Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Book Review: Psychology by Robert A Baron

One of the most read books by psychology students is Psychology – Robert A Baron”. It should not be confused with Social Psychology by the same author.

The book definitely is a wonderful one which explains the concepts in psychology in a lucid fashion. The writing style is such that the reader won’t feel the pages being flipped away.

I would concentrate on the utility of the book with regard to Psychology optional examination by UPSC. There are few things to keep in mind in case you have chosen this as a primary book for psychology.
CLICK TO BUY

Firstly, Its fun to read this book. But don’t miss the concepts which we may miss while reading leisurely. This is a book with lot of icing along with cake. Don’t just have the icing and miss the cake.

Secondly, Its not for all kind of learners. Some aspirants like just the points to be given. There are some who like to read book with seriousness. Then this may not be their book.

Thirdly, You may need to supplement certain areas with reading from other books. Morgan and King’s Psychology book is a popular choice to fill the weaker areas in this book.

Fourthly, In some areas, the concepts are crowded in a small area. eg: Shaping, Chaining etc are in close paras in operant conditioning. Don't confuse the importance of topic with font size in Baron's Psychology!

This book is a good one for civils exam, but do keep in mind its limitations too. 



Tuesday, 9 December 2014

India’s shale gas policy

What is shale gas?

Shale is a sedimentary stone formation. In the shale formations, natural gas is trapped which is known as shale gas.
source:www.bbc.co.uk

Why suddenly shale gas is in picture?

Countries especially US has developed technology (horizontal drilling+hydraulic fracturing) which has made extraction of shale gas viable. It has made US gas importing country into gas exporting country.

Geo-politics (get more info from net)

  • The OPEC countries have been riding high with their control over energy sources. This is challenged. 
  • Power equations between nations change with new energy production
  • Natural gas is safer, so the shale gas production has role in climate change.

source:www.wikipedia.org

Challenges for Shale gas production
  • Technology – A viable business model and technology is needed to develop these fields
  • As the OPEC nations aren’t lowering production of oil, the oil prices have lowered. This makes it    challenging, as the shale gas production price would go up J
  • Fear of environmental hazards. The technology of fracking uses water jets to open up spaces having gas. This requires tonnes of water – water scarcity. It is feared it would cause water contamination too.

Shale gas in India

In India, ONGC and OIL have been asked to carry out explorations for shale gas production. In first phase only govt run companies have permission to explore in their blocks. In the  next phase other companies would come in to participate.

India’s potential areas -  Cambay (in Gujarat), Assam-Arakan (in the North-

East), Gondawana (in central India), KG onshore (in Andhra Pradesh), Cauvery 

onshore and Indo-Gangetic basins  [six basins]
 


200 words

  • Write about the recent trends in world energy production?
  • Role of shale gas in Indian/world economy (or) geo-politics
  • Discuss the prospects and problems of Shale gas use in India.

50 words:

Fracking - Drilling down into the earth. Then a jet of water,chemicals,sand is injected at high pressure to enable the gas to flow out of head of well.(first pic in this article)


Friday, 5 December 2014

Geo-political significance of Indian Ocean

Geo-political significance of Indian Ocean


The Indian ocean has been important in geopolitical aspect of world from early times. The discovery of the sea route in Indian ocean and subsequent trade as well as colonization has changed the world. The imperialism, spread/change of trade/agriculture etc  has occurred from times immemorial due to the routes in Indian ocean.

In modern times, the significance of Indian ocean has increased many fold.
First, Geological location – (put a small sketch here showing Indian ocean region). The IO serves not only bigger nations like India, China but also littoral states. The land locked countries like Bhutan also depend on Indian ocean for their day to day activities.
source:www.japanfocus.org
Trade-(Put small sketch for trade routes – mallacca / Suez Canal) large volumes of trade in Oil/steel/textiles/pharmaceuticals etc occur from Asia to West and East through the Indian Ocean. The trade has been increasing as the nations like India are rapidly progressing. This makes IOR very important.

Resource- Many areas in Indian Ocean are rich in minerals/oils etc. The mining of these natural resources will change the future of the nation which does it. As a result the technology/political power in this region is of importance.

Terrorism- the IOR is important in the security point of view. The Mumbai attacks has reminded us of the cost for neglecting IOR security. Now India has strengthened its coast guard and navy to meet needs of IOR.

Illegal trade – the illegal trade/narcotics etc has IOR as play ground. The golden crescent/ golden triangle are adjacent to the IOR.
source:www.wikispooks.org

The attempt of nations like US to continue the presence through Diego Garcia ( command over sea ) indicates the significance of IOR.

The rising ocean pollution (put few eg’s) need the cooperation of all nations. In such a situation the IOR and laws governing the disposal of wastes including nuclear waste in ocean assumes large geopolitical significance.

Thus Indian Ocean region has high geopolitical significance in today’s situation due to trade, location, assertion of marine control by world powers, security and environmental reasons.

The above question can be put in words like
Q: Why is Indian ocean called modern maritime silk route?
Q: What is relevance of Indian ocean with regard to China/India?

PS: Add small sketches especially in geo-optionals.



Thursday, 4 December 2014

Orion spacecraft SAFAR

Orion


It is a space craft built by NASA aiming to carry humans beyond moon. The mars is a probable destination for the next human landing.
www.wonderfulengineering.com

System of Air quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR)

Why?
Due to the high level of pollution which is rapidly rising in India day by day., we need a constant monitoring system.

Who developed?
IITM

What is use?
Used for almost real time testing of air quality and forecast. It is complemented by weather forecasting system.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Churyumov–Gerasimenko

Churyumov–Gerasimenko

It is a comet on which recently lander 'philae' investigated. The philae is part of rosette mission by european space agency. The rosetta mission is aimed at investigating the comet nucleus. The comet is also known as 67P

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Tibetan Plateau - Role in Indian Monsoon

Tibetan plateau has considerable importance with regard to monsoon in Asia. This along with its repeated presence in news makes it a hot topic. In the past few years there have been many research findings regarding – the elevation change in Tibetan plateau, role on Indian monsoon, the change in the glaciers of Tibetan plateau etc.


How Tibetan plateau affects monsoon?

The Tibetan plateau is a vast structure extending long and wide. The heating or cooling of such a large geophysical structure leads to change in the jet streams during summer and winter. The change is the jet streams are due to 1) tilt of the earth changing with season 2) uplift of air from the Tibetan plateau. These changes in the jet stream in winter and summer results in change in wind over the peninsular region. As you would know when wind flow from the equatorial region to the subcontinent, then rainfall will occur. The rate of heating, duration of heating of Tibetan plateau has considerable influence on Monsoon.
The role of the Tibetan plateau has been given in Savindra Singh’s Geography book .In case you have a friend with geo optional, just have a glance over it.

source:novascience.wordpress.com

The above psychedelic diagrams shows the flow of jet streams in winter. The lower arm disappears in summer. This results in monsoon flow. 

Why important?

We have been trying to predict the Indian monsoon correctly for years. One of the parameters (among several others) is the Tibetan plateau. So unless we clearly get a knowhow of this parameter, it is difficult to make accurate predictions.

News regarding Tibetan plateau 

News one (must read)

News two  (optional reading )

News three  (optional reading)


Monday, 3 November 2014

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

It is the government of India programme aimed at rural upliftment.

How?
The coveted IITs and other institutions will create technological solutions to problems of India. The focus of the abhiyan will be on areas like water management, organic farming, infrastructure, rural livelihood, renewable energy and employment. The research knowledge will be converted to social capital through this programme. 

source:http://www.unnatbharatabhiyan.in/


Teams will be formed in the institutes which will visit villages and create projects which will directly as well as specifically solve the worries. Once this solutions are derived, then it can be adapted to other villages. The aim is to capitalise the know how of the research community and convert it into action on ground.

Who all?
The HRD ministry and institutes as well as other departments like rural development. 
You can see the details here (click here)

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