Current Affairs - 06 January 2018

1. Bio-toilet Project

Context: The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on bio-toilets has found 1,99,689 defects in 25,000 toilets installed in Railways. Also, according to the data released by national auditor to Parliament, the Indian Railways needs to buy 3,350 truckloads of cow dung at Rs 42 crore in 2018 to “recharge”— add bacteria to activate degradation — leaky, malfunctioning ‘bio-toilets’ that it has fitted on 44.8% of trains and hopes to expand to all trains by 2018.

What are Bio- toilets?
The bio-toilets are fitted underneath the lavatories and the human excreta discharged into them; these toilets incorporate microbes with an anaerobic digestion process to digest human waste. A colony of anaerobic bacteria acts upon the collected waste and converts the waste into water and biogases (mainly methane and carbon dioxide). While the gases escape into the atmosphere, the wastewater is discharged after disinfection onto the track, thus putting an end to the crisis of railway tracks strewn with excreta.

Each bio-toilet requires 60 litres — or three large bucketfuls — of inoculum, a mix of cow dung and water. This inoculum begins the process of breaking down 3,980 tons of human excreta. Anaerobic bacteria are abundantly available in cow dung.

Source: ET


2. Ethereum

Context:
Ethereum has hit $1,000 for the first time, while investors eye at alternative currencies such as ripple, ethereum and litecoin besides bitcoin. Earlier Ethereum was the second-most valued currency after bitcoin, but now ripple has outpaced it lately. The market capitalization of ripple is $121 billion while ethereum’s market cap is little less than $100 billion on Saturday. Bitcoin, the big daddy of cryptocurrency, still rules the world of digital currencies with a whopping market cap of $280 billion.

What is Ethereum?
It, like most cryptocurrencies, shares the same basic traits as bitcoin. It has underlying blockchain technology with a tethered token, which in this case is known as “Ether.” Ether is the token investors are purchasing.

How is it different from other cryptocurrencies?
Unlike most blockchains, Ethereum’s has an added component that’s particularly attractive to enterprise clients: smart contracts. These protocols help to verify, facilitate, or enforce the negotiation of a contract in an efficient and secure manner.

About Blockchain technology:
Blockchain is the digital and decentralized ledger that records transactions without the need for a financial intermediary, which in most cases is a bank.

The advantages of blockchain technology are aplenty. First, is the potential for smaller transaction fees as a result of having no third-party involved. Secondly, the decentralization of blockchain ensures that there’s no central hub cybercriminals could attack.

Source: ET

Tags : Current Affairs | 05 Jan '18 | 07 Jan '18