IS launches mobile app for children:-

Islamic State (IS) has reportedly launched its first mobile app for children to teach them the Arabic alphabet and the vocabulary taught by it includes jihadist themes along with words like ‘tank’, ‘gun’ and ‘rocket’

The IS’s ‘Library of Zeal’ has released an application, titled Huroof, for teaching the Arabic alphabet to children on Android devices, The Long War Journal reported. The application was released through IS’s Telegram channels. The journal posted several images of the app, which is brightly coloured and has the look and feel of a children’s application.

The alphabet application is not the Islamic State’s first mobile application, however it is the first to be directed exclusively at children.

The jihadist group has released several videos that show children being trained for jihad or indoctrinated in schools.

Dirty bombs: what are they and how dangerous are they?

Background :- In April 2016, major nations and organisations seeking to prevent nuclear terrorism and proliferation of nuclear material, gathered in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). On the agenda of the U.S.-led discussions were strategies to block terror groups such as the Islamic State from obtaining radioactive material and setting off a ‘dirty bomb’, or worse. Here, we try and answer a few questions on dirty bombs and its usage.

What is a ‘dirty bomb’?

A dirty bomb combines radioactive material with explosives. The aim is to cause harm by spreading radioactive material that can contaminate an area and poison the human body. This is different from a nuclear bomb that utilises radioactive materials to create an explosion.

What are the materials used for making a ‘dirty bomb’?

Although dirty bombs haven’t been used anywhere, people have reportedly experimented with making one using Cesium-137 and explosives like RDX. High-energy gamma emitters like Cobalt-60 may also be used.

Caesium-137 is produced by nuclear fission processes and is essentially used to treat cancer in hospitals. Although it can be found in small quantities in the environment (from nuclear weapon tests in past), Caesium-137 otherwise is extremely rare. Cobalt-60 is made bombarding Cobalt-59 with a neutron and is used for cancer treatment; it is also used in industries.

What prevents someone from assembling a dirty bomb?

Assembling a radioactive device involving long exposure to very high radiation can make one sick. Radiation exposure can cause burns and radiation sickness, with nausea and hair loss. Prolonged exposure can cause death.

Even if someone succeeds in assembling the bomb it is very difficult to transport a radioactive device. The device will need heavy shielding by metals like lead, which would make it very heavy.

Is India equipped to detect a dirty bomb?

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed many systems such as the aerial gamma spectrometry system which can be used to detect even shielded and hidden devices. BARC has also developed technology to detect elements from solid and liquid industrial wastes, as most of these radioactive elements can dissolve in water.

Exotic heat-resistant gel: a spinoff from ISRO

A near-invisible silica gel that would serve as a thermal barrier in cryogenic fuel tanks, boot soles and sun films may sound like a magical product straight from a sci-fi.But it’s a tangible reality that researchers of the Indian Space Research Organization at its Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, have made possible.

The yet to be christened product, the hydrophobic silica aero gel as it is known now, is supposed to have low thermal conductivity and density and high specific surface area and can be applied on any surface.With its “exotic properties,” silica aero gels are attractive candidates for many unique thermal, optical, acoustic, catalytic and chemical applications and are best known for their “super-insulating property.”

Silica aero gels can be made in chunks (granular), beads, powder and tape or sheet form, and may be used as the application demands, according to VSSC.

As air fills the gel up to 95 per cent of its size, it comes as super lightweight material. The air molecules trapped inside the gel would act as insulators, and its heat conductivity is close to zero. They could be used for coating the windows of houses and vehicles as they would let in 95 per cent of the light that falls on the surface and fully deflect the heat.

The researchers stumbled upon the exotic properties of the gel during their search for a super thermal insulator for the cryogenic fuel tanks of rockets. The temperature on the surface of the rockets is likely to be between 300 and 400 degree Celsius during its flight, and the cryogenic fuel needs to be insulated. Thus, the gel was developed.

As the gel acts as a thermal barrier, it could be used as a protective component of clothes and boots of solders stationed in extremely cold regions such as Siachen and Kargil. The weight of military clothes could be brought down to ordinary dresses after applying the gel over it thus giving the much required freedom of movement for the soldiers. To coat a jacket may require around 500 grams of gel. Discussions are on with some textile developers for the design of cloths by applying gel over it.

Besides apparel for soldiers, the gel could also be used for heavy duty dresses used by researchers working in Arctic/Antarctic expeditions. For insulating cryogenic fuel tanks, 2.8 kg of gel is required. It needs to be produced in large quantities for commercial use and discussions are on with some entrepreneurs.

The other applications of the material include acoustic insulations, building and pipeline insulation and window facades as translucent panels which allow natural light but not heat for hot areas where air conditioners are and trapping heat in cold places.

It would also be used for controlling oil spills and vibration. Other applications include acoustic damping materials and insulation in refrigerators, fillers or additives in paints, sealants, adhesives, cement, coatings, foams, and for increasing the heat resistance of the material, according to VSSC sources.

National Intellectual Property Rights Policy

The Union Cabinet approved the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy that will lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India. The Policy recognises the abundance of creative and innovative energies that flow in India, and the need to tap into and channelise these energies towards a better and brighter future for all.

The National IPR Policy is a vision document that aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies. It sets in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review.

It aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario. This policy shall weave in the strengths of the Government, research and development organizations, educational institutions, corporate entities including MSMEs, start-ups and other stakeholders in the creation of an innovation-conducive environment, which stimulates creativity and innovation across sectors, as also facilitates a stable, transparent and service-oriented IPR administration in the country.

The Policy recognizes that India has a well-established TRIPS-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, which meets its international obligations while utilizing the flexibilities provided in the international regime to address its developmental concerns.  It reiterates India’s commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPS agreement.

While IPRs are becoming increasingly important in the global arena, there is a need to increase awareness on IPRs in India, be it regarding the IPRs owned by oneself or respect for others’ IPRs. The importance of IPRs as a marketable financial asset and economic tool also needs to be recognised. For this, domestic IP filings, as also commercialization of patents granted, need to increase. Innovation and sub-optimal spending on R&D too are issues to be addressed.

The broad contours of the National IPR Policy are as follows:-

Vision Statement: An India where creativity and innovation are stimulated by Intellectual Property for the benefit of all; an India where intellectual property promotes advancement in science and technology, arts and culture, traditional knowledge and biodiversity resources; an India where knowledge is the main driver of development, and knowledge owned is transformed into knowledge shared.

Mission Statement:

Stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced intellectual property rights system in India to:

o   foster creativity and innovation and thereby, promote entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic and cultural development, and

o   focus on enhancing access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection, among other sectors of vital social, economic and technological importance.


 The Policy lays down the following seven objectives:

  1. IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
  2. Generation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs.
  3. Legal and Legislative Framework – To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.
  4. Administration and Management – To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.
  5. Commercialization of IPRs – Get value for IPRs through commercialization.
  6. Enforcement and Adjudication – To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements.
  7. Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.

These objectives are sought to be achieved through detailed action points. The action by different Ministries/ Departments shall be monitored by DIPP which shall be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of IPRs in India.

The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will endeavor for a “Creative India; Innovative India:

Smart’ paper responds to gestures

Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have created ‘smart’ paper with sensing capabilities that can respond to gesture commands and connect to the digital world.

  • The method relies on small radio frequency (RFID) tags that are stuck on, printed or drawn onto the paper to create interactive, lightweight interfaces that can do anything from controlling music using a paper baton, to live polling in a classroom.
  • The technology — PaperID — leverages inexpensive, off-the-shelf RFID tags, which function without batteries but can be detected through a reader device placed in the same room as the tags. Each tag has a unique identification, so a reader’s antenna can pick out an individual among many.
  • When a person’s hand waves, touches, swipes or covers a tag, the hand disturbs the signal path between an individual tag and its reader. Algorithms can recognize the specific movements, then classify a signal interruption as a specific command. For example, swiping a hand over a tag placed on a pop-up book might cause the book to play a specific, programmed sound.
  • Using the technology, connecting real-world items such as a paper airplane or a classroom survey form to an Internet of Things environment may be possible.
  • They also can track the velocity of objects in movement, such as following the motion of a tagged paper conductor’s wand and adjusting the pace of the music based on the tempo of the wand in mid-air.

RFID tagging is an ID system that uses small radio frequency identification devices for identification and tracking purposes. An RFID tagging system includes the tag itself, a read/write device, and a host system application for data collection, processing, and transmission. An RFID tag (sometimes called an RFID transponder) consists of a chip, some memory and an antenna.RFID tags that contain their own power source are known as active tags. Those without a power source are known as passive tags. A passive tag is briefly activated by the radio frequency (RF) scan of the reader.


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