Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Magentic North Pole
- GSAT 31
- RBI Repo Rate Cut
- E- Cigarette
1 . Magnetic North Pole
Context : Earth’s north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast in the last few decades that scientists say that past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation. On Monday, they released an update of where magnetic north really was, nearly a year ahead of schedule.
About Magnetic North Pole
- The Magnetic North Pole (also known as the North Dip Pole) is a point on Ellesmere Island in Northern Canada where the northern lines of attraction enter the Earth.
About Geographic North Pole
- The Earth rotates on the geographic north and south poles. The geographic north and south poles are where lines of longitude (meridians) converge in the north. The south and north pole are directly opposite to one another.
- The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Scientists have tried marking the North pole. Because the water here is permanently covered with moving sea ice, it’s practically impossible to construct any type of permanent station at the true North Pole.
- On the other side of the Earth, the South Pole lies on a continental land mass known as Antarctica. Because the ice on top of Antarctica moves only a few meters a year, the United States Antarctica program has installed a marker here to delineate the true South Pole
Why Does the Earth Have a Magnetic Field in the First Place?
- Geophysicists believe Earth’s magnetic fields presence is because of what the Earth is made up of.
- The Earth consists of a solid iron core. Surrounding the iron core is an ocean of hot, liquid metal. The liquid metal that flows in Earth’s core creates electrical currents, which in turn creates our magnetic field.
- Unlike a solid fridge magnet, the liquid metal surrounding the inner core moves freely. This explains why the magnetic pole can migrate.
- Earth’s northern magnetic pole is moving quickly away from the Canadian Arctic toward Siberia. This movement has forced NCEI’s scientists to update the World Magnetic Model (WMM) mid-cycle
- The magnetic north pole is wandering about 34 miles (55 kilometers) a year. It crossed the International Date Line in 2017 and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.
- The US and the United Kingdom tend to update the location of the magnetic north pole every five years in December, but this update came early because of the pole’s faster movement.
World Magnetic Model
- Typically, a new and updated version of the World Magnetic Model (WMM) is released every five years. With the last release in 2015, the next version is scheduled for release at the end of 2019.
- Due to unplanned variations in the Arctic region, scientists have released a new model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field between 2015 and now.
Uses of World Magnetic Model
- The military uses the WMM for undersea and aircraft navigation, parachute deployment, and more.
- Other governmental organizations, such as NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, US Forest Service use this technology for surveying and mapping, satellite/antenna tracking, and air traffic management.
- The constant shift is a problem for compasses in smartphones and some consumer electronics.
- Airplanes and boats also rely on magnetic north, usually as backup navigation, said University of Colorado geophysicist Arnaud Chulliat, lead author of the newly issued World Magnetic Model.
- GPS isn’t affected because it’s satellite-based.
- Airport runway names are based on their direction toward magnetic north and their names change when the poles move. For example, the airport in Fairbanks, Alaska, renamed a runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.
Why is the magnetic pole moving so fast?
- The reason is turbulence in Earth’s liquid outer core. There is a hot liquid ocean of iron and nickel in the planet’s core where the motion generates an electric field
What will happen in the future
- The magnetic south pole is moving far slower than the north.
- In general, Earth’s magnetic field is getting weaker leading scientists to say that it will eventually flip, where north and south pole changes polarity, like a bar magnet flipping over but it will take 1000s of years. It has happened numerous times in Earth’s past, but not in the last 780,000 years.
2 . GSAT – 31
Context : India Successfully launched GSAT 31
3 . RBI Cuts Rates
Context : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut the policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25% in a bid to revive economic growth as it projected retail inflation to remain below its target of 4% for the next 12 months. The rate reduction was the first since August 2017. The RBI also simultaneously changed the stance of the policy to ‘neutral’ from ‘calibrated tightening’, which indicates that the central bank remains ready to move in either direction based on incoming data.
Effects of Rate Cut
- Repo rate is the interest at which RBI lends money to other commercial banks in exchange for government securities.
- After a rate cut, the commercial banks can withdraw money from the central bank at a lower interest rate.
- Therefore, the interest rates on loans are likely to decline to post a cut in the repo rate.
- Besides the industrial sector, the biggest beneficiaries of a repo rate cut are the general borrowers. Home loans, personal loans, and auto loans are set to get cheaper for the public at large, as the lenders prepare to transfer the benefits to their customers
- Increase in money supply in economy, Increase in demand of goods, Increase in GDP growth
- It may also have an impact on inflation
Pass through of policy rate cuts
When a reduction in policy rates occur, the conversations dominating the financial circles would be regarding the transmission of this rate cut to the borrowing capacities of firms and consumers. In a study conducted by the International Monetary Fund on the interest rate transmission in the country, the following was deduced:
- There is a slow pass-through of policy changes to interest rates offered by banks.
- Banks are seen to decrease deposit rates during rate cuts but do not easily reduce lending rates. However, in the case of rate increases, lending rates rise quickly, but deposit rates lag behind.
- The transmission to the deposit rate is larger than that of the lending rate. Moreover, the deposit rate calibrates quickly to alteration in policy rates.
- The RBI governor has been encouraging banks to cut interest rates subsequent to policy rate cuts. However, the reasons for the slow monetary transmission are multiple, specific to the country and otherwise.
4 . E-Cigarette
Context : The Indian Journal of Clinical Practice (IJCP) Group, a doctor-run publisher of medical journals, has come under flak from public health experts for partnering with American e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. Juul, which is evaluating an entry into India, has retained the Group to “better understand the India market,” a spokesperson from the company told The Hindu .
- Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings, and other chemicals.
- They can resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks.
- It has mainly 3 parts a rechargeable lithium battery, a vaporization chamber, a cartridge
How it works
- Lighting a traditional cigarette causes the tobacco to burn, releasing smoke that contains nicotine. The user breathes in the smoke to deliver nicotine to the lungs.
- An electronic cigarette doesn’t rely on this process of combustion. Instead, it heats a nicotine liquid and converts the liquid to a vapor, or mist, that the user inhales.
Arguments against E- Cigarettes
- The amount of nicotine delivered did not always match the amount stated on the label.
- Some cartridges labeled nicotine-free in fact contained nicotine
- . And cancer-causing compounds found in tobacco were also found in some e-cigarette cartridges, along with other toxins. One of the toxins found was diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze.
- Their addictive-potential is not understood, and some studies show that they can act as a gateway drug for adolescents
- Electronic cigarette manufacturers claim that their products may have the potential to improve the health and lives of people addicted to nicotine and it may help consumers avoid many of the health risks of smoking tobacco but they still give users a dose of an addictive substance.