Science & Technology - 2018 FEBRUARY

February 1

Stone Age tools found in TN suggest reframing of ‘Out of Africa’ theories
Armed with newly discovered Stone Age tools in a village near Chennai, Indian scientists are challenging the popular scientific theory that the Middle Palaeolithic was brought to India by modern humans dispersing from Africa only around 125,000 years ago or later.
The new evidence suggests that a Middle Palaeolithic culture was present in India around 385,000 years ago - roughly the same time that it is known to have developed in Africa and in Europe.
Middle Palaeolithic period is considered an important cultural phase associated with modern humans and Neanderthals as well as other archaic hominins. Stone tools of this period are used by scientists as proxy for studies of early human behaviour.

February 2

UAE Launches World’s Longest Zip Line
Guinness World Records officials certified the zip line in Ras al-Khaimah. The Jebel Jais Flight takes thrill-seekers atop the country's largest mountain peak, from a launch pad 1,680 meters (5,512 feet) above sea level.
For nearly three minutes, riders are suspended above the mountain as they glide past rocky terrain.
The latest effort by the smaller, lesser-known emirate of Ras al-Khaimah to attract more tourists and expatriate visitors from neighboring emirates like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which recently opened the world's longest ubran zip line whizzing past towering skyscrapers.

February 3

India's Most Powerful Super Computer Could Aid In Doubling Farmers' Income
The Union Budget saw much emphasis on doubling of farmers' income and on cyber-physical security. What could contribute to the doubling of farmers' income is India's most powerful Cray Super Computer - MIHIR - that will give more accurate weather forecasts which the farmers can then use to fine tune agriculture.
Built at a cost of Rs. 450 crore, MIHIR is housed in a badminton court-sized room at India's weather office near Delhi, and is capable of performing jobs equivalent to more than 2,500 high-end laptops, all working in tandem.
The high performance computer (HPC) system is located at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) in Noida. This will be India's largest HPC facility in terms of peak capacity and performance and will propel India's ranking from the 368th position to around the top 30 in the top 500 list of HPC facilities in the world.

February 4

Japan launches micro satellite rocket
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched world’s smallest rocket with the ability to put a micro-satellite into orbit, following a failed attempt and several postponements over the last year.
The launch of the low-cost rocket - with a height of 10 metres and 53 centimetres in diameter - took place from the Uchinoura Space Centre in Kagoshima prefecture.
The rocket, an improved version of JAXA’s SS-520, was carrying a micro-satellite weighing three kilograms and was developed by the University of Tokyo to capture images of the Earth’s surface.
Aim is to test the ability of the Japanese aerospace agency to launch low-cost rockets that can put micro satellites into space at affordable rates against a background of growing demand from the private sector.

February 5

Google launches '#SecurityCheckKiya' campaign to protect data, devices
To create awareness around Internet safety, Google India launched a public initiative "#SecurityCheckKiya" to protect young and first-time web users from account hijacking, safeguard Android devices from malicious apps and secure all their personal data if they lose their device.
With a large base of unsuspecting first time Internet users now coming online through easy access modes but lacking technical literacy, Indian users are increasingly vulnerable to bad actors and abuse on the web.
Google will make this information available on its homepage, encouraging users to take the first step of Security Check on Safer Internet Day which will be celebrated on February 6.
"Through our initiative, we want to nudge Internet users to take action to safeguard themselves, because the first step to a safer Internet starts with them.