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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Current General Knowledge: 2012

Current General Knowledge:  2012

ABBREVIATIONSNCCD: National Center for Cold Chain Development.
NCTC: National Counter Terrorism Center

Laureus Awards, 2012
Serbian tennis giant Novak Djokovic and Kenyan distance runner Vivian Cheruiyot have been named as the best Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year, respectively, while the glory of best Team went to reigning Champions League football holders FC Barcelona.

Djokovic, the first player representing Serbia to win a Grand Slam singles title, is also the youngest player to reach the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams in the open era, at the age of 24.

Cheruiyot was considered one of the greatest distance runners of this generation. She picked up gold medals of both 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Barcelona, under coach Pep Guardiola, was winner of the Champions League and the Spanish League in the 2010/11 season. It was the fourth time the team was nominated for the Laureus but won it for the first time.

Grammy Awards, 2012
Song of the Year: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Pop Solo Performance: “Someone Like You” by Adele
Pop Performance by a Duo or Group: “Body and Soul” by Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse
Pop Vocal Album: “21” by Adele
Alternative Album: “Bon Iver” by Bon Iver
Rock Song: “Walk” by Foo Fighters
Rock Album: “Wasting Light” by Foo Fighters
Rock Performance: “Walk” by Foo Fighters
Hard Rock/Metal Performance: “White Limo” by Foo Fighters
R&B Album: “F.A.M.E.” by Chris Brown
R&B Song: “Fool For You” by Cee Lo Green, Melanie Hallim and Jack Splash
R&B Performance: “Is This Love” by Corrine Bailey Rae
Rap Album: “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” by Kanye West
Rap Performance: “Otis” by Jay-Z and Kanye West
Rap Song: “All of the Lights” by Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter and Kanye West
World Music Album: “Tassili” by Tinariwen
Country Solo Performance: “Mean” by Taylor Swift
Country Album: “Own the Night” by Lady Antebellum
Country Performance by a Duo or Group: “Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars
Country Song: “Mean” by Taylor Swift
Jazz Vocal Album: “The Mosaic Project” by Terri Lyne Carrington and various artists
Jazz Instrumental Album: “Forever” by Corea, Clark and White
Historical Album: “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy, 2010-11
Punjabi University, Patiala has won the trophy defeating arch rivals GNDU, Amritsar. The coveted sports trophy has been awarded to the university for the fourth time as it had earned the maximum number of medals in the All-India Inter-University championships and registered the best overall performance in individual and team events held in one calendar year.

Business Standard awards for Corporate Excellence
CEO of the Year: Rajiv Bajaj, MD & CEO of Bajaj Auto
Company of the Year: Cognizant
Star MNC: Nestle India
Star SME: Jubilant FoodWorks
Star PSU: National Mineral Development Corporation

Oscar Awards, 2012
Best Film: Thomas Langmann for “The Artist”. The film is the first silent film to win the award since the World War I saga “Wings” was named outstanding picture at the first Oscars in 1929.
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist”.
Best Actress: Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady”. This was her third Oscar.
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, for “The Artist”.
Best Actor in a supporting role: Christopher Plummer for “Beginners”. He is 82 years old and wins his first Oscar.
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer for “The Help”.
Best Foreign Language Film: Asghar Farhadi for Iranian film “A Separation”, which became the first Iranian film ever to win an Oscar.
Short film Animated: William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg for “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”.
Short Film (Live Action): George and Oorlagh George for “The Shore”.
Original Screenplay: Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris”. This was his first Oscar in last 25 years.
Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash for “The Descendants”. Best Original Song: Bret McKenzie from “Man or Muppet”.
Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource for “The Artist”.
Best Visual Effects: Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning for “Hugo”.
Best Animated feature film: Gore Verbinski for “Rango”.
Best Documentary: T.J. Martin, Dan Lindsay and Rich Middlemas for “Undefeated”.
Best Makeup: Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland for “The Iron Lady”.
Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges for “The Artist”.
Art Direction: Dante Ferretti (Production Design); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration) for “Hugo”.
Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson for “Hugo”.

National Tourism Award
In a nod to the active interest that States have taken in developing tourism, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim swept the National Tourism Award ceremony with the maximum number of awards. While Madhya Pradesh got four awards, including best State for tourism infrastructure and best tourism film, Sikkim got the award for tourism infrastructure in the north-east and best State for the Clean India campaign.

Besides Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim, Rajasthan and Kerala also bagged the awards.

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad was adjudged the best airport and New Delhi Railway Station got the award for best tourist-friendly station in the country.

Facebook turns eight
Facebook, the world’s most popular social networking site with an estimated 845 million active subscribers, has turned eight. Since its launch on February 4, 2004, at Harvard University, in Mark Zuckberg's dormitory room, the social networking giant has witnessed massive growth.

While, the company CEO Zuckerberg is best known as the man who built Facebook, the company has three other co-founders, all college roommates and fellow students at Harvard—Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.

The four initially built the service exclusively for Harvard students, but it was soon expanded to other colleges and eventually added support for students at various other universities.

Initially it was called “”. However, on February 4, 2008, Zukerberg renamed to domain name and launched what we know today as Facebook.

World’s first ‘biological computer’
Scientists in the US claim to have developed the world’s first biological computer that is made from bio-molecules and can decipher images encrypted on DNA chips.

A team from the Scripps Research Institute in California and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology claims it has created the computing system using bio-molecules.

In the research, when suitable software was applied to the biological computer, the scientists found that it could decrypt, separately, fluorescent images of Scripps Research Institute and Technion logos.

Although DNA has been used for encryption in the past, this is the first experimental demonstration of a molecular cryptosystem of images based on DNA computing.

In contrast to electronic computers, there are computing machines in which all four components are nothing but molecules. For example, all biological systems and even entire living organisms are such computers. Every one of us is a bio-molecular computer, a machine in which all four components are molecules that talk to one another logically. The hardware and software in these devices are complex biological molecules that activate one another to carry out some pre-determined chemical work.

The input is a molecule that undergoes specific, pre-determined changes, following a specific set of rules (software), and the output of this chemical computation process is another well-defined molecule.

Mars too dry to host life
Mars is too dry a planet to host any form of life, British scientists have concluded. An analysis of soil, collected during 2008 NASA Phoenix mission to Mars, by Imperial College London, has revealed the Red Planet has experienced a 600-million-year super-drought.

The three-year-long research found that the surface of Mars had been dry for such a long time that any life would have to be lurking deep underground. The scientists deduced that there had been water present during a warmer period lasting up to 5,000 years in distant past, but this would have been too little time for life to establish itself on the surface.

Space Janitor to get rid of orbiting debris
Swiss scientists plan to launch a janitor satellite specially designed to get rid of orbiting debris known as space junk. The $11-million satellite, called “CleanSpace One”, the prototype for a family of such satellites, is being built by the Swiss Space Center at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).

EPFL said its launch would come within three to five years and its first tasks are to grab two Swiss satellites launched in 2009 and 2010.

The US space agency NASA says over 500,000 pieces of spent rocket stages, broken satellites and other debris are being tracked as they orbit Earth. The debris travels at speeds approaching 28,000 kmph, fast enough to destroy or inflict costly and time-draining damage on a satellite or spacecraft. Collisions, in turn, generate more fragments floating in space. It has become essential to be aware of the existence of this debris and the risks that are run by its proliferation.

Building the satellite means developing new technology to address three big problems. The first hurdle has to do with trajectory: the satellite has to be able to adjust its path to match that of its target. Next, the satellite has to grab hold of and stabilize the debris at high speeds. And, finally, “CleanSpace One” has to be able to take the debris, or unwanted satellites, back into Earth’s atmosphere, where they will burn on re-entry.

Ice Age flower blossoms again
It was an Ice Age squirrel’s treasure chamber, a burrow containing fruit and seeds that had been stuck in the Siberian permafrost for over 30,000 years. From the fruit tissues, a team of Russian scientists managed to resurrect an entire plant in a pioneering experiment that paves the way for revival of other species.

The Silene stenophylla is the oldest plant ever to be regenerated , the researchers said, and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds.

The experiment proves that permafrost serves as a natural depository for ancient life forms.

Canadian researchers had earlier regenerated some significantly younger plants from seeds found in burrows.

Svetlana Yashina who led the regeneration effort, said the revived plant looked very similar to its modern version, which still grows in the same area .It’s a very viable plant, and it adapts really well, she said.

The team recovered the fruit after investigating dozens of fossil burrows hidden in ice deposits on the right bank of the lower Kolyma River in north-eastern Siberia, the sediments dating back 30,000-32,000 years. The sediments were firmly cemented together and often totally filled with ice, making any water infiltration impossible, creating a natural freezing chamber fully isolated from the surface.

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