Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 02 August 2023

Climate change is altering the colour of the oceans

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

The colour of the Earth’s oceans has significantly altered over the past two decades, most likely due to human-induced climate change, according to a new study. Over 56 per cent of the oceans, more than the total land area on the planet, has experienced the shift in colour, it added. The study, ‘Global climate-change trends detected in indicators of ocean ecology’, was published in the journal Nature.

What makes the oceans colourful in the first place?

  • In most regions across the world, the oceans appear blue or navy blue for a reason. This happens due to “the absorption and scattering of light”.
  • When the sunlight falls on deep and clear water, colours with longer wavelengths, such as redyellow and green, are absorbed by the water molecules but blue and violet, which have a much shorter wavelength, are reflected back.
  • When sunlight hits the ocean, some of the light is reflected back directly but most of it penetrates the ocean surface and interacts with the water molecules that it encounters.
  • The red, orange, yellow, and green wavelengths of light are absorbed so that the remaining light we see is composed of the shorter wavelength blues and violets.
  • But when the water isn’t deep or clean, an ocean can appear to be of a different colour.
  • For instance, along Argentina’s coastline, where major rivers merge into the Atlantic Ocean, the ocean exudes a brown tint because of dead leaves and sediments spewing from the rivers.
  • In other parts of the world, the oceans appear green, which happens due to the existence of phytoplankton on the upper surface of the water.
  • Phytoplanktons are microscopic marine algae that contain the green-coloured pigment chlorophyll.
  • The pigment helps them absorb sunlight, which they use to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into sugars. Moreover, chlorophyll absorbs the red and blue portions of the light spectrum — or photosynthesis — and reflects green light.

What methods were used to carry out the study?

  • To conduct the study, Cael and his team first analysed data from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite, which has been monitoring ocean colour since 2002 — the measurements are taken in terms of the amount of light coming off the surface of the oceans, at all seven of the different wavelengths of light, from violet to red.
  • The examination of 20 years worth of data indicated that in more than 50 per cent of the world’s oceans, the colour has changed.
  • Then, to check if the phenomenon has occurred due to climate change, researchers used a climate model – a computer representation of the Earth.
  • This model simulated the planet’s oceans under two scenarios: one with the addition of greenhouse gases, and the other without it.
  • The greenhouse-gas model predicted that a significant trend should show up within 20 years and that this trend should cause changes to ocean colour in about 50 percent of the world’s surface oceans — almost exactly what Cael found in his analysis of real-world satellite data.


Dark web’s dangerous AI for cybercrime

GS Paper - 3 (ICT)

The world witnessed the boundless possibilities of AI and also came up close with its potential threats in terms of misinformationdeepfakes, and loss of human jobs. From ChaosGPT to the dark web harnessing the power of AI to wreak havoc, all have been dominating news feeds in the past few months. Reportedly, FraudGPT is a bot that is used for offences such as creating cracking toolsphishing emails, etc. It can be used to write malicious codecreate undetectable malwaredetect leaks, and vulnerabilities.

What is FraudGPT?

  • screenshot of the bot that is making the rounds on the Internet shows the screen of the chatbot with the text ‘Chat GPT Fraud BotBot without limitations, rules, boundaries.”
  • On the Dark WebFraudGPT is described as a cutting-edge tool that ‘is sure to change the community and the way you work forever’.
  • The promoter also claims that with the bot, the sky’s the limit and that it allows users to manipulate it to their advantage and make it do whatever they want.
  • The promoter also claims that there have been over 3000 confirmed sales so far of FraudGPT.

What can FraudGPT do?

  • FraudGPT has been perceived to be an all-in-one solution for cybercriminals considering it can do a range of things, including creating phishing pages and writing malicious code.
  • A tool like FraudGPT can now make scammers look more realistic and convincing and can cause damage on a larger scale.
  • Security experts have been emphasising the need to innovate to combat threats posed by rogue AI like FraudGPT that can end up causing more harm.
  • Unfortunately, many in the domain feel that this is just the beginning, and there is no limit to what bad actors can do with the power of AI.
  • Earlier this month, another AI cybercrime toolWormGPT, came to the surface. It was advertised on many forums on the Dark Web as a tool to launch sophisticated phishing and business email compromise attacks.
  • Experts had called it a blackhat alternative to GPT models, designed to carry out malicious activities.


Birth certificate as single document

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969 is likely to be amended for the first time in 54 years of its existence, with the Union Government introducing a Bill in Lok Sabha that allows the use of a birth certificate as a single document for admission in schools and colleges, issuance of driving licence and appointment to a government job.

More about the Bill

  • The proposed amendments also allow the use of a birth certificate for preparation of voter listissuance of Aadhaar number and registration of marriage even as critics earlier opposed the government plans citing privacy concernsinfringing states’ rights and claiming that it gives unbridled data about people to the government.
  • The amendments are needed to keep pace with societal change and technological advancements and to make it more citizen friendly. Consultations were held with state governments, public and other stakeholders.
  • According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, the amendments provides for the use of the birth certificate as a single document to prove the date and place of birth of a person born on or after the date of commencement of the amendments for a variety of things.
  • The database of births and deaths will be made available to authorities dealing with population registerelectoral rollsAadhaar numberration card, passport, driving licence, property registration and other databases notified by the union government.
  • The Bill also provides for facilitating registration process of adopted, orphan, abandoned, surrendered, surrogate child and child to a single parent or unwed mother, to make it mandatory for all medical institutions to provide a certificate as to the cause of death to the registrar and a copy of the same to the nearest relative.
  • Special "sub-registrars" can be appointed in the event of disaster or epidemic for speedy registration of deaths and issue of certificates, to collect Aadhaar numbers of parents and informants, if available, in case of birth registration.
  • The bill will also ensure addressing the grievances of the general public aggrieved by any action or order of the registrar or district registrar and to enhance the penalties provided in the Act.

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