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Insights Learning (I-Learning) TEST 21 : 14- 21 January 2018

Insights Learning (I-Learning) TEST 21 : 14- 21 January 2018

  1. Differences between the physical and climatic conditions of the eastern and western Himalayas


There are certain differences which also have an effect on the glaciers and their terminal level.

These are:

(a) Western Himalayas receive most of the precipitation in the winter months and Eastern Himalayas in the summer months.

(b) Western Himalayas are in higher latitude than the eastern Himalayas

(c) Ladakh glaciers come down gentler slope than those of Eastern Himalayas.

Winter precipitation is at a lower temperature than the summer precipitation.  Even in Eastern Himalayas, winter snowline comes down to 2000 m.

  • During winters snow and sleet falling on the slopes which are cooler collects and on the snow and ice surfaces it induces freezing. During winter months on the glacial surface whatever snow falls collects and it adds to the thickness of the glacier.
  • Summer precipitation is at a higher temperature and it is mostly in the form of rains up to 4266 m. Rain water induces melting and thinning of the glacial surface.
  • In Eastern Himalayas where most of the precipitation is in the summers both the snowline and the terminal end of the glaciers are higher.

Source: Additional Research: IES 2016




  1. Guar bean

Guar bean is the source of Guar gum. It lives in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.


This legume is a very valuable plant within a crop rotation cycle, as it lives in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

  • Its demand is rising rapidly due to industrial use of guar gum in hydraulic fracturing of oil shale gas.
  • Most of the Guar bean production is from India and Pakistan.
  • Frequent drought periods can lead to delayed maturation. On the contrary, too much moisture during early phase of growth and after maturation lead to lower seed quality.

In fact, agriculturists in semi-arid regions of Rajasthan follow crop-rotation and use guar as a source to replenish the soil with essential fertilizers and nitrogen fixation, before the next crop

  • Demand is rising rapidly due to industrial use of guar gum in hydraulic fracturing (oil shale gas).
  • About 80% of world production occurs in India and Pakistan
  • Guar is very drought-tolerant and sun-loving, but it is very susceptible to frost.
  • Even though it can cope with little but regular rainfall, it requires sufficient soil moisture before planting and during maturation of seeds.
  • Guar is also produced near to coastal areas in the Gandhidham region of Kutch, Gujarat.
  • Derivatives of guar gum that has been further reacted is also used in industrial applications, such as the paper and textile industry, ore flotation, the manufacture of explosives and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of oil and gas formations.

Source: The Union Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley recently launched the country’s First Agri-commodity Options Contracts in Guar Seed.



  1. Glycemic index


The glycemic index of a carbohydrate represents how quickly its consumption increases blood sugar levels.

Values range from 1 (the slowest) to 100 (the fastest, the index of pure glucose). However, how quickly the level actually increases also depends on what other foods are ingested at the same time and other factors.

  • The glycemic index tends to be lower for complex carbohydrates than for simple carbohydrates, but there are exceptions. For example, fructose (the sugar in fruits) has little effect on blood sugar.


The glycemic index is thought to be important because carbohydrates that increase blood sugar levels quickly (those with a high glycemic index) also quickly increase insulin levels.

  • The increase in insulin may result in low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) and hunger, which tends to lead to consuming excess calories and gaining weight.
  • Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index do not increase insulin levels so much.
  • As a result, people feel satiated longer after eating. Consuming carbohydrates with a low glycemic index also tends to result in more healthful cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus and, in people with diabetes, the risk of complications due to diabetes.

Source: Additional Research: IES 2016



  1. Kala-azar

It is a slow progressing indigenous disease caused by a protozoan parasite of genus Leishmania. 

  • Sandfly of genus Phlebotomus argentipes are the only known vectors of kala-azar in India
  • The parasite primarily infects reticuloendothelial system and may be found in abundance in bone marrow, spleen and liver.
  • Indian Kala-azar has a unique epidemiological feature of being Anthroponotic; human is the only known reservoir of infection
  • Female snadflies pick up parasite (Amastigote or LD bodies)while feeding on an infected human host.

Distribution and Impact

  • Kala-azar is endemic to the Indian subcontinent in 119 districts in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal).
  • This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world. Elimination is defined as reducing the annual incidence of Kala Azar (KA) to less than 1 case per 10,000 people at the sub-district level.
  • Signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen.
  • Without proper diagnosis and treatment, is associated with high fatality.
  • India has missed the 2017 deadline that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced for elimination of Kala Azar (black fever) in his Budget speech last year. In fact, endemic blocks have increased from 61 to 68 in 17 districts of Bihar and Jharkhand.




  1. Holographic data storage


It is a potential technology in the area of high-capacity data storage currently dominated by magnetic data storage and conventional optical data storage.

Magnetic and optical data storage devices rely on individual bits being stored as distinct magnetic or optical changes on the surface of the recording medium.


Holographic data storage records information throughout the volume of the medium and is capable of recording multiple images in the same area utilizing light at different angles.

Additionally, whereas magnetic and optical data storage records information a bit at a time in a linear fashion, holographic storage is capable of recording and reading millions of bits in parallel, enabling data transfer rates greater than those attained by traditional optical storage

  • A volume holographic storage (holostore) devive is a page oriented devive that writes and reads data in an optical form.

The holography technology achieves the necessary high storage densities as well as fast access times.

This capability occurs because a holographic image, or hologram, encodes a large block of data as a single entity in a single write operation. Conversely, the process of reading a hologram retrieves the entire data block simultaneously.

Source: Additional Research: IES 2016



  1. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide.

  • It was devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design.
  • The system is credit-based, allowing projects to earn points for environmentally friendly actions taken during construction and use of a building.
  • LEED was launched in an effort to develop a “consensus-based, market-driven rating system to accelerate the development and implementation of green building practices.
  • Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods that aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.

Source: Additional Research: IES 2016