there is no enforcement mechanism for resolutions.
  • Voting: Each member has one vote, and decisions bind only those states that vote for them.

-Source: Hindustan Times



Context:

Sweet sorghum is a hardy, nutritious, biofuel crop that offers solutions in drought-hit southern Africa because of the El-Nino phenomenon.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

About Sweet Sorghum:

Overview:
  • Importance: Most important millet crop, second only to rice in area cultivated among cereals.
  • Drought Resistance: Key characteristic allowing varieties to enter dormancy during dry periods and resume growth afterwards.
Required Climatic Conditions:

Rainfall:

  • Not Preferred: High rainfall or continuous heavy rain post-flowering can hamper sugar content.

Soil:

  • Suitability: Medium depth soils with good drainage are ideal.
  • Types: Suitable for red, black, laterite, and loamy soils. Water requirement varies with soil type and depth.
Unique Features of Sorghum:

Resilience:

  • Water and Nitrogen: Can withstand low inputs.
  • Salinity and Drought: High tolerance makes it ideal for arid regions.
  • Stalk Juice: Utilizes stalk juice to supplement plant needs under intense water scarcity.

Uses:

  • Food Industry: Stalk used for producing value-added products like ethanol, syrup, and jaggery.
  • Animal Feed and Cogeneration: Bioenriched bagasse used as fodder and base material.

Product Varieties:

  • Grains and Sugary Juice: Can produce grains, animal feed, and sugary juice.
  • Traditional and Commercial Uses: Grains used for steamed bread, porridge malt for traditional beer, and commercial beer production.

-Source: Down To Earth


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