News 1: Breakthrough in quantum tech – (Quantum tech relates to crucial part of physics which explains different nature being exhibited at subatomic realm)
News 2: Uttarkashi Avalanche in Uttarakhand – (Avalanches are an important part of Disaster Management)
Other Important News:
Competition Commission of India
Graded Response Action Plan
News 1: Breakthroughs in quantum tech (Noble Prize for Physics)
The Nobel Prize for Physics 2022 is being shared by three scientists, Alain Aspect, John F Clauser and Anton Zeilinger, for their work on quantum mechanics.
Why is it significant?
For about 100 years now, quantum ‘entanglement’ has triggered an intense but fascinating debate over the nature of reality among some of the sharpest brains of the 20th century. It’s one of the main reasons why Quantum Theory appears so strange and counterintuitive. It is also precisely this behaviour of quantum particles that Albert Einstein famously described as ‘spooky’.
The Nobel Prize committee decided to honour three scientists — Alain Aspect of France, John Clauser of the US, and Anton Zeilinger of Austria — who, over the last four decades, have tilted the balance of the debate in one direction.
Their experiments have conclusively established that the ‘entanglement’ phenomenon observed in quantum particles was real, not a result of any ‘hidden’ or unknown forces, and that it could be utilised to make transformative technological advances in computing, hack-free communications, and science fiction-like concept of ‘teleportation’.
The three conducted a series of experiments on something called entangled quantum states, where two separate particles behave like a single unit. Their pathbreaking results will have implications in the fields of quantum computers, quantum networks and secure quantum encrypted communication.
Put simply, quantum computers use quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for regular computers.
The Quantum Theory, which proposed that energy exists as discrete packets—each called a “quantum.” This new branch of physics enabled scientists to describe the interaction between energy and matter down through the subatomic realm.
Quantum Theory went completely against everyday experiences. It allowed a particle to exist simultaneously at multiple locations, a phenomenon known as superposition.
The chance of finding the particle at any given place was dictated by probabilistic calculations, and once it was found, or observed, at one location, it ceased to exist at all other places.
News 2: Uttarkashi avalanche in Uttarakhand
At least four mountaineers were killed and over 30 feared trapped after an avalanche at Draupadi ka Danda-2 (DKD-2) peak in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand on Tuesday.
An avalanche is a mass of snow, rock, ice, and soil that tumbles down a mountain.
Avalanches of rocks or soil are often called landslides. Snowslides, the most common kind of avalanche, can sweep downhill faster than the fastest skier.
A snow avalanche begins when an unstable mass of snow breaks away from a slope. The snow picks up speed as it moves downhill, producing a river of snow and a cloud of icy particles that rises high into the air.
The moving mass picks up even more snow as it rushes downhill.
A large, fully developed avalanche can weigh as much as a million tons. It can travel faster than 320 kilometers per hour (200 miles per hour).
Avalanches and landslides are common on the glacier during the winters and temperatures can drop to as low as minus 60 degree Celsius.
There are various kinds of avalanches, including rock avalanches (which consist of large segments of shattered rock), ice avalanches (which typically occur in the vicinity of a glacier), and debris avalanches (which contain a variety of unconsolidated materials, such as loose stones and soil).
Factors responsible for the Avalanche
When a high rate of snowfall occurred leading to the snow accumulation on the mountain slopes triggered the weaker layer of snow in the snowpack of unstable areas of the mountain causes Avalanche.
Layering of Snow
The gradual snowfall creates layer by layer accumulation of snow that hypersensitive the snowpack. If something catastrophic events happen then these layers of snow falls down that leads to avalanche.
Temperature is one of the important factors for the avalanche because of high temperature the surface layer of the snowpack gets melted. The accumulated snow will become highly susceptible to sliding down.
The direction of the wind determines the patterns of the snowfall as well snow accumulation on the mountain slopes. If the strong wind blows, then the upward direction of the winds might trigger the steep slope which causes an avalanche.
An avalanche is also caused by the influence of gravity. If gradual snowfalls accumulated on the slopes of the mountain then it prone to rush downs the slopes at greater speeds.
It is one of the important factors that triggered the layer of accumulated snowpack because earthquakes generate seismic waves that cause the ground to vibrate.
Movements or Vibrations Produced By Machines and Explosives
As we know that the population increasing day by day, which requires development activities to meet the population requirement. During the developmental activities, the terrain vehicles in regions with unstable layers of snow can dislodge the layers from the surface and cause them to slide down under gravity.
Deforestation, clearance, or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. Trees and plants always protect land against natural disasters like floods, tidal waves, strong winds, and also avalanche. Hence, a developmental activity for economic gains makes the mountain region an avalanche-prone area more susceptible to deadlier avalanches.
Winter Sports Activities
Above all the factors, this factor will act like the last nail to triggered steep slopes or loose snowpack by skiers or other winter sports activities.
Management of Avalanches
Predicting an avalanche
People try to predict when avalanches are going to occur. The Alps has an ‘avalanche season’ between January and March when most avalanches happen. Where avalanches are going to occur is hard to predict. Historical data, weather information and information about the actual snow on the mountainside is collected together to try and forecast the likelihood of an avalanche.
Deliberately causing an avalanche
Avalanches can be started deliberately in order to prevent the snow building up. This is one of the most important ways of preventing avalanches.
Communicating the risk of an avalanche
Signs of the risk of avalanches can be displayed in villages and also by the ski lifts. In the Alps the risk is assessed on a five-point scale. Areas can be sealed off which are considered too dangerous to ski on. Early warning systems are also used.
Land can be grouped into red, yellow and green areas. The red areas are considered too dangerous to be built on. The orange areas can be built on with restrictions, such as reinforcing buildings. Roads and railways can be protected by tunnels over them in the areas where an avalanche path is likely to travel.
Snow fences and barriers
These can be used to divert and break up the path of the avalanche.
Trees can be planted, increasing stability of the slope and helping to reduce the damage further down the valley.
Other important news
Competition Commission of India (CCI)
Headquarters: New Delhi
Ministry: Ministry of Corporate Affairs
Composition: CCI consists of a chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
The objectives of the Competition Act, 2002 are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India, which has been established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003.
It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)
Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016, the plan was formulated after several meetings that the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) held with state government representatives and experts.
The result was a plan that institutionalized measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates.
GRAP works only as an emergency measure. As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions. The plan is incremental in nature — therefore, when the air quality moves from ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’, the measures listed under both sections have to be followed.
GRAP includes the measures which will be taken by different government agencies to prevent worsening of Air Quality of Delhi-NCR and prevent PM10 and PM2.5 levels to go beyond the ‘moderate’ national Air Quality Index (AQI) category.
If air quality reaches the ‘Severe+’ stage, the response under GRAP includes extreme measures such as shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
GRAP has been successful in doing two things that had not been done before — creating a step-by-step plan for the entire Delhi-NCR region and getting on board several agencies: all pollution control boards, industrial area authorities, municipal corporations, regional officials of the India Meteorological Department, and others.
The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas). At the head of the table is the EPCA, mandated by the Supreme Court.