Indian Express Notes 21/05/2020

1)Explained: What is the sonic boom that rattled Bengaluru? ( Indian Express Upsc) : ‘loud sound’ heard in Bengaluru 

What s Sonic Boom: The sound effect caused due to such high-speed flights is known as ‘sonic boom’. Sound travels in the form of waves which are emitted outwards from its source. In air, the speed of these waves depends on a number of factors, such as the temperature of the air and altitude.

As long as the source of the sound keeps moving slower than the speed of sound itself, this source– say a truck or a plane – remains nested within the sound waves that are travelling in all directions.

When an aircraft travels at supersonic speedmeaning faster than sound (>1225 kmph at sea level) – the field of sound waves moves to the rear of the craft. A stationary observer thus hears no sound when a supersonic flight approaches, since the sound waves are at the rear of the latter. At such speeds, both newly created as well as old waves, are forced into a region at the aircraft’s rear called a ‘Mach cone’, which extends from the craft and intercepts the Earth in a hyperbola-shaped curve, and leaves a trail called the ‘boom carpet’. The loud sound that is heard on the Earth when this happens is called a ‘sonic boom’.

When such aircraft fly at a low altitude, the sonic boom can become intense enough to cause glass to crack or cause health hazards. Overland supersonic flights have thus been banned in many countries.

Sonic Boom Representation

2)Dr Harsh Vardhan to take charge as WHO Executive Board chairman: what this means for India

The WHO, a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. India is a member state of the South East Asia Region at the WHO. In 2019, the bloc had unanimously decided that India’s nominee would be elected to the executive board for a three-year term beginning May 2020.

What’s WHO’s Executive Board:- The WHO is governed by two decision-making bodies — the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board. The agency’s headquarters are located at Geneva in Switzerland.

According to the WHO website, the Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health, with members being elected for three-year terms. The Health Assembly is the WHO’s decision-making body, and consists of 194 Member States.

The Board chairman’s post is held by rotation for one year by each of the WHO’s six regional groups:

  1. African Region,
  2. Region of the Americas,
  3. South-East Asia Region,
  4. European Region,
  5. Eastern Mediterranean Region, and
  6. Western Pacific Region

The main functions of the Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work.
The Board and the Assembly create a forum for debate on health issues and for addressing concerns raised by Member States.

India at the WHO:-India became a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948. The first session of the South East Asia Regional Committee was held on October 4-5, 1948 in the office of the Indian Minister of Health, and was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister.

3)New Research: Two antibodies from SARS survivors, and how they react to new coronavirus:- One antibody, called S309, taken from a SARS survivor from 2003, has been shown in the lab to neutralise SARS-CoV-2. The results were reported in Nature this week.

The other antibody, called CR3022, was first isolated in 2006, again from a SARS survivor of the early 2000s. CR3022 may hold clues to the vulnerability of SARS-CoV-2. ( Read our Science Monthly For Complete Science Current )

4)Explained: What Facebook Shops mean for the future of (hyper-local) retail:- Mark Zuckerberg  announced the launch of Facebook Shops, a platform that small mom-and-pop stores across the world could leverage to sell things directly across its apps, such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook too.

Why are big tech companies trying to get into the hyper-local space by getting small stores online?:- The answer could lie in these companies wanting to explore newer opportunities by expanding their footprint. With a huge chunk of population in developing countries still joining the mainstream internet bandwagon, the smaller unorganised sector could be the new revenue and traffic generator for the big tech companies.

What does the launch of Facebook Shops mean for small store owners?
For small store owners in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the launch of this platform could mean easy access to the large customer base of the social media giant, Facebook.  With WhatsApp and Instagram, the trio makes a formidable presence on the internet.

For example, Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s ability to offer consumers easy access to the nearest kiranas, or grocery stores, which can provide products and services to their homes, can help the latter increase their revenue multi-fold.

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