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Scientists at IIT Delhi Develops Cheapest Respiratory Filter

Scientists at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi have developed the device ‘Nasofilters’ which is capable of restricting up to 95% of dust and air pollutants. Involving a cost of Rs 10, it is the cheapest naso filter available. The nano-respiratory filter is now ready for commercialisation. The researchers involved in the project was recently awarded with the “National Startups Award” by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Salient Features

The Nasofilter employs an incredible filter technology that gives protection against the finest particulate pollutants especially the PM2.5 concentration. It offers protection for at least eight hours and therefore helps in reducing the risk of respiratory diseases.

The device has an assembly of millions of small-sized pores that creates a thin flexible membrane capable of  capturing very small particles with high efficiency. The design of the filter provides good breathability and comfort.

The filter is capable of getting struck with the user’s nasal orifice and would prevent the entry of foreign particulate matter like PM2.5 particles, bacteria and pollen allergens.

Background

According to a new study of global air pollution issued jointly by Health Effects Institute, a Boston research institute, India’s rapidly worsening air pollution has surpassed that of China’s to become the deadliest in the world. About 1.1 million people die prematurely each year in India which is an alarming increase of nearly 50% of premature deaths between 1990 and 2015 period.
Particulate Matters are fine particles, less than fraction of the width of a human hair. These particles are released from vehicles, particularly those with diesel engines, industries, as well as from natural sources. They enter the bloodstream through the lungs, and increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and cardiac disease. in addition it also results in severe respiratory problems, like pneumonia and asthma.

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Proxima B likely to have Water and Support Alien Life

An Earth Like Planet called Proxima B orbiting the closest neighboring Star, Proxima Centauri, which is about 4.2 light years away is expected to have liquid water and the potential to support alien lifeThe planet Proxima B  was discovered in the last year. Earlier studies have concluded that the planet is present in the habitable zone of its star Proxima Centauri so much so that it receives the right amount of light to sustain liquid water on its surface. The planet is of similar size to the Earth and is expected to have an  ‘Earth-like’ atmosphere. 
Scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK have undertaken new research to explore the potential climate of the planet. Scientists simulated the climate of Proxima B. In contrast to Earth, the light from Proxima B were found to be mostly in the infra-red. They simulated a simpler atmosphere with traces of carbon dioxide as well as variations of the planets orbit. The results from the simulation showed that Proxima B could have the potential to be habitable and lie in a remarkably stable climate regime. However, more studies need to be carried out to ascertain whether they can sustain any form of life. The study has been published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics 
 

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Ransomware Cyber Attack Plays Havoc in Several Countries including India

A global cyberattack has crippled nearly hundred countries, including India. A cyber gang called Shadow Brokers, which is a mysterious organisation is held responsible for this massive cyberattack. The organisation has carried out the attack by stealing a hacking tool called ‘Eternal Blue’ from the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s powerful military intelligence unit. The hacking tool Eternal Blue gives unprecedented access to all computers using Microsoft Windows. It was developed by NSA to gain access to computers used by terrorists and enemy states.

The cyberattack is considered as the biggest ransomware attack of its kind. As per security software company Avast, its researchers have observed more than 75,000 attacks worldwide in 99 countries including the UK, Russia, Ukraine, India, China, Italy, and Egypt.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software when infected restricts the user access until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

Hackers have spread ransomware known as WannaCry, WanaCrypt0r 2.0, WannaCry and WCry, often through emails. The files in the infected computers gets locked up in such a way that the user cannot access them anymore. It then demands payment in cryptocurrency Bitcoin to retrieve the locked files.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of G7 nations such as the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Britain have agreed to strengthen cooperation to counter cyber threats such as the present global online attack.

Consequences

The cyberattack has crippled many hospitals, schools and universities in Europe and Asia. Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is among badly affected. Other affected high profile victims are international shipper FedEx Corp, Spain’s telecommunications company Telefonica, Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina, Germany’s railway operator Deutsche Bahn etc. According to Avast, the countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan are the top targets around the world.

In India, Andhra Pradesh’s police computers have come under the cyberattack. Computers in 18 police units in Chittoor, Krishna, Guntur, Visakhatpatnam and Srikakulam districts have been affected.

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