TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS 1 Related GEOGRAPHY 1. Intensification of Cyclone Michaung B. GS 2 Related SOCIAL JUSTICE 1. PM-JANMAN Scheme for PVTG’s C. GS 3 Related D. GS 4 Related E. Editorials F. Prelims Facts 1. Green Turtles 2. Google Gemini 3. China’s consumer prices fall further 4. Scarborough Shoal G. Tidbits H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
F. Prelims Facts
Context: The impact of climate change on marine ecosystems is a growing concern, with sea turtles being particularly vulnerable due to their dependence on incubation temperatures for offspring sex determination.
- A recent study in Scientific Reports reveals that rising global temperatures may significantly expand the nesting range of green turtles in the Mediterranean Sea, posing both opportunities and challenges.
- The study predicts a potential 60% increase in the green turtle nesting range in the Mediterranean Sea.
Climate Change and Sea Turtles:
- Human-induced climate change has led to a global increase in sea surface temperatures.
- Sea turtles, especially green turtles, are vulnerable as the sex of their offspring depends on incubation temperature.
Lack of Research in the Mediterranean:
- Limited research on the impact of climate change on the green turtle population in the Mediterranean.
- Previous studies focused on global populations but neglected specific concerns in the Mediterranean Sea.
Predictive Model and Factors:
- Researchers developed a model to predict the suitability of Mediterranean coastline points for green turtle nesting.
Impact on Marine Life:
- Expansion of nesting range offers opportunities for green turtles but raises concerns about human interaction.
- Increased contact with urbanized beaches and human activities could negatively affect nesting success.
- Climate-induced shifts may disrupt existing ecological balances in the Mediterranean.
- Urbanization and human activities along the expanded nesting range pose threats to both turtles and coastal ecosystems
Context: Google’s recent unveiling of Gemini, its AI model, marks a significant move in response to the strides made by OpenAI with ChatGPT. This race reflects the intense competition in the AI domain, with both companies vying for supremacy in the evolving era of AI applications.
Google’s Catch-up Game:
- Google, historically known for aggressive AI research, faced challenges catching up with the advancements of OpenAI, particularly after the release of ChatGPT.
- CEO Sundar Pichai declared a ‘Code Red’ situation, prompting the involvement of Google founders Sergei Brin and Larry Page.
Gemini’s Unique Features:
- Gemini is Google’s response, designed to understand not just text but also images and audio.
- Trained on Google’s extensive multimodal data, it offers a more comprehensive form of intelligence, challenging traditional language models.
Multimodal Approach – Natively Multimodal:
- Unlike standard approaches, Gemini is “natively multimodal,” trained on multiple modalities from the ground-up.
- This approach challenges the conventional method of training different components for distinct modalities.
- Gemini’s demo videos showcase impressive capabilities, such as recognizing incomplete dot-to-dot pictures and tracking objects in real-time.
- Reactions suggest that Gemini’s multimodal abilities exceed those of existing AI models.
Tensor Processing Units (TPUs):
- Google’s use of in-house-designed TPUs for training Gemini sets it apart from models relying on GPUs.
- This move is particularly notable amid ongoing GPU shortages affecting AI model development.
Gemini’s Ecosystem Integration:
- Gemini is deeply integrated into the Google ecosystem, making it a more product-oriented model.
- The three variants – Nano, Pro, and Ultra – cater to different platforms, emphasizing versatility.
Context: China faces economic challenges as recent data reveals a sharp decline in consumer prices, the fastest in three years, and deepening factory-gate deflation.
- Consumer Price Index (CPI) Decline:
- China’s CPI dropped 0.5% year-on-year and month-on-month in November, the steepest decline since November 2020.
- Weaker-than-expected consumer prices raise doubts about the economic recovery and indicate persistent sluggish demand.
Factors Contributing to Decline:
- Three main factors behind the alarming CPI data:
- Falling global energy prices.
- Fading winter travel boom.
- Chronic supply glut.
- Producer Price Index (PPI) Contraction:
- PPI fell 3% year-on-year in November, marking the 14th consecutive month of decline and the quickest since August.
- The decline in PPI suggests challenges in the manufacturing sector and ongoing deflationary pressures.
Context: The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard of using water cannons to “obstruct” three government boats delivering provisions to Filipino fishermen near a reef off its coast.
- The incident happened near the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, a flashpoint between Manila and Beijing.
- The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said in a statement that “Chinese Coast Guard ships utilised water cannons to obstruct and prevent” government vessels from delivering fuel and food supplies to fishing boats.
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
Q1. Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs):
- Declining or stagnant population is one of the criteria to identify PVTGs
- The highest number of PVTGs are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- PM-JANMAN scheme aims to provide basic facilities to PVTGs.
How many of the statements given above are incorrect?
- Only one
- Only two
- All three
The highest number of PVTGs are found in Odisha (15), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12)
Q2. Consider the following statements about Green turtles:
- Green turtles are found mainly in tropical and subtropical waters.
- Green turtles are classified as critically endangered species by the IUCN
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Green turtles are classified as endangered species by the IUCN
Q3. Which of the following factors will not result in the intensification of tropical cyclones?
- Large sea surface with a temperature higher than 27° C
- High variations in the vertical wind speed
- Presence of cyclone over warm water for a long time
- Presence of the trailing side of MJO
Explanation: Small variations in the vertical wind speed are one of the factors for the formation and intensification of the tropical cyclone.
Q4. Consider the following statements about Generative AI:
- Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence technology that can produce different types of content such as text, imagery, and audio.
- A large language model uses deep learning techniques and large data sets to analyze and create content.
Which of the statements given above is/are incorrect?
- 1 only.
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Both statements are correct
Q5. Which of the following islands is not a disputed island present in the South China Sea?
- Spratly islands
- Paracel islands
- Senkaku islands
- Scarborough shoal
Explanation: The Senkaku Islands are a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.