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US Researchers discover the function of human appendix

Researchers from Midwestern University have identified the function of the human appendix, often viewed as a vestigial organ with little-known use.

They discovered that the human appendix has evolved at least 30 times and even possibly up to a maximum of 41 times throughout the mammalian evolution.

Key Facts
  • According researchers, once the appendix appears in human body, it never disappears, suggesting that the organ likely serves an adaptive purpose.
  • This may be due to evolutionary reason of the human body that never got rid of the appendix as it doesn’t harm most people, there’s simply little evolutionary pressure to eliminate the body part.
  • It was found that species with appendix have higher concentrations of immune (lymphoid) tissue in cecum (part of the large intestines), thereby suggesting that appendix could serve as a secondary immune organ.
  • The appendix might also function as a “safe house” for helpful gut bacteria as lymphatic tissue can stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Thus, fulfilling an important role in our bodies.

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Scientists witness the birth of an ice cloud for the first time

US based researchers for the first time have observed the creation of ice crystals on individual atmospheric particles in the laboratory.

This observation gives an unprecedented glimpse at most critical but least understood parts of the process of cold clouds formation.

Key Facts
  • Researchers had replicated heterogeneous ice nucleation process in which particle attracts water vapour and forms ice crystals.
  • For this, they replicated suitable conditions found high above Earth’s surface at an altitude of about 6 kilometres where cirrus clouds form in the sky due to ice crystals.
  • They witnessed formation of ice crystals in highly confined climate-controlled chamber in which atmospheric temperature, pressure and humidity conditions were maintained similar in atmosphere.
  • For recreation of ice nucleation, researchers also used extremely small particles of a clay mineral called kaolinite. These particles were just 2–3 microns in size, or less than one-tenth width of a human hair.
  • The kaolinite was then placed in a highly confined climate-controlled chamber of very small size, which was photographed by an environmental scanning electron microscope.
  • It was found that nucleation occurred at temperatures as low as minus 68 degrees Celsius with relative humidity from about 70 to 80%.
Natural process of heterogeneous ice nucleation

At an altitude of about 6 kilometres, relative humidity is high and temperatures are very low. It forces water vapour to collect on any small particles floating in the atmosphere, before freezing in place as an ice deposit. In the atmosphere, such airborne particles could be almost anything, including volcanic ash, aircraft emissions, or even microbes.

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India ranks 4th in 2016 Global Wind Power Installed Capacity Index

India ranked 4th in the Global Wind Power Installed Capacity index with cumulative installed wind power generation capacity of 25,088 MW in 2015.

The index was released was released as part Global Wind Report: Annual Market, flagship publication of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

Key facts
  • The index was topped by China, followed by US and Germany with cumulative installed wind power top-10-countriesgeneration capacity of 145362 MW, 74471 MW and 44947 MW respectively.
  • Both Europe and the US markets performed better than expected and the European offshore sector set a new record, installing just over 3 GW. Canada, Mexico and Brazil all had strong years.
  • South Africa was the first market in Africa to pass the 1,000 MW in 2015 and alongside Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia and Kenya were also leading development in that market.
  • Brazil continues to lead in Latin America, followed by Chile and Uruguay and a potentially very large market is just now opening up in Argentina.
  • India has achieved the largest-ever wind power capacity addition of 3,423 MW in 2015-16, exceeding the target by 44%.

annual-installed-capacity-by-region-2007-2015

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